Help with December 07 Trip to China

Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:23 PM
  #1  
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Help with December 07 Trip to China

We are planning a trip to China for 7 days in December. Our itinerary includes a trip to the Great Wall and Xian and Hong Kong. How many days in each location should we spend. We were thinking 3 days Beijing, overnight training to Xian and then overnight train to Bejing for Hong Kong. What was the weather like and can you recommend a tour guide in Beijing and Xian. Thanks everyone!
Remmah is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 07:35 PM
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i would fly rather than train to save time and energy, as you probably will not sleep all that well on the trains...

7 days is a short time.....3-4 bei. minimum, 1-2 xian....HK 5-7....maybe you should axe HK???
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 08:54 PM
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Does the seven days include travel time? If so, definitely forget Hong Kong. If you leave HK in, fly from Xi'an, but the night train Beijing to Xi'an should be fine.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 01:10 AM
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I agree that two overnight trains in a row is a lot, and even one can be a bit much in China. (Are you spending one night in Xian or just in for a day with overnight trains on each end? If the latter, wow that is really tough). I personally would hate to see anyone give up Hong Kong as there is so much to do and see here and the weather is so wonderful in December. Take a look at weatherbase.com for info. Hong Kong certainly will have the most pleasant temps and sunny weather of all three places on your list. You will want overcoats, hats, gloves, etc for Beijing and Xian. Still very pretty as long as you are prepared for it, and will help with the crowds.

All 3 are great places, but IMO if you can fly that really is the much better way to go to be able to fit all three in, esp as you can fly from Beijing-Xian-Hong Kong and not do any backtracking (assuming you get int'l fight into Beijing and out of Hong Kong or vice versa, these "open jaw" tickets normally do not cost any more and are real timesavers). At the very least if you have to take a train, then just train to Xian and fly on to Hong Kong from there.

7 days is a very short time in the PRC, esp if you are doing a long-haul flight from the US, you will be turned around with jet lag to begin with. If you can extend your trip, I really think you will enjoy it more. If you are coming from elsewhere in Asia, then 7 days is perhaps OK, but do really consider flying into and out of Xian. I could easily spend a week in Beijing as there is a lot to see and do there, but at a minimum you need 3. I could easily spend 3 in Xian, but could get away with 2 days. (The museum is excellent, the town walls and parts of the old town are well preserved and the area around the main mosque is very interesting, there is also a bell and drum tower and a nice climbable pagoda, all this is in addition to the terra cotta warriors.) I live in Hong Kong and my list of things to do here that does NOT include shopping is pretty long, but for you I would say 3 days is good, if you want to shop you will want more time I think. Now you can see why 7 days is going to be really tough, even with flying between all the places...
Cicerone is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 04:44 AM
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I don't understand this prejudice against taking the train in China. Soft sleeper class on regular trains is really comfortable, and although I haven't ridden the new Z-class trains, this is what seat61.com has to say about them: "These superb trains are soft class only (no hard class), with brand-new top-quality air-conditioned sleeping-cars and bar-restaurant car (with menus in Chinese and English). Far superior to any flight and saves time over flying, too."

Also, you may find that you are sharing your compartment with friendly and helpful locals. Last time I took the train from Beijing to Xi'an I was sharing with the president of Xi'an university and his wife, and he went out of his way to make sure I got to my hotel. But I do agree that back-to-back night trains are a bad idea.

I would also urge you to spend enough time in Xi'an to see more than the warriors - the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, the Muslim quarter and the Great Mosque, the Big Goose Pagoda, the Taoist Temple to the Eight Great Immortals - and just wander the back streets. Taxi's in Xi'an are plentiful and cheap, and you can do the warriors by public bus.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:19 AM
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I was always a big fan of trains in China. But the Beijing Hong Kong line is not an overnight ride . It was several years ago when I did take this, but it was a 24 hour trip! I doubt you want to sacrifice your limited time in China to ride this train. If you want to go to HK, fly there.
baaj is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 07:45 AM
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baaj - I agree that on a short trip it makes sense to fly to HK, if you go at all. But the Beijing-Xi'an route is definitely an overnight.
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 09:38 AM
  #8  
 
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Train Beijing - Xian. Then fly to Hong Kong.
rkkwan is offline  
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