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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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

11. Shanghai/Hangzhou/Suzhou/Tongli Loop

Initially I had six nights for this part of my trip, but am going to Hong Kong a day earlier which leaves me with five. I'll most likely get the overnight train from Beijing on Saturday 16th arriving in Shanghai Sunday morning, although Spring Airlines show one daily flight for $31.50 ($60 with taxes), but it leaves at the unfortunate time of 6.30am which would mean getting up pretty early. How early I don't know but probably around 4.30am. If I opt for flying, I will need to know how long it takes to get to the airport and how early I need to be there.

Anyway, back to the trip - was thinking of two nights each in Shanghai, Hangzhou and then either Suzhou or Tongli in that order. Now I'm not so sure. I've heard that Shanghai doesn't have much to offer and it's just a city. The two areas I want to see are the bund and French Concession.

Will probably stay in the bund area as I've yet to find budget accommodation in the French area. The Captain Hostel which I had been my earlier choice has now flown out the window as I've read so many bad reports about this hostel that I ask myself is it worth it to stay there just for the view (of the Bund at night?) If not there, I will stay at Mingtown Etour Youth Hostel. No views of the Bund but a nice atmosphere according to what I've read.

Getting back to the original quandry - do I still keep the order of staying or would I be best to put Shanghai last? The one advantage I can see is now that I have a day and night less, by leaving Shanghai last, I'll have a bit of extra time to look around before flying out. Would I be best to have one or two nights in Hangzhou?

If I stick to my original plan, I can still go direct the airport from Suzhou. Doing some research, there are uses from Suzhou to PVG (Pudong Airport). They leave from 115, Ganjiang Xi Lu, Jinchang District and take 3 hours. (I just saw that then). Timetable is 06:20 07:20 07:50 08:20 08:50 09:20 09:50 10:20 10:50 11:30 12:10 12:50 13:30 14:10 14:50 15:30 16:10 and the Fare is CNY84. I found this link which has plenty of info re transport to and from Suzhou.

Hmm decisions, decisions, decisions.

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