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China-Thailand Itinerary, Advice or thoughts?

Travel Forums Asia China-Thailand Itinerary, Advice or thoughts?

1. Posted by Gartt (Full Member 31 posts) 8y

Hi guys, I wonder if you could have a look over my plans for a trip to China then to Thailand. This is my first trip on this kind of scale and was looking for some advice on it to make sre im not being insanely over-ambitious.

I should probably point out its a city to city type of trip, due to this being my first and having my girlfriend with me, so im not heading off the beaten track very much. But any recommendations for sites in the areas Im going through would be welcome, especially Thailand.

The trip is going to be around 10-11 weeks in total, leaving mid-Feb 09, with 7-8 weeks planned to travel south through China from Beijing and hopping on a flight from HK to BKK with the rest of the trip spent there. Sooo...

- Spending 6 days in Beijing to start which includes a day exploring the city, a day at the forbidden palace and a day at the summer palace also with an excursion one day to the Wall (possibly Badaling).
- Travelling to Datong for the Yungang Grottoes
- Then onto Pingyao for a couple of days
- To Zhengzhou and onto the Shaolin Temple
- To Xi'an and inevitably the Terracotta Army
- Xi'an to Chengdu
- Chengdu to Wolong for the pandas (if of course everything has settled after the Earthquake tragedy)
- To Leshan
- and then onto Emei Shan for a couple of days trekking. Then back to Chengdu.
- Chengdu to Chongqing for the Yangtze Cruise
- Finishing at Wuhan
- Nanjing --> Suzhou ---> Shanghai
- A few days in Shanghai before travelling down the coastline before ending up in Hong Kong. (At this point I was also considering a detour to Guilin and the Li River before Hong Kong)
- A few days in Hong Kong before a flight into Bangkok

One thing that has been bothering me is that I really want to visit Yunnan as there are a fair few places Id like to see in the province, like Lijiang but im struggling to find a place in the trip for it. Possibly after Chengdu maybe but time and distance may play in as a factor against it.

I havent made a specific plan as of yet for Thailand, as all I really want to do visit the Islands, explore the seaboard and the Andaman Coast, I have no desire to go trekking through Jungles. One thing I have been considering though is crossing over into Cambodia to visit Angkor.

Thanks in advance for any replies, advice and help :)

2. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 8y

Your trip to China sounds pretty good. I would skip Suzhou, i wasn't super impressed with it. Angkor is a definite, one of the coolest places on the planet. If you don't want to brave the bus then just get some cheap flights from BKK. If you want to do Yunnan, then i would cut down your time in Shanxi and Shaanxi province, maybe only do Xi'an and Pingyao. Although i have heard some of the grottos are pretty cool. I have never been to Shaolin but many of my friends, including chinese friends, thought it was super touristy. Maybe catch a flight from Shanghai to Kunming or all the way to Lijiang? Another really cool trip from Shanghai is Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), some really good hiking out there.

3. Posted by Gartt (Full Member 31 posts) 8y

Thanks for the reply. Ive heard that Shaolin is kind of a tourist trap but for some reason I still want to see it, I think its the Martial Arts fan in me, Shanxi could probably but cut out but the grottoes do look pretty cool.
Flights from Shanghai into Kunming or Lijiang are looking too pricey for my budget, hitting around the £200 mark, on Opodo. Any recommendations for booking internal flights, any websites?

4. Posted by Lavafalls (Travel Guru 155 posts) 8y

www.elong.net i used them for years and they are great. Elong is a very good resource for buying plane tickets. Ctrip is also good. Just do a google search Ctrip.

Post 5 was removed by a moderator
6. Posted by aljensen (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y

Do you have any plans to see any of the famous bridges in Hebei province? The Chinese built some miracles of engineering back in the day that are still standing. What about the famous views at Guilin?

Do you know how to speak Chinese? (By Chinese I mean Mandarin). When traveling it can really help you, as the level of English in China is low, compared to a lot of places I have been to (outside of the major cities). You might want to look at www.chinesepod.com or www.zhongwenred.com.

Of course, if you already speak Mandarin then never mind . I just wanted to say that it isn't that hard, you can communicate in a sort of Mandarin pidgin and they will be able to understand you - I've found the spoken language to be easier than French or Spanish is for an English speaker. And in the Cantonese speaking areas they will be using Mandarin as a lingua franca themselves....

Oh yeah, and *ahem* bring some medicine for intestinal troubles.