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Lhasa, Tibet or Kunming/Lijang/Guilin (Li River)?

Lhasa, Tibet or Kunming/Lijang/Guilin (Li River)?

Old Aug 29th, 2001, 03:26 PM
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Lhasa, Tibet or Kunming/Lijang/Guilin (Li River)?

My husband and I are trying to choose between two different China tours. In addition to the usual Beijing/Yangtze River/Xian/Hong Kong visits, one offers time in Lhasa, Tibet while the other visits Kunming/Lijang/Guilin/Li River. If you have visited one or both of these areas, I would appreciate your insight/recommendations. Thanks in advance!
Old Aug 29th, 2001, 04:17 PM
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While I haven't been to Lijiang (going in October) or Lhasa, I can say that the Li River trip is not to be missed - if you choose Lhasa instead, you should at least plan to do the Li River another time. Guilin is only good as a starting point for that trip; I saw nothing to go back for in Guilin. The Stone Forest (about an hour out of Kunming) is definitely worth a side trip. Also in Kunming, visit Dragon Gate.
Everything I've read and heard leads me to think that Lijiang will be well worth a trip; that's why I've scheduled it for October. If you're not planning to leave before then, I'll post with info.
Old Aug 30th, 2001, 08:02 PM
Peter Neville-Hadley
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I've visited all of the places and taken all of the trips you mention, some of them more than once.

It's important to remember that while China contains magnificent sights, they are dwarfed by the hype, and truth is not considered important by the promotional material produced there (whose inaccuracies often inform brochures in the West, too), and certainly not by guides. The point is to get you there and get you to spend--you are very likely never going back anyway, so if you do feel at all disappointed, it doesn't matter.

The point of that remark is merely to encourage you to keep your expectations moderate and you are more likely to enjoy, and indeed sometimes to be very impressed by the reality.

The Yangtze River trip is highly overrated, but if you are doing it, then the Li river trip, during which you float down an equally polluted watercourse between peaks which also bear an uncanny dissimilarity to the objects and animals for which they are named, is perhaps too similar.

Kunming is a modern city largely indistinguishable from most other modern Chinese cities, with very little of antiquity left in it. It's pleasant enough but unremarkable.

Lhasa, despite considerable destruction by the Chinese authorities over the last 15 years or so, is still something completely different from anything else you'll be seeing, the people are also very different (although city's population is now dominated by Chinese), and the Potala Palace is one of the world's most striking monuments, and able to rise above any hype.

I'd choose Tibet.

Peter N-H
Old Sep 2nd, 2001, 05:33 AM
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Tibet is not for the faint-hearted. High altitude which means you might have difficulty in breathing.
But, it is definitely worth the trip. Wonderful culture, devoted people and beautiful scenery.
We have no regrets despite the muddy, rocky roads etc. Must have an open mind to soak into this very unique culture.
Old Sep 2nd, 2001, 11:50 AM
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I debated about writing this message, as I cannot help you to decide; but, for what it is worth:

I spent a month in China in June; it was my first trip, but will not be my last! I loved EVERY MINUTE!!! Go, and enjoy whatever itinerary you choose.

I chose to fly point-to-point (Singapore, Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan), as it was the best way to see the most. I am a "trip" person, not a "vacation" person.

To maximize my time, I chose not to do the Yangtze River Cruise, as several days are spent seeing a relatively small part of the country. My parents did the Yangtze in 93, and were unimpressed by it, but LOVED the LI RIVER!

Personally, I tried to visit Tibet, but was unable to arrange transportation that worked with my schedule. I will see it soon enough, though; it is on my "to visit" list for the next two years.

For a FEEL for Tibet (and China), read Peter Jenkins' ACROSS CHINA (Fawcett Crest/Ballantine Books, copyright 1986). Jenkins is famous for his walk across America.

Have a WONDERFUL JOURNEY, no matter which one you choose.


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