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Mr. & Mrs. HT Go to China and Japan 2007

Mr. & Mrs. HT Go to China and Japan 2007

Old Apr 13th, 2007, 07:04 PM
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Mr. & Mrs. HT Go to China and Japan 2007


Well we have made it back from our annual trip and I have made a few notes along the way. I took my trusty Sony Vaio TX series laptop which is ultra light (2.84 lbs with batteries attached) and fit into all of the room safes we had on this trip. It enabled me to sit down after every day (well most days) and write some notes which made this trip report a lot easier to do.


We started our travel with a 26” suitcase, a 22” carry on, a 24” suitcase and an empty 26” for things we wanted to buy along the way. The 26” was almost full before we left Beijing.

I will elaborate on areas in which we traveled that I had a hard time finding info on (Japan and some onsens)and skim by the areas which already have tons of info available on this board and elsewhere. We spent 16 days in China and 12 days in Japan. I got eight free nights and two nights at a special discount rate along the way as we used some Hyatt and Sheraton points help us save some.

Please excuse me if I bore you in details and if anyone wants me to be more specific on any area please ask.


March 15 & 16

We left HNL on time wheels up 10:27 am wheels down 2:39 pm Japan time March 16 via ANA airlines on an upgraded ticket to business class.

Best service by the flight attendants that we have ever received. Always bowing and serving. Food and wine were outstanding.

I was disappointed in the seats as we were expecting something better than United International Business Class but ANA uses the older 767 planes on the HNL/NRT route and the seats on this plane were not very good. In fact the worst seats we have ever had on an International Business Class flight. They barely recline, not even as much as a regular economy seat. The flight from NRT to PEK was much better and the seats were bigger and reclined to an almost horizontal position and the 767 used was of a newer version.

Attendants constantly cleaning the bathroom every hour on the hour, I have never seen that done before on any airline.

We were picked up at the Beijing airport by the Peninsula Mercedes limousine. We had an uneventful half hour ride to hotel. Check in was very smooth and quick.




March 17

All of our first 4 days breakfasts were at The Peninsula as it was included in our hotel rate as I had opted for the “Winter Escape” package that I had found online at The Peninsula Beijing website. The rate was 1590 Yuan per night and included a limo ride to and from the airport. We opted for the upgrade to the Deluxe King room for 1750 Yuan per night. The rooms at the Beijing Pen are a bit smaller than the ones in the Peninsula Bangkok but are really nice and have all of the techno gadgets and great service that all the Peninsulas offer.

We shopped and walked around the Wangfujing area on our first day trying to just take it easy and adjust to the time difference.

We had lunch at The Quanjude Restaurant in the Wangfujing area and dinner at the Chinese restaurant in the Peninsula hotel. Both were just ok by our opinions.

March 18

We visited the Silk Market in the morning. We bought a lot of silk scarves and souvenirs for ourselves and gifts. There are really aggressive sales people here. Two of them actually grabbed Linda and pulled her deep into one of their stalls where I had to go in and rescue her.

Had the concierge of the hotel buy us our inter China airline tickets. They add a 60 Yuan service charge to all tickets and you have to pay in cash. We could and should have walked the street outside the hotel, as I noticed a few days later, and bought them from one of the many travel agents we saw along the road but…….

We had dinner at Danieli’s Italian Restaurant in the St. Regis Hotel Beijing. Total cost 1619.20 Yuan. I had the veal scaloppini and Linda Had the Ossobuco. A Bottle of white Italian wine cost 730 Yuan yikes! Nice atmosphere but a very average dinner would not return, way too expensive for what you get.




March 19

We hired the Peninsula limo car to go to the Great Wall at Mutianyu for 1100 Yuan. I know we could have gotten a taxi outside for about 600 Yuan but hey, I enjoy traveling in style and China is a place to do so without paying NYC prices.

It was snowing when we got there. Our driver was very helpful as he bought our tickets for the wall and the cable car ride up for us and waited while in the car while we did the wall. We were on the wall for a little over two hours and the wall in the snow was surreal. I could only imagine what it was like defending these places centuries ago without the modern day advantages we now possess. The slide down was closed that day because of the snow so we took the tram back down. It was really nice to have the tram because of the steepness of this section of the wall. There is a walking trail but just the walk to the tram entrance was very steep and more than enough of a hike for me. The ride to and from the wall was about three hours so we were back at the hotel before 2:00 pm sooooo…..

