Hi guys, I will be in China for almost a month mid Sep. to mid Oct. and putting together an itinerary to visit Northeast/NorthCentral China. Here is what I have planned/researched so far:
Days 1-4 : Beijing (including day trip to Great wall), sleeper train to Pingyao via Taiyuan
Days 5, 6: Pingyao
Day 7: Travel Pingyao > Taiyuan > Zhengzhou by train
Days 8, 9: Zhengzhou with visit to the Shaolin temple complex
Days 10, 11: early am G2001 bullet train to Luoyang 40 mins Luoyang with visit to Longmen caves for a day
Days 12-14: Xi'an - around Xi'an, Terracota warriors, day trip to Hua Shan
Days 15-17: **Start of GOLDEN WEEK** early am flight to Chengdu Chengdu - Panda center and day trip to Leshan (Giant Buddha)
Days 18,19: ** Gld wk ** fast train to Chongqing 2h20m arr 10:30ish explore Chongqing
Day 20-23 : ** Gld wk ** Embarkation for Yangtze river cruise to Yichan 4 days travels through 3 Gorges dam
Days 24-27 : leave Yichan by early morning flight to Shanghai, explore Shanghai rest of day, day trips to Nanjing and Hangzhou
I know this is a fairly ambitious trip considering I do not know a lick of Mandarin (although I am going to try my best to learn some before I leave). My questions are to those that have experience traveling to comment on my plans and give me some advice if I am trying to do too much or being too optimistic. If I would cut anything out it would be the River cruise/3 gorges but I would at least like to sail a bit, even for a day, on the Yangtze...what are my options?
Also, is there a good bullet train map out there? or a site that gives accurate timetables of flights/trains? How do you go about booking these online? Per the above itinerary I will be in Chengdu going to Leshan for a day trip on Oct. 1 (Golden week) and then Chengdu to Chongqing and the river cruise rest of Golden week... do you think this particular route is going to experience problems during Golden week?
Thanks A TON for any advice...I need it :D