On this page we aim to write information on where to travel to in China and Asia, what the best destinations are, which hotels to stay in, what tourist attractions to visit, how to get there and so on.
These are some tips from friends and from us.
Holiday in Thailand - Hua Hin - Khanom - Koh Jum - Bangkok
The second part of our easter holidays we again went to Thailand. First we flew to Bangkok, where we rented a car. From there we drove to Hue Hin and stayed in the Putahracsa Hotel. Petra cycled through the city and in the meantime Volker and the boys enjoyed the pool. The staff of the hotel was really great and particularly the eye for details is fantastic. They covererd our black car with a white cloth to try keep the heat out a little bit.
Then we went on to Khanom to the Aava Resort & Spa Nadan Beach. We did not see the blue whales, so we have to go back next time.
The third day we drove to Krabi, where Jean MIchels Team picked us up and we took the boat to Koh Jum. There we spend a lazy week enjoying the food and the sun.
Before we flew back to Beijing, we went to Bangkok to celebrate the Thai Newe Year, the Songkran Water Festival! If you ever have a chance to be in Bangkok during the festival, do it!!
Coco Beach Hotel - Puerto Gallera - Insel Mindoro -Philippines
During Christmas we have spend 12 days on the island Mindoro in the Coco Beach Hotel (www.cocobeach.com). We booked the flights through Philippine Airlines (http://www.philippineairlines.com) direct, which was very easy and the flights were comfortable. The first idea was to rent a house, which seemed perfect for 2 families. When we arrived, we found out, that this was not suitable (not clean, not as it was supposed to be) for us. We were lucky enough to find an alternative straight away. We moved to the Coco Beach Hotel, which was the perfect decision. We enjoyed the attentive service, the food, the fantastic snorkelling around the island, the wonderful views from our Deluxe Rooms (the kids had standard rooms, which was good enough ;-). The island is perfect for relaxing, reading books, snorkelling, diving, hiking (a little) and just enjoy the surroundings and nice weather.
Thailand - Krabi - Ao Nang - Khao Sok National Park - Koh Jum - Bangkok
During our Easterholidays we booked flights to Krabi and reserved a car for 5 days. As we are 5 people, everybody was entitled to choose the destination and hotel for one day. Upon arrival we stayed the first night in Ao Nang, a relaxing day at the beach. Then we drove to Khao Sok National Park, a 2-hour drive and Frederik chose the Nature Resort (www.khaosoknatureresort.com), which is a nice clean tree house hotel, nothing fancy but very nice staff and the food was ok as well. We stayed in the "backpacker" house. In the afternoon we went on an elephant trip, definately worthwile. We booked through the staff of the hotel.
The next day we drove to the lake close to the Rachaprapah Dam. This dam was built in 1982 for the generation of hydro-electric power. The lake covers an area of 165 sq km and as it was filled, over 100 islands were formed. Sharp limestone cliffs rise from the water and early morning mist provides excellent photographic opportunities. You can stay over on one of the raft houses on the lake and visit one of the caves as well. It is the "Guillin" of Thailand.
After our National Park days we went to Krabi and stayed 2 nights there, before going to our favourite island Koh Jum to stay at the Koh Jum Lodge again. Jean Michel and his staff are really great and we enjoyed a relaxing time and good food at the island.
After 6 days of sun, sea, beach and good food we moved on to Bangkok, where we stayed in the Hilton Millenium Hotel on the river side. It was our second stay and we really like this hotel from the location as well as the staff and the breakfast, just great. With Ms Yui, our personal guide, we explored the floating markets.
The next day was Songkran, the Thai New Year based on the solar calendar. Now Songkran is celebrated in Bangkok from the 13th till 15th of April each year and people use it for family re-unions, temple visits and annual house cleaning. Traditionally Thais perform the Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual on the first day of Songkran, which is officially the National Elderly Day. During the ritual young people pour fragrant water into the elders' palms as a gesture of humility and to ask for their blessings. The second day is the National Family Day. Families would wake up early and give aims to the monks, then ideally the rest of the day would be spend sharing quality time with the family. An important religious ritual on Songkran is "Bathing the Buddha image", in which devout Buddhists pour fragrant water over Buddha statues both at the temple and at home.
In Bangkok we experienced this festival as a very nice and fun festival for the whole family. Just be prepared to get WET!!
