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Hello, Nǐ hǎo, and Chào bạn.

My next trip is to Vietnam and China and I am very excited. I will be starting out in Saigon and working my way up north. From Hanoi, I will cross into China either by the International train or plane. This is about the pre-planning, the trip itself and after. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine


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When a tiger dies he leaves behind his skin. When a man dies he leaves behind his reputation.
Vietnamese proverb

In Memorium

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan in Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam which took place during the Vietnam War between the VC and North Vietnam and 1st Australian Task Force. 18 Australians and 245 Viet Cong soldiers died.

There would have been soldiers on both sides who were only 19.
In commemoration of those who died 50 years ago today. August 18, 1966.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

3. China Itinerary - 1

Like the Vietnam sector, the China part of my trip has seen agonising hours spent trying to find the best use of my days and nights here. Itinially, I had planned on going Hanoi to Hong Kong and then working my way up to Shanghai, across to Pingyao, ont to Beijing then flying out to KL on the 26th June. My flight KL to Melbourne departs around 13.00pm so I need to be there the day before.

I'd seen an Air Asia flight for the 26th for $176, but thought it prudent to work out how much time I had, could I fit it all in etc. before booking. Which with hindsight was a foolish thing to do - even if I couldn't fit everything in, I still had to fly to KL on the 26th anyway. So, by the time I did get around to booking it, there were no flights available for that day! So .... then I had to work the other way - going in a clock-wise direction, finishing in Hong Kong and flying back from there. Which in a way, has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

What I hadn't stopped to think is had I gone Hanoi>Nanning>Hong Kong>Shanghai; I would have needed a multi visa for China. Doing it in reverse, I only need the one Chinese visa. So ... First I was going to stop at Pingyao, then Beijing, Shanghai (maybe Suzhou and Hangzhou), then Hong Kong, but have realised I do indeed wish to see Xi'an - those terracotta warriors look amazing and history buff that I am, I couldn't possibly miss them. So, time was spent working that into my already busy itinerary, but then ....... I saw Qingdao in my Lonely Planet China guidebook and bingo! I really want to stop there for a day or two. So .... now that's something else to fit in. But ......the good new for me is I asked about flying versus train from Hanoi to Beijing and the general consensus is fly! Train from Hanoi to Nanning then fly to Xi'an and work my way around.

So .. at the moment my China itinerary is looking like this:

Thu 07 - Arrive Nanning 10.12am. Fly to Xi'an (This depends on flight time as I've been advised it's cheaper by far to book a week or so before your actually flying date.) Anyway, working on the assumption that I fly into Xi'an on the 7th -
Fri 08 - Xi'an (Day trip to terracotta warriors)

Sat 09 - Xi'an - Pingyao
Sun 10 - Arrive Pingyao

Mon 11 - Pingyao - Beijing
Tue 12 - Arrive Beijing
Wed 13 - Beijing (Day tour to Great Wall)
Thu 14 - Beijing

Fri 15 - Beijing - Shanghai
Sat 16 - Arrive Shanghai
Sun 17 - Shanghai

Mon 18 - Shanghai to Hangzhou
Tue 19 - Hangzhou

Wed 20 - Hangzhou to Suzhou/Tongli
Thu 21 - Suzhou

Fri 22 - Suzhou - Shanghai - Hong Kong
Sat 23 - Hong Kong
Sun 24 - Hong Kong
Mon 25 - Hong Kong

Tue 26 - Hong Kong - Kuala Lumpur (Flight departs around 18.00pm)
Arrive KL 23.30pm

Wed 27 - KL to Melbourne. Depart 13.00pm arrive Melb 23.30pm.

This sees me with four nights in Hong Kong and no time in Qingdao, so I have to have a re-think and try some adding and subtracting to fit it in.

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