Lindsey-trip help for Beijing

Feb 28th, 2005, 06:44 AM
  #1  
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Lindsey-trip help for Beijing

Was looking through various threads for ideas on Beijing (We're there the first week in April) We have scheduled 7 nights there (at the Penn), thinking we needed that much time to do the city justice. Now wondering whether we should cut that part shorter and do something else-maybe take a plane to Shanghai before heading back to HK (1 night) and then the States. )We have been to Xian and Guilin before) On another note: we are in Vietnam first---maybe we could stay there a little longer (we've got 4 nights in Hanoi and 3 in Hoi An area). In 3 weeks we leave the states and head out--still have some flexibility travel wise, so anybody with an extra thought, please advise.
Thanks
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Feb 28th, 2005, 01:45 PM
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This request is not just for Lindsey...anyone with info please chime in. Thanks!
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Feb 28th, 2005, 05:09 PM
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jodo, I think you'd need 3 nights to do Shanghai justice, but I take the view that any city worth visiting needs a few days. In that case it seems you'd have to cut Beijing down to 4 nights. A busy schedule, but it would allow you to make the obligatory visits to the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Forbidden City and a few other historic sites like the Drum Tower, and you'd still have time to poke around the Back Lakes and a hutong area or two, have some nice meals and see a performance.

Shanghai is much more than the big new buildings on the Pudong side of the river - it has an important place in modern Chinese history, and you should take time to wander around the French Concession and Old Town areas at least.

Having said that, I personally wouldn't like to be racing through two countries in two weeks. If you do decide to spend more time in Vietnam you could consider ducking down to Ho Chi Minh City and making a side trip (maybe an overnight) to the Mekong. You should be able to organise that at a travel agency at short notice.
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 28th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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Thanks for the reply. We're doing Hanoi and Beijing because we're not sure when we'll back to Asia and they are both destinations that have been in our thoughts...Beijing because it appears to be at the core of historical China....Hanoi because we managed to avoid the Vietnam War (high draft number) and yet the country, the politics and the war shaped so much of our young adult lives. Ordinarily we wouldn't be doing two countries...but we feel compelled. Guess we'll stick to the planned itinerary.
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Feb 28th, 2005, 08:19 PM
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May as well, all things considered. We went to Vietnam in 2001, and I guess I was influenced by the same factors as you, Australian forces having been involved (we can be pretty stupid that way). I was too old to be conscripted, but several friends were not so lucky. For most Vietnamese the war is ancient history now, although the marks are still there, including stands of Australian eucalypts planted (I was told) to leach persistent traces of herbicide from the soil, bomb craters now servng as dams and so forth. The Vietnamese are a good-humoured and courteous people - as for that matter are the Chinese.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 05:55 AM
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Jodo,
Sorry for the delayed reply....just arrived home last night from a week in Myanmar. Now THAT is one heck of an interesting place. Hope to find time to post a trip report in the next week or so. I learned a lot and have lots of tips for those headed there.

But back to the matter at hand.....my personal opinion is that it would be well worth it to split your time in China to 4 nights in Beijing and 3 nights in Shanghai. They really are so completely different. As one of our guides explained it....Xian is ancient Chinese history, Beijing is recent Chinese history and Shanghai is China's future.
As Neil correctly pointed out, you can do most of the major sites in Beijing in 4 nights (if you keep up a pretty good pace)and there is so much more to Shanghai than Pudong and the Bund. there are also some interesting half day or whole day trips you can take from Shanghai to the water villages of Zhou Zhang or Suzhou.
Bottom line...if you don't know when you will be back to China, I would definitely make a point of visiting two very different places.

PS Hanoi is a very cool city too. I have not been to Hoi An, but we did do the overnight train to Sapa and hiked the rice paddies among the hill tribe villages. We also went out to Halong Bay and slept overnight on a junk boat. Both great adventures.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Thanks, Lindsey..
Makes me curious about your latest adventure. (look forward to your trip report) Have you been to Hangzhou (spelling?) South of Suzhou...there's an airport there, which might make the trip from Beijing easier.
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Mar 1st, 2005, 08:18 AM
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I think the most you would want to take away from your Beijing itinerary is one day, as otherwise I think you will feel a bit rushed in Beijing. It seems a waste to spend such a short period in Shangahi -- too rushed. I am not a big fan of the city, but to deal with flying there, hotel transfers, etc for one day seems like a poor use of time not to mention the flight cost. I would either add a day to Vietnam or add a night to Hong Kong (also a Chinese city of the future. . .)

LOL about the high draft number comment, brings back memories for me too. . . .

Cicerone is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 05:51 AM
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Sorry, can't help you with Hangzhou. Have not been there. But I'm sure there are people on this board who can. you might want to post an inquiry under a separate heading that includes the name of the city. That's the best way to get targeted information on a specific destination.
Good luck!
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Mar 2nd, 2005, 06:08 AM
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The city of Hangzhou itself is relatively charmless, but the West Lake area is still very nice and interesting, though too many tourists sometimes.

The airport is kind of far, on the south side of the Qiantang River. But a taxi ride is still only about US$12-15 to the city.

rkkwan is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2005, 09:22 AM
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Thanks everyone. We do like to take our time in places when we can. The airport stuff drives me crazy (especially if the destination is only so so.) Unless the dust and the cold get to me, we won't bother with Hangzhou. Been to HK only briefly, and someone on this thread has given us some tips on a day trip from that city. If you've got any other thoughts in town (we've done Victoria Peak, bird market, market shopping and a few tourist jaunts not worth remembering.....) please feel free. I'm sure you're all ready for us to be on our way. (only 3 weeks to go)!
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