We went to the Jiayi market for more shopping! There were real nice sales people there that do not push as they do at the pearl and silk markets. We again bought more gifts and souvenirs and Linda got more pearl jewelry. Our empty 26 inch suitcase we had brought along was filling up fast.

We had dinner at The Da’ccapo Italian Restaurant in the Regent Hotel Beijing. The food was great along with an elegant atmosphere but a little pricey by Beijing standards as was expected being in the Regent Hotel.

March 20, 2007

We changed hotels to the Grand Hyatt Beijing as I had enough points for three free nights there out of the four that we stayed here. Nice big rooms and almost as nice as the Peninsula but not quite but the price was right so it really didn’t matter. Another advantage to the Hyatt is that it is inside the Oriental Mall which is one of Beijing’s largest. They have tons of shops and a huge food court with dozens of restaurants and fast food places to eat. It seems all of Beijing was eating there one Friday night. They also have a laundry shop which will do your laundry for a lot cheaper than the Hyatt rates so we did our dirty laundry there which was very convenient. We also saw quite a few local laundries in our walks around town but all of them had no English but I bet they were pretty cheap.

We had lunch at the Noble Court Restaurant in the hotel which serves dim sum and Mandarin Chinese food and we also had dinner at the Italian restaurant in the hotel called Da Giorgio.

Da Giorgio is a charming venue with nice atmosphere and very good food to boot. I ordered the Rack of lamb and Linda ordered the Steak tenderloin. They were out of the lamb so I had to settle for the Veal Chop which was good. We also had a nice bottle of Italian wine which is very expensive in China due to the heavy import tariffs the government levies. The local Chinese wines are maybe 10% of the cost of the imports but not very good.

We had a delightful dinner there except for a very young and immature manager from France named Matthew. He was pompous and extremely rude to us. I wrote a note to the hotel F & B manager about my experience there after we left and he called to apologize before we went to bed. He also met us at dinner the next night in Made in China and bought us a nice bottle of Italian Chianti which was excellent to try to smooth over the bad situation that had occurred the previous evening. It worked!

March 21

Today went to The Summer Palace, what a magnificent place we really enjoyed our day there. We took a taxi from the Hyatt and the fare was 56 Yuan to get there and 68 Yuan coming back in very heavy traffic.

Dinner was at Made in China in the Hyatt, IMHO a much better place to eat Beijing duck than Quanjude as the duck here has a better flavor and coupled with outstanding service and atmosphere. As you walk through the place everyone, I mean every waiter, waitress, bartender, managers, etc, greet you and wish you a pleasant meal. The same happens when you leave as they all wish you a fond farewell.

Note: We noticed that at Quanjude and Made in China that if you order a whole duck the bigger the party of people the bigger the duck. Parties of two would receive a smaller duck than parties of four but the prices remained the same. I guess it makes sense, just something we noticed.

March 22, 2007

We went to the Alien’s Street Market today. This market is really nice and low key with no pressure to buy and hassle from the sales people. This market caters mainly to Russian visitors and locals so not very many other tourists in sight. It is a wholesale market so prices start out cheaper than other places but you still must bargain hard. We had lunch downstairs at the food court. We both had a combo set which included a big bowl of beef and noodles, two pickled appetizers and 3 delicious mouth watering dumplings that burst with juice when you bit into them all for 51 Yuan……amazing. We took some clothes to get washed at the laundry right in the food court. Jeans and regular pants were 16 Yuan each while sweaters and shirts were 22 Yuan, a lot cheaper than the hotel rates.

Dinner was at the Japanese Restaurant in the Beijing Hotel named Gonin Byakusho. Linda had the shrimp tempura dish which included the shrimp, rice, miso soup, a tossed salad with sesame dressing, tsukemono and a gelatinous type dessert for 88 Yuan. I on the other hand opted for the sukiyaki which included the beef sukiyaki which was cooked at our table and a garden salad for 290 Yuan, Our total bill with 3 drinks each and service charge was 495 Yuan. The food was very good and we were pleasantly surprised.

We had Hagen daz ice-cream on our walk home from the outlet on Wangfujing which was 25 Yuan for one scoop.

