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Leaving in one month for China-Our Itinerary

Leaving in one month for China-Our Itinerary

Jul 11th, 2009, 11:05 AM
  #1  
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Leaving in one month for China-Our Itinerary

We are a family of four (parents with two boys who will be 17 and 14 in the next few weeks). A few years back my younger son, as he was running out the door to school asked if we could go to China instead of having a large party in honor of his Bar Mitzvah (13th birthday). He wants to go to China because it has been his life long dream to go to the Great Wall and he loves dumplings! Here we are two years later and we are leaving for China in just one month! I have been reading everything that is tagged China and have spoken with some very kind people from this forum. Thank you all.

I have posted our itinerary for you to see and if anyone as any suggestions or comments please let us know. We are using airline miles and had no choice on the starting and ending cities.

- Fly from NY to Toronto and then Toronto to Shanghai on Air Canada.

- Arrive in Shanghai about 3pm Staying three nights at the Le Royal Meridien Hotel. I figure we will wash up and take a walk and have dumplings for dinner. If we are not to tired maybe even a boat ride on the bund.

- Next morning take a taxi to Suzhou and maybe Tongli.

- While we are in Shanghai we want to go to Shanghai Museum, the gardens, Jewish sites and just walk around and take in all the sounds, smells and tastes of the city.

- Sunday take overnight train to Xian

- Arrive in Xian about 7:30 am drop our things at Citadines Xi’an Central Hotel where we will be spending one night. Take a taxi to the Terracotta Warriors and then we will try to get as many sites in and good food as possible.

- Fly to Guilin and go right to Ping’an, Longsheng Longji Rice Terraces where we will spend 1 night at the Countryside Hotel.


- Next day head to Yangshuo where we will spend three nights at the Li River Retreat in a family room for 4.

- Fly from Guilin to Shenzhen and take a bus to Hong Kong. We will be spending 5 nights in Hong Kong. We are staying on the Kowloon side at the Shangri-La Hotel. My husband and I stayed there 18 years ago and that is the only place he wants to stay. From Hong Kong we are going to Beijing for 4 nights and we are staying at the Peninsula Hotel.

- Fly from Beijing back to Toronto, then onto NYC.
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 11th, 2009, 12:26 PM
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sounds like fun
rhkkmk is online now  
Jul 11th, 2009, 03:58 PM
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Looks like you have done your homework so have a great time!
Shanghainese is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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Thanks so much!
I was hoping that people would respond with some suggestions or ideas. Maybe places not to miss, favorite restaurants, or even the order in which we should do things.
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 12th, 2009, 06:09 AM
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zverybestfamily,

Just noticed your new post here. I just finished my report on Guilin and the last section is on Ping'an. I'll TTT my report for you.
Hanuman is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 06:16 AM
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Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful report and fantastic photos. We can't wait to go!
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 07:17 AM
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Hi,

You might want to consider taking the bullet train (D train) from Shanghai to Suzhou. The train is very convenient and modern. It takes only 40 minutes. You can ask your hotel to buy the train tickets for you. The train leaves from the Shanghai Train Station. If you buy soft seat tickets, there is a separate VIP lounge which is more comfortable than the common waiting area.

thanks for your post regarding my son's report.

Have a great trip
HappyMom32 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Thanks, I will consider the train. I was thinking that they will be so tired from traveling the day before that my boys could always sleep in the car. How long did it take to get ajusted to the time change?
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 13th, 2009, 03:24 PM
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Perhaps you can spend the 1st day in Shanghai and put off the day trip to Suzhou/Tongli for the following day.

It took us about 2-3 days to adjust. We would get up early 4-5 am and were very sleepy early at about 7-8 pm.
HappyMom32 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 12:17 PM
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Hi HappyMom32,
We may put it off one day but that would mean that will will go on a Saturday and I think it will be much more crowded.
Can we do both towns in one day? If not which one do you think the kids would like more, Suzhou or Tongli?
Is there anything or and restaurant that your kids would tell us not to miss while in China?
How long did it take your kids to get adjusted to the time when you got home?

Thanks for all your suggestions!
Lauren
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Jul 14th, 2009, 12:52 PM
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bookmarking
BeachGirl247 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 02:32 PM
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Hi Lauren,

It is difficult to do both in one day.

