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Calling all China experts, help plan a trip

Calling all China experts, help plan a trip

Old May 10, 06, 6:14 pm
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Calling all China experts; help with suggestions

My wife & I are the adopted parents of two girls from China. We are now planning a trip to visit the areas/orphanages they are from. We will be working with a travel agent to determine the best way to get to various places, (most likely flying and maybe a train here and there) although we will also probably hire a guide to accompany us (none of us speak Chinese), we would love to tap into the collective wisdom of FT'ers and know if there are any "Must see's" and/or detours we would be advised to take based on the following areas we will be in: Flying in and out of Shanghai - Bengbu in Anhui province - Gaozhou in Guangdong province. We are also thinking of going to Hainan Island for a week or so before making our way back to Shanghai from there. We are going in mid July and have two weeks.

Nothing is carved in stone, other than the the two stops; Bengbu & Gaozhou. Any suggestions, advice or general thoughts would be most welcome for this very, very, special trip we are taking - thanks in advance

Last edited by Vaze; May 11, 06 at 10:47 am Reason: Changed title
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Old May 10, 06, 6:31 pm
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I didnt see Beijing mentioned, but I've recently been there and it was
absolutely amazing. Language was a barrier, but we did not have any issue.
We did not hire any fulltime guide and decided to go around on our own.
we did hire guides at a couple of places for about a couple of hours..
but it was just about 40-50RMB

Taxis were cheap and if you know your place on the map, it
was very easy to point out to the cab driver.

Beijing has a lot of historical and cultual things to see and I've heard
its better than Shanghai.

I'll keep it short, but if you need any more info, I'll be glad to share.
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Old May 11, 06, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by cpx
I didnt see Beijing mentioned
Thanks for replying. Although Beijing Isn't out, we are arriving in Shanghai and heading south so was trying to find out what other places/point of interest there may be in/around the route we are travelling. If no-one else responds I may have to add Beijing to the itinerary
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Old May 11, 06, 10:38 pm
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China trip planning

Originally Posted by Vaze
Thanks for replying. Although Beijing Isn't out, we are arriving in Shanghai and heading south so was trying to find out what other places/point of interest there may be in/around the route we are travelling. If no-one else responds I may have to add Beijing to the itinerary

Cities close to Shanghai that are beautiful and certainly worth seeing: Suzhou, Hangzhou and one of the "water" towns

Further south: Guilin which is really lovely and Chengdu -which is the site of the Panda preserve and where your daughters may hold or pet a baby panda

Shanghai itself is very modern and has less of a Chinese feel than many other cities. One or 2 days is enough in Shanghai==stroll the Bund, go to the top of the Pearl Tower, visit the Shanghai Museum, spend a few hours in Yu Yuan Gardens and surrounfing shopping area.

Beijing has so many historical and cultural must sees that you could spend weeks. Xi'an is also unique and the Terra Cotta Warriors are incredible but both of these cities are north rather than south where you want to head.

We are returning for the 3rd time this summer with our own adopted daughter. We will spend 2 weeks touring with the Heritage program whose purpose is to reunite adopted Chinese children with their birth country. It is sponsored by a section of one of the government ministries, China Overseas Exchange Association, and this will be our 2nd trip with them. We will also spend 2 weeks on our own, touring and visiting our daughters orphanage in Nanjing.

One travel provider who has come highly recommended and who specializes in adoption return visits and can also take care of the necessary provincial orphanage visit permissions is Michael Han of Always and Forever Adoption Homeland Tours.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old May 12, 06, 3:23 am
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Not a China expert for sure, but a Shanghai - Suzhou - Nanjing or Shanghai - Suzhou - Hangzhou combo by rail or bus and then taking a flight south or west ( or even north to Beijing ) would probably be quite nice.
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Old May 12, 06, 3:24 am
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i would try to slot in guilin/yangshuo and pass on hainan (really nothing special if you have the ability to go to se asia that most chinese lack).
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Old May 12, 06, 9:24 am
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Thank you all so much for the information, this is incredibly helpful
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Old May 21, 06, 1:30 pm
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I just got back from a two week trip in and out of Shanghai and here's my top advice:

1) Go to Beijing. It's truly amazing to visit this capital city, and should not be missed. If you can spare teh money and the time, hire a driver and guide to take you to the Great wall at Si Ma Tai.

2) Avoid Xi'an. The terracotta warriors are okay, but far from the "8th wonder of the world" and the other great fanfare they have received. If you have loads of time to visit them, then a stop is worth it there, but otherwise, leave Xi'an as a secondary or tertiary sight ot see. I know that many will disagree with me, but I just wasn't that impressed, and it was way too touristy.

3) Visit Chengdu and pet the pandas! This is a great experience and the opportunity of a lifetime for $40. Chengdu is also a nice town and be sure to enjoy the Sichuan food.
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Old May 22, 06, 1:03 pm
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We did a side trip from Shanghai to Hangzhou. It was the highlight of our trip. There are several discussions on this topic on the Trip Advisor Shanghai Forum, including our quick review of Hangzhou under the name "David and Kim." Enjoy.
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Old May 30, 06, 1:40 am
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Shanghai is a nice city to visit for a couple of days but there isn't alot to see from a tourist historical perspective. I was there last week and shopping and the Bund get old very quickly. Also it seems that the tourist trade is alot greater there then in Beijing. The city itself is beautiful and feels more like New York than a Chinese city. Beijing has the majority of the major sites with the Great Wall, Forbidden City, Ming Tombs, Palaces etc. I live in Beijing so I can find out more if you like re: hotels etc. Hiring a car for the day is pretty easy and when I have a friend come it town I have a driver I use to take them around when I am busy.

I agree with Mehame re: Suzhoe etc. They are very nice places. I haven't been to Guilen or Xian in 10 years but both were excellent back in 1996. Xian is worth the visit just to see the Terracotta Warriors but there wasn't much else there back in '96--I don't know if it has changed. If you want to get off the beaten path I hear Qingdao is nice--former German territory. I haven't been yet but that is the next on my to do list.
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Old Jun 12, 06, 6:53 am
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I would like to second the recommendations to visit Guilin and Chengdu.

Guilin is not far off of your route, and is very nice place. The Chinese claim it is the most beautiful place in China, although they also say that about several other places. There you can ride a river cruise down the Li river and see the beautiful limestone mountain scenery. Yangshou is a town down river from Guilin that is a popular tourist stop. They have a whole street called "foreigner" street that cater's to toursits with lots of cafe's and shops.

Chengdu is a very nice city to visit (I lived there for 4 yrs). It has become very modern over the last several years. The biggest draw is the panda's. The panda research center is just outside of town, only 30 minutes or so by taxi. Definately a highlight. Chengdu also has some of the best food in China and is known for their teahouses as well. There are some close by places within a few hours that are nice visits, such as Dujiangyan (one of the oldest dams in the world), Emeishan (mountain), Chongqing (large city on Yangtze), etc.

I would also say that Beijing should really be strongly considered, there are so many things to see there, such as Great Wall, Forbidden city, Temple of Heaven, etc.

China is such an interesting place... so much to see and so little time!

Hope you have a great trip!!
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