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Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

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Kanchanaburi...
posts: 675
reviews: 36
Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

After Beijing I have in total 7 days before I leave China. Xian and Chengdu are the other two destinations I have selected. Xian for the terracotta and Chengdu for the Pandas. Question - how many days should I spend in each of the place? I guess 2 days will be taken from 7 for travelling - one day from Beijing to Xian and one day from Xian to Chengdu.

Kanchanaburi...
posts: 675
reviews: 36
11. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

#7 - your schedule is quite similar to ours. Still trying to finalize with all the different places to choose from. We are scheduled to leave Beijing on 17th or 18th. Have you booked your hotels for Beijing, Xian and Chengdu?

Dongguan, China
posts: 2
reviews: 2
12. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

As an American guy that has spent the last 5 years traveling China, I would recommend 4 days Xi'an then three in Chengdu. I would forego Jiuzhai for this trip as its very nice, but nowhere up to par with Xi'an and Chengdu.

Here's why:

Based off of what you mentioned you'd like to accomplish from your itinerary, you will have very little time to actually enjoy the places you are going, which would be a waste. One example: The Muslim Quarter is an amazing place to spend entire dayS just by itself. Han Yan Ling is one of the most under appreciated artifact museums in all of China, it has a few large sections, and is 40-60 minutes at least from Xi'an city center. Da Yan Ta is one of the three (or four, I'm not 100% sure) most regarded pagodas in all of China. Make sure to go to the top for a great view. Then of course you have the Terra Cotta Warriors, which truly take a day or two to fully appreciate. You can add a day trip to Hua Shan for an epic "feel of Chinese landscape" experience.

Chengdu has nearly as many epic experiences, just make sure you enjoy them. I went to the Panda Reserve then to see the LuShan Buddha in one day once. I wish I'd stayed overnight in Leshan, then went up the mountain for a half day.

See, if you wish to actually enjoy the experiences, you need to give yourself time. Jiuzhai for all if its beauty just isn't better than Hua Shan for a truly Chinese feeling and historic relevance.

Dongguan, China
posts: 2
reviews: 2
13. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

As an American guy that has spent the last 5 years traveling China, I would recommend 4 days Xi'an then three in Chengdu. I would forego Jiuzhai for this trip as its very nice, but nowhere up to par with Xi'an and Chengdu.

Here's why:

Based off of what you mentioned you'd like to accomplish from your itinerary, you will have very little time to actually enjoy the places you are going, which would be a waste. One example: The Muslim Quarter is an amazing place to spend entire dayS just by itself. Han Yan Ling is one of the most under appreciated artifact museums in all of China, it has a few large sections, and is 40-60 minutes at least from Xi'an city center. Da Yan Ta is one of the three (or four, I'm not 100% sure) most regarded pagodas in all of China. Make sure to go to the top for a great view. Then of course you have the Terra Cotta Warriors, which truly take a day or two to fully appreciate. You can add a day trip to Hua Shan for an epic "feel of Chinese landscape" experience.

Chengdu has nearly as many epic experiences, just make sure you enjoy them. I went to the Panda Reserve then to see the LuShan Buddha in one day once. I wish I'd stayed overnight in Leshan, then went up the mountain for a half day.

See, if you wish to actually enjoy the experiences, you need to give yourself time. Jiuzhai for all if its beauty just isn't better than Hua Shan for a truly Chinese feeling and historic relevance.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 16
14. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

Hi Judysp. We are working on the same boat now. Only international flight tickets have been booked. I am thinking to hire a local tour company to do hotels and local fights only. Is it possible? Please help me locals!!!!!!!!!!

beijing
posts: 5,221
reviews: 5
15. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

As an expat with 10+ years of living and traveling around China, I disagree with Adam C's advice to forego Jiuzhaigou on this trip as well as some other of his observations. Here's why: This OP already has a city-heavy trip and certainly enough time in cultural heavyweights Beijing and Xi'an. You need to balance out all this heavyweight history with some natural scenery, and JZG fits with the plan. Hua Shan can be a relatively dangerous mountain area to climb and I would skip it entirely. Most of the historic relevance to foreigners of the Chinese "holy mountains" is lost on foreigners. As for spending a full day in the Muslim Quarter, yes you can....but 95% of travelers don't have that kind of interest, much less that kind of time. "Enjoyment" does not automatically mean parking oneself for hours in one place.

For Xi'an, my suggestions to get a meaningful visit and to the extent possible, pick relatively less crowded times:

Day 1. Arrive on the Z19 about 08:00, get taxi to hotel and park your stuff there, even if it's too early to check in.

--City Wall, probably go up at South Gate. Spend 09:00 - 11:00 here doing a rental bike ride. It's cooler in the morning and you might not have too many crowds at that time. Quick lunch somewhere in the area after you get down from the Wall. Taxi to...

--Shaanxi History Museum 12:00-14:00. Note that there are two entry kiosks. As you face the Museum front with street at your back, the one on the left side will have a long line that moves slow--that's for free entrance with ID or passport. Skip it, you don't have time to waste. The one on the right side will have no queue but will cost you RMB 20 for admission. Pay it. Your time is more valuable. There is an extra (and expensive) separate entrance to some Tang Mural paintings but you might wish to forego this. Make up your mind once inside the Museum and you see how time is running....you can always add it in if you want.