March 23, 2007

We did more shopping and sightseeing today. The air quality had gotten real bad as you couldn’t see two blocks in front of you. We Shopped at the Honquiao Pearl market and got some great deals and cheap prices on gifts for friends. We ate lunch back at Made in China and had the Beggar’s chicken that people rave about. The chicken is baked for two hours in a clay shell. Inside the shell it is wrapped in lotus leaves and stuffed with shiitake mushrooms. The presentation is fantastic as they bring a big mallet and crack open the clay shell and peel off all the leaves and present you with a steaming sweet smelling dish. Unfortunately the chicken’s white meat is very dry and the other parts are just alright,,,,,,nothing great. We would not order this dish anywhere ever again. We also had the dumplings of the day and some fried dim sum which was excellent. Cost of the meal and drinks was 435 Yuan. The chicken alone was 285 Y.

We then went to the pool at the Hyatt which is a marvel in itself for some downtime before dinner at Gisa Italian restaurant in Chao Yang park area of Beijing. Linda again had the Osso buco while I tried the Veal Scaloppini. We had pasta fagioli soup and a prosciutto with parmesan and mozzarella cheese and bib lettuce salad. Dessert was profiteroles for Linda while I had the vanilla gelato with chocolate sauce and a shot of Marsala wine which really made this dish, We also had a bottle of Italian wine and a couple of glasses of port. We got it all for 745 Yuan. Good food with nice service. The place is not 5 star but has a personality all its own. We would return here for dinner if ever in Beijing again.

Back to the Hyatt in 10 minutes and 20 Yuan taxi ride compared to the 55 minute and 31 Yuan ride in the extreme Friday night rush hour traffic. We had a night cap before heading up to our room in the lobby which had a trio singing that Simon Cowell would have panned. I had a glass of Chianti while Linda had a glass of white wine. 299 Yuan yikes!!!!!!
Side note, smog and air quality was the worst today. You could not even see 2 blocks.



March 24

Today we were leaving Beijing via the overnight train to Xian. What a difference a day makes as today was the most beautiful since we’ve been here. You could see for miles with a blue sky above. We ate lunch downstairs at the food court at a Japanese ramen shop. I had the miso ramen with pork while Linda had the pork ramen. We also ordered a side dish of dim sum and two soft drinks for 62 Yuan. After lunch we checked out and went out to do some last minute shopping. We then hung around the pool area till 6:00 pm so we could use the facilities and showers. We then took a taxi to Beijing West Train Station for our over night ride to Xian. Cost for the taxi was 34 Yuan from the Hyatt to the station. We had reserved a deluxe soft sleeper car so we were entitled to wait for the train in the soft sleeper lounge which has more comforts than the general waiting platforms. They also let you board from the back of the waiting room and let you board 5 minutes earlier than the regular minions so you get to beat the crush of people who are in the general boarding area.

If you have a lot of bags like we did you can hire porters to help you load your luggage. They will take your luggage from the waiting room and load it on the train in your compartment for you. This service is cheap (25 Yuan for 4 bags) and saves you carrying the bags down four flights of about fifteen stairs each. The areas to hire these porters are in the main hall area. You can tell by the desk with the porters dressed in red jackets hanging around.
We left right on time at 8:28 and arrived one minute late in Xian at 7:54 am. We situated ourselves in the room and then headed to the restaurant car where I had read that the food on these trains was supposed to be very good. Key word is “supposed”, we found the food terrible and would recommend doing what everyone else was doing by bringing your own food aboard. There were only two other couples dining with us and we all thought the food to be pretty lousy. They had vegetable soup, pork and mushrooms with ham har sauce.(for those of you who don’t know what ham har is think the smell of gyms socks in a locker that have been used and fermented for a year then times that smell by a thousand), a celery lotus root stir fry which was pretty good and some very spicy pickled vegetables and a bowl of rice all for 40 Yuan. Next time I would definitely opt to bring our own food aboard.

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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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great start...i especially like all the food descriptions....thanks...

bob
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 07:31 PM
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Harm Har = Salty Shrimp

Sounds like they're tasting like what they are supposed to! [And I do like that stuff!]

