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Old 02-10-2011, 12:57 PM
 
9,965 posts, read 16,193,037 times
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So I'm planning on taking a trip to Hong Kong with my girlfriend because of a work/travel opportunity next month(late March-early April). We should have about 5-6 days in Hong Kong--however we have the opportunity to travel somewhere else in the region for an additional week.

Neither of us have been to mainland China before--so we're considering a few places that would be easy to add to our itinerary. We'd like to get a sense of China, not just the large cities, but also see some of the surrounding landscape(natural attractions like mountains or beaches) and more traditional villages or smaller historic cities.

The options we are considering are:

Beijing-Since we will probably have to fly to Beijing(from Seattle) anyways to get to Hong Kong we thought about seeing Beijing. I know of the big historic sights to see here, but are there good opportunities to visit other cool villages or attractions outside of Beijing?

or
Shanghai-Another workable option for us...I know Hangzhou or Suzhou would be an easy trip from here as well.

or
Guilin or Guizhou-Either of these two seem like they'd doable with a flight or overnight train from Hong Kong or Guangzhou. I know Guilin seems a little more touristy and Guizhou is a little more remote. Are these worth 5-7 days to explore?

Other options we've considered would be going to explore Yunnan(Dali, Lijiang, etc.) or going to Chengdu and Sichuan or even Hainan. I know China is a large country, that's why we'd like to focus on area of the country besides Hong Kong. We've also considered travelling overland from Hong Kong around Guangdong and Fujian provinces--but I'm not sure if those areas would be worth it or not for first time vistors to China.

Any experienced Chinese travellers or residents have any good advice for us? I'm open to hear some good suggestions if any one has some...
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Old 02-10-2011, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Houston, Tx
3,644 posts, read 5,958,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
So I'm planning on taking a trip to Hong Kong with my girlfriend because of a work/travel opportunity next month(late March-early April). We should have about 5-6 days in Hong Kong--however we have the opportunity to travel somewhere else in the region for an additional week.

or
Guilin or Guizhou-Either of these two seem like they'd doable with a flight or overnight train from Hong Kong or Guangzhou. I know Guilin seems a little more touristy and Guizhou is a little more remote. Are these worth 5-7 days to explore?

Other options we've considered would be going to explore Yunnan(Dali, Lijiang, etc.) or going to Chengdu and Sichuan or even Hainan. I know China is a large country, that's why we'd like to focus on area of the country besides Hong Kong. We've also considered travelling overland from Hong Kong around Guangdong and Fujian provinces--but I'm not sure if those areas would be worth it or not for first time vistors to China.

Any experienced Chinese travellers or residents have any good advice for us? I'm open to hear some good suggestions if any one has some...
Guilin is beautiful. It is a river touristy area but there are also small villiages that are nice to see in that area as well. Start up at XingPing and stay there for a day or two, hiking, mountain climbing, and biking are all great activities I enjoyed there. Stay with a local family if you can. That is fun. You can also see the mountain range that's pictured on the back of the Chinese 20 yuan bill there. Then take a river cruise down the river to Yangshuo. It's a larger town and mostly touristy but still fun.

Chengdu is nice but its really just a city. It's famous for its beautiful girls and there is some truth to that but I guess you wouldn't be interested in that since you will be with your girlfriend.

If you go to Guilin be sure to post your pictures here. I never get tired of looking at that scenery.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 10,556,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezus View Post
Beijing-Since we will probably have to fly to Beijing(from Seattle) anyways to get to Hong Kong we thought about seeing Beijing. I know of the big historic sights to see here, but are there good opportunities to visit other cool villages or attractions outside of Beijing?
It's the remote center of the Chinese universe and quite a city to see. Beware the intense pollution and unfriendly locals. Beijing is probably the tout capitol of China, so be prepared for scams.

That said, there is easily 3 weeks worth of sightseeing to do in the immediate area. The Great Wall is a day trip. Forbidden city, "night market", olympic complex, summer palace, etc. Xi'an and Shanghai are an overnight train away. Trains are no fun, though. Well, maybe if you shell out for first class. My vote to experience China would be Beijing.

Quote:
or
Shanghai-Another workable option for us...I know Hangzhou or Suzhou would be an easy trip from here as well.
Pass. HK is more fun and nicer than Shanghai, but otherwise about the same. Do you mean Huang-shan the mountain? Skip it. Usually cloudy or rainy.

Quote:
or
Guilin or Guizhou-Either of these two seem like they'd doable with a flight or overnight train from Hong Kong or Guangzhou. I know Guilin seems a little more touristy and Guizhou is a little more remote. Are these worth 5-7 days to explore?
Try to do Guilin on your own can easily kill 4-5 days of biking and trying to figure out local busses. Do you speak/read Chinese? The dragon's backbone is worth visiting and/or staying. Probably moreso than the famous Karsts and the river. Skip any cave or temple tours unless you want to experience total Chinese Kitch. Guilin is really far from everywhere, though. DO NOT take the K-train from Guilin to Kunming. We've ridden on a LOT of sh--ty trains/busses/autoricks, but that one was the WORST.

