please help me plan this trip

Old Jan 24th, 2010, 05:09 AM
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please help me plan this trip

I hope to take the family on a 2 country tour for my sons Bar mitzvah. We will start at the Great Wall in China and end at the Western Wall in Israel. The problem is though I have had 13 years to plan I have no idea what to do or what cities are best in China to visit. I am ok on my research in Israel but have no time left to research China. Can anyone please help? I would like to cover the most interesting cities starting either in Bejing and ending in Hong Kong or vice versa. I have between 10 days and 2 weeks. I will have 4 children and 2 seniors in my group so nothing to adventure related. Please advise.....please please!
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 05:37 AM
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Sounds like a great trip for you and your family. In China, you might visit Beijing, Shanghai and X'ian. This is a typical tourist cycle. You can get upscale hotels and tourist services in all three ciries. The Chinese domestic air carriers are a little better thna US carriers, so flights are no problem. The Great Wall is an easy day trip from Beijing. You could certainly substitute Hong Kong for X'ian. It depends on how attached you are to seeing the Terracotta Warriors.
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Old Jan 24th, 2010, 01:15 PM
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In 10 days, you want not more than 3 cities; in two weeks you can do 4 cities. So think about maximizing your family's enjoyment of the trip rather than maximizing the number of cities visited. Gpanda's suggestion of cities is good. Start by buying a guidebook to China, browse to see what interests you. Also, there are probably hundreds of trip reports on China here. Use the drop-down menu at the top of the page to sort for entries regarding China.

Choose your cities, choose your routing, make your hotel reservations.

PS I noticed that you posted this questions again 6 hours later. If you can't find a post you've made, just click on your name and you'll get a list of your posts.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 10:33 AM
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Depending on if you have 10 or 14 days, and whether you prefer to focus only on large cities, with children and seniors, suggest you check out the Yangshou/Guilin area for natural beauty.
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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I am going on the basis that you will have only 10 nights in China. For first timer, I agree with other posters to cover just 3 cities - Beijing (including the Wall), Xian and Shanghai.

Suggestions :
4 nights (3 full days) in Beijing (1000 years of Chinese history)

2 nights (1 full day) in Xian (3000 years of Chinese history)

4 nights (3 full days) in Shanghai (modern China with 200 years of history). From Shanghai, take a day tour to visit Suzhou or Hangzhou

By the way, to increase your available tour time in Xian, you could take an oversight sleeper train from Beijing to Xian. In other words, you spend the 5th night on a train.

I personally think that Beijing and Xian are must see for first timer. You could sacrifice Shanghai for scenic and more rural Guilin in south western China and fly to Hong Kong for an overnight stay before proceeding to Israel.

I hope other posters will give you more variations for your considerations.
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 03:31 AM
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I appreciate all the posts that have encouraged us to limit to 3 cities, my group seems intent on covering as much ground as possible even at a frantic pace. They are suggesting, Bejing, xian, guilan, shanghai, and then hong kong. Maybe I will extend to 2 weeks if need be but do you think this is possible? I realize it wil be a go go go vacation. The feeling is that we will not make it back to the region so try to cover as much as we can. thanks
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 05:48 AM
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So your group wants to visit 5 places in 14 days or less? Why is it that people think that if they "won't be back" that they should make themselves miserable while they are there?

Logistically, can you visit 5 cities? Probably. WIll any of you enjoy it? No. You'll be spending as much of your time in transit as you will seeing anything. If you want to have any experience of China at all, you'll need to slow down and cut out destinations. Remember that it takes most of a day to get from one place to another (check out of one hotel, go to the airport, fly to the next airport, taxi to next hotel, get checked in, etc.).

And you time in each city? You'll have a day or two days at most in each place (you really can't count your travel time). At best you will see the "top" attractions, briefly, but never experience the place. You'll have a better time, learn more about the culture, enjoy being with your family if you strictly limit your destinations.

Recently, a new poster planned a trip to SE Asia with way too many stops. While we forewarned her, she had the same idea you had - they wouldn't be back, so they should see "everything." When she returned, she reported that they were exhausted all of the time and felt like minor things were hassles. She attributed it to not using a high-end agent to make arrangements, but the fact was there was no way to make that itinerary humane. This is true of your proposed itinerary as well.
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 06:12 AM
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Kathie, I appreciate your comments. I don't mind only doing 1-2 days in the place to get a feel of what is there. While in Italy for my other son's bar mitzvah we covered the country much the same way. only day and 1/2 in venice etc. I think that maybe I can come up with, with your help, something in between a hurricane and a true leisurely experience. The attitude here is if we want leisure we will take a cruise to the carribean. while in china we want to see as much as we can. That being said, can you help me pull together something in the middle? I am not looking for overload either!! Which of the cities i mention would you forgo for logistical reasons. People are intent on hong kong, bejing, and guilan ,shag hai and xian are up in the air. Any advice?? Thanks
Debra
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Since people are intent on Beijing, Guilin and Hongkong, you can do it in 10 days. If you have a few more days, the choice between Shanghai and Xian depends on their interest, modern mega city with day trips to lovely towns vs. 3,000 years of history/culture. When are you going?
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 09:59 AM
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Believe me, three cities in 10 days will in no way be leisurely. Choose the three places people are intent upon for 10 day; if you have two full weeks, you could add one more. Either itinerary will be very busy.