Great report...
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 09:03 PM
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Loving your report - can't wait for more!
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 09:17 PM
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Great start HT, can't wait for the rest! I'm glad to see that someone else opts for lots of Italian food while away. My friends all think I'm nuts when I tell them we eat Italian food in Asia but you can only take so much Thai, Japanese, Chinese, etc and Italian food is generally done well in Asia. We ate Italian food eat least four times on this last trip to Japan. Which reminds me, I'd better get started on my own trip report...
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 09:37 PM
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Great report...great detail. Waiting for more!
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Old Apr 13th, 2007, 11:58 PM
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Thank you all for the encouragement!

rkkwan:

Your right, I should not have described harm har as gym socks but you've got to admit the smell is very......pungent??

Linda's grandmother used to always order pork and bittermelon with harm har and when they brought it to the table I literally couldn't breath.

And yes, I've tried it and yes it tastes just like it smells to me but to others its obviously heaven

Also an addition that the train we took from Beijing to Xian was the Z-19

continuing:

March 25

When we arrived at the Xian rail station I again hired a porter to take care of our luggage. They charged us 50 Yuan here as the poor guy had to carry the luggage down a hill then up a ramp of about 50 yards to the outside and then a quarter mile to the parking lot to our guides van .

We had hired the guide service through China Trip Advisor online and couldn’t have been happier with our guide and driver. Our guides name was Claudia who is a thirty something year old Xian local who spoke perfect English. They took us to the Hyatt in Xian where we checked in and went up to our room to freshen up then to the restaurant for breakfast. We met them an hour later and then started our whirlwind tour of Xian and the Terracotta Warriors.

Along the way we stopped at the Xi’an Art Ceramics & Lacquer Factory. There we met Lily (what a coincidence) the Sales Manager and bought a beautiful lacquered jewelry box which is being shipped via UPS to our home. We almost bought a 1/3 size general warrior but chickened out in the end (hindsight says we should have, shucks). The 1/3 size warrior could be gotten for about 450 US which included shipping. You probably can talk them down a little more than that as the tag price was 5200 Yuan which includes shipping to your home.

Then it was off to the warriors (amazing) with lunch at a restaurant at the site. 60 Yuan per person for a buffet lunch with 6 main dished that are brought to your table. Good deal for all the food you get. Seems like all the tour groups eat here so most of you have probably been there if you took a tour or had a private tour guide as we did. After the long day it was back to the hotel where we had a one hour Chinese massage for 250 Yuan each.

Claudia and driver (never got his name) then picked us up for dinner and the Chinese Acrobat show which was FANTASTIC!!! Seeing this show is a must IMHO! You will be entertained, I guarantee it. One of the most entertaining hours we have ever spent.

The dinner featured 14 courses plus one drink. It was very good and so much food that we could not finish. Dinner, the show and limo service for two people was 298 Yuan.

March 26

We caught the 7:50 am flight to Chengdu from Xian with China Eastern airlines. The price was 45.00 US each. The flight left 10 minutes early and arrived 11 minutes early. It was a very good flight and when checking in they just let our entire excess luggage through without even blinking an eye. Very courteous people at the reception and the guy even spoke pretty good English.

During the short 1 hour and ten minute flight they served free drinks and breakfast which was a box style with some pickled vegetable, sweet roll, water, juice, and some kind of dessert. It was a really nice flight for such a good price. I would definitely fly this airline anytime.

We were tired when we arrived that we took the first taxi we saw to our hotel. The guy saw all of our bags and said 100 Yuan. I immediately said OK and he was in shock. I was just too tired to haggle to save a couple of dollars. He and his friends quickly loaded our luggage and we were at our hotel, The Sheraton Lido Chengdu in about 45 minutes. Just before we pulled into the hotel I noticed he pulled down his flag so that the hotel people would not know of the overcharging. I had to laugh at this as I handed him the 100 Yuan so no one else could see. He appreciated this and unloaded all of our bags by himself to the surprise of the bellmen.

I used Starwood points here. Price for the rooms was 2400 points plus 60.00 US as we used the points and cash option. We walked around the city for a couple of hours then back to the hotel for lunch. We decided to stay indoors the rest of the day as we both had sore throats, eyes and very itchy and runny noses due to terrible air quality in Xian and here in Chengdu. All was not lost as we got massages and body scrubs in the spa at the Sheraton. I don’t have a record of the charge but I remember it being very cheap less than 70.00 US each. The spa rooms here are Spartan but nice and the spa area is small but has all the equipment you would find in most spas worldwide.

