THE BEST WAY
Air China and China Eastern have nonstop flights to Beijing. Cathay Pacific, United, All Nippon Airways, JAL, Korean, Northwest and Asiana have connecting flights (change of plane). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $750.
From Beijing to Changsha, China Southern Airlines, Air China and Hainan Airlines offer nonstop service. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $208. To Yanan, Shanghai Airlines has connecting flights. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $146. To Chengdu, Air China, China Southern and Hainan have nonstop flights. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $246.
To call from the U.S., dial 011 (the international dialing code), 86 (the country code for China) and the number listed below.
WHERE TO STAY
Huatian Hotel, 300 E. Jiefang Road, Changsha; 731-4442888, www.huatianhotel.com, is a modern inn in the city center. Rates from $98.
Magnate Hualong Hotel, Shao Cong, Shaoshan; 732-5651111, www.hualonghotel.com, is a new luxury hotel near Shaoshan. Doubles from $47.
Wenjun Mansion Hotel, 180 Qintai Road, Chengdu; 28-86138884, www.dreams-travel.com/wenjun, is a budget hotel in a traditional building on a popular entertainment street. Doubles from $37
Yangjialing Cave Hotel, Yanan; 911-2330821, www.yjlc.com, is built into the side of a hill. Doubles from $43.
TO LEARN MORE
China National Tourist Office, 550 N. Brand Blvd., Suite 910, Glendale, CA 91230, (818) 545-7507, www.cnto.org.
WHAT TO READ
I relied chiefly on these books:
"Mao: A Life" by Philip Short, a massive and balanced biography. "The Long March" by Ed Jocelyn and Andrew McEwen, a chronicle of the authors' 4,000-mile trek across China. "Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine" by Jasper Becker, a study of the Great Leap Forward.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times