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Help with 30 days China itinerary

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May 17th, 2012, 03:16 PM
  #1
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Help with 30 days China itinerary

Hi all,

I'm planning a trip to China. Been going through a lot of the postings here, I've been able to come up with this:

1 Hong Kong --> Beijing
2 Beijing
3 Beijing
4 Beijing
5 Beijing
6 Beijing
7 Beijing --> Shanghai
8 Shanghai
9 Shanghai
10 Shanghai --> Suzhou
11 Suzhou --> Tongli
12 Tongli --> Wuxi
13 Wuxi --> Hangzhou
14 Hangzhou --> Huangshan
15 Huangshan
16 Huangshan
17 Huangshan --> Xi'an
18 Xi'an
19 Xi'an --> Jiuzhaigou
20 Jiuzhaigou
21 Jiuzhaigou --> Chengdu
22 Chengdu --> Zhangjiajie
23 Zhangjiajie
24 Zhangjiajie --> Guilin
25 Guilin --> Longli
26 Longli
27 Longli --> Yangshou
28 Yangshou
29 Yangshou --> Guangzhou
30 Guangzhou --> Hong Kong

I'm still not sure about the sequence of cities involved. Also, the number of days at each location is also under review. I want to take this easy so I'm going the private guide route. Any feedback will be much appreciated!

Regards,

Engalinc
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May 17th, 2012, 05:58 PM
  #2
 
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Stay in Suzhou for side trips to Wuxi and Tongli. Too rush through Jiuzhaigou and Zhangjiajie - because you actually will be spending lots to time getting to and from these fairly remote areas, you'll be totally exhausted. Cut some time from Beijing and Guilin, and a day in Shanghai if you don't want to cut places to visit. And what about Hangzhou? Lots to see there!

A better flow of travel maybe to do the Jiangnan/South of the Yangtze portion - Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Huangshan portion first. Then up to Beijing, then down to Xian and start the western portion, in a counterclockwise way.
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May 17th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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Can you arrive in Beijing instead of Hong kong? Then to Xi'an, Chengdu, Guilin ect to finish with Shangai, suzhou, Tongli Huangshan ect. departing from Hong Kong? I think this would make more sense than the itinerary you are suggesting.
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May 17th, 2012, 09:16 PM
  #4
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Thanks rkkwan, you're awesome. Read a lot of your posts, so helpful.

Any particular reason for staying in Suzhou for the side trips? I know the hotels are slightly cheaper than Shanghai but I would have to pay my Shanghai guide lodging in Suzhou unless I find another guide based in Suzhou.

How good is the internet access for hotels in Suzhou? I'll need to work at night (running my company remotely).

So what you're saying is I need to add a day to Zhangjiajie and Jiuzhaigou (maybe also add a day to Hangzhou)? So I'll need to take a day away from Beijing and Guilin (maybe take a day from Shanghai)?

Yes, doing Shanghai then Beijing make sense but I really want to walk The Great Wall first. Been dying to do that all my life. Like the old Chinese proverb, I want to be a "good guy/fellow". Will it make a huge different to do Beijing, Shanghai then Xian?

Are the other stops in the right sequence?
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May 17th, 2012, 09:26 PM
  #5
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Hi Ladouca, I'm using Hong Kong as a base for visiting other southeast asian countries before going on the 30 days trip in China. Will probably need your help in deciding where to go. So it will have to start and end in HK.
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May 17th, 2012, 10:53 PM
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You don't need a guide for Shanghai. If you want a guide for Suzhou you need someone who specializes in the gardens.
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May 18th, 2012, 12:14 AM
  #7
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Yes thursdaysd, I've done all my travelling without guide before and I've been told that a lot of cities do not require a guide but I just like the convenience that a guide will provide this time. Must be getting old!
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May 18th, 2012, 06:31 AM
  #8
 
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Spent 3 weeks in China last year and would highly recommend the following places: Pingyao, perhaps one of the highlights, we stayed several nights, took the overnight train to get there and then road bikes around the walled in city & Luoyang. In Louyang you take a day trip out to the Longmen Grottoes which is remarkable.

Suzhou was a little disappointing, loved the river ride, and the old central core is interesting but it is a large city under construction. We stayed at the holiday inn and had great wifi.

That's just my 2 cents!
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May 18th, 2012, 11:44 PM
  #9
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Thanks spitz, I too was looking at Pingyao but just cannot find any more days on my schedule. Where would I squeeze in another city? Any suggestions?
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May 19th, 2012, 12:12 AM
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A Shanghai guide will not know Suzhou, Wuxi or Tongli well. We're you planning to stay in Shamghai for all the day trips out to those three cities? That's not what you wrote in the first post.

