Danny's Travel Diary in China 1 - |The idea|Planning the trip|Tentative Itinerary|Definitive Itinerary|Map with our itinerary||

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Danny's Travel Diary in China 1

The idea
Many years I am interested in the Chinese culture. Back in 2003 I already had planned
to include China in my itinerary of the 3 month trip through South East Asia. In fact my
Belgium travel mate and I already booked the trip. Sadly my company disapproved the
long holiday on the last minute. So I had to cut down the total holiday and therefore skip
the visit to China. My Belgium travel mate went to China on his own, which made me a
bit jealous.
The last years we didn’t think about going on holiday to China for many reasons. I’ve got
married, bought a house and moved to another city and visit Indonesia a couple of
times. But deep in my mind I still wanted to go. This feeling became stronger the last two
years when I start practicing Tai Chi Chuan. The company where I work for has many
contacts in China. This made me curious as well.
During Christmas dinner last year, we discussed about our future holiday plans. Since
we didn’t go on holiday that year because of our movement, we feel that we need a long
holiday far away. Unanimously the decision fell on China. My wife also wants to visit
China, because her grandparents were born in southern part of China. In the past she
went to Taiwan and Hong Kong to visit family, but she never went to the famous parts of
So that’s the way our idea was started.

Planning the trip
First we had to choose our period for traveling. It was already almost two years ago,
since we went on holiday, we wanted to go as soon as possible. Of course we had to
wait until we had enough budgets for the journey. In July we would have enough money,
so we choose that month. That this would not be the best month to go to China we found
out during our trip, but that’s for later.
How long?
China is a huge country and we could travel for years to discover all. But we have limited
budget and limited free days to spend a holiday. Anyway I wanted to spend as long as
possible. So this meant that we could on holiday for 5 weeks. Wulan wanted also to
spend some time alone to visit her parents in Indonesia, so she will have 7 weeks
holiday. With this information we asked our managers for the approval, but this would be
no problem. In the end we only could visit China for only one month due to our minimal
Shortly after we discussed about our holiday to China, Wulan said that she wanted her
mom to join us. Two years ago I took my mom on holiday at Sulawesi, so I supported
that idea. After a couple of phone calls her mum agrees. But she also wanted to take a
good friend of her with us, so we would have an even number of members. Sadly that
girlfriend couldn’t join with us. So we asked many of our friends to join us to China. Sadly
the time was too short to arrange things. In the end we just went with the three of us.

Tentative Itinerary
From my earlier plan in 2003, I knew some nice places to visit. Also we bought some
guidebooks, where we get some ideas. Every one of us also had a special request to
· Wulan: Huangshan (Yellow mountain)
· Mother of Wulan: Jiuzhaigou National Park
· Danny: Wudangshan and/or Shaolin
So we end up with the wish list like below:
· Hong Kong (Victoria peak, family, islands)
· Yangshuo (Boat trip Li River, karts mountains)
· Ping An (Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces, ethnic tribes)
· Sanjiang (Wind and rain bridges, ethnic tribes)
· Kunming (Stone forest)
· Dali (Dali pagoda, Boat trip lake erhai, ethnic tribes)
· Lijang (Black Dragon Pool Park, Old city, ethnic tribes, Tiger Leaping Gorge)
· Chengdu (Teahouses, temples, Panda bears, Leshan, Emeishan, Jiuzhaigou)
· Wudangshan (Nature, temples, Taoism, Tai Chi Chuan)
· Huangshan (Climbing mountain, visit old towns Hongcun, Xidi and Nanping)
· Shanghai (The Bund, Yu-garden, acrobatic show, Pudong)
· Qufu (Confucians temple)
· Suzhou (Chinese gardens)
· Luoyang (Shaolin temple, kungfu show, Long Men grottoes)
· Xi An (city walls, Terracotta army, temples)
· Pingyao (city walls, old city, Courtyard from the Red Lantern Movie)
· Beijing (Forbidden city, Tiananmen square, Lama temple, Great wall, summer
palace, Beijing Opera)
We already knew that we couldn’t see all from our wish list. After the arrangement with
our travel agency we had to reduce some places, due to the far distances or our budget.
The places that are stroked out didn’t make it in our finally itinerary.
Travel agency
Now we knew our wishes, we went looking for the way to organize our journey. During
my last roundtrips through Sulawesi and Vietnam we used local travel agencies with
local guides and drivers. I liked this very much. Although it is more expensive that an
organized group tour, they can organize the tour the way we like and skip all the places
we don’t like. At the internet we searched for local travel agencies. After we found some
10 different Chinese and 4 Dutch travel agency’s we emailed our wishes and waited for
there options. Although the huge different in price (up to 200%) we found out that even
the cheapest agency was far more expensive than our budget.We skipped the most
expensive agencies and keep in touch with just a handful agencies. After skipping some
places in our itinerary and hard bargaining, we find one agency (IntoWestChina) that fit
most with our wishes and budget.

