We - a couple of pension age - are planning a trip to China for three weeks from April 23. We are going partly for personal reasons but also to see the country and its people. Of course we want to see some of the major sites but we also want time just to observe and do not want to be shepherded around for 10 hours a day having everything arranged for us. That said, we feel quite daunted by arranging everything ourselves and where to begin. Should we get quotes from tour operators as to hotels and internal flights or do this ourselves? what about excursions/tours, where we need English speaking tour operators - when/how should we arrange these?
We have already booked return flights from the UK - flying into Beijing and out from Hong Kong. We have worked out a rough itinerary but keep changing our minds about how much we can fit in - we don't want it to be a rush from one airport to another. At the moment it's looking like - 5 nights in Beijing; 3 nights in Shanghai;, EITHER a tour of Huangshan (2nights) - OR fly to Chengdu (1 night) and visit the Jiuzhaigou national park (2 nights); then to Guiyang(3 nights); then to Yangshuo/Guilin, w here we have booked a guesthouse near the Li river (4 nights); and finally to Hong Kong (3 nights).
What does that sound like to more experienced travellers? Would we be trying to squeeze too much in to get to Chengdu and the park? And - can we get some help yet also remain independent? Sorry for such a long post. Oh - our budget is..middling