China in 2 weeks
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Apr 4, 2013 7:08 AM Last Post By: theubiquitousmick
Jan 20, 2013 1:17 AM
China in 2 weeksI live in Shanghai and was only told yesterday -go figure- that I'm to have holidays from next Friday (Jan 25th) until Feb 15th. I'm not complaining -three weeks off is sweet- but I'd have been nice to have had a little more notice so I could have planned something.
So here I am, with 3 weeks to kill and about 4 days to figure out where to go. Any suggestions?
I've lived in Beijing and did all those northern China things, so that's covered; also saw Yunnan, Guilin, Yangshuo and thereabouts.
I'm into staying in villages and (small) towns, travelling on rickety old buses and trains, and seeing a little bit of the country (one or two provinces) but seeing them well. I don't want to try and cover the entire country as so many on here attempt; racking up thousands of miles isn't my idea of fun.
I was in Tongli for Christmas and there was pretty much nothing to do there except read books and drink Tsing Tao -which just so happen to be two of my favourite things- so a couple of weeks spent doing exactly that would be just fine, with my days spent strolling the hills between villages or loitering about doing nothing much.
Yes, I know it'll be cold everywhere I go and yes I am also aware that there's some kind of festival imminent, but I have little control over either, so I'm gonna work around them.
I appreciate that all this is a little vague -and more than a little short notice- but if you had three weeks to do a small section of China, where would it be?
Any advice much appreciated.
Jan 20, 2013 5:14 AM
Jan 20, 2013 5:19 AM
Jan 20, 2013 5:30 AM
Jan 20, 2013 6:53 AM
4You lived in China for a while and just found out now that Chinese New Year is coming up? You must live in a bubble. Train tickets to anywhere are all sold out. Plane tickets if you find some are full price.
Traveling in China at this time of the year ranks right behind death penalty in term of fun. The best thing to do is to get out of the country. Unless you have to spend time with family, this is what anybody with money will do.
Be careful about places further south in the winter. It is warmer than up north but still not so warm and except for 4-5 star hotel, there is no heating.
Jan 20, 2013 2:40 PM
5Thanks for those with helpful/actual suggestions.
Bob: will be looking into Sichuan in the books today. And Mt.Emei and some soaking in hot springs sound great. Yunnan was fun if I wipe Lijiang and the karaoke bars from my memory.
Drumbrake: spent 6 weeks in Laos a few years ago, so looking for something different this time. But again, will look at Fujian today.
JPDeM: where to begin...
1. You lived in China for a while and just found out now that Chinese New Year is coming up? You must live in a bubble. This, my friend, is irony: " I am also aware that there's some kind of festival imminent". Just because there's a holiday coming up doesn't mean that your Chinese boss thinks you should know in advance exactly when you'll be off work.
2. Train tickets to anywhere are all sold out. Went to the (train) booking office yesterday and the three places I made casual inquiries about ALL had tickets available for an assortment of days and times and price levels. So I guess they're not ALL sold out.
3. The best thing to do is to get out of the country There should be some kind of daily prize on TT for answers along these lines. Which part of Austria is best? Go to Italy. Where in Thailand would you recommend? Vietnam is way better. What's your favourite province in China? Leave the country altogether.
4. except for 4-5 star hotel, there is no heating When I was in Yunnan and Guangxi every place I stayed in had heating. And no, there isn't a Hilton in Dazhai.
I appreciate your taking the time to answer, but I really wonder would it have been any more difficult to name five or six places that you actually like?
To those who did/will, cheers again.
Jan 20, 2013 4:17 PM
6Emei mountain is the one place on the planet I know of where you should feed the wildlife. Bring peanuts, feed the monkeys.
Decades ago when I went there the best way to leave sichuan was by boat. The three gorges were the highlight, but not the only interesting part. People who live the now tell me the boat trip down the Chang Jiang is a waste of time these days.
Who am I to dispute that?
Jan 20, 2013 4:18 PM
Jan 20, 2013 7:58 PM
Jan 20, 2013 8:50 PM
Jan 20, 2013 8:59 PM
Jan 20, 2013 9:28 PM
11I got the impression that the OP was well aware of Spring Festival, but was not aware until just now that his holiday was to start as early as next week!
I'd pick Yunnan. Plenty of small towns and villages, plenty of rickety buses. :-D Seriously. Head to Kunming as jump-off point over to Luoping then over Jianshui and Yuanyang (do that first before the main holiday sets in), then over to Xishuangbanna and some backroads up to Tengchong, maybe Nujiang Valley and back. Shaxi then over to Dali or up to Lijiang. Maybe exit via Lugu Lake to Sichuan then head for Chengdu and back to Shanghai from there. An excellent 3 weeks. I'm presuming you speak at least some Chinese, enough to make your needs known, get transport, find lodging, etc. Not a lot of English speakers around outside Kunming, maybe Dali and Lijiang.
Jan 20, 2013 9:38 PM
12Oops, just re-read your post and see you've been to Yunnan. Assuming that means you've been all over, another suggestion would be head to Sichuan via western Hubei. The weather isn't going to be optimum, but if you like smaller towns and villages, heading for Enshi and Lichuan in Tujia Autonomous county of SW Hubei is great. They don't see a lot of tourists there and particularly not foreigners but are very friendly. Accessible by train via Yichang, it's very nice mountain country. Can also be reached by hydrofoil on the Yangtze Yichang - Badong, then minibus with the locals over to Enshi (avoid if it's been snowing and slippery). After that, head into Chongqing municipality and figure out some stuff to see within a couple of hours of the city (Laitan, Dazu). Zigong is a small city--dinosaurs there, not many tourists. Could head over to Leshan-Emei from there. Luocheng old town not too far from Leshan. Langzhong old town a few hours northeast of Chengdu.
Fujiang's also pretty good--if you go, don't miss the Hakka tulou for a couple of days' visit. I'm a big fan of Quanzhou as well. If you have a multiple-entry Chinese visa (or Rez Permit), you could pop over to Jinmen Island, Taiwan via ferry from Xiamen. Inexpensive plane service from Jinmen to Taipei if you have a hankering to visit Taiwan, though prices might be up for the holiday.
Jan 21, 2013 3:12 AM
14Bob: I'd also recommend feeding the wildlife in the bars of Dublin. Makes them less ... Irish.
Mick n. slang term for an obstreperous irishman. If that's not tautologous.
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys/gals; about to curl up under a duvet with my RG/LP and follow up on yere advice.
Yes, an edit function would be helpful.
JPDeM: if you had three weeks to do a small section of China, where would it be?
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From US$8.46 per night