Shanghai or Xi'an

Old Jul 3rd, 2009, 03:25 PM
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Shanghai or Xi'an

Hello All,

I'm going to China for the 1st time in August. I'm first going to Hong Kong + Macau to visit relatives and will be there for 10 days. Then I'm flying to Beijing and thought about staying there for 4 nights. Is this time enough for Beijing?

After this I'd like to go to one or two other cities from the 08/20 to 08/26. I need to return to Beijing to catch my fligth back on the morning of 08/27.

So I have like 5/6 days to visit one or more places. I'll be travelling alone during this period. I'm having a hard time to decide where to go, since China is huge and it seems there are so many interesting places to visit!

I know Shanghai and Xi'an are popular destinations and I thought about picking one of them. Can you help with these questions:
- is Shanghai very similar to Hong Kong? If so, is it worth visiting Shanghai after 10 days in HK?
- I read in Lonely Planet something like "Shanghai may not give you the feeling of the China a traveller is expecting to know". Do you agree?
- So, is Xi'an a more interesting experience for a 1st time in China traveller?
- Could I go to both cities in 6 days or would that be too much? Would be a better choice to stick to one of them plus maybe a smaller city close to it?

Any advice you can provide will be very much appreciated!
thanks and regards, Clarisse
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Old Jul 3rd, 2009, 06:28 PM
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i have not been to either but both are very high on my list...i think you need not spend more than 2 nites in xian....there is plenty to do there...

shanghai is a large city and time spent there seems very worthwhile, but there are not a great many sights to visit...its more the vibe of the place and the marvel of how it has been built up, so it is like HK in that way...
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Old Jul 4th, 2009, 01:16 AM
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If you have 6 days I would go to both. You only need a couple of nights in Xian to see the warriors, Bell Tower & Muslim quarter. As rhkkmk says Shanghai is a modern city with hardly any sightseeing but as you're going to be in China anyway you shouldn't miss it.
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Old Jul 4th, 2009, 06:41 AM
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I am not a fan of Shanghai, and if you've seen HK I don't think it's really a requirement. However, the new buildings make for a dramatic skyline, strolling the Bund is worth doing at least once, and the museum is a must-see sight. You can also use Shanghai as a base for Suzhou and Hangzhou, although an overnight in either or both is better.

You can do the Terracotta Warriors with just one or two (depending on whether you use night trains) in Xi'an, but that would be a shame. Aside from just wandering around the back streets, both Han and Muslim,, you should make time for the Great Mosque, the Temple to the Eight Great Immortals, the Great Wild Goose pagaoda, the Shaanxi Museum and possibly the stele museum.

But six days for Xi'an might be overdoing it a bit.
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Old Jul 4th, 2009, 01:33 PM
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Thank you rhkkmk, Clark55 and thursdaysd for the replies!

I'll check flight and train schedules to see if I can do both places.

Any other tips, thoughts or ideas are always welcome.

thnks!!
Clarisse
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Suggest both if you are not going back soon, to cut down on travel time, you can take overnight trains between all 3 cities. As thursdaysd said, use shanghai as a base and do sidetrips.
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 12:39 PM
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Apart from the warriors, Xian doesn't have an awful lot to offer.
Shanghai on the other hand left us wanting to stay longer.
You can certainly do both......but I would say give Shanghai the lions share of your time.
But if it's one or the other.....then easily it's got to be Shanghai.
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Old Jul 5th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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thanks LeighTravelClub and Shanghainese!

I definately not going back soon, unfortunately, so I'd better do both!

Will take your advice and will do 3 days in Xi'an and 4 days in Shanghai + a sidetrip, using overnight trains.

I read in another post about site seat61.com - it has very good info about trains.

thanks everyone - I'm looking forward to getting there!
cheers
Clarisse
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 06:16 AM
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Xian would be my first choice. Besides seeing the terra cotta warriors, it's a beautiful city. To me Shanghai is like a combination between New York and Las Vegas. Unless you really love big cities, I think I'd try to include Chengdu. The panda sanctuary there is great.
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Old Jul 7th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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"Unless you really love big cities, I think I'd try to include Chengdu." - you don't think 10 million is a big city? I enjoyed myself in Chengdu but it certainly didn't feel like a small place! If you want that you need to get out into the country.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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It seems like just about every time I make a comment, thursdaysd has to refute it. Chengdu is certainly a big city, but not nearly as large as Shanghai. However my point was more about the nature of the city, Chengdu seeming more typically Chinese, while Shanghai reminded me of many other large, glittering cities in the world. The big attraction, the pandas, is outside the city and if you're there for a short stay, would be the place to go.
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Old Jul 8th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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bookmarking
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 11:28 AM
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For anyone considering a visit to Shanghai, please note that the entire Bund walkway along the river is not accessible due to major renovation work. There is a walkway on the Pudong side of the river, but the Pudong area is one large construction site one has to get to in order to acces the walkway. I don't know how long the Bund walkway will be under renovation.
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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The entire Bund walkway is not accessible due to construction.

To see Shanghai skylines on both side of Huangpu river is still easy.

There are 2 passenger ferries commuting between the bund and Pudong.
They are Jinling Dong Lu Dock and Dong Men Lu Dock.

Jinling Dong Lu Dock could be part of the bund construction.

Here is how to go to Dong Men Lu Dock:

Start from the Citi Bank next to the Peace Hotel which is the corner of Nanjing Dong Lu and Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu.

Keep going on the same side walk on Zhong Shan Dong Yi Lu towards the OPPOSITE direction of the Peoples hero monument or Shanghai Mansion for about 25 minutes.

It will be Zhong Shan Dong Er Lu which connects to Dong Men Lu.
Take the overpass to Dong Men Lu Dock and the ferry across Huangpu river to Dong Chang Lu Dock in Pudong.
The dock is near Dong Chang Lu subway station.

This is not the same optional Huangpu River Cruise the Chinese tour director/guide trying to sell in the China tour.

The ferry runs every 20-30 minutes, fare 2 rmb for ac & 0.5 rmb for non ac.
Passengers can see the breathtaking skyline on both sides of Huangpu river.

People who take the shabby non ac one, they will find lots of bikes and scooters around them!

This is how normal Shanghai people cross the river and a genuine China experience for the independent travelers.
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Old Jul 9th, 2009, 08:05 PM
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Thanks PIPERPAT, Cat12345 and pat12 for all the inputs!
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