"Amazing China" China by nomad7890
China Travel Guide: 29,565 reviews and 83,367 photos
There are many beautiful sights in China, but this page is dedicated to its greatest and most valuable asset - its people. The sights were beautiful - but it was the people who evoked my feelings of gratitude and surprise, who built the wall of China, who laugh, work, and play together to make this amazing place what it is today. So, to the people of China, my awe and sincerest appreciation!
For this first excursion to China I planned a short trip. Many people questioned why go so far for such a short stay, but my objective was to get an introduction to the country, as from reading other people's posts I knew that once you visit, you want to return -and I'm already planning the second visit!
After looking at many organized tours I decided I did not want to adhere to someone else's itinerary -and I hate feeling like a hostage- so I decided to go on my own, but use some upper scale hotels where the concierge took care of my needs. This plan worked like a charm, and actually ended up costing less than booking a tour.
I flew into Shanghai and continued on to Beijing. Good thing is that I added three hours between my arrival and flight to Beijing as my flight from the US was late and I would have missed my connection had I booked an earlier flight from Shanghai to Beijing.
After a long flight from the US to Shanghai and a flight from Shanghai to Beijing it was *wonderful* to be received by a person arranged by the Westin Beijing Financial Street, taken to an ATM as I requested, and whisked the short way into a Mercedes Benz. Upon arrival at the hotel I was met by the concierge and taken to my (awesome) room, where I was checked in at the room. Now that is *service* well worth the additional expense upon arrival. I took a much less expensive taxi back to the airport, and next time I'm taking the metro ;=)
The concierge arranged for a driver and a guide. Although I had planned to spend a full three days in Beijing sightseeing, we visited many of the sights on the first day, so the guide suggested that I only keep them two days and have an extra day on my own. The guide's suggestion was excellent as I had an extra day to go shopping and learn to ride the metro - and to make it great the concierge assigned one of the people from the hotel to accompany me around town -at no extra charge!
When you engage a car and driver thru the concierge, make sure and give them a good detailed list of what you want to see (I did) - but do put an alternative plan very clearly, that if you are done by a certain time you can add more things to the first day. All was well, but it did seem they would have stopped after all the places listed for the first day were visited, although it was around 1:00 PM ... so make sure you set expectations to sight see from 8:30 to 5:30 - not necessarily when the list of places for a day are completed. Good, precise communication will prevent misunderstandings.
This itinerary may be a little rushed for most people, and if I did it over I would probably leave Summer Palace for early morning of the third day.
Time was split between Beijing and Shanghai - each days's itinerary appears in each of the sections below.
This trip could be a bit rushed for those who like to linger - for me it was perfect as I needed to be back home but really wanted to go take a peek!
And yes, I fell in love with China and am hoping to go back to an itinerary suggested by a person from China I met in the plane.
Day 1 (with driver and guide)
Behai Park ... a *must* !!!
Temple of Heaven
Summer Palace *as I commented, this would be best in one morning.
Day 2 (with driver and guide)
Great Wall at Mutianyu
Stop to see the Olympic Stadium - "the nest" on the way
Day 3 (with concierge from hotel)
Peking Duck lunch at a place I selected, treated person from concierge
Foot massage ... I needed it by now ;=)
Day 4 - Beijing
-Took regular taxi *arranged by concierge* to airport at 5:30 AM to fly to Shanghai (I don't like to take public transportation so early in the morning and did not want to experiment to the airport when the taxi fare was around $30)
- Had hotel BMW pick me up (St. Regis Shanghai) - followed same procedure where the concierge waited my arrival and checked me in at my room.
*Alternative: If you have the concierge forward you a note with directions to the hotel that you can give the taxi driver, it is *very easy* to take the Maglev into town, and take a taxi from the Maglev station to the hotel. I did enjoy the special treatment though, although I was no longer tired and could have taken the Maglev.
- Rest of the day I was on my own and took taxi's - make sure you have a card or note with the place name and directions in Chinese for every place you want to visit to show the taxi, and a card to get back to the hotel.
- Pearl Tower
- Super Brands Mall (just for a half hour or so - I was looking for touristy stuff and they have, as the name states, brand name stores, Nike, etc).
- Huxinting Tea House in Old Town
- River cruise at night
Took taxi to:
-Yu Garden *get here as early as you can to avoid crowds! *
Took Maglev to the airport. The St. Regis concierge provides a "personal butler" when you book a nicer room. The personal butler accompanied me to the airport so I would not have any problems taking the taxi to the Maglev station and getting off at the right place at the airport.
Maglev by the way is a quick 15 minute ride if that long - amazing!
- Pros:Be surprised at every turn
- Cons:Plan carefully if you don't speak Chinese
- In a nutshell:More than dragons and pagodas - you will fall in love with China!
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