Need help on dream trip to china
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Feb 17, 2012 8:47 AM Last Post By: jimtaylor
Jan 16, 2012 9:18 PM
Need help on dream trip to chinahello all :) my boyfriend and i want to plan a trip to china. we have never been before and need a lot of help. we need to know what to do and where to stay. i have so many questions. any info and tips you can offer will help greatly. our top points of interest are the great wall, and putting a paddlock on huangshan yellow mountains, so info on that would really be appreciated. we really want to see some chinese architect at its best so what are the best temples or palaces or places to go to do that? any cool monisteries in the mountains or on cliffs that we can visit? we need to know your favorite points of interest in order for us to have the dream trip to china.
Where should we stay, we aren't on a low budget, but aren't rich by any means. we want to stay in places that make you feel like you are in china and have great views.
When is the best time to go?
Thanks for all your help
Jan 16, 2012 10:41 PM
1If the Great Wall is your first point of interest than you should definitely go to Beijing, because you can also take in some other famous Chinese attractions like the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Kung Fun show and a lot more.
Working for a travel agency in China, I can tell you that the most popular spots for foreigners when they visit China are Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, Xi'an, Hangzhou and Hong Kong. There some really cool things to see in these places. Some other great places that get good feedback are Yunnan and Huangshan (Tiger leaping gorge)
The high travel season in China is in two parts firstly April/May and Oct/Sep. Jan/Feb is the low season but it is also Chinese New Year when every Chinese person is on the move in China so if you do not want to fight the crowds it is probably best to avoid these times. Although, experiencing Chinese New Year in China would help make a dream China trip.
Jan 17, 2012 4:02 AM
2How much time do you have for your trip? When you go to the great wall, i recommend going to a section other than badaling. Badaling is the most crowded and restored section of the wall. Other sections are generally less crowded and have more original consturction.
About half a day from Beijing, near datong, is a Hanging Temple that sounds like you might enjoy. In Beijing, the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City, and Llama Temple are all worth seeing.
If you'll be in Huang Shan, you might also go to Suzhou nearby, which has some nice gardens and traditional Chinese architecture.
I think you'll need to settle on your itinerary before getting into a discussion about where to stay. At Huangshan, I recommend staying on the top of the mountain. It's expensive, but gives you more time to hike around up there and get away from the crowds.
Jan 17, 2012 7:24 AM
3Hi there I was in china a few months ago. Did the usual in Beijing as a longwaygone suggests and I did the Olympic village which was also very interesting. Would also recommend the Lama temple and its very easy to reach by subway as is the olympic village. Check out maos mausoleum open from 8-12pm - its kind of quirky and very popular with the chinese who still hold him in great esteem. From Beijing I headed for Shanghai. The Bund is one of its most famous streets and from here you can look across the river and see the amazing shanghai skyline including the oriental pearl tower. You can also visit Longhua temple which is stunning and the jade temple ( i didnt make it to that one). From there i flew to guilin which is scenically one of the most stunning cities in china. Top attractions river rafting, a day trip to the terraced rice fields and the reed flute caves and elephant trunk hill which are both in guilin. Also worth visiting is nearby Yangshuo. I also went to chengdu famous for pandas and from here I went to Urumuqi and kashgar which are both in Xinjiang and almost 100% moslem. If you are interested in architecture these two places are gems. There are some stunning mosques. Try and see Turpan if you are in that part of china. Its a bit spread out so see if you can get a tour. I ended up with a chinese tour but it didnt ruin the day and I saw loads. Kashgar is a must on a sunday when they have the livestock market. I also went to Xian which has the terracottas but aside from that both the bell and drum tower are amazing as it the city walls and they have some really nice pagodas. China has loads to offer so it can be hard making your mind up. I was very impressed with everything I saw. Istayed mostly in hostels. They are usually great value and most of them have private rooms. You will also meet loads of people who can give you ideas.
have a great trip wherever you decide.
