After our wonderful trip to Beijing earlier this month, we were very excited when we found out that we have a longer vacation coming up. This time it is 8 days long!! I have been planning the trip for over a week. Every night I sit, with my Lonely planet, and the internet… looking for places to see, and areas to explore. We had our heart set on X’ian and Guilin.
In Xian, we wanted to see the Terracotta Warriors. We had been told that this is not to be missed, and we have been excited about it since we arrived in China.
For Guilin, we have a list of places we want to go to. Elephant Trunk Hil, Reed Flute Cave, a spectacular night cruise along the Li River, etc. Just outside Guilin, we wanted to go bamboo rafting on the Meeting Dragon River, and bicycling on among the gorgeous karst mountains.
We also wanted to visit Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, in Longshen (above).
We made all the plans, and we searched the internet everyday… looking for ways to bus train tickets.
Unfortunately, we could not take a bus, because it was too far, and the roads would be insanely busy for this nation-wide week long vacation. A train would be the best bet… The cheapest too!!
The trip from Dongying (where we live), to Guilin, would take 35 hours!!!!! However, we planned to buy sleeper tickets, so that the trip would not be dreadful. The trains in China have different ticket options… Hard Seats, Soft Seats, Hard sleepers, Soft sleepers, and standing tickets (once all the others have sold out). If you plan on buying a soft sleeper ticket, you need to be willing to pay about the same as a cheap flight.
Based on our research, a hard sleeper (above) would be the best idea. I was a bit nervous about this because, as you can see, there is no privacy.
We figured out that we could only book a train ticket 10 days in advance… so we waited until Monday to book the first train trip. Justin’s co-teacher came with us to the travel agent so that she could do the talking for us. We took a taxi, and made our way through the afternoon traffic so that we could get there before the agency closed.
The train tickets went on sale at 3pm, and by 3:05 every single sleep ticket was sold!!! I had visions of us having to buy “hard seat” tickets…
But, even worse, even all the seats were taken.
The only option was to take a standing ticket. Missing a night of sleep, while standing on a moving train, packed full to the capacity, would not be a good way to start a vacation.
35 HOURS OF THIS!?!?
We quickly thought of other places to go, but all of those were sold out too!! We were so disappointed. We couldn’t bare to stay at the school for 8 days, doing nothing!! We had such big plans for the vacation!!
The government still has our passports, because they are applying for our residency papers, so we didn’t think that booking flights would be possible. Yesterday we heard that we SHOULD get our passports back by Tuesday, next week. So, being the planner I am, I started making a new travel plan. This time, only involving flights. Since last night, I have spent hours online searching flights, and vacation packages. This afternoon I finally booked our vacation!! 🙂
Stay tuned for blog updates on our journey to…
Shanghai and Xian!!!!!