I would assume your hotel is near the airport since you have a fight early morning the next days. If you need to wait for the bus for 1-2 hours, then you have time to drop your luggage. If not, you can carry them to Suzhou.
Guess I will opt for the bus. Hotel is in central Shanghai, as I wanted to have the same hotel at the beginning and end of the trip so I can store most of my luggage with them for a week. Will have to pay for a cab in the morning anyhow.
Planes in China are notoriously delayed. After arriving in Xian you might only have time to visit the mausoleum during the day. And do bike around Xian City wall at night.
I have two 3/4 days for Xi'an and environment (arrival, departure). So will manage accordingly and delay should not be an issue.
They are doable in a day. I remember I did them in a day too but I stayed in Dengfeng for 2 more night. I took Didi from Luoyang to Dengfeng. It was 150 RMB if I remembered correctly. I have the contact of my Driver based in Dengfeng, he drive me back to Zhengzhou for 200 RMB. When I visited there was some jam close to Dengfeng. The drive from Luoyang to Dengfeng took more than 2 hours.
What is a Didi? Chinese Uber? And that would require me to get internet. I recall that getting a SIM was really hard as a foreigner in China. Not sure
if that changed.
Core zone has limit of 5k visitors a day.
Where can you reserve? And the core zone according to official map is huge. Are you referring to a specific component (of the 4)?
I would suggest for you to stay overnight in Hongcun. It is really pretty at night and in early morning before the crowd.
Sounds like a good plan. No hurry in the morning always nice.
Jan 24 is the start of Chinese New Year Holiday. Most people take a week off before CNY. Train tickets might sell early or some sites might be crowded. You might see long lines at immigration in Shanghai too on 24th.
Duly noted. Not too worried about my flight out of town (leaving at 10:30h, so will get up and go to the airport at 8:00h and that should be fine). Train tickets are due when the sales open. I remember from last year that popular connections sell out :/