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Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

Fort Lauderdale...
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Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

Hi Everyone,

My husband and I want to visit Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo and Taipei from June 12th - July 2nd. Here is our tentative itinerary:

Departure Date: Saturday, June 12, 2010, arrive Sunday, June 13th

From: Florida

To: Tokyo, Japan (5 days)

Departure Date: Thursday, June 17, 2010

From: Tokyo, Japan

To: Beijing, China (6 days)

Departure Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2010

From: Bejing, China

To: Xian, China (1day)

Departure Date: Thursday, June 24, 2010

From: Xian, China

To: Shanghai, China (4 days)

Departure Date: Monday, June 28, 2010

From: Shanghai, China

To: Taipei, Taiwan (4 days)

Departure Date: Friday, July, 2, 2010

From: Taipei, Taiwan

To: Tokyo, Japan

To: Florida

We are pretty independent travelers, however, wouldn't be against a tour, especially in China. Any suggestions?

Does anyone know of any tour operators that provide tours in all three (China, Japan and Taiwan) countries?

Also, does anyone have suggestion on our itinerary and what they would recommend as a must see in each destination? This will most likely be a once in a lifetime trip so we want to make sure see as much as we can.

Thank you!

hong kong
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1. Re: Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

It's easy to book hotels and internal flights yourself in China.

Personally, I would not spend all my 5 days in Tokyo. I think Japan has a lot more to offer, but then it depends on your interests.

Time spent in Beijing is about right - although you could possibly cut it to 4 or 5 days.

A full day in Xi'an is about right if you plan if well.

4 days in Shanghai seems too much. Maybe consider doing day trips to Suzhou, Hangzhou and a wtaer town such as Xitang or Tongli.

You might like to see some more rural china as well. If so, perhaps consider a place such as Yangshuo near Guilin. But then you would need to miss out one of your other destinations.

Taipei is an interesting city, for a day or so. Taiwan is a beautiful country but you really need to get out of the city to enjoy it. In your 4 days, you could perhaps go down to Taroko Gorge, if that is what you are interested in.

Think about what you are doing as seeing Canada, the USA and a smaller Central American country. Not really possible in 3 weeks. At the very least, I would cut out one of the countries you plan to visit and concentrate on only two.

Camas, Washington
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2. Re: Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

hi i've been to all the cities you are visiting except tokyo, which i will be visiting end of march. i'll be happy to share some thoughts.

tokyo:

planning our tokyo/kyoto trip right now, spending 3 1/2 days in each. if you have 5 days to spend in tokyo, you will have time to take a couple of day trips, such as hakone/mt. fuji (good season for climbing too), nikko, or kamakura.

bejing:

need at least 4 days to cover the major sites, 5 days should be enough, 6 will be more relaxing. DIY or organized tours, up to you. i recommend a tour for the great wall because it's further out of the city and easier with a guide, your hotel can arrange for you depending on which section of the great wall. do note that all tours will make a couple of stops for shopping, they need their kickbacks and we didn't mind, but you should have plenty of time to finish your touring of the site. here's a rundown of the must-sees:

tiananmen area, forbidden city, temple of heaven, national center of perfoming arts (near square, modern architecture);

summer palace, ruins of old summer palace, bird's nest, water cube - we did these by subway;

hutong tour, houhai bar street, shopping & dining at wangfujing, highly recommend laoshe's teahouse for their show, very chinese.

xi'an:

1 day is tight to see everything, but enough to cover the most important sites. must see terra cotta warriors, old city walls, wild goose pogoda, and whatever else you can is a bonus. suggest to hire a car for the day, hotel can arrange, we paid ~us$50 for a whole day, the driver takes you wherever you want to go, waits for you at every stop and brings you back. will likely stop for some shopping, but ok.

shanghai:

1 day puxi (must see the yu garden and old street shopping, the bund, Xin Tian Di), 1 day pudong (all the skyscrapers), check out the expo if interested, do take a dragon boat cruise on the huangpu river at night. if there's extra time, side trip to hangzhou is nice, 1hr by bullet train.

taipei:

1-2 days will cover the basics: taipei 101, national palace museum, chiang kai-shek memorial hall, ShiLin night market; DanShui and Yeliou up the northcoast. with you extra 2 days, recommend a bus tour to the taroko gorge, very nice.

have a wonderful trip!

Fort Lauderdale...
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3. Re: Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

Thank you drumbrake and mimijj for your input. It was definitely helpful.

Anyone know of tour companies that offer private tours in these cities?

Also, any recommendations for hotels in each of these destinations?

Thanks!

Camas, Washington
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4. Re: Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

you're welcome. we are very DIY type of travelers so can't recommend any private tours for you. but have some hotel recommendations.

Tokyo:

still researching. i booked at best western shinjuku based on good TA reviews. was also looking at hotel sardonyx near tokyo station which seemed really nice. please note that we travel with 2 young children so we try to choose affordable hotels that allow children to stay for free. you should have more options.

Beijing:

we stayed at Beijing YiEr International Business Hotel, which is a traditional courtyard style B&B located in a hutong (local alley). we really liked it. this would be a good choice if you are into a traditional beijing experience. but it's not a 5 star hotel, to set your expectations. great location, 5mn walk to tiananmen and subway station. owner's name is Eric and arranged our great wall tour with english guide.

we had looked at The Jade Garden Hotel which we walked by one day and it looked really nice, also close to tiananmen. we picked YiEr because of the courtyard style.

Xi'an:

Citadines was great. take bus from airport to downtown Xi'an the last stop, and the hotel is 5mn walk from there. central location, very clean and comfortable. the frontdesk arranged a car hire for us.

Shanghai:

my favorite hotel is Ruijin Hotel. in a big city like shanghai, you can't find a hotel these days with such a beautiful courtyard and landscaping. lots of people do their weddings or wedding photos there. central location, walk to shopping (Huaihai Rd) and subway.

Taipei:

only stayed overnight once because we live in Hsinchu now and usually take day trips there. we stayed at Taipei Fullerton Hotel (Fu-Xing South) and really liked it. we booked a twin room but when they saw the kids they upgraded us to a triple room to have more space, which was very nice. we met up with friends staying at the Howard Hotel which is on the same road, it's one of the best known hotels in taipei. both are within walking distance to subway, restaurants, shopping malls.

i think in Tokyo, it's better to stay near a subway/train station because taxis are so expensive; taxis work great for all the other cities. there are also extensive subway systems in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei if you don't mind studying the routes. of course, avoid taking a taxi during rush hours in beijing or shanghai.

hope this helps a bit. you can find more reviews on TA too.

5. Re: Need Help w/ Trip to Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tokyo, Taipei

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