China is not Europe. There will be more practical glitches or complications which will take time and energy, and you will be in a totally different culture than your own.
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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I'm confused.

Is this a group of 8, Debra, or 6? How old are the 4 kids? Are the seniors you and your husband, or the grandparents? Do they know any more about traveling in China than you do? Where are you traveling from? How are you all with jet-lag? Do the seniors have the same energy levels as the kids?

Are you planning on using a travel agent or booking this whole thing yourself? Whose holiday is going to be ruined by keeping abreast of the hotels, meals, taxis, trains, flights, baggage, glitches and oddities? Would that person's name begin with a 'D'?

How are you all with Chinese food? Any thoughts on choice of restaurants that cater to 6 or 8 different palates, some possibly the wrong side of adolescence?

Do you think there's any difference between zooming thru Italy and traveling thru China? Is China bigger than Italy? How are you at understanding Chinese? I know the two languages are very similar, but there may be subtle differences.

How much were you planning to spend? Are we a five star family or do you give each of the kids a little backpack?

Is it easy organising 6 or 8 people to even get up at the same time in the morning, let alone get up, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, find two or three taxis to go to the airport, find the right counter, check in 6/8/10/12 bags, get seating together, go to the gate, get on the plane - then repeat the whole process in reverse to get to your next hotel.

Then pick up a tour, maybe late afternoon. Just in time for rush hour.

Then you'll all spend the next one or two days seeing what you see. As you don't know what's there, luckily you won't know what you're missing.

How were you imagining you'll get around? Will you need a guide or would you rather just look out the window of the bus?

Then, the next day you can all get up, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, find two or three taxis to go to the airport, find the right counter, check in 6/8/10/12 bags, get seating together, go through security, go to the gate, get on the plane - then repeat the whole process in reverse to get to your next hotel.

Then pick up a tour, maybe late afternoon. Spend the next two days seeing what you see. How were you imagining you'll get around in your new city? Will you need a guide?

Then, the next day you can all get up, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, find two or three taxis to go to the airport, find the right counter, check in 6/8/10/12 bags, get seating together, go through security, go to the gate, get on the plane - then get off the plane, pick up your 6/8/10/12 bags, find two or three taxis to go to the new hotel, check in to your multiple rooms, find a place to eat, then find a guide, tour whatever that afternoon [assuming flights go whenever you want them to]

Then have a day in your new city seeing whatever you see. How were you imagining you'll get around? Will you need a guide?

Then, the next day you can all get up, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, find two or three taxis to go to the airport, find the right counter, check in 6/8/10/12 bags, get seating together, go through security, go to the gate, get on the plane - then get off the plane, pick up your 6/8/10/12 bags, find two or three taxis to go to the new hotel, check in to your multiple rooms, find a place to eat, then find a guide, tour whatever that afternoon, find a place for dinner...

Spend the next day seeing what you see. How were you imagining you'll get around in your new city? Will you need a guide?

Then, the next day you can all get up, have breakfast, check out of your hotel, find two or three taxis to go to the airport, find the right counter, check in 6/8/10/12 bags, get seating together, go through security, go to the gate, get on the plane - then get off the plane, pick up your 6/8/10/12 bags, find two or three taxis to go to the new hotel, check in to your multiple rooms, find a place to eat, then find a guide, tour whatever that afternoon, find a place for dinner...

Shall I go on? Yes, I know I'm overstating the case [just]. But this is the reality of what you're talking about. So take a deep breath.

No, I'm not being snarky Debra, even though I KNOW you'll think I'm being a complete arse - but someone's gotta say it.

Run this post by your keen family. Read it aloud to them. Then call a travel agency. Throw money at them. At least then you'll have someone to blame. Life is short. Yours'll be a lot shorter after organising this. Your children may divorce you.

I know that the highly respected poster: PeterN_H has some excellent suggestions on the best agents to use. He's a great fan of the tourist industry in China. Why not run a search on that name in the little box above and to the right?

As a matter of interest, WHY China? Is this all about Great Wall to Western Wall? Maybe there's an easier Wall somewhere. How about Wall St.? WalMart? Because you will HIT a wall, somewhere on your projected trip.

Have you thought about the Great Wall of Thailand?
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Old Jan 26th, 2010, 11:39 AM
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Do what you want, but our collected "wisdom" is that rushing through China will not be anywhere near as enjoyable as touring at a more leaisurely pace. This "wisdom" is the voice of expoerience. We've all dome a trip as you describe and have elected not to repeat. We'll be glad to assist, no matter what you decide.
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