Jan 17, 2012 2:07 PM
4wow you guys are awesome thanks so much for all the info! keep it comming we will probably spend about 2 weeks max in china if that helps. has anyone left a paddlock on huangshan yellow mountain? we really arent interested in mondern city like architecture, more of the classic chinese temple/palace like sites rich in chinese culture :)
Jan 17, 2012 4:51 PM
5Note that a lot of traditional architecture was seriously damaged during the cultural revolution, and Chinese renovation methods can be more like re-building - Datong for example.
Anyway, 2 weeks is not long. Spend 4 nights in Beijing and see the main sights and the Great Wall.
Then if you want a tight schedule, go to Pingyao for a couple of nights (small old town; also has 'family compounds' nearby) and then maybe Xi'an (terracotta warriors). Then fly to Tunxi for Huangshan. Spend a night on the mountain summit, and a couple of nights nearby - visit villages such as Tunxi and Xidi for more of the architecture that you will probably like.
Where are you exiting China? Shanghai is kind of nearby Huangshan - so you could fly out from there perhaps.
Jan 17, 2012 5:36 PM
6OK, "huangshan yellow mountains" Huang means Yellow and Shan means Mountain, no need to add yellow or mountain after it, just say "Huangshan".
There is some good advice above and some weird. I suggest that you use the web and research as much about China as you can. China is huge and you won't see all of it, even if you spent 6 months there.
I also recommend that you get down to your nearest travel agent and pick up some brochures about China. I'm not suggesting that you use any particular travel agent, or even use an agent (You can do all of this on your own if you are slightly adventurous), this is a good way to get an idea of what tour companies can fit into a certain number of days, and the travel times between destinations. Jenny Wu’s is a one.
You must see the wall. There are several sections nearby Beijing, and a great section 3 hours east. I recommend the Badaling section. It is fully restored, and the easiest and quickest to get to. One poster above said it is crowded and intimated that other sections aren’t. This is rubbish as all sections of The Wall are crowded.
There are many things to see and do. Apart from The Wall, there are no real “Must do’s”, but I have a few suggestions. Of course, your own personal requirements will determine what is of more value to you.
The Wall, Tiananmen Square, The Forbidden City, The Ancient Observatory, Wangfujing, The Hong Qiao (Red or Pearl) market, The Old and then the New Summer Palace, Badachu, The Botanical Gardens, The Lama temple, Many Restaurants, including duck restaurants, (Avoid the Zoo), and of course food.
Qingdao: beaches, German heritage, brewery.
Shanghai: Not a lot, too westernised, but close by to Suzhou, Tong Li, Hangzhou which are all worth a looksee.
Yangshuo: worth 4 to 5 days. Stunningly beautiful Karst and river scenery. Up the road is Guilin not much to see and do that is not in Yangshuo, but the best noodles in China are in Guilin. Do not take the river cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo or vice versa. It is a complete waste of money.
Fromm Guilin, however, you can get to the Long Ji or Ping An Rice Terraces, or the Hot Springs. The Terraces and Springs are just out of Longsheng. I like Longsheng.
Guangzhou: Not a lot for the tourist, but nice to live in. There are some nice parks, and Guangzhou is very handy to Macau and Hong Kong. Note, that if you visit Macau or Hong Kong mid trip, then you need another China visa to re-enter China.
Kunming: temples, Museums, and parks.
Xi’an: is famous for the Terracotta Warriors, but also has pagodas, temples, a mausoleum or two, and a stone stele museum. Worth a night or two.
Pingyao: for the history.
Now the above aren’t in any particular order, although, travelling around China it would be sensible to place nearby attractions next to each other on your itinerary. I mean here, only to give you an idea. There are many more locations in China worth a look see.
Let us know what you think, and help us to narrow down your trip.
Jan 17, 2012 11:15 PM
7Chinese architecture these days is heavily based on concrete and glass. You'll learn that lesson soon enough... If you want traditional architecture, you'd need to get outside the major cities.
In Pingyao, there is a nice temple in the suburbs - don't miss that. It is not heavily restored the way drumbrake describes, and a couple of locals protected it from the Cultural Revolution mobs.