Contradictory to what you may have witnessed throughout Songkran, fun-loving Thais don't just throw water at each other for no good reason (besides having a kick out of seeing other people soaking wet). The real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes of the past year, thus welcoming the new year with a fresh new start. Traditionally Thais would politely pour a bowl of water on members of the family, their close friends and neighbours. As Songkran has taken a more festive note, a bowl becomes a bucket, garden hose and water guns and the spirit of holiday merriment is shared amongst all town residents and tourists alike.
It is a fantastic festival to celebrate and we will go back to Bangkok to participate again. It was a wonderful finish of our holiday in Thailand.
Vietnam - Hanoi - Phan Thiet - Ho Chi Minh - Mekong Delta
This year we booked our holiday for the first time through BJS Travel in Beijing. They organised everything from the flights, the pickups at the airport, hotels as well as the daytrips and tour guides. Everything was well organised and worked out great.
We started of in Hanoi, were we stayed in the Intercontinental Hotel, www.hanoi.intercontinental.com. This hotel is really nice, the staff very friendly and the food good. Although it is not in the old quarter of the city, you are there in about 10 minutes.
visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh House on Stilt, One-Pillar
Pagoda and the historical Temple of Literature.
In the afternoon, we drove to visit Museum of Ethnology and took a rickshaw
cycle ride around the Old Quarter. Once you get used to the enormous number of
motorbikes, it is getting funny!
From Hanoi we flew to Ho Chi Minh City and drove around 4 hours to Phan Thiet Beach where we stayed at the Victoria Hotel, http://www.victoriahotels- asia.com/eng/hotels-in-vietnam/. Again we found the hotel perfect for our requirements. The staff is very friendly, the rooms are spacious and clean, the food is fantastic and the pools are great. The ocean is nice as well, but the beach is not so wide. The current is really strong and there are a lot of stones in the water. Only when you are wearing water shoes you will be able to jump the waves, which brings a lot of fun. This is not a beach for smaller and younger kids, but watching the waves is great fun. You can leave your snorkelling gear at home as well. Phan Thiet itself is a small fishing village with not that much to see. We mainly enjoyed our time at the hotel, reading, swimming and just relaxing.
Back in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, we stayed at
the traditional hotel Majestic, directly at the riverside, http://www.majesticsaigon.com.vn/. Make sure you book a room
with a riverview. The other rooms do not have a view at all. The hotel will be
refurbished in the next years and should be finished by 2015. We visited the Reunification Palace, the former
palace of President Thieu and his
predecessors. “The palace nowadays becomes a
museum and venue for official receptions. Inside you can visit the private
rooms of the president, the “War Room” from where the South Vietnamese forces
were controlled, and, most poignantly, the room where the North Vietnamese army
finally took control in 1975.” Nearby we visited the Post Office and the Notre
Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883 and one of the city’s major
landmarks. Neo- Romanesque in form, Notre Dame is the major seat of the
Catholic religion in modern Vietnam. We continued to the War Remains Museum,
where you learned a lot about the Vietnam War.
The local market, Cho Ben Thanh, is nice but coming from Beijing all the
things are the same as here and more expensive.
The next day we left for My Tho, which is an area on the Mekong river. We took a boat trip along the Mekong River and its narrow waterways, overhung with dense vegetation to see around the floating market with local people selling, buying, exchanging goods from their boats. We also walked around to see orchards, rice paper making, rice crisp cake producing process, a fruit garden, a coconut candy preparation and bee farm. We had a nice day and learned about the craftsmanship along the Mekong Delta. Next time we will have to continue on the river to see the floating markets.
Grasslands in Hubei
October holidays we went to the Grasslands in Hubei. There are located close by
toaround 280 km from Beijing
direction Nord West. First you head direction Huairou than follow the Highway
111. It is a nice road to take, although you cannot drive very fast. Although
we did not have that many traffic, it took us over 5 hours to get there.
A good Chinese
friend of us booked the hotel, which, after we found it which was very challenging,
was great. If you can read Chinese, you
can read the website, or just look at the pictures: www.chuanqizhuangyuan.com. We had a
great time using the Quads, driving our 4-wheel car and walking around. You can
also rent a horse. Don’t forget to bring your own towels, some snacks/drinks and
a breakfast, if you don’t like the Chinese breakfast. As is already gets cold
in the evening, don’t forget some warm clothes.