Definitive Itinerary
After many weeks of negotiating our final itinerary was known. Early May we book our
plane tickets online with Ebookers.nl. Since we were still flexible with our start and end
date we could find the cheapest tickets. We let our travel agent know about our final
dates and the rest could be arranged. The final itinerary would be like this:
Saturday 6 June 2009: Wulan fly’s from Amsterdam to Hong Kong
Sunday 7 June 2009 Wulan fly’s from Hong Kong to Jakarta
Wednesday 24 June 2009 Danny fly’s from Amsterdam to Hong Kong
Wulan and her mother flying from Jakarta to Hong Kong
Thursday 25 June 2009 Danny arrived in Hong Kong
Friday 26 June 2009 Day off Hong Kong
Saturday 27 June 2009 Hong Kong / Shenzhen / Guilin
Sunday 28 June 2009 Guilin / Li River cruise / Yangshuo
Monday 29 June 2009 Yangshuo (Biking + Reed flute cave)
Tuesday 30 June 2009 Yanghsuo / Ping An
Wednesday 1 July 2009 Ping An / Guilin / Kunming
Thursday 2 July 2009 Kunming (Stone Forest) / Dali
Friday 3 July 2009 Dali (Erhai Lake, pagoda)
Saturday 4 July 2009 Dali / Lijiang
Sunday 5 July 2009 Lijiang / Tiger Leaping Gorge / Chengdu
Monday 6 July 2009 Chengdu / Jiuzhaigou (Taoist temple)
Tuesday 7 July 2009 Jiuzhaigou
Wednesday 8 July 2009 Huanglong / Chengdu
Thursday 9 July 2009 Chengdu / Xian (Panda)
Friday 10 July 2009 Xian
Saturday 11 July 2009 Xian / Luoyang
Sunday 12 July 2009 Luoyang (Longmen)
Monday 13 July 2009 Luoyang (Shaolin)
Tuesday 14 July 2009 Luoyang / Pingyao
Wednesday 15 July 2009 Pingyao / Beijing
Thursday 16 July 2009 Beijing (Temple of Heaven, Lama, hutong tour, Roast
Friday 17 July 2009 Beijing (Great Wall, summer palace, Wushu show)
Saturday 18 July 2009 Beijing / Tunxi (Forbidden City, Beijing Opera)
Sunday 19 July 2009 Huangshan
Monday 20 July 2009 Huangshan / Hongcun / Shanghai
Tuesday 21 July 2009 Shanghai / Hong Kong
Wednesday 22 July 2009 Hong Kong / Amsterdam

Map with our itinerary Key

Key to symbols:
Red = Flying
Blue = Driving
Green = Train


    Relative Links:
    A Letter from our customer(birding tour)
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 7
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 6
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 5
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 4
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 3
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 2
    Danny's Travel Diary in China 1
    A Group From USA
    Marty from USA
    Helen Dierker from USA
    Liz Parish from USA
    Pat McClintock From USA
    Caroline From USA
    Barbara From USA
    peter & susanne from Switzerland
    Frank and Carolyn from Florida
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