Three weeks in China flying in and out of Beijing
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Aug 4, 2012 6:44 PM Last Post By: Nice_But__
Aug 1, 2012 1:21 PM
Three weeks in China flying in and out of BeijingHi,
I'm going to China for the first time in October for three weeks, flying in and out of Beijing. Planning on spending about a week in and around Beijing, but not too sure how to make the best of the other two weeks or so.
I quite liked the look of Yunnan, but from initial searches the flights are very expensive. Is there a good route by train from Beijing that takes you through interesting places on the way?
Or is there anywhere else that might be easier to get to that people would recommend?
Aug 1, 2012 5:14 PM
1How much are the "very expensive" flights to Yunnan? You might be looking too early, or you might be looking on the wrong sites (try elong.net , ctrip.com or travelzen.com) or to the wrong destination (fly to Kunming for cheaper flights; those to Lijiang or Dali will be more). Train to Kunming would be a long journey (nearly 40hours?).
Aug 1, 2012 8:50 PM
3The flight discount usually come out around several weeks ahead. Better to frequently check the main flights sites later. Drumbrake has listed them all.
If you prefer to take the train to tour, then Xian and Shanghai seem to be easier options that can be reached by overnight train.
1-2 days in Xian. Extend a day tour from Xian to Longmen Grotoes if you like the carving arts.
About 1 week in Shanghai and its neigbourhood like Hangzhou, Suzhou, water towns. The Huangshan and its nearby villages can also be added for about 3 days.
Aug 2, 2012 7:07 AM
4My situation is exactly the same as yours: my first trip to China in October, about three weeks, flying in and out of Beijing. I also found that flights to Yunnan are surprisingly pricey: similar to cross-country flights in the US. My budget can't support any expensive flights beyond the flights to and from China, so I chose a rural locale south of Beijing but easier to reach by land transportation than Yunnan. My choice is Wuyuan County in Jiangxi Province. The county has a couple of touristy villages (visited mainly by domestic Chinese tourists), but the county as a whole, while rural and scenic, is relatively off the beaten path, especially for international travelers. I think that the scenery is not as spectacular as in Yunnan or Guizhou, but for me it is more important to get a glimpse of authentic Chinese rural life and to briefly escape from the tourist cocoon. Wuyuan is a few hours by bus from Hangzhou, which is at the end of a bullet train route from Beijing (through Shanghai). If you are interested, again because of my aversion to heavily touristed places, which in China tend to be "restored" to enhance tourist appeal, I am skipping Hangzhou and Suzhou (the usual destinations for foreign tourists near Shanghai) and making Nanjing (and the Grand Canal town of Yangzhou) my other main destination besides Beijing and Wuyuan. Nanjing is not devoid of tourists, but it is not devoted to tourism in the way Hangzhou and Suzhou are. Of course, to depart from the foreign tourist path, you might need to speak a little Mandarin, which I've been learning.
Without any Mandarin, you might want to stick to places frequented by foreign tourists, where hotels and attractions employ English speakers. Within a day or so by train or bus from Beijing, such places include Suzhou and Hangzhou. Another popular destination is Pingyao, in the north between Beijing and Xi'an. Xi'an, by the way, is extremely popular among foreign tourists, especially those on their first trip to China. If you don't care whether you get beyond North China, you might consider a Beijing-Datong-Pingyao-Xi'an itinerary (the reason to visit Datong is the nearby Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple).
Aug 2, 2012 7:20 AM
Aug 4, 2012 6:44 PM
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