itinerary for china and bali?

Jan 7th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 26
itinerary for china and bali?

I have been doing a lot of research on an upcoming trip to china and bali. Do you think this itinerary looks good or do you think I have too much planned for a short time?
This is what I planned:
Fly from NY to Beijing
Beijing 3 nights
Overnight train to Xian
Xian 2 nights
Yangshuo 3 nights - mountain retreat
Guilin 1 night for flight next day
flight to Bali
6 nights in Bali divided by time at Ubud and beach
flight with overnight stay in KUL
flight from KUL to Hong Kong
Hong Kong 3 nights
flight back to NY
beth555 is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 05:11 PM
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Posts: 32,989
Yes, I think you are trying to do too much. Remember that it will take most to all of a day to get from one place to another. So three nights in a place is only two days, two nights means you have one day. Slow down and enjoy the trip!
Kathie is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 05:56 PM
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it seems like a lot but if you just want an overview you will get it except in bali where you have a decent amount of time....i would spend my whole time in ubud however and take trips to other places from there using putu or someone similar
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 7th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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I see you have now picked this itin in favour of earlier ones which had included Vietnam and at one point Thailand. You still seem a bit undecided. Asia is a huge place, and it is more of a matter, in my experience, of deciding what NOT to see and then sticking with that choice. There are almost too many options, and it is easy to get confused and think you are “missing out” on something “really good”. But there really are no bad choices, IMO. You just have to keep coming back to Asia so that you can see them all. (I have lived in Hong Kong for almost 10 years and there are still places here that I have not yet been to…)

While the mix of China and Indonesia is a bit weird (as I personally would focus on one or the other), my main issue is that you are taking some strange plane routings that I think are wasting your time. Transiting through Kuala Lumpur to get from Bali to Hong Kong will be a huge waste of time, as you know as you will have to overnight at KL airport (which is precisely in the middle of nowhere, it’s more than an hour to the city and is in farmers’ fields). There are many direct flights to Hong Kong from Bali, I would really try to get one. How are you getting from Guilin to Bali? To the best of my knowledge, there are no non-stop flight between the two, and so I am guessing you are looking at 10-12 hours or more with connections. While you have 3 weeks, which is a decent amount of time, you don’t really want to waste 3 days of it on short hop transit routes. If you can work on a better air routing, then the itin would be OK. For example, could you fly from Guilin to Hong Kong (non stop) spend a few days in Hong Kong, then go to Bali (non-stop) and then fly home from Bali at the end of the trip?

If you just want a nice beach, then go to Hainan Island, the “Hawaii” of China. There are many nice hotels there now, including a Ritz-Carlton and several other luxury international brands. Quite pretty beaches (calling it Hawaii is a stretch but not totally wrong) and an interesting place. You can fly non-stop from Guilin in just over an hour. It is not Bali, but I don’t know precisely what you are looking for. I love Bali and like the choices on your PRC itin. I just think you are working pretty hard to combine the two.

I think you may have purchased an Malaysian Air Airpass or something. If that is the case, you may want to rethink the itin and spend time in Malaysia, which is quite an interesting country and offers some lovely, lovely beaches on the east coast, some rainforests, great food, wonderful people, colonial towns, and would be a good fit with the air pass. See? I just added one more choice to your list….

I think 1 night in Guilin is to short really and all you will be able to do is take one of the big tour boats on the river which IMO is not really a pleasant experience. If you have more time, you can rent bikes and get out into the countryside and hire your own smaller boat on the river. Otherwise your nights are OK, I can’t tell how long you really have with flight departure times, etc. You could spend 3 weeks in Beijing alone there is some much to see and do, and could spend 3 weeks in Bali alone and it would pass like 3 minutes. So really you are just getting a look. In Bali, you may not feel like moving again after you will have been moving so much for the last 15 days or so. Bali is small and you could stay in one place and do day trips. Just something to consider. You could get a house with a pool in the interior areas near Ubud and not really have to go to beach areas but could go for the day to places like Uluwatu or northeast beach areas.

Also, if you keep the original itin, then much as I like Hong Kong, with this long itin and lots of moving around and very strange flight patterns, I would suggest that perhaps you leave it out and spend more time in the PRC and Bali, which may help the itin a bit. Perhaps you could fly home out of Bali or even KL.

