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-   -   Xian or Guilin? (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/xian-or-guilin-670959/)

kateawol Jan 16th, 2007 07:03 PM

Xian or Guilin?
 

I need some advice. My husband and I will be spending 5 days in Beijing for a conference in May. The conference ends the night of May 12, so we have May 13th through May 2o (leaving from Hong Kong), to visit some more of China. Is it ridiculous to try and fit in Shanghai, Xian, Guilin and Hong Kong in this amount of time?

Here is my proposed itinerary:

May 13 am fly to Xian- tour terracotta warriors
May 14 pm fly to Shanghai
spend night May 15 and 16 in Shanghai
May 17 am fly to Guilin
Spend night 18 in Guilin
May 19 fly am to Hong Kong
May 20 pm FLY HOME TO US.

I am thinking if this seems too ambitious I will need to choose btwn Guilin and Xian. This is my first trip to China so hopefully I will be back and I definitely don't want to be so rushed i don't enjoy myself. Any advice? Thanks!

rkkwan Jan 16th, 2007 08:23 PM

Actually, I suggest you skip Shanghai.

Xian is mostly historical stuff. Guilin, natural beauty. Shanghai, modern city.

But since you have to be in Hong Kong, another modern city, anyways, why not skip Shanghai?

zengeos Jan 17th, 2007 06:50 AM

I did an overnightin Xian back in '99. I loved the old city. The Terracotta warriors is neary a full day in and of itself. I would have liked to stay another day to explore more...and shop more, as the oslem Quarter there had the best buys I saw in 2 weeks in China (Beijing,ShangHai, Yangtze cruise, ChengDu, etc..) I got a pair of meditation balls (cloisonne, of course) larger than standard..about 2" across each, in a nice case for $1.50 as an example of the fantastic rafts and art deals there.

thursdaysd Jan 17th, 2007 07:14 AM

Depends on whether you want history or scenery. There is definitely more to do in Xi'an than just the warriors - two museums, two pagodas, Muslim quarter including the Great Mosque, souvenirs and food, and the Taoist temple of the Eight Great Immortals, which has been beautifully repainted. On the other hand, the scenery in Guilin is interesting - helps you understand the paintings - but I didn't find much else there unless you want to chill with the backpackers in Yangshuo.

Jed Jan 17th, 2007 07:21 AM

Looks too rushed. One place too much. Do you plan to take a boat on Li River? If not, skip Guilin. Or skip HK. We enjoyed Shanghai more than HK. ((*))

valtor Jan 17th, 2007 09:24 AM

I would folow your original plan. you can not compare Guilin with xian, they are so different, but both are interesting.
It is true that both HK and Shanghai are modern, but they are not indentical. after visiting xian and guilin, shanghai will show you how different different parts of china can be!

kateawol Jan 17th, 2007 03:51 PM

Thanks everyone for your input. I think I will stick with my plan since noone seemed to think it was that bad. I will definitely go on the river Li while in Guilin.

My biggest worry is that I will regret not spending more time in Hong Kong but from what I hear the true experience is about shopping and staying in a luxury hotel, and by the end of this trip I will be feeling pretty poor once I get to Hong Kong!

rkkwan Jan 17th, 2007 04:02 PM

Yes, you will regret not spending more time in Hong Kong. It's a very interesting city that's more than just luxury hotels and shopping. That's for sure.

But the good news is that you can always go back to Hong Kong easily.

kateawol Jan 17th, 2007 04:44 PM

I could always drop a day in Shanghai and add one to Hong Kong?

tonguetied Jan 26th, 2007 01:48 PM

I spent four days in Guilin in November and there were two highlights of our trip there. One, was travelling down the Li River for one day. Incredible scenery!! The other was attending a performance of "San Jie".
The performance takes place outdoors on the river, in the evening, and was one of the most incredible theatrical performances i have ever witnessed. Worth every cent of the $25.00 ticket.

kateawol Jan 28th, 2007 03:24 PM

That sounds wonderful, thank you for the advice. Where did you stay in Guilin? Would you recommend it?