Singapore & Island Tioman in Malaysia
In August we went for a city trip to Singapore. Afterwards we booked a few days at the Island Tioman in Malaysia.
The flights from Beijing to Singapore we booked again through Ctrip. We stayed at the city center, visited various touristic attractions. Our favourites are: the Night Safari, a fantastic experience for the kids to see the night active animals in their more or less natural surroundings. They really liked the 'flying dogs'. At Sentosa Island we went to see Universal Studios. Altough it was summer, it was not busy at all, so no need to buy a speed ticket!!
After the busy city we booked our island tour through Berjaya Hotels, the flights as well as the hotel in Tioman, a wonderfull small island just of the coast in the south east of Malaysia. The flight takes about 1 hour from Singapore and you will find yourselve in a very nice environment. The hotel is located directly at the beach and is perfect for relexing, snorkling and swimming. You don't need to book a boot trip to see turtles or collorfull fish, you have them right in front of the hotel!
Xiamen and the Earth Buildings - Fujian
Short trip to Xiamen and Earth Buildings, the Tulou of Fujian.
During the Easter holidays we went for a 3 ay trip Xiamen. We booked the flights and the hotel through Ctrip, www.ctrip.com. This site is very easy to use and you can use your credit card to pay the amount. The service is great. We flew with Air China. The Wyndham Hotel, www.wyndhamxiamen.com, which we choose to stay in, is located directly at the sea side, just a short walk from the Ferry Terminal. The hotel is pretty new, the staff very friendly, the rooms nice and clean, the breakfast buffet fantastic, the outdoor terrace restaurant good, the pool large and clean, the bar ok, so we can say, we can recommend this hotel to everybody. The best part is the location, you can walk from here to almost all attractions and the shops are close by as well.
Upon arrival we met with the contact person from Apple Travel Xiamen, www.appletravel.cn, through which we rented a car. Although it was not easy to find the correct handover spot, the car was ok. It is not the standard we are used to, but renting a car is still not very common in China. After we checked into the hotel, we went for a walk through the city and visited the Nanputuo Temple.
On Saturday we left around 9am to visit the Earth Buildings Fujian Tulou. After driving ca. 3 hours we arrived at the open air museum near Nanying.
“Fujian Tulou are unique Chinese architecture built by the Hakka people with thick earth wall enclosure found only in the mountainous areas in southwestern Fujian, China. They are mostly built between the 12th to the 20th centuries. Tulou is usually an enclosed buildings, mostly square or circular in configuration, with a very thick earth wall (up to 6 feet thick) and wooden skeletons, from three to five storeys high, housing up to 80 families. These earth buildings have only one entrance, guarded by 4-5 inch thick wooden doors reinforced with an outer shell of iron plate. The top level of these earth building have gun holes for defence against bandits. The Fujian Tulou has been inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site”
We traveled with our own car and did not use the bustour, which was offered at the entrance of the park. It was much nicer to travel by our own and explore the surroundings and visit some Earth Buildings that were not visited by the busses.
The last day we used to visit the ‘Piano Island’ Gulang Yu, a small island just across from Xiamen. It is a very touristic island, but with lots of nice restaurants, bars and shops. We visited the Zheschenggong Statue, the Haoyue Garden, the Sunlight rock, the piano museum, the bird park and we took a ride with the cable car. Just be aware of the large crowd on the beach ;-))
“As a place of residence for Westerners during Xiamen's colonial past, Gulangyu is famous for its architecture and for hosting China's only piano museum, giving it the nickname of "Piano Island" or "The Town of Pianos" (鋼琴之鄉) or "The Island of Music" (音樂之島). There are over 200 pianos on this island. The Chinese name also has musical roots, as gu lang means drum waves so-called because of the sound generated by the ocean waves hitting the reefs. Yu means "islet".
Xiamen is definately worthwhile visiting!!
