I'm planning a possible spring weekend trip for a bunch of my university classmates (from Singapore) that would probably take place in March or April. I've been going around in circles and I need something (constructive criticism and practicality) to put my ideas right!
- Run-of-the-mill ideas like Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and the water villages are OUT.
- Their sightseeing interests and preferences are pretty varied but I'm guessing with a slant towards photogenic scenery, a bit of culture, yummy food and a bit of shopping.
- Some of them probably wouldn't mind flying for a weekend but a price tag of 1000 RMB would probably be over-the-top for most, if most of the budget is spent on plane tickets. If admission fees are expensive then that can't be helped.
- From previous experience most of them don't take kindly to sleeping in dorms where bathing facilities are inconvenient. Accommodation budget could be around 80 RMB/person.
- Can leave Friday night or Saturday morning, need to be back in Shanghai on Sunday night, or possibly very early Monday morning.
1) Luoyang (anytime 15/4--8/5): peony festival, Longmen Grottoes, Shaolin Temple, water banquet
2) Huangshan (April --> sea of clouds?): Huangshan, Tunxi old street
3) Taishan (best sunrise in May?): Taishan, Jinan (peach blossom festival in April)
4) Shaoxing (April onwards better): Lu Xun, East Lake, Wang Xizhi's Orchid Pavilion, Shaoxing city square, Anchang old town
5) Xiamen: Xiamen, Gulangyu, Hakka roundhouses
7) Putuoshan (6/4 Avalokitesvara's birthday): Buddhism, Ningbo seafood
8) Qingdao (sakura festival mid-April--early May): Tsingtao beer, German architecture, beaches, Jinan
From my own extensive budgeting of transport, it doesn't look like most of them would have a price tag of <1000 RMB, except probably Shaoxing and Putuoshan; and even the latter could be over that budget as well. Am I looking at the right places? Have I missed out anything? Am I trying to fit in too much in too little time?
Any opinions/suggestions/recommendations welcome, thanks very much in advance.
I hope this helps...
For 80 RMB a night per person at a hotel, they may have no choice but to stay in a dorm situation. I can recommend an excellent, clean hostel though, called Le Tour Shanghai. It's at a very convenient place, and the staff are very friendly and helpful.
There are girls and guys bathrooms on each floor and have both Western toilets and squatty-potties. The showers have 24-hour hot water. Everything is cleaned regularly once a day, and there's a washer / dryer on site if you guys are staying long enough to have to do some laundry. There's also free wireless internet on the ground floor. The rate there is 65 RMB per person per night in a room for four. There are other sleeping situations available, but the rates for the rest of those are on their website.
The unfortunate thing about cutting out Suzhou and Hangzhou is that it's cutting out the more photogenic places in the Shanghai area. That is, if they're wanting to see more rustic scenery. There are some day-trips you all could take to Zhouzhuang, Tongli, Songjiang, Sheshan, and Jiading. As for within the city limits, the Bund is a good place to start, and a one-hour cruise down the river alongside the Bund is available.
As for elsewhere in China, you've got some pretty nice places picked out, but it all depends on what your group is looking forward to seeing. It is true that the typical airfare to these places might cost over 1000 RMB, but for cheaper flights, prices might go down around, during, or after the national labor break from May 1 to 7. It might be a bit late for you all, but you guys might be able to squeeze in a last venture in a different city in China.
There's also the option of taking the train. It'd take more time to get to places of course, but it saves a lot of money and more places are available to you. If you opt for taking the train, then the money saved might be applicable towards a stay in Shanghai that wouldn't require them to live in a dorm-like situation.
I'm sorry but you must've misinterpreted what I meant. Let me clarify.
We're all studying in Shanghai and don't need recommendations for anywhere to stay in Shanghai.
Run-of-the-mill weekend destinations like the water villages, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing have been done to death and that's why we don't need/want to go to those places. Neither are we looking to sightsee in Shanghai city itself.
If you'd read my original post more carefully, I've specified that our trip would take place sometime in March/April, not the 1st week of May nor anytime after that.
I've checked out train schedules very thoroughly and they're not realistic for most of the destinations I've listed above. Thus the reason for considering flights.
Also, I'm very familiar with downtown Shanghai and the hostel that you've named is definitely NOT in a convenient location re sightseeing.
I also meant that a budget of less than 1000 RMB (preferably just a few hundred RMB at most, ha!) for the entire weekend, not just the transport.
In any case, still thanks very much for the answer and you've given me something to think about too.