You will need to leave some empty days through the western China part of your itinerary. You can add a day in Chengdu for rest or to catch up if for whatever reason you need to spend a day more in Jiuzhaigou. Worst case, you find yourself having an easy day in Chengdu for some sightseeing - plenty of worthwhile sites there.

Point is, you have to leave easy/ empty days in an itinerary like yours. Much better to under-plan and have time to do some unplanned stuff than to be exhausted or play catch up. While China's transportation is catching up, there remain plenty of issues that can ruin your trip easily.
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May 19th, 2012, 02:14 AM
  #11
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Apologies, I'm getting confused myself. My original plan was to stay in Shanghai for 6 nights and make Suzhou, Tongli and Wuxi all day trips.

7 Beijing --> Shanghai
8 Shanghai
9 Shanghai
10 Shanghai --> Suzhou --> Shanghai
11 Shanghai --> Tongli --> Shanghai
12 Shanghai --> Wuxi --> Shanghai
13 Shanghai --> Hangzhou
14 Hangzhou --> Huangshan

Then someone suggested it make more sense to do them linearly. That's how I came up with the original post. That part of the plan is still a big question mark for me. Should I do 2 nights in Shanghai then stay 2 nights in Suzhou (with day trips to Tongli 1 of those 2 nights, removed Wuxi) and then 3 nights in Hangzhou?

Yes, I was getting worried that the western part seems rushed. With your suggestion of adding 1 day to Jiuzhaigou and 1 day to Zhangjiajie, will that give me the time to rest and/or catch up? Or I need another day at Chengdu?

So now I have:

1 Hong Kong --> Beijing
2 Beijing
3 Beijing
4 Beijing
5 Beijing
6 Beijing --> Shanghai
7 Shanghai
8 Shanghai --> Suzhou
9 Suzhou --> Tongli --> Suzhou
10 Suzhou --> Hangzhou
11 Hangzhou
12 Hangzhou
13 Hangzhou --> Huangshan
14 Huangshan
15 Huangshan
16 Huangshan --> Xi'an
17 Xi'an
18 Xi'an --> Jiuzhaigou
19 Jiuzhaigou
20 Jiuzhaigou
21 Jiuzhaigou --> Chengdu
22 Chengdu --> Zhangjiajie
23 Zhangjiajie
24 Zhangjiajie
25 Zhangjiajie --> Guilin
26 Guilin --> Longli
27 Longli --> Yangshou
28 Yangshou
29 Yangshou --> Guangzhou
30 Guangzhou --> Hong Kong

Now my questions are:
Do I really need 4D/3N in Hangzhou?
Do I really need 4D/3N in Huangshan?
Do I really need 4D/3N each in Jiuzhaigou and Zhangjiajie? I know the scenery is beautiful but is there really that much to see? I have 2 teenagers going, will they be bored with so many days nature watching?
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May 19th, 2012, 06:19 AM
  #12
 
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No, you don't need that much time in Hangzhou. 2 days there is enough.

You don't need that much time on the Huangshan Mountain, but you need to allow time to get there and to get out of there to get to Xian.

Yes, you need 3 nights at Jiuzhaigou, since it's actually TWO huge parks there to see - Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong. And with the high elevation especially at Huanglong, you need to take it easy.

Zhangjiajie may not need that many days, cut one.

You should plan to stay in Chengdu for two nights, as I mentioned in the earlier reply.

No reason to stay in Guangzhou. Just fly straight from Guilin back to Hong Kong (or via Shenzhen).
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May 20th, 2012, 11:04 AM
  #13
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Made all those changes. Put 1 day back into Beijing (or should I put Wuxi back? Is Wuxi worth a day trip?)

1 Hong Kong --> Beijing
2 Beijing
3 Beijing
4 Beijing
5 Beijing
6 Beijing
7 Beijing --> Shanghai
8 Shanghai
9 Shanghai --> Suzhou
10 Suzhou --> Tongli --> Suzhou
11 Suzhou --> Hangzhou
12 Hangzhou
13 Hangzhou --> Huangshan
14 Huangshan
15 Huangshan
16 Huangshan --> Xi'an
17 Xi'an
18 Xi'an --> Jiuzhaigou
19 Jiuzhaigou
20 Jiuzhaigou
21 Jiuzhaigou --> Chengdu
22 Chengdu
23 Chengdu --> Zhangjiajie
24 Zhangjiajie
25 Zhangjiajie --> Guilin
26 Guilin --> Longli
27 Longli --> Yangshou
28 Yangshou
29 Yangshou --> Guangzhou
30 Guangzhou --> Hong Kong

Ghangzhou is a stop over to look up a friend who's been stationed there.

Is the direct flight from Xi'an to Jiuzhaigou running?