Cicerone is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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Thank you for all the info. At one point I was thinking about Vietnam but others on th board told me that Bali was very different to China where Vietnam is more "like" China in some ways. I thought experiencing two different cultures would be a little more interesting. Also I wasn't sure about the infrastructure in Vietnam and doing it on our own since this is our first trip to Asia. I was using Air Asia for the flights out of China into Bali and to Hong Kong because the price seemed much better then anywhwere else I looked. I also considered flying from Bali to NY but again there are 3 of us traveling and it was considerable more money then flying from Hong Kong to NY. I must admit I am more confused now. I am really thinking about all that time flying to/from Bali and if those 10 days could be put to better use.
beth555 is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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good points.... with short periods i usually suggest people stay in one or at most two places, preferably in the same country....

how about more time in beijing and add hong kong for about 4-5 days?
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 05:57 PM
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beth555 , sorry I am not trying to confuse you more. I would agree that China and Bali are two totally different cultures, so if that is what you are looking for, that is what you will get. But I would not agree that China and Vietnam are “alike”. Both are Communist (in Vietnam IMO the presence of the party is actually more apparent, but their economy is not as developed) and both are Buddhist/Taoist/Confucian, but the focus of their Buddhist practices are different (and really the presence of religion publically in the PRC is quite minor, but in Vietnam is more prevalent as temples were not destroyed in any cultural revolution and the government does not take as active a role in suppressing it; you see monks on the street in Vietnam which you would not see in the PRC). In Vietnam, the French influence is still quite strong, and Vietnamese food and art are quite different. Vietnam is much more SE Asian that China is. I don’t think you really would find them to be a similar experience. The geography and climate of Vietnam and parts of southern coastal China are similar, but that does not make the cultures similar.

I don’t disagree with trying to do both Bali and the PRC, I just think that the flights you have are a little crazy and may not be worth the money saved, esp. when you add in hotel rooms in KL for the night (not sure you had figured that in). Even assuming you stay out at near the economy terminal for the airport, they will not be inexpensive. (However, I just looked at the Air Asia site, and see that it appears to be possible to get from Guilin to Bali on the same day, as the flight from Guilin arrives into KL at 3 pm, and there are onward flights to Bali which depart at 4:45 and 7 pm. I was checking the July 2009 schedule. I am not sure which month you are traveling and if the flight schedule is the same. You might want to check on this. That makes this routing more attractive, albeit you will lose the entire day in transit. Not sure if your plan on the return from Bali to Hong Kong was to go via KL, if so this would require an overnight in KL as the connecting flights will require it. The other way to go would be to fly from Bali to Bangkok and either fly home from Bangkok or fly from Bangkok to Shenzhen on Air Asia ( and then take a train or bus into Hong Kong (about 40 minutes.)

Conversely, there are ways to save money if you do the more expensive direct/non-stop flights. One way would be to rent a house in Bali rather than staying in hotels. See sites like which have many houses at very inexpensive prices. I have not rented from them in Bali, but have had very good luck with them in other locations. See .You could rent a house with a pool inland in the hill area of Ubud and enjoy some really beautiful rice paddies views, but no beach access of course. But you can bicycle to all the cultural events and great art galleries, etc. If you want beach areas, those are available too. I have rented a house in Seminyak and thought it was very nice. See This is a compound of several villas of varying sizes and prices. I have rented Villa Jemma with friends. Each of the 5 or so villas which comprise the compound is set in its own garden and has a good-size pool, the furnishings, etc are in good shape and nicely done. There is a full kitchen that is well fitted-out. They can provide a cook for meals if you want or you can self cater.

I don’t totally disagree with the notion that Vietnam may be a bit harder logistically to get around on your own versus Bali, which is much smaller and you can hire a driver for the day or do a lot on foot. But after you have done the PRC on your own, you may find Vietnam to be quite easy. Of course, you may have internal airfares in Vietnam (like Ho Chih min to Hanoi) which you would not have in Bali which will add to your costs.

I usually say to go with whatever was your first instinct. If it was the PRC and Vietnam, then go with that. If it was Thailand then go with that. If it is this itin, then stick with it. Your gut is rarely wrong on these things. Other people usually are. As I said originally, I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with the above itinerary, I just think you will find it exhausting in terms of logistics. If you can work out some better flights and spread some days out, I do think it is workable.

Cicerone is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Posts: 26
I am now thinking that it is probably best to just do China and really just see that country. So I think extending a day in Beijing, Guilin and HK look good. This is what the new itinerary looks like.

Beijing 4 nights
overnight train to Xian
Xian 2 nights
Flight to Lijiang or Kumming?
Lijiang 3 nights
flight to Guilin and get to Yangshuo
Yangshuo 3 nights
Guilin 2 nights
Flight from Guilin to Hong Kong
Hong Kong 4 nights
Does this look good? Do you think going to Lijiang and Yangshuo is a bad idea? Are they too much alike and I should go somewhere else instead? I saw pictures of both places and thought both looked beautiful.

beth555 is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 10:10 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,854
Definitely go to both Lijiang and Guilin/Yangshou, they are very different and each is gorgeous in its own way. I'm not sure whether there is a non-stop flight from Xian to Lijiang, they usually make a stop in Kunming to change planes.
Shanghainese is offline  
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