Old Mar 31st, 2008, 10:07 AM
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1. It is terrible to avoid Guilin - cannot imagine what comments would motivate you to miss one of the great sights in the world. Most people think the Guilin-Yangsh experience is the best in all China travel. 2. The there is a brand new highway from Yunnan into Vn. I saw it being built and today there is a photo of a piece of it in the NY Times. There must be more bus traffic since this opened. A day or 2 at most for K'ming - only a tiny fraction of the city is still traditional, altho I do like the oldest Tea House - if you can find it. Lijiang is important - mainly the environs.
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Well, I've been to Guilin, and I enjoyed it, but let's not go overboard here. It is not one of the "greatest sights in the world". It is interesting to see the landscape that inspired so much Chinese painting, but Yangshuo is a backpacker hangout, and Guilin is a tour group hangout. Given a choice of wandering around southern Yunnan again, or revisiting Guilin, I'd take Yunnan.

eks - some friends of mine have just been through Yunnan - their blog is at meckleyearth.blogspot.com
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Ok..I will look into Guilin.

Thursday: I loved Hanoi (you will see if you can hang on until I finish that report..) and would like to return someday at another season when it is not so rainy. But since I just visited, I was hoping to explore new territory..

Fuchsia Dunlop's book makes me curious about Chengdu..she makes it sound quite lovely and relaxed, not to mention the food. And the Fodor's guide mentions the second-largest antiques market in china..Chengdu's Song Xian Qiao market. Those last two sound quite exciting!

The problem that I see, based only on very early reading, is that a visit to Chengdu should include a trip to the Jiuzhaigau Nature Reserve. So that then entails more moving around and changing hotels, as the reserve is quite far from the city... What do you think about the reserve?

Also, when people speak about seeing the pandas near here, do they mean the Giant Panda Research and Breeding base which is 45 minutes from Chengdu??

I would like to choose just a few bases and not be changing hotels every night.. the entire trip would be about 3 (-4?) weeks, and I would hope to spend at least 5-6 days in one city at the beginning..maybe Hong Kong?

Coincidentally, take a look at this story from today's NY paper; it looks as if the time is now to visit these areas!


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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 11:09 AM
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Very interesting piece in the NYT - I've seen pieces of that road elsewhere. Definitely need to put it on the "investigate for possible trip" list - but I worry about an influx of Han Chinese impacting the cultures. The Laotians should maybe have talked to the Tibetans and Uighurs.

Chengdu - I didn't go to the Jiuzhaigau Nature Reserve so I can't comment. I also went to the nearby panda reserve - morning trip on a minibus booked through my guest house - but some people do go to Woolong, which I think is a four hour drive. I had hoped to make it up Emei Shan, which I think should be more than a day trip, but the weather was bad, so I went up Qingchen Shan instead, which is a day trip. I also visited the big Buddha at Leshan, which is an easy day trip by bus.

I took the train from Chengdu to Kunming, but it is a longish trip, if you don't have a particular reason to take the train, or are not already partway there, this might be a good leg to fly. See www.chinahighlights.com/china-trains for schedules and fares.

I am not a fan of Hong Kong - I prefer smaller cities, but lots of people love it, especially shoppers! If you look for cicerone's or rkkwan's posts they have lots of info on things to do there.
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Old Mar 31st, 2008, 12:09 PM
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We have been to Jiuzhaighou - it has some beautiful things there but was exceptionally busy! Personally I prefer Emeishan & Leshan to here. We went in summertime (August), maybe its less busy at other times of year.
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