Subject: More on China/Vietnam/Malaysia/Hong Kong
Dear Ziners,

Thanks to many of you, I'm beginning to put some interesting flesh on my itinerary. I'm not sure where to start my comments here--perhaps with Judy Love Eastham.

Judy: it's great to have input from you. I still have my copy of your Accommodating Asia: Hong Kong/Asia. Imagine you've put out a new edition since my copy was published? BTW, it's possible that I'll get to use the guidebook! We'll probably fly to Hong Kong from Kuala Lumpur and then take the train to Guilin. (I should remind everyone that with the Malaysia airpass, we have to fly back to Kuala Lumpur whenever we head to another destination.) Do you have a favorite small hotel in Hong Kong to recommend?

About your hotel suggestion in Hanoi: I looked at the hotel's website. It looks like a boutique hotel as you say, and we're planning to book it. We'll also check out the highly recommended food at the hotel at your suggestion.

You asked if this trip were a food research trip for another guidebook. No, we (my husband and I) are purely vacationing, although traveling to research a country's food is great fun as well!

Moving on to the Li River trip: The accounts of Bob Johnson, Lou Matthews, Sue Wright and Patric Horton have led me to rethink the boat trip. It sounds like a better way to see the gorgeous sights is to go from Yangshou to Guilin (or maybe just to Xingping??) rather than the more usual way of going from Guilin to Yangshou. I would think there would be a bus to get us back to the hotel in Yangshou--or we could hire a driver. How easy is it to arrange it with a local reliable boat company? Can it be done through one's hotel? I suspect we'll try to book the Paradise Resort Hotel in Yangshou.

Sue: you mentioned the Moon Hill village. Where is this in relation to Yangshou and is Mrs. Zhou in that village? You really tempted me with that comment about the possibility of getting her husband to fix a traditional lunch. This would be fabulous. You said everyone knows her, but has her fame given rise to clones to confuse the issue?? What's the best way to locate her? Also want you to know that I've put holds on some of your reading/video suggestions at the library.

Since we have to return to Kuala Lampur between jaunts, we'll need to be thinking of a hotel there and also in Kuching and Penang, Malaysia. Anyone have any favorites in those cities?? Also am looking for Saigon hotel suggestions, possible Denang--if anyone has any. At Hanoi we'll book the Lu Song Yuan Hotel that Bob Johnson recommended.

When in Beijing, among other sights, we plan to visit the Great Wall. I understand there are 3 main points to visit the wall: Badaling; Mutianyu and Simitai. The least touristy one apparently is at Simitai but it sounds like it's difficult to walk there because of steep inclines. We have no trouble climbing, but if it's really best for goats and seasoned hikers replete with boots, should we not attempt accessing the wall at this spot?

Well, I guess that's all for now on this pending trip.

Joan Peterson