My wife, sister, and I are planning to travel to China starting in March-24-2007 and ending April-5-2007 in Hong Kong. I am hoping that maybe someone can comment on our proposed itinerary and give me some tips.
Our proposed itinerary is:
Beijing (5 days)
Xi’an (3 days)
Yichang (2 days)
Hong Kong (2 days)
We looked into an organized tour but the prices were very expensive so I am planning to book hotels and transportation myself and then arrange tours locally when we arrive. Is this a reasonable plan? Are the tours less expensive if booked locally?
We are planning to travel from Beijing to Xi’an by overnight train with a soft-sleeper berth. Are the trains generally clean? We did the same in Vietnam and other than the washroom, which was messy, it was very comfortable. Will I be able to purchase train tickets when I arrive in Beijing or should I purchase them ahead of time?
From Xi’an to Yichang we will also take an overnight train with a soft-sleeper berth or we may fly to Wuhan. Can I purchase the train tickets at the same time as I purchase the Beijing to Xi’an tickets? What would be the best way to get from Wuhan to Yichang?
Are there day tours of the Yangtze River and the Three Gorges Dam? We would rather not spend 3 days on a cruise boat. Any thoughts or ideas about this would be appreciated.
From Yichang we are planning to fly to Guangzhou and then take a train to Hong Kong. What is the best train to take from Guangzhou to Hong Kong? Are airplane tickets electronic in China or do we need paper tickets?
I am planning to book tickets through ctrip.com – does anyone have any experience with them? It appears that asiarooms.com has the best hotel rates – does anyone have experience with them?
We have not planned any time Guangzhou but I have read that the food there is very good so perhaps we should stay for one day.
Any suggestions of sites we should see in each of Beijing, Xi’an, Yichang, Hong Kong? Should we hire a local guide or go on tours arranged through the hotel we are staying at?
Thank-you. Victor Smith.