Thailand, Culture and Beach from the North to the South
When we discussed our holiday plans in September, we decided that we would like to travel to the sun instead of going home to Germany and the Netherlands for Christmas. The kids liked the beach and we liked some culture as well. Last year we travelled to Malaysia, so this year we decided to go to Thailand. Whilst surfing in Internet we found a very nice website of a German tour operator: www.thailand-tours.net . They offered various options and we decided to combine culture, various transportation methods and beach all in one holiday. That way we could fulfil the wishes of our whole family. We booked a direct flight from Beijing to Bangkok via www.ctrip.com . We stayed 3 nights in Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok our first hotel did not work out (do not book the Eastin Makkasan Hotel, the service is very unfriendly) so we changed and stayed at the Hilton Millennium Hotel, www.bangkok.hilton.com , a wonderful hotel located directly at the Chao Phraya river. The first day we used the hotel shuttle boat to the skytrain station and went to visit the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is said, that this is the largest market in the world with over 9000 stands. It was a shame that we only took “hand-luggage”, so the space left for gifts or goodies was very little. We will have to come back to Bangkok one day with larger suitcases! Afterwards we went to Siam Square were we had a look at the various malls. In the evening we walked through China Town and had a lovely dinner in “Samsara”, a small restaurant located directly at the river front. On Sunday morning our German speaking guide, Ms Yui from Siam Tours Bangkok (www.siamexpress.com), picked us up for a day full of “Highlights Bangkok”. What we saw during this day: the flower market Pakklong Talad with its colourful flowers and temple offers; Wat Pra Kaeo and Royal Grand Palace, which looks like a fairytale; Wat Po, the smiling golden laying Buddha with a length of 45 meters; a long tail boat journey through the clongs of Thonburi, also called the Venice of the East; Wat Arun, the temple of dawn with its porcelain encrusted 79 meters pagoda and last but not least the Jim Thompson House, the collection of traditional Thai-Style houses preserved as a museum containing valuable Asien Objects d’art and Thai silk. It was a day full of new impressions and a lot of Buddha’s, but as well some time to feed the fish ;-)
After breakfast and some small shopping on Monday morning our river cruise boat set of for a journey from Bangkok to the old kingdom of Ayutthaya. We loved this day on the boat, relaxing, enjoying the views (we did not know Thailand has that many Temples, we could look from one temple to the next one the whole journey) of the countryside and the nice meal which the crew prepared for us in the evening. Tuesday morning we met with Ms Yui again and she showed us the main attractions of Ayutthaya explaining to us the history of this ancient capital. We started at the Bang Pa, the former Royal Summer palace, continued with a long tail boat to the Wat Sri Sanphet, this monastery was used as a residential palace by King Ramathibodi 1. We saw Wat Phananchoeng, Wat Yai Chaimongkhol, Wat Tham Krabok and then continued to Lopburi, which is famous for its Phra Kan (Monkey temple). The monkeys live in part of the city, which is nice but can be very challenging as well. They like to grasp everything which they can eat and that is not only food! Another day of culture and new views of life passed by.
After a night in the Lopburi Inn Hotel, a simple but clean hotel, we took the train to Chiang Mai. The ride took us almost 12 hours and although it was very comfortable, the air conditioning was a little too cold. The countryside was interesting but not that different from our boat trip and when the countryside changed it was in the afternoon and it went dark. Next time we would fly to Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai is a lively city. We stayed at the Banthai Village, www.banthaivillage.com . This hotel is located directly in the city centre in walking distance from a few markets, the old city wall, many temples as well as the night market. With our Tour Guide Ms Pong we experienced the city, we drove in a trishaw through the old town, visited the Wat Chedi Luang, the Wat Ppan Tao and the Wat Phra Sing. The most famous Temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, is located on the mountaintop with a bird’s eye view over Chiang Mai. From Chiang Mai you can go on various outdoor events including rafting, hiking and elephant tours. As we did not have enough time to do so, we will have to come back soon.
At this stage the kids said, they have had enough of temples now and it was time for the beach ;-)) We had a good impression on the culture and historic cities in Thailand. We took the plane back to Bangkok and from there on to Krabi. Here the driver of Koh Jum Lodge picked us up and drove us in around 40 minutes to Luam Kruat Pier were a long tail boat took us to the marvellous little island Koh Jum. This is where we relaxed and enjoyed Christmas. We stayed at the Koh Jum Lodge, www.kohjumlodge.com , which is managed my Jean Michel, a Frenchmen, and his Thai wife. They have 19 small Thai style houses each for up to 4 people. The weather was great, we always found a place on the beach to relax, time to snorkel and swim. One day we booked a snorkelling tour to Phi-Phi Island. It was the first time the kids saw that many colourful fish and were able to swim in between them. These days were the perfect ending of a wonderful Thailand experience with culture, history, relaxation and sport. We will have to return....
