I've received email including:
I was wondering if you could give me any advice on a trip that I am contemplating off my own back to Beidaihe this spring? My plan is to fly to Beijing and get the train to Beidaihe, as I don't drive: is it feasible to do the area without a car? What would be the best time to go (2 weeks is what I was thinking of, and, while I would like to see Bluetails, I would also like Sibe Rubythroats and Sibe Blue Robins), and how much would accomodation and food come to (minimum amount...trying to do the whole thing for under 2000 Euro)? Sorry for asking so many questions, but I have never been further than the UK on my own (all my trips elsewhere have been with others), and have never been outside the W.P. at all, so the prospect of going to Beidaihe alone, while exciting, is also a little daunting.
I'd suggest the second two weeks of May (maybe see when Sunbirder are going, if planned this year; will be timed for around best of the migration) Getting just a little late for bluetails, but they usually linger; rubythroats and blue robins start coming in; I figure you've very strong chance of all three, plus wide range of other species.
I wouldn't advise self drive. Can take train or even hired car from Beijing. At Beidaihe, can do some cycling; or maybe work w taxis - might take taxi for day at times (esp if to Happy Island, for 3-5 days, or more if you're ok with pretty basic accomm etc, but likelihood of some remarkable birding - you could see bluetail, blue robin and rubythroat within minutes of one another, can even get falls when can't really count warblers, robins etc); and take taxi to places, arranging for being picked up.
Jean Wang, a travel agent at Beidaihe, can surely help you - highly experienced in helping birders, inc me; and inc reasonable budgets. [bsots (at) 263 (dot) net or bits (at) 0335 (dot) net] Might be able to help arrange for someone to meet you in Beijing, and either take you to Beidaihe or put you on train there. (Beijing also worth a look; inc culture, also birds at Summer Palace, perhaps Great Wall to north) I'm cc'ing her w this email; hope the two of you can get in touch, make plans.
Maybe a forum like birdforum.net worth a try, in case someone else planning independent trip and you can do at least part of it w them. (And when you're at Beidaihe, might find you can join w birders in sharing taxis etc: Jean can likely advise re this too.)