--taxi to Terracotta Warriors. It will take a while to get out there, but it's less crowded the later in the day you go. 16:00-18:30 should be plenty of time, then either get a taxi or the public bus back (goes to main train station).

--down to Big Goose Pavilion and fountain show in the evening. Dinner somewhere in there. IMO, Big Goose is not a particularly impressive place to either see up close or go up. But you'll be back too late to enter and go up with this plan. I don't find BGP one of Xi'an's best sites.

Day 2:

--Up reasonably early and get a taxi to Hanyangling (Jindi) tomb. I agree this is an underrated site that should get more visitors. You'll have to take into account Xi'an's rush hour so try to leave hotel about 07:30 or 07:45. Hanyangling about 08:30 or 09:00 - 10:30 is enough. Public bus out to here is tricky to schedule so taxi out. I'd tend to pay and have the taxi wait for you so you don't have to wait around after the site visit for a bus or a taxi dropping people off to show up.

--Taxi to Daming Palace site. I'd put this site in the "optional" category but due to geography probably stick it here if you want. Say 11:00-12:30. Lunch after.

--Taxi to Small Goose Pavilion. Not as much press, but I greatly prefer it and the grounds over the Big Goose Pavilion. I wouldn't bother going up to the Pagoda. If there is a long ticket queue (free entrance) and a short queue (pay), pay and save time. I'd rank this above Daming but below the other sites in priority. 14:00-16:00.

--Taxi to Bell/Drum Towers (photo ops), then Muslim Quarter, Great Mosque, Beiyuanmen street. Visit the Mosque, wander the area, snack and eat, etc. 16:30 to 19:30+

--Optional: Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, think it starts about 20:30.

I don't think the Tang Paradise (a relatively new "theme park") or the Qujiangchi Park are priorities. Definitely skip the Hot Springs.

That's a packed but doable 2 full days in Xi'an. Of course you could spend an extra couple of days there and see more, but in the overall time you have for your China itinerary, I think the days are best deployed elsewhere.

beijing
posts: 5,221
reviews: 5
16. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

Chengdu: you need to get a morning flight, preferably in the 8-9 am departure range, out of Jiuzhaigou. You'll be able to get into Chengdu in time to salvage at least half of the day. IMO, your list in #7 has a lot of meh places on it: not bad, but maybe repetitious. And you miss a wonderful one--Sanxingdui--although it's actually outside Chengdu. My suggestion:

Day 1--morning flight JZH-CTU. Taxi to hotel, dump stuff. Will probably be between 10-11 am by this point. Do a geographically-coherent selection of some of your wish list according to your feelings at the time. Maybe Dufu Cottage or Qingyang Temple, then Renmin Park and Tianfu for people-watching in the middle of the day/early afternoon, then Wuhou Temple/Jinli Ancient street in late afternoon. Also might depend on the weather.

Day 2--get to Pandas by opening time at 08:30. Spend until 10:30-ish there. Then get up to Guanghan city (about 30 minutes north of Chengdu) to Sanxingdui Museum....it's quite unlike anything else you've seen. About 12:00-14:30 there with a quick snack in lieu of lunch in Chengdu or Guanghan. Return to Chengdu for Wanshu Temple 16:00-17:00. Dinner in the area or head to Kuan Xiangzi Street for dinner. While more expensive than pubilc transport, it might be more convenient to get a car for the day to take you from hotel to Pandas to Sanxingdui to Wanshu Temple for drop off. After that you can use taxis for evening.

Kanchanaburi...
posts: 675
reviews: 36
17. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

wow...that's a lot of information for me to digest. I see the points from everyone but a too hectic tour will not be what my other half is looking at. So I need to balance it up. I think Jiuhaigou looks great but the cost of flying there is quite expensive.

And my main reason for Chengdu is to get to see and hopefully learn about the Pandas. So that will be one day dedicated to them.

asyouknowalways - I am looking at Han Tang House in Xian. What about you? Have not decided for Chengdu and Beijing.

Chengdu, China
posts: 913
reviews: 2
18. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

International Panda Keeper Programme can help you spend one day inside the Chengdu Panda Base.That is do the Keeper Programme in the morning,after lunch,visit the whole base.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 16
19. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

To traveler from Kanchanaburi: I have not looked into hotels yet. I will book flights next week as I think it is too early right now, then hotels, and attraction tickets if available. We are not stay at Beijing at all. Xi'an HanTang Hostel sounds good . You can make reservations through elong.com and/or ctrip.com. Both of them seem popular tour websites in China. Too bad, my journey is going to be a week earlier than yours!

To kvchina: Thank you so so so much for the detail information, special for the suggestion of Sanxingdui. I glanced it long time ago when I started to research. But totally forget about this important destination after all. It is worth to pay a visit for sure, and same direction with Panda Breeding Base. I will spend a whole for two locations.

20. Re: Should I spend more days in Xian or Chengdu

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