What did we see:
1) We rented a car with a driver and visited the Tiger Leaping Gorge (a nice gorge to visit, although coming from Europe and having seen a lot of gorges in Austria it is not that impressing) as well as the first bend of the Changjiang River with Shigu Town (nice coutrysite and a small town). -> one day trip
2) We rented a car and drove ourselfes to the Yulong Snow Mountain and went up to 4506 Meters. So high we have never been before! It was worthwhile waiting for, and that waiting was long (around 3 hours, first you have to wait to get in the bus to the cable car and than you have to wait for the cable car). Our middle son had some problems with the thin air and we bought oxygen for him. The view over the valley is fantastic! Please make sure you arrive early (we arrived at 11am at the ticket office and that was too late!) We heard that they will close the mountain for repairs from 1. April till October 2010, so if you want to visit the mountain, please check before if it is open.
After visiting the mountain we drove with the car through Da Yulong. We saw the Blue Moon Valley and the cable way to the yak Meadow. The streets here are still in a poor condition, but driving through the countryside is very nice. We would have liked to have more time for it.
-> plan 2 days if you have enough time and go hiking!
3) A visit to Shuhe Ancient Town (close to Lijiang) was also nice. Our kids liked the game “who get’s the most for 10RMB”.
-> 2 hours is enough
4) We visited the Guan Yin George with Tempel and waterfall. We spend a nice morning there walking through the surroundings.
-> 3 hours
5) Most important though was Lijiang Old town. This area is really very nice with great shops, restaurants and bars. The whole atmosphere is good. We wallked through the town each night and had dinner. There are a lot of small hotels directly in the old town. For us the Crown Plaza was great as our kids could walk around, go to the pool and we did not have to worry. If you are travelling with older kids or on your own, I think it is nice to check out one of the local hotels.
Overall a visit to Lijiang is really worthwhile!
We visited Shanghai during Chinese New Year. We decided just short before we traveled to visit Shanghai. We booked our flights through C-Trip, which was very easy to handle and gave us good prices. It is easy to travel to Shanghai from Beijing, almost like taking a bus. As we looked for a hotel, we consulted the internet as well. Looked on various websites and decided to book via C-Trip, as it was cheaper that booking the hotel direct. The only negative point is, that we could not book a room for 3 kids, so we just booked two double rooms and decided to discuss the extra bed when we arrived at the hotel. We stayed 3 nights and 4 days in the Westin on the Bund Shanghai (nice rooms, great breakfast). We were lucky to have our own car, so we were able to visit a lot of places.
During the easterbreak we have spent a few days in Lijiang in the Yunnan Province. We booked the flights via a travel agency (a direct flight from Beijing to Lijiang on the way over and via Kunming on the way back). We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located directly next to the old city centre of Lijiang. They offer very nice rooms, a well assorted breakfast, great views, very helpfull concierge, so we can recommend the hotel to everybody! www.crownplaza.cn
Tips for Travel with kids:
1) Take rollers with you, so the kids can “walk” quicker.
2) Make a trip on the Maglev - the magnet fast train from the pudong airport to the city centre. The train is very fast, within 7 minutes, 30km with a maximum of 431 km/h.
3) Visit the Bund (being renovated in 2009/2010, should be finished before the Expo!)
4) Visit the Pudong site (Jan Mao Tower, Oriental Pearl Tower
5) Shopping in Nanjing Road
6) Visit Yuyuan Park with the Old City and market
7) Visit the old french quarter
8) Daytrip to Zhouzhuang
9) 1/2 Day trip to Oriental Land, about 45 minutes from Shanghai center. Great for kids, lost of outdoor activities, helicopters, aircraft carrier ship, submarine ship. We had a great weekend!
