My husband and I are going to travel by train from Hong Kong to Beijing and then on to Shanghai and then back to Hong Kong. We are hoping to spend about 10 days in Beijing and about 8 days in Shanghai. Can anyone help regarding booking stand alone tours etc. Many thanks. Ann
Are you looking for help in booking tours in these cities, or for the train journeys for each leg?
I am going to Beijing next month with my parents (elderly in the view of the Chinese) and have hired a car to take us to Mutianyu to see the Great Wall. There are a number of car hire companies in SH and BJ who can help you with day tours, and if you want provide a guide. I can give you some recommendations if you like.
I am looking to book tours in each city. It would be great to hire a car with a guide. I would really appreciate your recommendations. Many thanks.
I would consider trying to book your train tickets well ahead of time or perhaps other options if you are planning on travelling directly from Hong Kong to Beijing by train. I attempted the reverse journey in August and found that the trains run only once every 3 days and rarely have any seat/beds available for up to a month.
This wasn't the worst outcome because I found the south of China much nicer than the north and I would have missed it if I had taken the train direct
Hong Kong to Guangzhou to Wuhan to Beijing is a pretty easy route to take and the trains run between all the destinations several times daily.
As for the booking tours, its really easy to get around to everything on your own in China (providing you take 10 minutes to translate where you want to go into written chinese or at least Pinyin on google translate (don't really need to worry about this where your going but else where in China if you choose to stop off between HK and Beijing)), especially in Beijing and Shanghai, the underground/metro services are amongst the best I've seen in the world; and Mutianyu (most popular stretch of the great wall) is only about $5 and 1 hours away from the city by local bus then taxi.
If you are looking for a tour/guide though, as an earlier poster has suggested, you could find an english speaking taxi driver and hire him for the day to take you round, shouldn't cost too much at all!
I hope you have an amazing time in China!!
Have you considered flying one way from Hong Kong up to Beijing? It's a long way between the two cities (about 24 hours) and you'll save a lot of time by flying. You may find it's not that much more expensive than the soft sleeper on a train.
I definitely do recommend taking the train one way though, as I think the experience of trains in China is wonderful.
Also, why 10 whole days in Beijing and 8 in Shanghai? Now, I do think both are interesting cities and especially Beijing has iconic sites that are essential on a trip to China. But 18 days dedicated to only two cities? In my opinion, neither are highlights of the country and it would be such a shame to not make it out to the countryside. Personally, I feel that 4 days for Beijing, and 3 days for Shanghai are plenty. That leaves you 10-11 days to see some of the real highlights of China.
Have you looked into Guilin and Yangshuo? It may be one of the most stunning corners of the world, and very conveniently fits into a train trip between Shanghai and Hong Kong (though still very long journeys).
I can't help you with local tours. I find Chinese cities pretty easy to navigate on your own.