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China itinerary advice please

Los Angeles...
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China itinerary advice please

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

Day 28: early am flight to Taipei to begin 6-7 days in Taiwan

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

Yungang Grottoes
Caverns & Caves, Historic Sites, Ancient Ruins
Longmen Grottoes
Historic Sites, Caverns & Caves, Geologic Formations
Tianmen Mountain of Zhangjiajie
National Parks, Caverns & Caves, Mountains, Forests
Mogao Caves
Historic Sites, Ancient Ruins, Caverns & Caves, Sacred & Religious Sites
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1. Re: China itinerary advice please

I don't have much advice here, sorry, but I am wondering why you are leaving so little time for Shanghai? It is such a great city. When I lived there we did take day trips to Nanjing and Hangzhou but if I had to choose I would spend more time in Shanghai. In Nanjng I really liked the Sun Yat Sen memorial and the Nanjing masacre memorial. Hangzhou is somewhat quiet for a Chinese city which makes it nice. I still just think more time in Shanghai!

Beijing, China
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for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
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2. Re: China itinerary advice please

You could possibly skip Yangzi cruise and consider Guilin/Yangshuo to make more sense for your china tour.

To your itinarery:

1. Sleeper train to Pingyao via Taiyuan is not right. It is bullet train in day time to Taiyuan first and then change to one of the many trains down to Pingyao.

2. Simplify the so many changing with luggages to this:Beijing-Pingyao-train-Xian, then do Longmen Grottoes and Shaolin as a side day trip on bullet train. then on to Chengdu...

3. You could fly to Shanghai from Yichang early afternoon or evening the same day your ship arrives, since Yichang city is not worth overnight.

Other than above, your plan is all right.

4. Huashan isn't a highlight. Emei Shan is better than Huashan. So skip Huashan. Besides TWs, Xian's highlights are Muslim Quarter & Great Mosque, City Wall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda. So don't forget them.

To your last two big paragraphs:

Cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo, it's small cruise taking 4hrs.

Golden week means more people at tourist sites, and more money to be paid on flight (train tickets sold at same one price all year around). But it is not too scary to ruin your plan as rumor said. China is a busy nation even in normal time when foreign visitor still come here.

Beijing, China
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for Guilin, Xi'an, Tibet
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3. Re: China itinerary advice please

For train timetabe you read this:


Read post # 9.

For flights it is ctrip.com.

Sherbrooke, Canada
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4. Re: China itinerary advice please

I guess this is a matter of taste but I would not do the Yangtze river cruise. Better spend time around Yangshuo. Otherwise it will be a tiring trip.

During golden week expect a lot (I mean really a lot of tourists). Train tickets will be very hard to get during that week and the days surrounding it. Better book them as soon as they go on sale.

For flights check ctrip.com. They have the best website but you may prefer to buy from travelzen.com which does not charge 3% for foreign credit cards. For trains it is a bit more complicated. The official website www.12306.cn is in Chinese only. You could not buy fro there in any case as payment requires a Chinese bank or credit card. So you will need to use a ticket agent. For schedules you can check here but it is not 100% reliable: http://www.chinahighlights.com/china-trains/

Xi'an, China
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5. Re: China itinerary advice please

Lots of people want to do the similar tour like you and they did. I saw a group once they told me they had traveled China ahout 28days ,now in Xi'an.They do look exhausted but I think they were happy from their heart at that time.It is a regural trip so you just need know more details in these cities.

G2001arrived in Xi'an about 10:25am.You can drive to Terracota warriors Museum directly,and take about 2or 3hours to see the warriors.Then you can drive to Huashan County ,stay there 1night and climb the Huashan Mout.in the next morning.Then you back to Xi'an in the Afternoon and do Xi'an half day tour.On the 14th,you take the early flight to Chengdu.

So you will stay the foot of Huashan Mout for.1night and Xi'an for anther night.

You will have a wonderful tour,I am sure.

Good Luck

Los Angeles...
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6. Re: China itinerary advice please

thanks so much for the tips, I will keep them in mind! ;)

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7. Re: China itinerary advice please


This looks an ambitious travel plan and it is doable. Please take some notice of the details.

1: The visit of great wall in Beijing shall be Mu tian Yu, or Jin Shan ling, but at least not the junyong guan which is not as spectacular as the others.

2: hush an mountain is worth going which is one of the five most famous mountains in china, but it takes a day for it. It is 120 kilometers away from xian, make sure that you get there in the morning and leave several hours for the hiking on the mountain ridge.

3. As you fly from xian early in the morning,it is an hour flight to get to chengdu from xian if the plane is on time. Make sure that do not go to see the panda on this day, because all these national treasures are active in the morning, and afternoon visit could see few or could even hardly see many of them.

You may think of visiting the panda breeding center in the morning next day and then head to le Shan for the giant Buddha. This site is only about an hour and half drive to mountain emei. The scenery of the montana is breathtaking as well, but it is in different way to presenting its natural beauty from the mountain huashan,

4: it seems that you are doing the downstream Yangtze cruise, this is three nights onboard, many people choose to get on the cruise, but from your trip plan which seems that you are very energetic in traveling. If I were you,mi would go to guilin for three nights before flying to shanghai instead of the doing the cruise.

Yangshuo is a very nice place worth two nights plus one night you spend in Guilin will be probably better than just go for the cruise,

Regarding your travel around shanghai.mplease think of traveling from shanghai to Suzhou, and then to nanjing, this way would avoid some detours.

Hope it is helpful

8. Re: China itinerary advice please

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