A nice city used as an imperial summer getaway in ancient times by the emperors. Located around 200 km north of Beijing, easy to reach via the new expressway Jingcheng. Major attractions:
- Chengde Mountain resort (located directly in the city center, if you come by car, make sure you see it and don't drive out of the city again. If you see the Temples, you have passed it!, like we did the first time ;-))
- Visit one of the five temples which are open to the public: Putuozongcheng Temple (also known as the "Little Potala Palace", the original is in Lhasa, picture below), Puning Temple, Puyou Temple, Xumifushou Temple and Pule Temple
Beach destinations, around 270 km east of Beijing, easy to reach via the Jingshen Expressway or via train. We have visited the "Old Dragon's Head" in Shanhaiguan. The Old Dragon's Head (picture below) is where the Great Wall has it's starting point at the ocean. It has been fully restored and is worthwhile a days visit. We did not have enough time to visit the old center of Shanhaiguan with it's small alleys, Bell and Drum towers and Great Wall Museum, but we will go back there to explore it. We stayed overnight at the Qinhuangdao Holiday Inn Hotel which is located directly at the beachfront. Although it was already October the kids went swimming in the ocean!
Hainan, Sanya, Yalong Bay:
Known as the "Hawaii of Asia", this beach location was our first holiday destination in China. We visited Hainan during Easter 2009 and had a great week, full of sun, see, beach, culture and fun. Our kids like the Monkey Island and the Yanoda Rainforest Park (picture below). If you have a chance, rent a car and just drive around the island to explore the countrysite and the villages. In Sanya we like the restaurant "Fat Daddy", at the beachfront as well as the night market. The only difficulty is that most people do not speak english! We took a flight with Air China, which we booked directly via the Webiste of Air China. The Hotel, the Aegean Conifer Suite Hotel (great for families) we booked through Jenny with FreeSanya.
Booked via Hidden China, www.hiddenchina.net
Day 1: Beijing -Datong with the train around 21pm from Beijing West trainstation
Day 2: as you will arrived at 3am in the morning, a guide will pick you up and bring you to a hotel. In the morning around 8am visit the Buddha caves Yungang Shiku, followed by a tour through the citycentre and the hanging abbey of Xuankongsi. In the afternoon transper to the holy mountain Wutaishan and stay overnight.
Day 3: Visit Buddhist temple and travel to Pingyao. Pingyao was an economical centre of china around 150 years ago, it still has a complete city wall around it. It has lots of nice courtyards, small hotels and musea. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 4: Enjoy the day in Pingyao and learn about the life in ancient times.
Day 5: Transfer early in the moring to Taiyuan, on the way visit the Jiaojia Courtyard (the home of one of the most influential families in the province Shanxi and the home for 6000 people, known for its role in 1991 in Zhang Yimou’s movie „Raise the red lanterns“ with Gong Li as main actor. Back to Beijing with the train.
Price: around 400-450 Euro per Person (Kids price separate).
A great tour, sometimes the travel is a little long. Pingyao is definately worthwhile visiting and maybe stay there a day longer!
Xian, Guilin, Longjititian
Booked via Hidden China www.hiddenchina.net
Day 1 Beijing-Xian around 20:30 with the overnight train to Xian
Day 2 Visit the Terracotta Warriors, the Han Mausoleum, in the afternoon flight to Guilin
Day3 boottrip on the Li River (3 to 5 hours) seeing the wunderfull river environment, arriving in Yangshuo. Visit the old town and an evening kormoran fishermen show.
Day 4 Yangshuo, bycicle trip throught the area with great mountais and with the famous rice terraces
Day 5 Departing on a river cruise on a small fishermenboat and visit the silver caves.
Day 6 to Longjititian (Longsheng) to visit the rice terraces and stay overnight in a small guesthouse to feel the atmosphere. It is the hometown of the Zhuang minorities.
Day 7 Visit some attractions in the area at leisure
Day 8 Return to Beijing
-> This trip was made by a family with kids. They all had a great time. Price around 1000 Euro per Person. Kids have a special price, depending on age and if they need a separate room or in the room of the parents.
Kunming-Yunnan - Guilin
Friends of us made this trip and told us about it.
Day 1: flight to Kunming, Sightseeing Cui Hu Gongyuan, in the evening a theater show with minority music and dance stay overnight in Grant Park Hotel in Kunming
Day 2: visit West mountains- Huating Temple (evtl. visit more temples, a short hike up the mountain stay overnight in Grant Park Hotel Kunming
Day 3: Daytrip to stone forest (Lunch is a bit difficult there, walk around without guide!) stay overnight in Grant Park Hotel, Kunming
Day 4: flight to Dali, boat trip on Er Hai Lake (2 hours, Minority village) and visit 3 pagodas. Stay overnight at Regent Hotel in Dali (choose another hotel, this one is not good!!!)
