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Forums » China & Tibet » First visit to china

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First visit to china

by /bio/lodak007 »

hi there

we are taking our visit to china with a 2yr old and will be arriving in hong kong. We aren't fond of cities and would rather see pretty countryside. Thinking of Guilin and JiuZhaiGou. What is the best time to see these places? is it right after Oct 7 when the national holiday is over so crowds are less?

Thanks

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/sean321 »

China is the great and wonderful country for the traveling. I visited there many of the times and Great Wall of Cina is the best place to see in this country. I have no idea about the JiuZhaiGou but the name is looking cool. I will try to get sufficient detail about it. I will update you as soon as possible. 

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/chinaexpat »

lodak007 - Right after the National Day holiday is a good time to visit in China since the schools and colleges in China are back in session, students have traveled back to overseas schools, and everyone is back at work after being off for the holiday; and in most places it hasn't yet become very cold. In fact my trip to the Jiuzhai Valley (Jiuzhaigou) was in the middle of October and it was breathtaking gorgeous there, with many of the trees turning colors and also at nearby Huanglong National Park. Jiuzhaigou though was also extremely crowded. Not sure I'd go there with a 2 year old. You might look at Zhangjiajie National Park, which is also an outstanding scenic area and since there are multiple entrances to the park plus several separate attractions nearby (Tianmen Mountain and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, with it's new glass bridge, are two examples) and it's being more spread out in area, the crowds, in my opinion, are more manageable.

This is also an OK time for Guilin, but if planning to visit the rice terraces in Longsheng it's better to go in March, April, or May (best in May) when the rice fields should be flooded with water for planting. In October, the fields will have already been harvested. In addition to the rice terraces, visiting Yangshuo and boating down the Li River are the main attractions of the Guilin area and either in October or spring is fine - just not right before, during, or immediately after one of the major national holidays.

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/lodak007 »

 Great advice - Oct1-7 is the national holiday next year. Is it still crowded a few days after? If so, maybe Oct 15-Oct 30 would be the best time?

Thanks

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/lodak007 »

Another quick question - for both of these destinations, what is the approximate cost of renting a car with driver? Maybe 1-2 days in Guilin and 1-2 days in JiuZhaiGou?

Thanks

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/chinaexpat »

First Question Ans:
By right after, I really meant at least a week or two after the National Holiday. Oct 15 - 30 would likely be less crowded, but that was about the time in October (2 weeks after the National Day holiday) when my wife and I went and she said afterward: "glad to have done it once but never again" because of the crowds. During the National Day Holiday week though, many people (hundreds) who wanted to get on a bus to go down to the entrance at closing time couldn't get on one until around 10pm and it was not warm there. There were near riots in the park. So mid-October is much better than during the holiday. Also plan on going mid-week day(s), not on a weekend.

The largest crowd is at the lower level just past the park's entrance where you get on the bus to travel up to the various site stops. When we got there, I'd say there were several hundred, maybe even up to a thousand folks in line in front of us and it took the better part of an hour from getting our tickets to boarding a bus. Actually this part was pretty well organized, with several buses boarding at one time (maybe 8-10 at a time) and as soon as a bus left it was soon replaced with an empty one. If you can, get there right at opening time when it should be least crowded.

Most buses make stops traveling up through the Shuzheng Valley to the tourist center located at a Y intersection where you then get on another bus to continue farther up one of the sections of the road which diverges at the tourist center to the Zechawwa Valley (left leg of the Y) or to the Rize Valley areas.

At the Visitor Center and at many of the stops, getting on the bus was not easy. Had to push and shove like the Chinese to get on. Fortuately I'm a big guy so my wife would just follow behind me in my wake. Some stops no crowds and easy to get back on the bus while at others we had to wait for 3 or 4 buses to pick up passengers in front of us before getting on. If you are shy and polite about making your way forward to get through the bus door, you'll never get on a bus at some of the stops.

We were there two full days, first on the first day making a stop while going up the Shuzheng Valley and then busing to the last stop in the Zechawwa Valley and treking down. The second day we did the Rize Valley side and lucked out in that it was so busy at the tourist center, the bus just continued on up the right Y of the road going to the Rize Vally, where we were planning to go, saving us a good hour waiting to board a bus. If I only had one day, I'd go up the Rize Valley first and then see what else I could fit in. Two full days are highly recommended, but the entrance ticket is a little pricey.