jodo Jan 28th, 2007 05:13 PM

We have also been to both Guilin and Xian....I wouldn't give up either, for different reasons.
Highlight in Xian (besides the warriors, which you should try to see at noon when everyone else is at lunch) was "ballroom" dancing under the bridge (in a parking lot) Middle aged Chinese couples circling the parking lot, while the victrola=----or what sounded like that---blared from a loudspeaker. Awesome. It is heavily polluted in Xian, however, so be prepared. Another tip: go to the history musuem, but find a professor or other person knowledgeable in history...the museum becomes living history when someone is describing what you're looking at, and putting it in historical perspective.
Guilin: Another highlight, night fishing with the ducks....very touristy, but all the tourists--except us--were Chinese. Really interesting.
Have a wonderful journey.

kudzu Jan 29th, 2007 05:19 AM

Have you looked at flights from Guilin to Hong Kong yet? Generally, most are in the evening (5:30-8:30-ish). If you can't confirm an early flight on May 19, you will arrive in HK with just enough time to go to bed and get up to leave. Instead, you might take the Li River trip on the 18th and arrange for a taxi to take you directly from Yangshuo to the airport that afternoon for your dinnertime flight and stay in HK on the 18th, leaving you all of the 19th for HK.

I agree with RKKWAN that Shanghai isn't worth a lot of time. If you still want to go, just spend one night there, see the Bund and Museum, have a nice dinner, and add the extra time either in Xian or HK.

May is a busy time, so it would be best, if not cheapest, to lock in the flights that are the most convenient.

My two cents' worth! K

kateawol Jan 29th, 2007 06:21 PM

Kudzu, Thank you for your insight into the flights. I just figured out that the flights were only at night and I am going to do exactly what you said and fly back to Hong Kong the night of the 18th. I am actually glad b/c I will have more time now in Hong Kong.

Thanks again, k

jadeleo Feb 4th, 2007 11:41 PM

Guilin is without dispute the most scenic city in China. Hilltops pop up from nowhere like trees in the forest and they are shaped like buns, camels, fishes, saw-teeth, horses, etc. It is a city you must visit or you will miss those beautiful landscape there. Rivers flow around like green silk ribbons while the hills reveal themselves as jade hair-pins. Guilin embraces great landscapes like green hills, clear waters, pretty rocks and fantastic caves.


In Guilin, you will find Osmanthus trees all over the place and the blooming season is between late September to early November.

BettyInToronto Feb 6th, 2007 11:27 AM

I did both as part of a 12-day tour in September and my vote would be Guilin; hands down. Of the four places we visitied, this is the only one that I want to go back to (OK except for maybe Beijing to spend more time on the Wall)

zengeos Feb 6th, 2007 01:15 PM

I was lucky regading the polution. When we visited Chine in 99, the government had stopped all the heavy polluting factories the month prior to the celebration of the revolution, so the air was MUCH clearer...except in Chongching...it was horrible there....

I haven't been to Guilin yet, so for me,Xian was my top stop. Shanghai was *just another big, new city* So if it were me and I was to leave one city off the itinerary, it would be Shanghai.

Mark-

merckxxx Feb 6th, 2007 02:20 PM

I thought I would dislike Guilin, but I regard it & the Li River trip to Yangshou as one of the best experiences in China & in general. I always have to tell people to try to go to the Waterfall hotel at night when they dump millions of gallons of water over it to accompaniement of tacky lights and music - but I loved it - one of the wackiest, best things I ever saw. You might even want to stay there - a beautiful hotel on the Li River, City centre Sq., and nice Park. I believe u can do that Li river trip to Yangs. out and back in a day (bus brings u back). Unless you are really fond of caves, try to get the ship that does not stop at the caves - a waste of time in my view.

rkkwan Feb 6th, 2007 04:05 PM

zengeos - I can't say about other type of pollution, but air quality has significantly degraded since 1999. In fact, 2006 was much worse than 2005, which was worse than 2004, and so on.

zengeos Feb 6th, 2007 04:36 PM

what a shame.

China, on paper, has some of the most stringent pollution control laws.

In reality..nada, apparently.

Mark-


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