We had dinner at the hotel in the Nova Café and Restaurant. You can either order ala carte or of the full menu. Dinner here was surprisingly good as I had the Australian Veal Chop and Linda had the US Sirloin Steak which you could cut with your fork. We also had a bottle of Italian White wine and I also had a glass of Chianti with my dinner. We had the antipasti platter and a bowl of chickpea soup no dessert all for 1220.00 Yuan.

March 27

We awoke to see that it had rained overnight and the smog and haze had cleared, the air was cleaner and the sun was shining, Yeahhhh!!

I hired the hotel limo and a driver to take us to the Panda preserve. The cost for the limo and driver was 200 Yuan per hour.

We left the hotel at 8:30 am as the concierge informed us that the pandas are let out to breakfast at 9:00 am and arrived 20 minutes later. Hiring a driver and limo turned out to a really good idea as he knew everyone at the preserve and really has affection for the pandas.

I mean this guy had pictures of himself with the pandas on his cell phone (which he showed us). You could see it from the joy in his face as he guided us around the park, he was not supposed to guide us but only wait for us in the parking lot but he loves the Pandas so much that he came along as our personal guide.

He knew exactly where to be and when to be at the right place at the right times. We saw 9 baby pandas in their enclosures playing and eating and just being the natural clowns that they are. You can also “donate” 1,000 Yuan to the preserve and they will let you actually hold the babies in your lap while taking pictures of the event. I let Linda do the holding while I snapped a ton of pictures. It was a moment that both of us will never forget. Our driver and now turned guide arranged the event for us and got us in front of everyone waiting in line. He also got us our own tram to take us from the front gate to the back of the park where the enclosures are as he knew all the drivers, We still had to pay 10 Yuan for the tram as anyone else would but we got the VIP treatment from the park employees I guess just because he knew them.

He also showed us around where the crowds weren’t as we went the opposite way of all the other bus tours and private tours. We saw the adults eating there breakfast of bamboo up close and personal. We saw at least 10 in their natural environment some no further away than ten to fifteen feet.

There are also the rare red pandas there that look like foxes to me with a catlike face. There were maybe 8 of these roaming around their enclosure when we got there.

After guiding us through the entire park and seeing the 15 minute movie in the park theater he told us to wait in the lounge chairs as he telephoned the tram driver to pick us up. He went totally out of his way to act as our personal guide as I mentioned he is only a driver and could only not speak any English besides good morning, hello and thank you. Needless to say we tipped him for his services he accepted willingly and gratefully. This day was one of the highlights of our trip. I would highly recommend this outing to anyone who loves animals or pandas it was simply a magical day.

Dinner was at the Celestial Chinese Restaurant in the Sheraton. The dinner was very good as we had a Sichuan spring roll appetizer along with four other dishes, a beef and vegetable dish in a bird’s nest, ma po tofu which was excellent but very spicy, stir fired noodles and a bottle of Italian white wine along with a glass of Chianti and a glass of South African Chardonnay all for 720 Yuan. Very good dinner here and we would return.


March 28

Air China the airlines from hell!!!!!!

We were flying from CTU to HKG today.

I should have taken the advice from people on this forum and not taken Air China but the tickets were $30.00 US cheaper than Dragon Air so I figured what the heck it couldn’t be that bad right. WRONG!

If you paid for my ticket I still would refuse to ever ride this airline again. It all started at check in with the three female agents that I will refer to as Moe, Larry and Curly, the three stooges. We were second in C’s line and she clears the person in front of us with no problems. It is now our turn when she explains that we have too many bags for this flight (we are checking in three bags). OK I say what I can do as I explain that I had thought that this was an International flight and I would be allowed more baggage.

It is Curly says and looks at Larry and starts talking in Chinese again. It is an International flight but since it’s within China you are only allowed 20 kilos per person as we consider it domestic. ????????.....OK I say how much is the extra charge for the bags? Right then in walks Moe (the boss) who start yelling at Curly and Larry in Chinese and seems to fluster them as the line behind us starts to build and everyone is pushing us from behind to try and get up front.

Moe opens up another line three desks down and everyone flows to her the open line. I then show my United Premier card so they can credit me for the flight mileage and that starts another round of discussion between M, L and C. They finally figure out between them that my overage will be 990 Yuan and I must check in my carry on as it is too heavy to put on the flight.

