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.