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Questions about China

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1. Posted by vrsmith (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


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 – does anyone have any experience with them? It appears that 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.

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5656 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Actually, I think it is not necessary to book everything before you start travelling.
I am going to china later this year as well, and have been doing some research, also about some places you want to visit.
I have been to Beijing though, and I would say that 5 days is a nice amount of time, but if you want to see something more of the country, make it 3-4 days and 2 in Xian.
As your total trip is about 12-13 days, and you want to see all those places, it would not make any sense to be in Beijing for 5 days in my humble opinion. you need some travelling days as well, and although the occasional flight might be wise, it's not real fun.
You can take a trip from yichang to chongqing in about 3 days (or 11 hours by high speed hydrofoil) and travel from Chongqing to Guangzhou by train or plane again. Day trips are possible but you won't see all three gorges I guess. You can see the Dam and one gorge, it's about 40 km from Yichang.
By the way, don't know but aren't there any flights from Xian to Yichang instead of Wuhan? From Wuhan it's about 3,5-4 hours by bus to yichang (more so by train).
Als from Guangzhou there is a high speed ferry to Hongkong which might be nicer than the train through a concrete jungle.

Have fun! Michael

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 4, 2007, at 7:59 AM by Utrecht ]

3. Posted by vrsmith (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Michael,

Thanks for replying.

There are no flights that I can find from Xi'an to Yichang. I am starting to think that we should fly from Xi'an to Chongqing and take one of the cruises to Yichang. Anybody have any suggestions on a cruise from Chongqing to Yichang that is good quality but not expensive?

That's an excellent tip about the ferry to Hong Kong. I didn't even think of taking a ferry. It definitely sounds more interesting.


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