Too heavy I ask? I open it and show that there is really nothing in the bag and how can it be too heavy. They weigh the bag again and decide it is OK to carry on the flight. As they are doing this I notice a Chinese man in L’s line with one of those metal 22” carry on bags that weighs much more that my 22” ultra light Hartmann carry on. In fact it weighed 23 .1 kilos as I could see the scale as they weighed it. OK, ok she says as M, L and C again all discuss something in Chinese and the price is now down to 810 Yuan as Curly explains that they are now giving me a “break” and will lower my fee. Fine I say as I give them my VISA card. Moe take the card and now says she has to get approval so takes it to the office in back. I really hate when people take your credit card out of sight but figure they won’t do anything wrong it’s a legitimate airlines right? In the meantime the line behind us is getting extremely impatient with us and everyone is giving us dirty looks and the voices are starting to get louder and louder. Finally Moe returns with my card and bill which I sign very quickly and leave…..never, never, never again will I fly Air China!

Sorry maybe I should not have written this last part ;-)

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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 07:38 AM
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no it needs to be said...one wonders how airlines like this stay in business...its china!!
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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I am really enjoying your report. Love all the detail. I sure am glad you had your laptop so you could keep good notes! How was the night train in terms of the accommodations? Comfortable beds? Noisy? Were you able to sleep?
Can't wait for more!
Karen
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:50 AM
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The only reason you shouldn't say you will never, ever again fly Air CHina is that at some point in the future you may again be in China and have no choice! I appreciate your candor.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 08:52 AM
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The Panda preserve sounds wonderful! May I ask how long of a day this was, from leaving the hotel to returning? Would it be feasible to do this and still get to the airport for a flight out that evening?

Many thanks.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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I go to China in 2 weeks. I have cut and pasted much of your Beijing report. Many thanks for all the detail. Wish you had gone to Shanghai too.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 11:56 AM
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Karen,

Yes the beds are comfy and the rooms are large. We have traveled extensively on night trains especially through Europe this Z-19 train(make sure its a Z train and not the K)is the best one we've been on.

Its a new train so no squeaks and grinds through the night,it was surprisingly smooth throughout. The train is a direct train from Beijing to Xian with no stops so you don't hear the train stopping and starting or changing cars in the middle of the night. So we slept like logs.
Forgot to mention that they have tv's for the upper and lower bunks but all stations are in Chinese.

travelinlight:

We did all that and were back at the hotel for lunch.

When you buy your ticket at the front gate office get a ticket on the tram also(its an extra 10 Yuan).

Get on the tram and ride all the way to the back of the park where the baby pandas are. Everyone else will be stopping here and there along the way. Tell the you want to see the baby pandas.

They let all the pandas out at 9:00 to feed so if your late you"ll have to spend a lot of time looking through the woods to see them.

If you want to feed the babies you have to be there before 9:30 or so. When looking at the baby panda enclosure you'll notice a concrete building in the back. Go around to the right and you will see a metal fence with some vets holding a baby there. You have to pay them 1000 Yuan, a donation to the Panda Preserve. They then let you in and whoever is holding the panda has to be dressed in a full surgical outfit. I just took pictures but had to put on boots and a cap. The total holding time is only 60 seconds at most and less if the baby is distracted by you or your scent so don't wear any perfume before you go.

After finishing with the babies, quickly walk down to the sub adult pens directly below the baby enclosures. You will see them no more than twenty feet away as the enclosures are lower than you. They will be munching on fresh bamboo.....they make so much noise

After viewing the giant pandas turn to your right and walk over to see the red panda enclosures. By this time all the people who have stopped in the park along the way to see everything else start arriving and the pandas have already had there fill and are starting to hide and sleep in the brush so get there early!

Walk to the theater and see the 15 minute show and your basically done.

Kathie,
I know.....just letting off some steam
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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HT: Aloha! Terrific report, you DO travel in style and glad you and Linda are having such a great time. Hey, I share your feelings about Air China, wonder how theya re going to treat the Olympic athletes?
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 03:33 PM
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HT, the only surprise to me was that you had a positive experience on China Eastern, althugh to be fair the domestic flights we took were better, comparatively, than the international legs. On the latter they were even worse than United. That aside, great report, thanks.
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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what kathie was kind enough not to mention is that air china may become the norm here in usa when they run over us and take over...
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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March 28 – April 1

We were in Hong Kong and stayed at the Sheraton Kowloon which is right across the street from the Intercontinental and Peninsula. We stayed here because we were meeting my in-laws and their friends for a few days and since none of them had been there before we would show them around a bit.

