How much time, where?

Old Nov 30th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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How much time, where?

I will be going to China next spring.

Here is my tenative itenerary. Should I change the amount of time in each city? The start and end are fixed as I have already booked my flight.

Day 1 Arrive Beijing March 20 at 4:00 PM
Day 2 Beijing
Day 3 Beijing
Day 4 Great Wall, night train to Xi'an
Day 5 Xi'an
Day 6 Xi'an
Day 7 Xi'an to Chengdu
Day 8 Chengdu / Yangshuo - See the pandas in the morning and get out of town - Fly to Guilin then go straight to Yangshuo
Day 9 Yangshuo
Day 10 Yangshuo
Day 11 Yangshuo
Day 12 Yangshuo / Shanghai take a morning flight out of Guilin
Day 13 Shanghai (day trip to tongli)
Day 14 Leave shanghai (4:00 PM)

Questions
Is 3 days enough for Beijing?
Do I need 2.5 days for Xi'an?
Chengdu is a must for the pandas, but should I be staying longer?
Really looking forward to Yangshuo - should I spend more time there? Are the rice terraces worthwhile that time of year (March 28-30)?
Shanghai is a big modern city, not my favorite thing to visit, am I selling it short?

Local, non-touristy restaurant recomendations appreciated.

Please help - all comments/suggestions are welcome?

Thanks
joko is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2008, 09:49 PM
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Maybe 4 days for Beijing, 2 days for Xi'an. If Shanghai is not a must for you, I would like to recommend Shaoxing, which is not far from Shanghai. It is not that popular but it is really an interesting city. You may visit Lu Xun's former residence. Lu Xun is a great literary heavyweight in China's modern history. Or you can pay a visit to Suzhou or Hangzhou, each is close to Shanghai. There is a saying that in heaven there is the paradise, and on earth there are Suzhou and Hangzhou. Suzhou boasts delicate age-old traditional garden-style architectural complexes, which once prevailed in ancient China. Hangzhou has the famous west lake and is nice and clean. May you have a good time in China.
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Old Dec 1st, 2008, 07:41 PM
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Thanks for your reply.

I am still trying to determine the best daytrip from Shanghai.
joko is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 12:16 AM
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Only 1 morning in Chengdu for the Pandas - that's a mighty expensive Chengdu trip!!!

So much more in Chengdu than Pandas - for more ideas regarding a Chengdu visit, look at my Chengdu travel blog at -
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/
laowai is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 06:02 PM
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AT least 5 days for Beijing.
Wow, this looks like alot in 14 days. But I like to stay a bit longer and savor a place before I move-on, so I can't make that decision.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2008, 07:57 PM
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Thanks for the input.

Laowai - what do you suggest as additional sights? Most posts don't say much about Chengdu other than the Pandas. What are your favorites, why?

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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 05:12 AM
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Hi Joko,
Chengdu and Sichuan has so much - within a day's drive from Chengdu you can get to - sites like The Leshan Big Buddha, The holy mountain of Emei Shan,the Glacier park at Hailuogou, which lies under the massive 7,500m peak of Gongga Shan, Nature parks like Laba He, where you can hike and watch wild animals, and actually get to see the kind og habitat that houses wild Giant Panda - and with an 8 hour drive you are up onto the Tibetan Plateau around Tagong - which is a whole other world of Grasslands, yak, Nomadic herders, Tibetan temples - just another world.
Of all of these places - well to tell the truth I don't care much for Chinese style tourist crowds so I tend to avoid the tourist parks - but most prefer around Tagong and some tracks used by local goat herders and wild-herb collectors in the Gongga Shan area (Moxi). Here I can totally get away from the noise, pollution and crowds that are normal in Chinese cities.
Remember the West of China - still has areas of pristine wilderness - that's why we still have Pandas in the wild. But I believe the highlight of coming to Chengdu must be to take that chance and travel out to the Tibetan areas - which must be among the most exciting travel destinations in the whole of China.
To see pics of our trips go to our blog at -
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/

I know this answer doesn't help you too much in your tight schedule - but it may give you an idea why some of us out here start to scratch our heads in amazement when so many people decide to skip past this area after they've seen them Pandas!!!!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:11 AM
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Daytrip from Shanghai depends on your interest, Suzhou for gardens, or visit the watertown Tongli. A Fodorite did both in one long day.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 11:50 AM
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Laowai - That does sound good. If it was just me going I would be all over that, but I am traveling with my mom and dad (65 & 75 years old) and my daughter (10). My parents are okay with walking on flats, but they really can't handle hiking and climbing (or the stairs at the giant buddha). I really wanted to see the rice terraces as well but it seems like they are not truly accessible from a car and involve a lot of hard walking as well.

