Guilin or Shanghai

Old Nov 14th, 2003, 07:47 PM
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Guilin or Shanghai

Considering China trip. Only have 9 days will go to Beijing and xian. It is more expensive, but should we skip Shanghai and go to Guilin. Also, thinking of going in mid-March, but could go mid-May. Will it be too cold in March to be enjoyable.
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Old Nov 14th, 2003, 08:15 PM
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Have never been to Shanghai...hear it's a busy but exciting city. Guilin, on the other hand, we have visited. Very manageable, the kind of place you might want to rent a bike and go around town----neat art work, beautiful scenery. You are visiting two big cities...Guilin would certainly give you another flavor and pace.
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Old Nov 15th, 2003, 06:01 AM
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Having been to both last year, I can say that both were very interesting but different.

Shanghai was remarkable for the architecture and modernity, which was breath-taking. (Beijing was merely awesome.) Guilin, which has to include the ship on the Li river, was great for the scenery and seeing more rural life.

If I had to chose, I would pick Guilin, because it is different from the civilization of Beijing and Xian.
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 12:39 PM
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Totally different areas, Shanghai is a huge, bustling, young urban center, not much historical sites (like Beijing). If you like to be in gorgeous countryside, pick Guilin. If you want to do both, have you thought of skipping Xian? You will need a warm jacket in mid-March, the lakes were still frozen in Beijing when we went a couple of years ago. Mid-May will be comfortable. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Nov 17th, 2003, 07:07 PM
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Guilin, definitely. I have been to both cities. Shanghai is no different really from any other large city in North America. In fact, the area around the Bund reminds me very much of Broadway/Times Square in Manhattan. Why go all the way to China just to walk down the street and see Emporio Armani and discos blasting Kylie Minogue?? Guilin gives you a picture of a more rural China.
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Old Nov 18th, 2003, 11:47 PM
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Well, while I do think that Shanghai has very, very different from the average large North American city, I would also vote for Guilin.

I have a bias for Shanghai since I've been living here for nearly 5 years - I love its conflicting mix of old and new, and am fascinated by its history, which is still so much in evidence (but agree that there are fewer traditional tourist attractions.

That said, I would DEFINITELY recommend Beijing-Xian-Guilin over Beijing-Xian-Guilin. In fact, that might be my most recommended itinerary for visitors to China who are not my relatives (who all have to come to Shanghai, of course!).

Guilin offers a wonderful opportunity to explore the picturesque countryside and see a completely different part of China than you'd see in either Beijing or Shanghai. (Do stay in Yangshuo, though, not Guilin - those two cities are the opposite ends of the typical Li river cruise, and Guilin, IMO, isn't worth stopping in at all).

The only worry about the weather is that while May might be warmer, it may also be rainy - VERY rainy. As in, raining HARD every day. Check the historical averages on weatherbase or (under "travel", "travel planner").

Have a great trip either way!
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Old Nov 21st, 2003, 04:55 AM
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I vote for Guilin also. The Li River cruise is a must. And southern China is very different from Xian and Beijing. Haven't been to Yangshuo; we stayed in Guilin and enjoyed it. There was an outdoor market close to our hotel that not only sold unusual produce but live chickens. Restaurant nearby with snake on the menu. People washing their clothes in the Li River. Very interesting city. With that said, though, I think Shanghai is a great city! I don't think it is just like any North American city. I love the eclectic mix of architecture, Chinese, European and the space age style Pudong Economic Zone. Shanghai is a bustling city with lots of shopping and nightlife. But I agree with other posters that because you are going to Beijing and Xian, Guilin would be different and more interesting.
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Old Nov 24th, 2003, 07:29 PM
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Guilin seems to win. Shanghai is fascinating but as it is so large it takes several days to get any real feel for anything more than the cursary tourist spots. Guilin is touristy but enchantingly lovely. You may enjoy my website where I tell about our experiences and include some half way decent photography. It might increase your anticipation of what lies ahead. If you go there, I hope you find it useful and enjoyable.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2004, 06:34 PM
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Definitely Guilin for a few days and then down the Li River (preferably on one of the boats, its breathtaking scenery) to Yangshou.

The Guilin Landscape Institute is fascintaing - they teach charcoal and water color painting there and its a neat way to spend an afternoon.

Tea and lunch on West Street in Yangshou is a lot of fun. Its a great place to kick back and relax - full of expats and travelers. There are quite a few hostels in the area.

If you do go to Shanghai take car and driver out to Suzhou for the day to get a better feel for rural China. Shanghai is a more of a European feeling city (not particulary "Chinese" by China standards).
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