Quote:
Other options we've considered would be going to explore Yunnan(Dali, Lijiang, etc.)
Kitchy but fun. Blue skies. We got to Shangri-La just in time to see a backhoe pull down the last wall of a 600-year-old hilltop monastery so they could rebuild a nice shiny new tourist trap replica in it's place.

Quote:
or going to Chengdu
Why? You like tea and earwax-cleaning? Not much else there for tourists.

Quote:
and Sichuan
HOTPOT!

Quote:
Any experienced Chinese travellers or residents have any good advice for us? I'm open to hear some good suggestions if any one has some...
Try juzhaigo (sp?) The gorge filled with waterfalls and lakes. Absolutely incredible. Actually worth the cost of getting there/in. Long journey to get there, but if you're rich you can fly in and out using the local airport.

If you want a real challenge--and it's not still closed to foreigners--try Kashi / Kashgar in faaaar Western China. Enjoy the Sunday market, then hire a car to drive you up to lake Kerakul (I think). Some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. Stay in the cheap yurts just down the road from the concrete ones (the first ones you see on the way in). Well, if you don't speak Chinese, you'll stay where your driver takes you, but try to stay there. The old lady who owns the place makes great noodles. Try not to be too freaked out by the fact that she rinses them with the same lake water that everybody's (including the camels and sheep) been p--sing and sh--ting in.
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Earth
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I'd second Beijing and X'ian was great, not the city, but the Terracotta Army. Fascinating!

If you're going to the Great Wall, try to get to one of the less crowded sections.
Definitely attend the Chinese Circus. It's not a circus at all but acrobats that are phenomenal. Touristy but impressive.

Shanghai is okay, but nothing spectacular.
They seem to be tearing down more of the older areas and replacing them with sky scrapers. If you do go, there's a great old town with a kitschy teahouse in the center of a lake. There are also great dumplings on the second floor of one of the buildings in that area, just follow the crowds at lunchtime. Outside of the old town there are numerous stores where you can buy 1 or 2 yuan items that you'll see in US dollar stores. There is also a street filled with tea vendors. They sell flowering jasmine very inexpensively. The Bund is okay for brunch if you're at a restaurant atop one of the buildings. The museum was fun; the top floor is dedicated to ethnic groups.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:41 PM
 
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For one city to choose in China I'd recommend Beijing every time for most bang/buck. Lots of history and culture, and yes there are mountains near it. Nice side trip out of town (maybe with an overnight stay) go to one of the less touristy areas of the Great Wall.
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:59 PM
 
Location: A circle of Hell so insidious, infernal and odious, Dante dared not map it
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I know these suggestions aren't on your list, but check out the ancient city of Fenghuang.
fenghuang town - Google Search

Maybe you could look into Lhasa too. I haven't been, but that city is definitely on my "must see" list.

While in Hong Kong you could also take a ferry to Macau.
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Old 02-10-2011, 10:11 PM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
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Is the Great Wall really all that touristy?

When we went to see it, it was kinda deserted. We got up late that day in Beijing, wandered around, had some tea and a snack, then made the walk/metro/walk trek to the right bus station. We just hopped a local bus that made a stop at one of the supposedly most touristy sections of the wall. We climbed the wall, walked around, took a bunch of photos, and left on a later bus. There weren't many people around (and zero Westerners) at all. The few people we bumped into all wanted to have their picture taken with me. Haha.

Did we just luck out, or does everybody arrive on the tourist buses in a giant horde? The vendors at the wall were giving us funny "what are you doing here now?" looks, so I'm guessing that not many people take the local bus. Nobody got off but us, and only a few people hopped on with us when we left.

The bus stops at a big polytechnic university and rolls past an abandoned theme park. It's a pretty cool ride.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:47 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX - Displaced Michigander
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Guilin for sure! It is really a gorgeous area, take a river cruise if you can.
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Old 02-11-2011, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
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Bejing for sure if you have the time. Some sights to see are The Fordidden City and Tianamen Square which are next to each other, then you'll want to travel out to the Great Wall for sure. There is a lot to do and see in and around Bejing. We found the people to be friendly and helpful. You'll also be surprised to see how much US influence is being bestowed upon the area.
Here is a helpful sightseeing tourist sight site:
Beijing Travel Tips - Things to See and Do in Beijing, Beijing Guide
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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definitely Shanghai. I just there last summer for a few weeks. Definitely a lot to see and a lot to do.
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