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Chengdu or Longsheng?

Coopersburg...
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Chengdu or Longsheng?

My son (age 14), my husband and I will be traveling to China in April and will be there for 13 days. It's our first trip there and will probably be the only time my husband and I go. We've booked our flight arriving and departing in Hong Kong so that's not going to change. I was thinking of going in to these places in this order: Shenzhen to Guilin (staying in Yangshuo), then onto Longsheng and the rice terraces, back to Guilin for a flight to Xi'an, then sleeper train from Xi'an to Beijing and flight from Beijing to Shenzhen and then (whatever) to Hong Kong. Our daughter (now living in Shenzhen) will be joining us for one day in Yangshuo, next place and Xian.

However, I'm having second thoughts about Longsheng. We're going in the first part of April so it will still be quite cool. Also, I would very much like to see the Pandas near Chengdu and I've heard that Chengdu is a different, more laid back city then any other city on the itinerary so that would be kind of fun. Anyone have opinions on Longsheng vs. Chengdu? My son would rather see the panda's. Husband has no opinion. Our daughter will probably see whatever place we don't go to with friends later.

Ottawa
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1. Re: Chengdu or Longsheng?

It all depends on what sort of travellers you are. I loved Chengdu, and the pandas were very, very cute, but given the rest of your itinerary, I'd vote for Longsheng or simply spending more time in Beijing, Xi'an, or Yangshuo. For me, 5 cities in 13 days would be too much. Longsheng could be a simple day trip from Yangshuo and is in the same general direction as the Guilin airport, but Chengdu will involve another internal flight and at least another half a day of travel.

Coopersburg...
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2. Re: Chengdu or Longsheng?

Thanks for your comments. I do realize the travel differences between the two places. I guess I'm asking that because of the limited time and the fact that we probably won't get to China again, which place would be a more worthwhile experience. I know it's a subjective question and that it's trickier getting to Chengdu but would it be worth the effort?

I've seen quite a few reviews saying that seeing the Panda's were the highlight of other tourists vacations. I'm thinking that the weather in Longsheng area and the Rice Terraces will be quite a bit cooler in April. Anyone have experiences with the two locations and can compare/contrast? Anyone with teenagers seen both places?

Ottawa
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3. Re: Chengdu or Longsheng?

Boy was my response muddled! What I was trying to say was that the two aren't interchangeable in terms of the amount of time required. Going to Chengdu to see the pandas will take more time from your other destinations than a side trip to Longsheng. That's where the type of traveller you are comes in. I was in Beijing twice: The first time, I spent a lot of time wandering the hutongs near my hostel, visiting the local markets, nodding to the locals, scanning for feral cats on the roof tops, and communicated with my hands. The second time was a whirlwind of cabs to major sites. I enjoyed them all, but was somehow dissatisfied. I felt as if I'd seen all the sites in isolation, without the context of culture or community. I would prefer to see fewer sites, but experience the broader city. But that's me and my personal preference. If you also like more time to take in a city, indepedent of its major sites, I suggest forgoing Chengdu or one of your other destinations. If not, Chengdu is certainly a workable option.

Now, did I enjoy the pandas or Longsheng more? That's tough, and again, a very personal decision. I did adore the pandas, but I'd probably say Longsheng. For me, it was like the Great Wall, but with the culture that created it still functioning and much in evidence. My guess would be that most teenagers would prefer the pandas.

If you aren’t getting a lot of answers here, you might try some other forums as well, such as Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum [http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/index.jspa]. You’ll find China on the North East Asia branch.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Susan

4. Re: Chengdu or Longsheng?

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