My parents and I are planning a trip to China for 15 to 20 days. The cities we would like to visit are Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou; any other suggestions will be well received.
Could anyone help me with information about the country in general. We are trying to figure out if it is better to take ground transportation (train, bus) or flights to move from one city to another. We don't speak the language at all. Will you recommend a tour or travelling under on our own pace?? What is the regular rate of a hotel room?? Which sightseing are the most important? any comment or recomendation will be helpful!
We offer personal helpers in Beijing and Shanghai
(also in Guangzhou soon). www.personalchinahelper.com
University students will help you in any way that you need so you can go at your own pace.
I would suggest travelling by Train From Shanghai to Beijing and Beijing to Xian do a day tour/2 day (from your hotel) in Xian and fly to HongKong (miss-out Guangzhou).
Budget determines most things usually, and if you want to see that much in 2-3 weeks, then flying will be the best option - if you can afford it. You're also more likely to find someone who speaks english in an airport than a bus station.
But if you're happy-go-lucky and used to budget travel, you might have more of an adventure on the trains.
I spent 7 weeks in China last year, could easily have spent another 7. I would personally skip Xian, and head southwest, to Dali or Lijiang, Yangshuo, kunming, chengdu - that are of the country is really nice. I wasn't too enamoured with Shanghai, but perhaps thats cos it was the first place we visited - it took us around a week or so to get used to the culture shock. Would defo recommend hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Lijiang). Yangshuo is beatiful to cycle around and see the huge limestone rocks everywhere. trains are fast and cheap, although planes are faster and not much more expensive. the overnight soft sleeper trains are very comfy indeed. some journeys are way over 24 hours though, so flying makes a lot of sense. www.elong.com i think is one of the cheap flight sites, in english. you will need a mobile fone to order though as they ring you back for some reason! I'd recommend doing it on your own, skip the giant tours. oh and don't do the badaling section of the great wall - do the 10km Jinshanling - simatai section.
Good luck, and feel free to ask more questions. hope you like it as much as we did.