My MIL got very sick a few days before they left and they could not make the trip so we ended up showing our other friends around for three days and had a really good time. We stayed at the Sheraton because I had enough points for two free nights and our friends stayed at the Intercontinental across the street. We did not like our room as most everyone’s negative comment was right. The windows in the bathrooms offer you absolutely no privacy.

If we weren’t getting free nights (which can really help in Hong Kong) we would have stayed somewhere else, we were looking at the Hyatt and The Island Shangri la but couldn’t get free nights there at the Hyatt as they were booked and don’t have any free nights at the Shang 

If you have any free nights on your hotel accounts its good to use them in HK as it can be one of Asia’s most expensive hotel towns as most of you know.

They (The Sheraton) do have a fantastic buffet lunch Mon thru Fri for 199 HK. It is an unreal spread, lots of seafood and really I haven’t seen many better. In the restaurant in the lobby……I would rate it as 5 stars out of 5.

The rooms at the IC are beautiful and remind me of the rooms at the Peninsula Bangkok. The view they had was a million dollar unobstructed one but they paid for it at 675.00 US per night ++.

We visited the usual HK sites The Peak, Stanley, Lantau Buddha, Nathan Rd, Times Square, Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, HK Disney, etc. So much has been written about HK so I won’t repeat what already has been written.

We did have a beautiful lunch at a Japanese Restaurant named Wasabisabi on the thirteenth floor of Times Square in Causeway Bay. This place is fabulous and the waiter we had that day was a hoot. I had the beef sukiyaki and Linda had a seafood medley and our friends had a medley of sushi which they had made to order at their extensive sushi bar. The bill with 3 bears 2 wines and 1 soft drink was 610 Yuan. I can highly recommend this place for lunch or dinner.

We also had dinner one night at the IC’s downstairs Harbor side restaurant as we couldn’t get reservations to Spoon one evening. The food here is fabulous as they have a great buffet (which no one had) and an even better ala carte menu. I had the Australian Lamb Chops which were fabulous.

We all took the 601 bus from Central to Stanley one day. Cost was 28 HK each way. We used our Octopus card, in fact used it for all public transportation and buying water at 7-11’s. We refilled the ones we brought with us from 2 years ago. They are good from 3 years of purchase I believe.

What a beautiful ride over the hills and into Stanley (thanks Cicerone for suggesting this route) the view coming down the mountains is spectacular.

The shopping on the main street is obligatory and very hectic and crowded as the streets are very narrow. Bargain, bargain, bargain is all I can say. We got things for 20 percent of the asking prices.

We had a nice lunch in Stanley at The Boat House Restaurant. They gave us a nice table on the second floor. I had a pannini sandwich while Linda and a friend shared to huge seafood assortment plate. Our other friend had a beer and watched us eat. I don’t know the bill as they bought us lunch but it was pretty decent.

If you need to get your laundry done in the area around the Sheraton there is a business called:

Sun Wah Kiu Dry Cleaners Co.
Shop No. 8 Ground Floor, Hankow Apartments
43-49 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Tel 2376-1150
Hours: Mon thru Sat 8:30 to 7:30 pm Sundays & Holidays 8:30 to 2:00 pm

Hankow Road is the road right behind the Peninsula
Walk up about a block and a half and it’s on the left hand side of the street.
They wash, dry and fold in 2 hour service for 7 lbs or under HK 20.00
Additional lbs HK 3.00
This is a great place and very reliable. They also dry clean and press but I don’t have that price list handy….sorry, I remember seeing it and thinking how cheap it was if that helps.

Note: The air was fairly clean except for the fog in the mornings while we were there. Last time we were here the air was much more polluted, ie hazy. Glad it was better this time, hope it’s a change for the better.

Next segment JAPAN!

hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Old Apr 14th, 2007, 04:05 PM
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I can't thank you enough for all the details on the Panda preserve. This will be a great help (as will the rest of your trip report) when we go!
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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travelinglight,

Your welcome and have a fantastic time!

rhkkmk,

I am glad to report to you that I have now seen the real pandas and none of them wore speedos, lol.....you were right!

Aloha!
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Old Apr 14th, 2007, 06:50 PM
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i knew i was not crazy, but they are..

i'm loving the report....great chow in pasadena, you better come!!
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