We liked Tongli better. The Tuisi Garden in Tongli was my favorite. If you don't have a lot of time and would like to see a good classical Chinese garden I recommend this garden and bypass Suzhou. Going to Tongli will let you see both an ancient water town and nice gardens.

regards
HappyMom32 is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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Thanks so much! Thats what I think we will do!
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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HappyMom32, one more question. Did all four of you stay in one room or did you get 2 hotel rooms?
Thanks again!!!
zverybestfamily is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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In Beijing and Shanghai we stayed in 1 room. the Westin Financial in Beijing and the Sheraton 4points Daning have rooms with 2 double beds. We saved a lot this way.

In Xian we had 2 rooms because they only allowed 2/room (2 single beds).

Have fun in China.
HappyMom32 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2009, 06:09 PM
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Z,
Your itinerary looks like the one we took couple years ago while my kids were 10 and 8. I am sure your family will have a blast like we did.
My son also loves dumplings so we went to the "dumpling feast" in Xian. The feast serves all types of Chinese regional pumplings with differen shapes (fish, turtle, etc..) and fillings. Many I have never seen before, and we eat a lot of dumplings here in California. These dumplings are very "pretty", but most taste "strange" to us. It was not until the last "basket" (They were serve in steamed basket one style at a time), we finally got to taste the familiar one. We were famished by then!
That was one of the highlights of the trip. The kids still talk about it today. It was a great experience.
Happy traveling!
tmptlt
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Jul 23rd, 2009, 08:15 PM
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Z,
I agree with HappyMom. Spend the first day in Shanghai then Take the train to Tongli the next day. Skip Suzhou because it looks like your time is limited.
Are you going to take the boat ride from Guilin to YangShuo?
It's one of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
While in Hong Kong, make sure to try "Dim Sum". They have the best ones there.
wanderer_tmptlt is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Thanks so much.
I had planned to go to Tongli on our first day because that is a Friday and I thought it would be less crowded then the weekend. I guess I will see how we all feel but perhaps we will go on our second day as you have suggested. What do you all think about us getting a driver to take us to Tongli instead of the train?

tmptit- Did you see the travel channel Samantha Brown in China? Samantha had gone to the dumpling feast and it looked great.Do the have other things besides dumplings at the dumpling feast? My older son does not eat dumplings...can you believe that? Do you have a favorite "Dim Sum" place in Hong Kong? Did you post a trip report from your China trip with your kids?

Thanks so much
Lauren
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Jul 24th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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Lauren:

I hope you and your family have a glorious time. I took each of my boys, separately, when they were 8 and 15. They are now 15 and 19 and I can't wait to do it again.

I have some restaurant recommendations. In Hong Kong, a colleague took me for dim sum to Cuisine Cuisine in the IFC mall. My journal says, "Without question, it is one of the prettiest restaurants I've ever been in and the food was excellent." It's the closest to Western-style dim sum that I've had during several trips to China, so my guess is your boys would find it most suitable.

In Xi'an, the local specialty is mutton soup. You sit at a table and the waitress brings you a bowl with something that looks like a rice cracker. You tear it into small pieces (harder than it sounds) and she takes the bowl away, then brings it back filled with an incredible broth, chunks of lamb, and noodles. You're then given condiments, like chilis and coriander, to add to taste. It is my older son's most favorite dish he's ever had (even beating steak dinners at The Palm . We went twice to a restaurant called Tong Shang (or Sheng) Xiang, behind the Bell Tower Hotel, near the bell tower (duh!) in downtown Xi'an. I suggest you ask the concierge to get the correct name and address written out so you can ask the locals as you try to find the restaurant. It is well worth the effort.

BTW, in Xi'an we went to a dumpling banquet similar to the one Wanderer mentions. It was quite expensive and not very tasty, at least to my preferences. The dumplings were pretty and the service was lovely, but the food wasn't what I had expected.

You sound like experienced travelers, but as a mother let me give you one suggestion. I insist that my kids have a business card from the hotel with the name, phone number, and address on their persons at all times (and I check relentlessly). That way if we get separated, I know they can give the card to a taxi driver and get back to where I can find them.

Enjoy!
EllenLM is offline  
Jul 24th, 2009, 09:15 PM
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Yes, the dumpling banquet was expensive, and we were not used to the taste as I emntioned earlier. But it was a great experience. Or you can just try any dumpling "restaurants" that you see filled with Chinese customers.
For Tongli, you can also take the bus. Compare all prices once you are there before you decide.
Have fun!
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