Need help rounding out China itinerary

Jun 18th, 2013, 05:55 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Need help rounding out China itinerary

Hi all,
My husband and I are taking a 21 day trip to China (our first to Asia) this August. Yes we know it will be hot! We have tentatively decided our main points of interest but we have about 4-6 unaccounted for days that we can't decide how to use. Hoping to get your opinions on which of several options would be the best for us.

I should note that due to the nature of our jobs and several other factors, we aren't sure if we'll make it back to China again. So while we definitely don't want to over-do it, we really want to get a nice range of what China has to offer. Also, we don't care for museums and instead prefer culture and natural scenery.

Here’s what we have so far: (14-16 days plus any needed travel time)

- 2-3 Days: Shanghai/Water town: We don't have a ton of interest in Shanghai (it was the cheapest ticket) and view it mainly as a place to recover from jetlag.
- 4-5 Days: Beijing and Great Wall.
-1-2 days: Xian- We mainly want to see the Terracotta Warriors and Muslim Quarter; could skip the rest
- 5 days: Yangshuo & Rice Terraces (3 days Yangshuo, 2 for rice terraces)
- 1 day- Hong Kong- arrive day before flight leaves. No major plans here (again, it was the cheapest ticket).

Please help us decide between the following options for our remaining 4-6 days. We can afford about 2 internal flights at some point. The rest will probably need to be by train.:

(1) Overnight from Xian to Chengdu; 1 day Chengdu, 2 days Leshan & Emeishan (is that sufficient to hike at least part of Emeishan?). Then likely fly to Guilin.

(2) Add in Pingyao as we travel between Beijing and Xian? Not sure what else we would include with this option but Pingyao looks cool.

(3) Head to Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan, Fenghuan, Dehang after we leave Xian. Would probably hire a guide to help with this.

(4) Yunnan Province? Lijang? We think it looks awesome but are under the impression this wouldn't be feasible in our itinerary. Is that an accurate impression?

(5) Are there other mountain areas or monastaries/temples on our route that we haven’t mentioned that would fit well in our plans ?
RJS55 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 08:19 AM
  #2  
 
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I think you will be surprised by Shanghai. Visit the French Concession area.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 09:21 AM
  #3  
 
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fly to speed up the process between town and allow more time on the ground..

shanghai is fantastic and so is hong kong
rhkkmk is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 05:51 PM
  #4  
 
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My DH and I were really glad we got to see Ping Yao, Wu Tai Shan and the Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Monastery outside Datong. Go early to Mitanyu to see the great wall. We were the only ones there at 8am. (Sorry if I butchered the spelling, I'm too tired to look it up right now) You might want to take a look at some of my photos and a map and decide for yourself. Hong Kong was worth a day for us, we took a ferry to Macau and that was worth a day too.

http://garyandsusan.shutterfly.com/china
sdtravels is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 06:37 PM
  #5  
 
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If you're interested in Lijiang I would fly there via Kunming (and stop off in Kunming and Dali) and skip Yangshuo. They're both touristy, but the mountains around Lijiang are more spectacular than the scenery near Yangshuo.

I also recommend Chengdu (and taking the overnight trains). I think you need more time for Emei Shan, but you could visit Qingchen Shan instead.

I don't much care for Shanghai but the museum is definitely worth seeing.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 19th, 2013, 09:18 PM
  #6  
 
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Shanghai is indeed good for decompressing and getting over the jetlag. I recommend taking the train to Beijing, rather than flying; tickets are 550RMB and trains leave every 20 minutes.

I think you will find 3 days in Yangshuo to be too much; it's beautiful and the roster of activities great for those who are outdoorsy--hiking, kayaking, rockclimbing -- but it will be brutally hot. Two days would be better.

Yunnan is gorgeous but unfortunately you won't have time for it this trip.

IMHO, you could cut down your trip like this:

2 days - Shanghai
4 days - Beijing (one full day at Wall and assume half day for travel)
1 day - Xian - morning at terracotta warriors, Muslim quarter by night
4 days max in Yangshuo/rice terraces
2 days in Hong Kong - it would be a crying shame not to explore HK!
sophiefriedman is offline  
Jun 20th, 2013, 02:05 AM
  #7  
 
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have a nice trip! welcome to china!
scindapsus is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:47 PM
  #8  
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Thanks to all who took the time to respond. We are still debating options and really appreciate your input.

A few questions:
Sdtravels- y

Thursdayssd- how long would you reccomend for emeishan? We saw a plan for 2
Days in the lonely planet book--not planning on hiking the whole way up. How difficult is getting there? Well be doing this alone and are a little bit nervous about navigating. Any guides or drivers you would
Reccomend?
RJS55 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:50 PM
  #9  
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oops. I pushed submit before I was done.

SD-travels: your pictures look great and we've just started researching the areas you are talking about as a possible alternative. Do you recall how much time that took you? How difficult was it to navigate? Did you do it on your own or hire someone?
RJS55 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:50 PM
  #10  
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oops. I pushed submit before I was done.

SD-travels: your pictures look great and we've just started researching the areas you are talking about as a possible alternative. Do you recall how much time that took you? How difficult was it to navigate? Did you do it on your own or hire someone?
RJS55 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2013, 01:57 PM
  #11  
 
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I didn't do Emei Shan - the weather wasn't great when I was in Chengdu. That's why I suggested the alternative, which I did do, by bus. But I was figuring on three days.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 06:27 PM
  #12  
kja
 
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Like sdtravels, I enjoyed my time in Pingyao, Wutai Shan and Datong. You might find some useful information in my trip report, which includes information about the time I spent and how I did it, along with some additional information in the form of questions and answers from area experts. It also covers a few areas that you might want to consider visiting. My report is long, but it is searchable.

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...na-amazing.cfm

Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Jun 25th, 2013, 07:12 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
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RJS55, glad you liked the photos. To answer your questions, it was very easy to navigate around China. We did the trip on our own. I remember reading kja's trip report. I think we went about the same time. Here is my trip report. http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...d-in-china.cfm

It looks like we got to Pingyao on 4/7 and got to Bejing on 4/12 so 5 days to see Pingyao, Wutai Shan and Datong. We had a driver on a few occasions, ie, to drive us to Wu Tai Shan and to Muytanu. It was very easy to arrange.

y? They were all beautiful locations, sort of on our circular route and not on many escorted tours.

I also posted an unusual packing list. You might want to take a look. http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-for-china.cfm
sdtravels is offline  
Jul 24th, 2013, 07:38 AM
  #14  
 
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I would choose option 4 to Yunnan province to visit Lijiang and Kunming, if time permits, Shangri-la is also highly recommended. You can take flight from Xi'an to Lijiang, fly to Kunming after Lijiang. There are several flights from Kunming to Guilin.
outdoorw is offline  
Jul 24th, 2013, 12:51 PM
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I second outdoorw for you to go to Kunming, Lijiang and Shangri-La, it is awesome with temples, monasteries, stone forest, deep river gorges, snow-capped mountains and minority towns. And go to Yangshuo too.
Shanghainese is offline  
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