Stupid aircanada site. I managed to use my PC to book my flights here and back, but now I can't get it to work well with my iBook. I'm trying to re-book my return flight for May 3rd (Beijing to Vancouver, Vancouver to Ottawa on the 4th).
Having looked over the places I want to see (and in what order), 25-30 days should give me enough time to do so. ... I hope. A lot of it will come down to the amount I can manage to save. I should be good, though. It'll be approx 2,200 yuan for travel (bus and train), 1,200 yuan for food and 6,000 for accomodation. Overall, that's 9,400 yuan which is $1,300 Cdn, and those are over-estimates. A bus from Shijiazhuang to Tang Shan (~500 kms) is 130 yuan, so travel will likely be cheaper, and I can eat cheaper also by using markets and grocery stores and avoiding temple markets and such. Accomodation will mostly be hostels (and farmers' fields... kidding!). I'm also avoiding larger cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Anyway...
Here's the rough itinerary, April 1st - 28th, with "-" indicating small side-trips out from a larger centre:
Beijing to Ji'nan (to see/climb Tai Shan)
- Ji'nan to Zhengzhou (to check out Song Shan and the Shaolin temple - rockin'!)
Zhengzhou to Nanjing (to see a museum dedicated to the dead from the Japan-China war and wander the old streets)
- Nanjing to Yixian (to see/climb Huang Shan)
Yixian to Wuhan (or just straight to Shiyan)
- Wuhan to Shiyan (Wudang Shan! WOOO!)
- Shiyan to Yongshun (to wander around Wulingyuan)
Yongshun to Zhuhai by overnight train (to visit Linda and John... not gaming Linda and John, obviously)
[approx 10-12 days]
Zhuhai to Guilin (karst scenery ftw)
Guilin to Kunming
[approx 4-7 days]
Angling back North:
Kunming to Chengdu (I will spend quite a few days here as there is MUCH to see and do - Giant Pandas yay!)
Chengdu to Xi'an (terracota army and just an old city overall)
Xi'an back to Beijing (flight home)
[approx 8-10 days]
So that will take me south and into the central provinces (Shandong, Henan, Hubei, Jiangsu and Anhui), then the southern province of Guangdong, then northwest into the southwestern provinces (Yunnan, Sichuan and Chongqing) and back north in a teardrop-shaped circuit.
Just need to plot out a more accurate budget and figure out realistic travel times between different places. Overall, that odyssey will take me 7,500 kms across/through China.