I would love to spend time out of Chengdu, perhaps in Dali or some of the areas you have mentioned, but the Pandas are a must for my daughter. There is so much to see.

Since we have never been to China before, and my parents will probably not get back, what would you recommend I skip to give us more time

Shanghainese - Is Tongli the watertown to visit in your opinion or do you reccommend somewhere else? Considering we will see the Garden in Shanghai and the parks in Beijing, if you had a friend visiting which would you have them see. Suzhou, Tongli or somewhere else?

Thanks for your comments, this is really helping me
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 04:43 PM
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joko -- the style of the parks in Beijing are completely different from those in Suzhou, and the Yuyuan garden in Shanghai is tiny.

If my friend is a garden person, I'll point them to Suzhou. Since you have a 10 year old, a boat ride on the canals of Tongli might be more fun.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 06:39 PM
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Joko, I have some suggestions to offer you after I read your tenative itenerary. Since your arrival and departure time have been fixed, you only need to make some adjustment in the arrangement of the tour schedule within china to guarantee your china tour satisfied. Firstly, you are supposed to take the Great Wall tour before your departure day in Beijing since it will take more than half a day to finish this excursion. You don't want to take the train for Xi'an with all sweat after climbing the Great Wall, right? Secondly, I suggest you stay one night in Guilin on the day you depart from Chengdu. As Guilin has long been renowned for its extraordinary beautiful natural scenery, in particular, Li River have always been favorite subjects for landscape scroll paintings, which makes the cruise tour from Guilin to Yangshuo all the more famous. You can take the cruise at 9 AM from Guilin to get to Yangshuo at 1PM along the Li River. As for the Shanghai tour, I think Tongli excursion is very good choice for your family, you will feel the traditional local people's folks customs and their daily lifes there. You can keep it. Since this is the family tour, you should keep the schedule relaxable and well prepared. Hope my suggestions will be of your reference, if you need more detailed information, please contact [email protected].
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Corona - Thanks for pointing out the wall/train issue, I hadn't thought of that and you are absolutely correct - good catch!

What do you think about staying the night in Guilin and then going to the rice terraces the next day? Is it possible to drive thru them or is it only accessable to walking?

Do you suggest the Li river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo over the bamboo raft cruises out of Yangshuo? How many days do you think we should have in Yangshuo?
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:11 PM
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Hi again joko,
I was talking about me - what I preferred - some of those sites I've mentioned are far more mainstream tourist friendly than the stuff I suggest.

For example Big Buddha - you don't need to climb one single step to see this monument - go into Leshan take a 1RMB ferry trip out to a small island in the river - and hey -presto you can see more of BB that you can in the park!!!! To see pics of this trip go to my picture report at -
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/20...n-side-of.html

Emei Mountain - just take a bus up the mountain to the cable car station - go up to the Golden Summit using the cable car - a few stairs up there - but its mainly flat - but you're already at the top so no real climbing.

Laba He Forest Park - we always walk in this area - but you can hire a jeep to drive you along the tracks and take you to the Animal viewing pints - if there are no animals then just enjoy the view. The only effort involved here is getting in and out of the Jeep.
I have three reports on Laba He -
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/20...to-laba-he.htm
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/20...-red-panda.htm
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/20...ing-panda.html

Hailuogou Glacier Park - if you do it the Chinese tourist way - you take a tourist bus/cable car combo - hardly any walking involved. I've never done this - but it sounds very easy.

Trips up to the grasslands - these can be done as driving/sightseeing tours - I have a report on a 5 day tour that started in Chengdu - went up to the Hailuogou area (Moxi) on to the Grasslands at Tagong and then back to Chengdu. Hardly any walking needed if you just want to road stop and look at the sights - but altitude can be a problem here - so itís not really a good option for those with heart/circulation problems. To see my report go to -
http://chengdutravel.blogspot.com/20...blog-post.html

If you know the in and outs of these places - you can get to see a awful lot with minimum effort
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Old Dec 3rd, 2008, 08:54 PM
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Joko, you can't drive through the rice terrace and it really takes a lot of walking if you want to get the magnificent view of it. Since I have been there, I don't think it is a very good choice for your family's first visit to china.

The Li River cruise is different from the bamboo raft, it is a double-decked ship with the capacity of about 30 people. You can enjoy the scenery on both sides along the Li River while enjoying the local food lunch on the cruise, which makes your tour pleasant and much safer.

As for the length to stay in Yangshuo, I think that two days are enough, then you can leave one day to spare in Shanghai.

I can reschedule your itinerary if you have concluded your particulars.
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