Once off a bus at most stops you could usually find a fair amount of breathing room and the scenery is outstanding. If you go all the way up on either of the roads, get off at the last stop and then trek down, so you can minimize the number of times you have to get on a bus, but eventually you will have to get back on one. If nothing else, it's an experience you'll likely remember for a lifetime.

Answer to your second question: I don't know what a car and driver will cost you - it varies on several factors, but I can give you a general idea.

In Guilin, you would mostly get around by taxi or bus; or boat to Yangshuo, though going direct by bus is an option too. Taxi between the airport and the Waterfall hotel area in Guilin would be about 125RMB or take a bus for maybe 30RMB/person. For the various attractions, you can of course join a bus tour; for example to the rice terraces or to Yangshuo (or by boat then a tour bus), but again prices will vary. A rough guess if you decide on a car and driver for a day (6-8 hours) would be around 600-800RMB/day, but this is a swag.

In Jiuzhaigou my wife arranged for a car/driver to pick us up at the airport, take us direct to Haunglong, wait for us while we took the cable car up the mountain and then trek down for about 4 or 5 hours, then drive us to our hotel near the Jiuzhaigou Park entrance. The next two mornings/afternoons took taxi to the park entrance and back for the hotel. The morning of the 4th day, the driver from the first day picked us up and took us back to the airport. I seem to remember that the airport to Haunglong to Jiuzhaigou, then Jiuzhaigou to the airport total cost was around 700 to 800 RMB , but it's about 3 years ago, so might be higher now. I understand that there is a bus from the airport that can be taken to Haunglong and back to Jiuzhaigou, but don't know the cost or the schedule.

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/lodak007 »

Your posts are so informative. Thank you!

1) Can I do a similar taxi arranangement at JiuZhaiGou national park stopping at the various points of interest or taxis aren't allowed there? We have a 2 year old and a mom-in-law who may not be able to dash into buses to get on

2) Since we'll be based in Shenzhen with a friend, we plan to either take a bus from there to Giulin, tour and come back. We'll obviously have to take a flight to JiuZhaiGou airport from Shenzhen. I'm also wondering if there is another place within 5-7 hours bus distance to Shenzhen that we could do instead of JiuZhaiGou to avoid a flight. I don't think so but would love to hear your thoughts. We are into natural beauty mostly (Not museums, etc)

Thanks

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/chinaexpat »

1. No, taxi's aren't allowed in the park. If they were then the issue would be huge taxi traffic jams. There is apparently a small 20 passenger bus that can be privately rented but apparently costs 4,800RMB per day. Things change though, so you might want to email the Park and inquire about private transportation in the park. There is a private hiking tour that can be arranged, which I've inquired about and the guys do reply in English. Here's some sites you might want to view, first is the Official Park English site: http://www.jiuzhai.com/language/english/index.html where you can find email contact info; and the second is a site that sells tours but has an lot of info for most of China: http://www.chinahighlights.com/chengdu/article-how-to-arrange-your-schedule-in-jiuzhaigou.htm

2. Train travel is the much preferred means of travel in China, especially the high speed "D" and "G" trains. From Shenzhen you can take a high speed "G" train from the North Station to Guilin North Station, taking a little over 3 hours. These trains are very comfortable, even in Second Class and on this short a run I'd highly recommend it over a bus or flying. Here's a highly recommended site where you can check train schedules and purchase tickets (or at least check ticket prices): http://www.china-diy-travel.com If you travel at night by bus, you are risking your life. 

RE: "another place within 5-7 hours bus distance to Shenzhen":

There is nothing on the scale of JNP or ZJJ, other than the Guilin area with the Longsheng rice terraces and Yangshuo Karst landscape. There are many others places to visit, but on a much smaller scale - do a Google search on Guangxi Province Attractions and Guangdong Province Attractions and see what pops up. Farther away is the very popular Yunnan Provience, which has a lot to offer in scenic attractions.

I"ve sent you a private message with some info for you.

 

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/sean321 »

Wow Guys, After me, All of you had shared great detail about China. ChinaExpat, i will say your posts are filled with great detail. I am sure other members will get sufficient detail from your posts. Good job guys. Now, My family is planning to China after completing the 3 day trip from new york. I hope we will come back with good memories. 

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RE: First visit to china

by /bio/jimipoter »

I must say that China has many national parks and also beautiful places for visitors. I like to share here that my one of the friend wants to go china for enjoying his summer vacations here. so suggest him some national parks which are nice or will be good for visiting here for him. 

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