Jan 17, 2012 11:45 PM
8If you've only got two weeks and Beijing and Huangshan are your must sees, then you're not going to have time to wander all over China. Assuming traditional Chinese architecture is your main interest, I'd suggest heading to Chengde as a side trip from Beijing, then stopping at Qufu on your way south to Huangshan. From Huangshan you can easily finish in Hangzhou. Note that if you're really into mountains Taishan is just a short hop from Qufu.
Jan 18, 2012 3:43 AM
Jan 18, 2012 12:03 PM
Jan 21, 2012 8:51 AM
Jan 22, 2012 9:35 AM
12I lived in Beijing for a couple of years, and have a couple of specific recommendations:
- Avoid Badaling for the Great Wall - the best are either Simatai (for the Wall on steep, high mountains, with far less tourists than Badaling).
- Go to Silver Mountain & Pagoda Forest - this was amazing because it is one of the few places in China I ever managed to go where you can find an impressive temple, for great photos, where there are barely any tourists - me and my 3 friends were literally the only people that day. Anyone who has been to China will know that it is nigh on impossible to find places of such beauty without absolute hoards of tourists!
Just look it up on Google, but we arranged our own taxi out there a few times and there was never anyone there besides us.
- Get a phrase book - we had the best one I have come across as it taught some grammar too, called 'The Most Basic Chinese - All you need to know to get by', but it was only available in print in certain places in China or as an amazon ebook.
- My personal favourite places in Beijing were the Drum Tower, where they put on a short performance every half hour on the big drums - my hair would genuinely stand on end when I would watch it. The other is Jingshan Park, which almost anyone who comes to Beijing will naturally visit, since it overlooks the Forbidden City.
- Restaurants - The best 2 Chinese restaurants, as considered by myself and ALL the other expats who lived in Beijing were named Hua Jia Yi Yuan (there are several branches of this one, but there is a really impressive one set inside a massive courtyard at 235 Dongzhimen Nei - ask at your hotel how to get there - it is by far the best Beijing Duck in the city, as well as probably the best restaurant full stop. Its duck is a fraction of the price of the most famous duck restaurants (as well as better).
There is a great restaurant experience to be had on the street named above (Dongzhimen Nei - also named Gui Jie or 'Ghost Street') - it is a 24-hour restaurant street which is always lit up and busy, no matter what time of night, and has some fantastic restaurants. The best is, as above, Hua Jia Yi Yuan, but there are a whole host of great Hotpot places as well as a load of other kinds of cuisine.
And my last recommendation is to definitely try some Xinjiang food - this is the western Muslim province of China, whose food is great - it's some of the cheapest food in China, and you will know the restaurants by someone grilling kebabs and bread outside. One of the best in Beijing, famous among locals but not as cheap as others, is called, "The Crescent Moon" and is located at 16 Dongsi Liutiao. I would highly recommend it.
That's all, and obviously if anyone tries any of the above, ask your hotel staff for help with pronunciation of the addresses before getting into a taxi, or better yet, get them to write the addresses in Chinese.
Jan 22, 2012 1:31 PM
13"Avoid Badaling for the Great Wall - the best are either Simatai (for the Wall on steep,
high mountains, with far less tourists than Badaling)."
I disagree. Badaling is the best restored and quickest and easiest to get to. ALL parts of the wall are trousity and crowded.
"it is by far the best Beijing Duck in the city,"
The best duck is in Haidian near the languages university. but you are right in avoiding the duck restaurants near Qianmen, they are 4 times the price of anywhere else.
Jan 22, 2012 7:08 PM
14Badaling can be ok, and looks impressive - IF you can find a time when it is not jam packed with tourists, that's all. I went there once in the winter when there were few people there and it was great, but every other time, it was full of people. It is good in that it is only an hour from Beijing. Simatai is 2.5 hours but personally, I just found it way better because of the lack of other people there.
Fair enough - it was a bold claim about 'the best duck' in the city, but it was the best we found when we lived there. Anyway, Ghost Street is well worth a visit for anyone coming to Beijing.
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