wing it China next month

Aug 5th, 2005, 10:27 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 21
wing it China next month

Well, after searching for an affordable tour/package to china, I found this site and am deciding to wing it.

We got a 12 days stop over in Hong Kong on the way to Thailand and would like to do something like this.

9/5 - US to HK arrive 9/6
9/6 Fly from Hong Kong to Beijing in the afternoon.
9/7 Beijing
9/8 Beijing
9/9 Beijing
9/10 Overnight train to Xian
9/11 Xian
9/12 Overnight train to Suzhou
9/13 Suzhou
9/14 Shanghai
9/15 Fly from Shanghai to Hong Kong
9/16 Hong Kong
9/17 Hong Kong
9/18 fly Hong Kong to Thailand

What do you think of this?

I got a couple of specific questions.
1. We got international ticket in & out of HK. No tickets from HK to mainland yet.

I got a quote for $450, HK to Beijing & Shanghai to HK.

Is this a good price? Is there any viable alternative, train is out since we only have a short stay. Fly to Shenzhen/Guangzhou? sounds like a lot of trouble and time.

2. Is it possible to book over night train from Xian to Shanghai when we are in Beijing?
If not, is it cutting it too close booking it when we get to Xian since we are only staying in Xian for one night.

Thanks!!!!
vjoe is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 10:38 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Suggest you switch Hangzhou for Suzhou, unless you are really into classical Chinese gardens.

Better to book Xian-Shanghai train tickets in Xian. There is a CITS office right in the train station, they can help - for a fee. Make sure that the fee is no more than Y50 (which is a LOT of money!). They will get the tickets for you and save you the labor of standing in mystifying lines where every other person is trying to cut in. Book soft sleeper - maximum 4 to a compartment. Your hotel in Xian might also help, but their fee may be larger or they will go through the CITS office themselves.

$450 for two segments sounds pretty reasonable to me. A couple of years ago, I got a one-way ticket, HK to Beijing for $270 right at the HK airport - emergency last minute change of plans. Since you have more time, you may be able to do better, pricewise. I prefer DragonAir or China Southern. The other "domestic" Chinese airlines are a crapshoot sometimes.

Good luck and happy travels!
easytraveler is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 01:01 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
One-way HKG-PEK can be get for about HK$1,400 or about US$180. Shanghai may cost more as it's a business route. On some HK-based website, one-way may be about US$260. Therefore $450 is a reasonable fare for HKG-PEK and PVG-HKG; you may save a little while booking after you get to Hong Kong, but not too much.

Flying through Guangzhou is too much trouble. Shenzhen is a viable alternative. May save you 40-50%. Take the ferry from Hong Kong to the Shenzhen airport and it's quite easy. All you lose is a little of time.

Xi'an to Suzhou is about 15 hours by the fast overnight trains. Two of them originate further west, while one originates in Xi'an. I think you should be able to get soft-sleeper berths on these trains, except during major holidays.

Or just fly. Cost are about the same, though you need to pay for an extra night of hotel.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:32 PM
  #4  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 21
Thanks for the answers!

Is it possible to just go up to the airline counter when we get to Hong Kong and ask for a one way ticket to Beijing on the same day?

Seems to be a lot of service charges when booking from US. 3% credit card fee, service fee, exchange fee...

vjoe is offline  
Aug 5th, 2005, 08:50 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
If you go to the airline counter, you will be paying full fare, which will be quite a bit more. Full one-way "Y" fare for HKG-PEK is about HK$2,600; or US$330.

For that price, you may want to book before you go. Zuji.com - Travelocity's Asian site - now has certain discount fares you can purchase ahead.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 03:03 AM
  #6  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 21
We are suppose to arrive in Hong Kong at 9:10am

The flight from HK to Beijing is 11:40am.
Can we make this? Or should we stay in Hong Kong for a night to make sure we catch the flight?

Thanks!!
vjoe is offline  
Aug 6th, 2005, 04:22 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
2:30 is plenty to transfer/transit in Hong Kong. But of course, your arrival flight could be delayed. You'll be flying on two tickets, and if you miss the connection, you'll need to buy a new ticket. You have to decide whether to take this risk.

But if you're arriving from Taipei, then I think you don't have to worry. CI/CX/KA/BR together has about 3-4 flights an hour TPE-HKG. You should have several opportunities to get to HKG in time to catch the connection even if your US-TPE flight is delayed a bit.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 7th, 2005, 09:13 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 32
Dear Vjoe: 7 Aug 05

I used Travel China at [email protected] Give them your proposed itinerary and questions and they usually reply within 48 hours or less. We used them for our trip to Kunming, fantastic!

[email protected]
gloriaann is offline  

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