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Pardon me for taking the liberty to write to you direct but my googling/research for my family’s trip keeps finding itself to your blog! I wonder if you would be so kind to give me some assistance?
I’m planning a trip with my husband and 3yr-old son. My husband doesn’t speak mandarin so the main job of research lies with me. We are planning to arrive in Shanghai on the 26th Dec and somehow make our way to Suzhou then Hangzhou then Huangshan. I would like to know what is the best way to travel from place to place that would be cheapest and safest with consideration of travelling with a toddler.
My husband took a look at the map and found that the distance was drivable but foreigners can’t drive in China! What a shame!
I was hoping to maybe travel by boat at some point if possible. But I find myself landing in some US websites that charge exorbitant rates in US dollars rather than RMB.
Ideally, we just make our way around, as we go along, in a romantic laid back manner but with a little boy, I really need everything to be booked up in advance.
Could you please help? I really apologise for being so bold but the tips I’ve learned on your blog have been so good!
I’d like to answer it on this blog, since Shanghai – Suzhou – Huangshan trip is so popular route for people visiting Shanghai. Let me start with planning philosophy.
Well Planned China Trip?
The idea to plan everything well, and book everything well in China is still not an easy job to do.
No matter how advanced the hardware is in China, don’t forget that China just stepped back to the track of development and opening up just 30 years ago. The software of te country (like booking, and business ethics) still need some time to recover to what is before the Culture Revolution.
It is pretty hard to book things. You have to be open and ready to handle “not booked” travel. Train ticket for example, is not easy to book online in advance. You have to go with a travel agent who can help you do it, not directly from the Railway Company – which is state owned.
Best Way to Travel is Train
The best way to travel between Shangai – Suzhou, and Huangshan is by train. It is especially so for Suzhou to Huangshan trip.
However, since you have a 3 year old, and Shangai and Suzhou is not far away – just one hour drive, I would suggest you to hire a car. You can either call a taxi from taxi company (like Dazhong) or hire a private car. You can look at my taxi category for more information about how to book, and which number to call. The alternative is to go to my classified site:
There are many people offering one day rental at pretty good price. It is a Chinese site though. (Disclaimer: I am CEO of the company, Baixing.com. I have pretty good confidence in the car listing, because all the drivers either have government issued license, or deposit 1000 RMB for service quality guarantee to customers).
A car will make your trip to Suzhou very comfortable, especially when you have a kid with you.
To Huangshan? Car travel is not as safe and comfortable as train, and I suggest you to take train. Check out my train category.
Boat? Maybe Not on This Route
I don’t see there is any chance that you can take boat on this route. Just train and car.
Good luck to your trip. I have a son of 1 and half year old, and I do feel the happiness to travel with the little kid. Would love to hear how your trip is going on…