Hello all! I'm planning a 14 day trip in June 2012 to China. I have never been to Asia, so I had to research a lot of places to figure out how I could get the most out of my 14 days in China. I looked up mostly websites that specialize in packages and mimicked their itineraries, modifying a few things.
The places I choose are beijing -> xian -> guilin -> ?? -> shanghai
I plan on flying to Beijing and using a train and bus to transport to every destination until I arrive in Shanghai where I will fly back home.
The activities I plan on doing are:
3 days in Beijing: Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, the Great Wall, Ming Tomb, Tiananmen Square, Hutong, Lama Temple, Beihai Park, Beijing Capital Museum, Yashow Market etc
3 days in Xian:Day 01: highlight city tour of Shaanxi Provincial History Museum, Xian Ancient City Wall, The Bell Tower and Forest of Stone Steles Museum
Day 02: east excursion to the Terra-cotta Warriors and Banpo Museum ( 30km away from Xian City)
Day 03: west excursion to Famen Temple and Qianling Tomb ( 85km away from Xian City )
3 days in Guilin: Day 01: highlight city of the Reed Flute Cave, Elephant Trunk Hill, Seven Star Park and Fubo Hill
Day 02: Full day Li River Cruising and Yangshuo tour
Day 03: Full day excursion to Longsheng
2 days in ??
3 days in Shanghai: Day 01: highlight city tour of Visit Shanghai Museum, Yuyuan Garden & Bazaar, The Bund, Shanghai's new zone - Pudong ( east of Huangpu River ) and Shanghai Oriental Pearl TV Tower
Day 02: visit Jade Temple, the Shanghai Children's Palace, Xintiandi, the Huang Pu River
I will try to sleep as much as possible on the train and stay in youth hostels.
Does this look like an OK itinerary for starters? Any modifications I should make? Is the time I have listed next to each city sufficient or should I increase/decrease time spent in a location? What should I do between Guilin and Shanghai? I heard there's a cruise offered in Yangtze.
I chose these places because they're close together and cover a lot of main attractions. When I'm more comfortable, I'll plan another trip and try to go to the cities near western china.
Roughly, how much am I looking to spend to fly from Canada to China, visit everything including housing and food and flying back to Canada? I priced plane tickets and they came out to 1,300 for a round trip.
OR if someone could recommend me a good itinerary that offers lots of culture and scenery that can be done in 14 days without being rushed. the top one seems sort of..used by many.. and i don't necessarily want to be just another tourist following a heard of other tourists with a camera.
All those places you mentioned are indeed very nice and I am sure you would enjoy them much. However, they are very far away and the distances you would need to cover are enormous, especially if you are planning to travel by train and bus. You would need to fly to each destination to have just enough (but still very little time) to spend at each place.
This route - complemented by Yangzhe tour - would be some of the most common routes.
If I were you, I would probably just concentrate on a small region, covering max 2 or 3 neighbouring provinces.
China is extremely diverse, each region has it own unique character.
Some of the regions/routes I would recommend and possible in two weeks:
South (subtropical to mountains, ancient towns, villages):
- Guanxi (Yangshou, Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces) - Yunnan (Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Tiger Leaping Gorge)
- Yunnan-Sichuan (route from Yunnan along Tibetan-Sichuan Highway to Sichuan)
- Guanxi (same)-Guizhou (ancient villages)-Hunan (Fenghuang, Zhangjiajie)
East coast (developed cities and some rural areas and mountains):
- Shanghai (+Yellow mountain in Anhui)-Zhejiang (village near Wenzhou)-Fujian (Mont Wuyi, Xian, Earth houses)
North (historical journey):
- Beijing - Shanxi - Shaanxi
Wild West (high altitude, deserts):
- Gansu-Inner Mongolia-Xinjiang
In any case, what I would recommend is to do some reading/check photos on some of the areas and decide which area attracts you the most. The best is to mix developed/big cities and rural areas and if you like nature - treks. And try to link those dots together.
For train schedules:
Buses: no website, but guidebooks give good info on schedules and network is extensive everywhere with regular services.
Flights: elong.com or ctrip.com
Useful for getting around: Lonely Planet book (city maps, names in chinese, short phrase book), and (bilingual) map that you can buy at any local bookstore.
See recent post that covers a very nice route: http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=82365
If you decide on your route, just let me know - I am happy to give more detailed tips and info.
One more thing: China is an amazing country and with a lot more to offer than any guidebook or traveller could tell you. Sometimes, the most enjoyable experience can be found that nobody knows or have been to. You can travel weeks without even seeing a single tourist or can follow a route where you will see chinese tourists and foreigners all the time. Don't be afraid of planning your route through unknown cities, because probably those moments will be the most memorable.
Enjoy your trip to China.
i think i like guanxi to yunnan the most at first glance. would it be possible to add beijing to the last stop to see the great sites in beijing? i'd like to see the terracotta warriors, great wall (non tourist spot), tiananmen square, etc in beijing area.
If i chose guanxi to yunnan, what traveling should i do between and what sites should i make an effort to see?
sorry about being questiony, i'd just like to have it planned by september 30 so i can book my air tickets.
Hi Hoozah, may I make a little modification on your itinerary , perhaps you can go follow this way:
1. beijing 3days
2. xian 3days
3. guilin 3days
4. xiamen 2days
5. shanghai 1-2days
a. Thers's no cruise from guilin to shanghai.
b. you'd better take airplane between each spot to avoid the rush.
Hi Hoozah, it is me agian.
If you would like to visit yunnan province, what you can do is taking airline to Kunming from finish in guilin. There is a sunny&old city called Dali , which is 300Km far from Kunming, it will take 6hours on getting dali by long distance bus. you would find a lot of western travellers enjoying their time there...
Then your route could be:
1. Beijing 3days
2. Xian 2days
3. Guilin 3days
4. Kunming-Dali 3days
5. Shanghai 1-2day
But I am afraid that your time will be quite rush if you want go to yunnan, because China is too big to visit such places in 14days.
hmmmmm.....sounds great. but do you think you can visit all the places in only 14 days! as far as I know, there are lots of things to visit there.
best of luck and a safe journey
Apologies for the late response. I would just concentrate on Guanxi-Yunnan. You can feel free skipping those terracotta warriors...
What I have seen and can confirm are awesome:
- Yanghsou and bicycle trip around
- Dragon's Backbone Rice Terraces
- Tiger Leaping Gorge
I think this route will be perfect for a two week trip.
It would make sense to add Beijing only in case, you are flying in/out through the city.
Great sites in Beijing: hutong area near ho hai (lake), sites around tianmen square, summer palace.
I keep forgetting what the name of the great wall section is that you can do solo and still adventurous. I will find it out for you and let you know (just pls send me a reminder...).
Have a nice trip in China!
guanxi to yunnan sounds so nice :D
what is the best way to get here? With beijing it's easy because you just fly there, but it's so far from either places, so what airport is recommended?