Changing things up in China


When we applied for our China Visa, we could only get one valid for 30 days. That meant we had only a month to see one of the biggest countries in the world. Seriously not enough time. There were so many things we wanted to see and do and it was next to impossible to squeeze it all in – especially considering we wanted to spend a week in Tibet. That meant we had less than three weeks to see the rest of the country.

Our orginal plan was to start in Beijing for four days. Then we would take the train to Xi’an for two days before spending a night in Shanghai, one night on the mountain of Huang Shan and then four days on a Yangtze River Cruise. After that we would fly to Guilin to spend three days in the Yangshou country side area before flying to Chengdu to catch our train to Tibet.

Well, then we loved Beijing and wanted to stay. Plus, tickets to Xi’an were crazy expensive. So we decided to cut that part of our trip and instead took a high speed train to Shanghai.

Then we found out that Tibet was closed. There had been a lot of back and forth on our visit and now it seems for sure that we won’t be able to get permits.

Suddenly we had 12 extra days to see the country – the only problem. We had already booked flights and our river cruise so we were a bit committed to a rushed timeline.

We went ahead and headed to Huang Shan and enjoyed the beautiful mountain before catching our plane to the city of Chongqing where our cruise departed.

We were tired and realized that our original plan required a crazy mess of zig zagging flights that we originally needed to make our trip to Tibet possible. Thats when we decided it was time to suck it up and eat the money for our flights. It sucks to loose the money we spent on the flights, but better to really enjoy our time in China and see everything than to rush around criss crossing the country.

After the cruise, we will sacrifice our flight to Guilin and will instead head to Xi’an by bus. From there we will visit the city for a few days before flying to Lijiang to hike the Tiger Leap Gorge. After that we will visit the rest of the unrestricted Tibetan Plateau including Dali and Kunming. After that we will take a bus to Guilin/ Yangshaou before fly to Nepal.

This new plans involves sacrificing the money for two flights and two hotel deposits. But, in the long run, I think this plan will be much better time wise and will allow us to spend our time seeing China rather than traveling through it.

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One Response to Changing things up in China

  1. I definitely think you made the right choice – it sucks when you feel like you are losing money, but in the end, what’s the point of sticking to a plan if you’re going to be unhappy with it? Our plans in China have been crazy since the day we got here, but we have learned to be flexible – as you know, we were not enjoying the Northern part of the country, so we decided to abandon our plans and head south to Guilin. We are actually really liking it here (so I’m glad to hear you will explore the area – try to get to the Longji rice terraces if you can! They are spectacular!) but in a few days we will have to take a flight to Shanghai for the week, because Golden Week is insane and prices in this region are out of control… it’s not what we had planned or hoped for, but we are trying to keep an open mind. Abandoning our initial plan required us to purchase a flight here, and then we’ll be doing a few more, which we really wanted to avoid… it costs money we were hoping not to spend, but better to spend it than be miserable!

    And also, because we are enjoying our time here in China a lot more now that we have moved south, we are actually planning to extend our 30-day visas when we return to Guilin. For Americans it costs 940RMB, which is essentially the cost of a whole new visa, but it gets us another 30 days which we can definitely use. It stings having to pay that money (thankfully as a Canadian I only have to pay 160! But Tony is not so lucky), but the fact is, we can either pay it and see more of the country, or not and miss out. Seems foolish to balk at a little extra money if it means you get to take the trip you want to take!

    Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip! (Oh, and Xi’an is a really nice city and the Terracotta Army well worth the trip! Be sure to check out the Muslim quarter for cheap and DELICIOUS food!)

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