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connecting the dots...

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Coopersburg...
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connecting the dots...

I am planning a trip to China for our family in April. We will be visiting/traveling with my daughter who is teaching for the year in Shenzhen. Here is the trip as I envision it right now.

Arrive Hong Kong Monday evening 6 pm. Spend night there. Next day travel to Shenzhen. See daughter briefly.

Tuesday - travel via plane to Guilin at 8 pm. Hire driver to take us to hotel in Yangshuo. (daughter arrives Thursday or Friday)

Tues - Saturday in Yangshuo.

Saturday - travel to Xi'an via plane

Monday - daughter goes back to Shenzhen, we take sleeper train to Beijing, arrive Tues am.

Tues - Thur - Beijing

flight to Shenzhen Thursday night or Friday morning

Friday and Saturday- Shenzhen and Hong Kong

So far we have booked the roundtrip flight to Hong Kong.

My only concern right now is the travel connections. I want to wait until next year to book anything and take that time to see if there is anything else we want to do. Our daughter has already been to Beijing and seen the things that we will be doing but has not been to Yangshuo or Xi'an.

Would it makes sense to hire a company to just book the travel arrangments - planes and trains? I prefer to choose my own hotels and guides.

1. Re: connecting the dots...

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Ottawa
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2. Re: connecting the dots...

Booking plane tickets yourself should be no problem. I found hotels/hostels often offered the service for free. The train could be a bit more problematic, since the overnight train, particularly the Z train, between Xi'an and Beijing is very popular. You probably wouldn't have a problem booking a two-berth deluxe soft sleeper cabin, but might find the regular soft sleeper on the Z train sold out. The T train is slightly less popular, but I don't know whether you'd be able to book soft sleepers with such short notice. An agent will charge a substantial surcharge, though. I believe Ellyse has recommended an agent in Xi'an, and I would trust anyone she recommended would be reasonable and honest.

I'm assuming much of your itinerary is determined by your daughter's schedule, so is not flexible. If it were, I personally would allow more time in Beijing. If not, just prioritize what you want to see, and remember wandering can be as fun as a major site if that's your inclination.

The Yangshuo area has a lot to offer. I'd suggest your daughter determine what she really wants to see there so you and your husband don't visit the same places before she arrives. The Longshen terraces are amazing, but are a full day trip from Yangshuo. If this is going to be her only trip to the area, your daughter might like to see them; or, since she’ll have relatively few days in Yangshuo, she might prefer see more of the countryside around Yangshuo.

As for spending the night in Guilin as suggested by the previous, poster, or travelling immediately to Yangshuo, that’s another choice. Most posters seem to recommend heading straight to Yangshuo (that’s what I did). If you don’t plan on taking the bus, arrange with your hostel/hotel to have a taxi meet you.

Coopersburg...
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3. Re: connecting the dots...

Thank you both for your responses. Right now I am thinking that we will just plan on cooking classes in Yangshuo and then see what else turns up. As much as I'd like to see the Longshen rice terraces, I don't want think we want to drive three hours each way and then hike two hours. However, when we were watching a dvd on China that was the one thing that made my son and husband go, "Wow". That's a maybe for now.

Beijingwmf, Your itinerary sounds quite interesting but not quite what I want to do. I want to hit the big attractions like the Terracotta soldiers, the Great Wall, The Forbidden city but it's just as important for me to have us explore on our own if we can. Since we have less then two weeks I am of two minds - do we see and check off the major tourist attractions or do we perhaps miss some things and enjoy ourselves as a family - getting lost, finding our own restaurants, etc. I think the latter will make the better memories. Hopefully, we can do a little of each.

Snullr, The train from Xi'an to Beijing is my biggest concern because I do want the four compartment soft sleeper. I'm thinking that we would use the fourth berth for our luggage. I have started a word document on activites and travel notes, hotels, etc, and I will follow up on your suggestion for an agent in Xi'an from this forum to purchase train tickets. That might just be the easiest thing to do.

Ottawa
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4. Re: connecting the dots...

If you do decide on Longshen, you could consider having a driver take you directly to Ping'an from the Guilin airport and spending the night at a guest house near the terraces, then travelling onto Yangshuo the following day. That would cut about 2 hours off at least one leg of the journey. I'm not meaning to pressure you, just offer alternatives.

If you want to search this forum for the agent Ellyse recommended, I believe his name was John, but I wouldn't bet a mjaor organ on it.

Have fun!

Beijing
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5. Re: connecting the dots...

the train ticket from xian to beijing is important for your trip,it is usually sold 10 days in advance so you would better touch with the local agents in xian as early as possible.otherwise even the agents can not get the tickets for you

beijing
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6. Re: connecting the dots...

i suggest u choose a local private guide, thus, where u want to visit, and how long you stay in the sights are decided by you, you just need the local travel agency book the airticket or train ticket for your next stop in advance

Shanghai, China
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7. Re: connecting the dots...

Sounds good to me. :) Wait till March next year to get your domestic flights and hotels booked.

8. Re: connecting the dots...

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