There's no flight from Zhangjiajie to Guilin directly. Do I need to fly to Chengdu and then Guilin? It looks like a very late night flight so I need to stay in Chengdu for the night?
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May 20th, 2012, 08:38 PM
  #14
 
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Posts: 23,074
Wuxi is more gardens and more Tai Hu. I think the sights are not that different from Suzhou.

When are you going? Xian to Jiuzhaigou has 2 daily flights this summer. A 7:55a China Eastern and a 9:15p Sichuan Airline.

There aren't that many flights out of Zhangjiajie, period. Mainly a handful of flights each late night to the major cities, and one early to Changsha, the provincial capital. No direct trains from Zhangjiajie to Guilin either, requiring a switch and at least 13-14 hours total travel time.

You may want to switch your itinerary a bit and put Zhangjiajie at the end of your trip. From there, you can take bus/train to Changsha and then be in Guangzhou in no time on the high-speed rail. And for getting from Guilin to Zhangjiajie, a long-distance coach may be a good option (may require a connection in Huaihua).

As you may see, it takes time and effort to get from one scenic area to another in that part of China.
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May 21st, 2012, 07:24 PM
  #15
 
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Wuxi has the huge golden buddha, the gardens along Tai Hu Lake are large and open, totally different style than tiny and dainty Suzhou gardens.

You mean Longji (not Longli), right?
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May 23rd, 2012, 10:33 PM
  #16
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Okay, I've had to check all the flights in and out of those places. If I move Zhangjiajie to the end before Guangzhou, I would still need to fly from Guilin to Zhangjiajie but there are no direct flights either, so I would still need to transit or stay over another city, looks like Chongqing. Looks like it doesn't matter where I place Zhangjiajie. Can't get around having to transit through Chongqing.

Have not heard back from spitz. Any possibility of sticking Pingyao in there somewhere or is this getting too full already?
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May 23rd, 2012, 10:53 PM
  #17
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Yes, Shanghainese, I do mean Longji. All these peculiar names are starting to fry my brains.

Given the above schedule, do you think I can still stick in Wuxi then?
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May 24th, 2012, 06:39 PM
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Yes, I'm not sure if you can get to Wuxi directly from Tongli, from Suzhou it is less than an hour on the slowest train or bus, then go from Wuxi to Hangzhou.

Another thought is go directly from Shanghai to Wuxi, then work your way backwards.
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May 27th, 2012, 02:07 AM
  #19
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Thanks Shanghainese but I think I'll need to pass on Wuxi. I've been trying to work out my last leg of the trip between Zhangjiajie and Guilin. Looks like I'll need to transit through Chongqing. Might as well stay for a day there, which will mean I'll have to cut a day from Beijing and not add Wuxi back to the schedule.

Anyone has suggestions on the sequence for the last part there: Jiuzhaigou, Chengdu, Guilin and Zhangjiajie?
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Jun 13th, 2012, 12:21 AM
  #20
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After some more suggestions form other travellers, this is what I have so far

1 Hong Kong --> Beijing
2 Beijing
3 Beijing
4 Beijing
5 Beijing
6 Beijing --> Shanghai
7 Shanghai --> Suzhou --> Tongli --> Shanghai
8 Shanghai
9 Shanghai --> Tunxi
10 Tunxi --> Huangshan
11 Huangshan
12 Huangshan --> Hangzhou
13 Hangzhou
14 Hangzhou --> Xi'an
15 Xi'an
16 Xi'an --> Jiuzhaigou
17 Jiuzhaigou
18 Huanglong
19 Huanglong --> Chengdu
20 Chengdu
21 Chengdu --> Guilin --> Yangshuo
22 Yangshuo
23 Yangshuo
24 Yangshuo --> Longji
25 Longji --> Guilin --> Chongqing
26 Chongqing --> Zhangjiajie
27 Zhangjiajie
28 Zhangjiajie
29 Zhangjiajie --> Guangzhou
30 Guangzhou --> Hong Kong

There are 2 major issues. I was going to do Shanghai, Hangzhou, Huangshan then fly to Xi'an. When I checked the fare for the Huangshan to Xi'an flight, I found it to be 1260 RMB with no discounts. So I've rearranged that portion into Shanghai fly to Huangshan then bus/car to Hangzhou then fly to Xi'an. Kind of convoluted but a heck of a lot cheaper.

The other one is I was going to do Jiuzhaigou, Chengdu, Zhangjiajie then Guilin. Problem is there is very few flights into and out of Zhangjiajie. I have now rearranged it so that I'll do Guilin then transit through Chongqing to Zhangjiajie. Another bad detour but can't be helped. I'm still checking whether I need to stay overnight at Chongqing.

Wonder if anyone here can suggest a better route for these 2 legs?
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