The top places to visit
- Beijing - Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs
- Guilin - Fairytale, sugarhill mountains
- Shanghai - Most cosmopolitan, modern city in China
Suggested Trip Itinerary (from US)
- Day 1 - Fly out of US
- Day 2 - Arrive Beijing
- Day 3 - Forbidden City
- Day 4 - Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven
- Day 5 - Great Wall and Ming Tombs
- Day 6 - Travel to Shanghai
- Day 7-8 - Shanghai
- Day 9 - Travel to Guilin
- Day 10 - River cruise down Li River
- Day 11 - Travel to Hong Kong
- Day 12 - Fly out
- If you only have a single week, go to Beijing
There is a reason why China is called "Middle Kingdom" - for most of the history that is the place it occupied in the ancient world. Recent resurgence is China getting back to its roots. As a result, it is very fascinating place to visit - starting with most ancient structures like Great Wall and Ming Tombs all the way to modern architecture found in massive cities.
Getting to China
The gateway cities to China are Beijing (airport code: PEK), Shanghai (airport: PVG) and Hong Kong(HKG). All major US carriers have flights to China, the flight time is about 13 hours from any major hub The cheapest tickets 75% of the time are found directly on airline web sites, especially if your itinerary is flexible Other 25% of time Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz will have a combination of different carrier flights that ends up being cheaper. Expect to pay about $900-$1100 October-April, and $1200-$1400 June-August for round trip.
- Avoid driving!
- Credit cards are accepted very widely. ATM withdrawals are at official exchanage rate.
The best mode of local transport within China are taxis. Use taxis, always insist on using taxi meter, especially when leaving airport. It will always be cheaper than "negotiated" rate, which is always a rip-off. Make sure hotel concierge verifies that taxi driver knows where he is going. Ask hotel to provide you with hotel business card listing all major destinations. This is critical also to be able to get BACK to hotel. China redefined a meaning of traffic jam - do not attempt to drive yourself in any of the maor cities - with millions of newly minted drivers, and "optional" rules ofthe road it is activity best left to locals.
Best time to visit is the end of August through middle of October. Start in Beijing and work your way south. Expect pollution in Bejing at all times, and VERY cold temperatures during winter - there is a very good reason why chinese army wears those long coats!