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NeoPatrick Mar 22nd, 2010 02:07 PM

More itinerary planning in China
I'm still working on how to divide my time and what I most want to see during what will surely be my one and only trip to China. Flights are booked -- although I'm still fudging with the flight from Shanghai to Osaka and then a flight from Osaka to Beijing. I can move those two flights fairly easily. So right now I'm focusing on arriving in Beijing around noon on a Friday in August (uh-oh, I see it's Friday, the 13th). I'm thinking of 5 nights in Beijing, then taking an early morning train to Chengde for the rest of the day and the night, then heading back to Beijing airport to fly to Xi'an for two nights. From there, I'm hoping to go to Lijiang for 2 nights (flying via Kunming) and then go to Guilin for four nights (again, flying via Kunming). I think I'd want to stay those four nights in Yangshuo, however. Then I want to take an afternoon/evening train (about 1 PM to 8 PM) from Guilin to Changsa where I'll spend a day and two nights before flying on to Hong Kong. That flight is already set in stone.
So that's a total of 15 nights (not counting another 6 or 7 in the Shanghai area).

Is the trip to Chengde too much hassle and too time consuming to make it worth it for just one night there? Should I cut a day out of Beijing to spend two nights in Chengde?
I honestly don't see a lot to "do" there except to enjoy the beauty of it. And I see about a dozen day trips I could do out of Beijing plus the Beijing sights themselves, so I kind of hesitate to cut out one of my five days there.

The logistics of getting to Lijiang and then from Lijiang to Guiin/Yangshuo eat up the better part of two days. Is there something else I should be doing that wouldn't involve so much travel time? Those really seem to me my top priorities though -- beautiful scenery, lots to do -- unless there is a better option.

I could also take the train to Changsha and spend just the one night before flying out to Hong Kong the next day. This would free up another day to add somewhere. I just thought that Changsha sounds rather interesting and a totally less touristy big city than the others I'm doing. And it seems safer to give me a day's buffer should transportation not work out.

(By the way, I'm really not interested in overnight trains, so that isn't really a consideration for me in getting from a point A to point B).

Shanghainese Mar 22nd, 2010 03:55 PM

Others may differ, My thought is to cut out Chengde and add a night to Lijiang, you need 3 there.

NeoPatrick Mar 22nd, 2010 05:07 PM

Thanks. Chengde had been on my list a long time after seeing some pictures, but I'm not really big into "temples and more temples". It sure would simplify things by cutting out those two 4 hour train rides plus connections to airport for a one night trip.

Hanuman Mar 22nd, 2010 05:39 PM

I agree add one more night in Lijiang perhaps reduce a night in Yanghsuo.

NeoPatrick Mar 22nd, 2010 05:45 PM

Beijing 5
Xi'an 2
Lijiang 3
Yangshua 3
Changsha 2

Hanuman Mar 23rd, 2010 07:42 AM

Looks better to me! Beijing and Xi'An in August is kind of hot but I love Lijiang and Yangshuo so I hope you will enjoy it too.

I've written trip reports and If you're interested just click on my user-name if not here are some my pictures from Lijiang and Yangshuo.



NeoPatrick Mar 23rd, 2010 08:09 AM

Hanuman -- I'm well aware of your "rain or shine" thread about Yangshuo and Guilin, but haven't seen one of Lijiang. Not finding it now either. Thanks for those pic links though.

Hot? Tell me about it. I'll be in Thailand in Viet Name through September also. I'm not sure how I'm escaping the usual hot and humid weather of home in SW Florida this way, but oh well. At least I'm kind of used to it.

NeoPatrick Mar 23rd, 2010 08:16 AM

Duh. Proofread, Patrick!
Yes I know it's VietNam, not Viet Name, and I also meant Thailand AND VN, and not that Thailand is IN VietNam.

Hanuman Mar 23rd, 2010 08:24 AM

Not really a proper trip report -

Shanghainese Mar 23rd, 2010 08:28 AM

Patrick -- click on my name for my Lijiang TR from Nov 08.

NeoPatrick Mar 23rd, 2010 09:15 AM

Yes, Shanghainese, I remember your report well. Partly because it's one that has a "detractor" telling why NOT to go there or to Yangshuo but to go to 'real' China towns instead, although I keep waiting for what those towns might be that sound even as fraction as scenic and interesting as Lijiang or Yangshuo. I guess I'm often happiest with the town that became famous because they had a reason to become famous. Primarily it was reading many Fodors trip reports that made me choose both Lijiang and Yangshuo as "must do" destinations.

And Hunuman, sorry but I had read that report as well, I guess this morning I only brought up "topics" you had posted and not trip reports.

So I guess, I'm pretty much confined to flying from Xi'an to Kunming to Lijiang and then flying from Lijian to Kunming and to Guilin.

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