I posted about how I’ve changed around my itinerary for China on my blog’s Facebook page – which, by the way is new! I’d love if you could give it a like. Since my trip is all I think about at the moment I felt the need to post about it here as well!
My original plan was to fly into Beijing for five nights, then fly to Hong Kong and spend three nights there before heading home. I was so proud of the awesome flight deal I found! Then, the Hong Kong protests started and kept escalating until I panicked and changed my flights. Several people have reassured me that I’d be safe, but I just wasn’t comfortable taking my first solo trip somewhere that is in turmoil. I had to pay a steep change fee plus a fare increase to United, so my decision was certainly not cheap….but in my books, worth it for my peace of mind – and my parents’!
When I was rebooking my flights, there was absolutely nothing affordable to Beijing, and I had resigned myself to paying a ridiculous amount since my trip was coming up soon. Then a friend gave me the bright idea to check other cities – so I’ll now be flying into Shanghai. Booking that flight made the little wheels in my head start turning…how many places in China could I cram into my 12-day trip? Turns out it’s four.
Although I fly into Shanghai, this is really my first stop. I land at 1:40PM and allowing lots of time for customs, getting lost, and a long bus ride, I’ll be on my first sleeper train at 6:14PM. Then I spend 4 nights in Beijing for a combination of sightseeing & the conference that is the reason I’m headed to China. I’ll be staying in the Peking Yard Hostel. Thing I’m most excited for here: The Great Wall!
On my 5th night in Beijing, I’ll board another sleeper train, this time to Datong.
I was really upset I wasn’t going to be able to see Datong on my first trip to China, so I’m glad I can now! I don’t remember where I first saw the Hanging Monastery, but I’ve been wanting to see it for YEARS.
Most people only spend a day in Datong, which was my plan too, but the train schedules made that impossible! Instead, I’ll be staying at the Garden Hotel, which is the number one hotel in Datong. There are only two hostels in town: one which has horrifyingly bad reviews and one which is closed while I’m there.
Two days in Datong will allow me to split up the main tourist attractions here: the monastery and the Yungang Grottoes.
After the second day, I’ll leave fairly early at 4:40PM on, you guessed it – another sleeper train! I am all about saving money on hostels. Off to Xian!
If my trip was even one day longer, I would have added it on to my time in Xian, but alas I will literally only have 12 hours here. Of course, I’m here to see the Terracotta Warriors! Other than that, I’m planning to check out the Great Mosque and the Muslim Quarter.
I leave at 9:00PM on my final sleeper train of the trip.
I’ll be staying in Shanghai for two nights, at the Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel. I had no idea that Shanghai was the biggest city in the world, but that sounds right up my alley – big cities are my thing. I feel like I could be happy just sitting on the Bund (see picture below) staring at the skyline due to my obsessive penchant for skyscrapers.
However, I’m definitely going to make time to see Yuyuan Gardens, the French Concession Area, and perhaps an Acrobat show. I’m also excited about going up the Shanghai World Financial Centre.
I fly home on the evening of my third day in Shanghai, spend a week at home and then jet off to New York City! I couldn’t be more excited for both of those trips, and although changing my flights was expensive and frustrating, I can’t wait to see all of these places. I’m sad to miss Hong Kong, but I’ll get it next time!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my China itinerary – any suggestions for the places I’m going?
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