Day 5: visit ancient town of Dali (very nice plan a 2nd night in Dali!), transfer to Lijing (4 hours by car) stay overnight at Banyan Tree Resort, Lijiang (book a room on higher floor to enjoy the view!)
Day 6: visit old town of Lijing, Black Dragon Pool, Dongba Museum (not very interesting, you can leave it out!), Mu Fu Stay overnight at Banyan Tree Resort, Lijiang
Day 7: visit Shuhe ancient Town (10 Min walk from Banyan Tree)
Day 8: visit Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (cable car up to 4600m, a 4 hour drive from hotel) and Yufeng Temple stay overnight at Banyan Tree Resort, Lijiang
Day 9: Transfer (2,5 hours) to Shigu Town /First Bend of Yangtze
Tiger leaping gorge (you can leave it out, although quite a few other people thought is was great!!) Drive to Zhongdian/ Shangri la (2 hours), visit Gandasumsanlin Monastery stay overnight at Banyan Tree Hotel, Zhongdian (outside to the city, choose a hotel in the citycenter!)
Day 10: visit Bitahai Lake, Tibetan village, Zhongdian/ Shangri la ancient town stay overnight at Banyan Tree Hotel, Zhongdian
Day 11: flight via Kunming to Guilin, drive to Longshen/Rice terraces (2,5 hours, do not go on a public holiday, traffic chaos!) stay overnight at Bamboo Garden Hotel Longji
Day 12: short walk through rice terraces or a 6 hour walk from one village to another and ask for a pick up there. Stay overnight in the village or in Guillin
Day 13: Sightseeing in Guilin, mountain of the elephant snout and Fubo Moutain, stroll along the lakes, go shopping in the pedestrian area
stay overnight at Sheraton Hotel
Day 14: with a boat from Guilin to Yangshuo, Lijiang River (6 hours)
Alternative: drive with the car to the village on the Li River, there they have bambus rafts and travel on the Li River to Yangshuo in around 4 hours. In the evening visit the show on the riverside stay overnight in the Yangshuo Paradise Hotel, Yangshuo Nice extra: bicycle tour or kayak tour
Instead of booking via a travel agent in Beijing, try to book a local agent (cheaper and better). Make sure you explain what you want to see and what kind of car you would like to have. It is a very impressive tour with lots of highlights.
Visited in Dec. 2009 by a family with 3 kids
Flights can be booked by various airlines, each day a few times. Depending on date and time is the price for one person between 2500 and 4000 RMB.
Hotels visited: Lan Kwai Fong Hotel (very central but very small rooms), 100-130 Euro/Night/Room without BF, www.lankwaifonghotel.com.hk
Shama Apartments Central (very central, nice size), ca. 130 Euro p.Apt. without BF, www.shama.com
When visiting for the first time, make the “Big Bus Tour”, www.bigbustours.com
Other sightseeing points: Peak, Star Ferry, Citytrain, Escalator, Shopping, Macau (daytrip)
HK is very expensive. The flightsprices as well as the hotelprices can vary a lot. Book in advance if possible. Otherwise it is a nice city for a large weekend and sometimes good shortterm bargains.
Mongolian – Living like the Nomads in a Yurt (Mongolian: Ger)
flights from Peking-Ulan Bator ca. 450 €
Visa, ca. 55 €, Embassy is close to the Ritan Park
The organisation Ger-to-Ger offers various tours (with Kids take the “easy” tour) „Ger-toGer“ have their office in Ulan Bator (taxidrivers know them)
The nights before and after the tour should be organised before. The Gobi Hotel is very nice.
You have to be used to outdoor touring and be tolerant to sheep product (milk!). Living in a ger is very basic, simple and standard but very impressing for Expats!
Take a few cereal bars as a back up as well as some toiletpaper and tea (for kids)
Clothes:just a few pieces but robust/strong
Malaysia, Langkawi Island:
We stayed at the Berjaya Resort, which was really great! It was our first time to Malaysia and we will definately come back. Langkawi is a nice island for sunbathing and relaxing. We rented a car for one day to drive around the island, to visit some beaches, a waterfall, the highest point of Langkawi where you have breathtaking views over the main island as well as the other smaller islands around it, to go shopping at the market and to have diner in one of the restaurants.