With strategic planning you can cover China´s highlights, like Beijing, Xi´an, and Shanghai, in a week. In those three cities alone you´ll find the Great Wall, Terracotta Army, and Yu Garden, a centuries-old green space. Or, if you´re thristing for an off-the-beaten path adventure, consider a sampan ride down the Li River or head to Yunnan, near Tibet, for nature excursions to mystical mountain peaks. Consult the itineraries below to find out which journey is right for you.
China Travel Insights
Take a great trip to China and experience the country's most famous attractions. Trek the Great Wall, explore the world's largest palace, the Forbidden City, view the amazing 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors, and visit Hong Kong and Macau on this comprehensive trip.
This week-long tour, designed for families with children, covers the most famous cities in China: Beijing and Shanghai. Explore the treasures of the labyrinthian Forbidden City, hike the Mutianyu section of the iconic Great Wall, visit the Summer Palace by boat, and enjoy panoramic city views from the Oriental Pearl TV Tower. Cap it off with a true family favorite: an epic day at Shanghai Disneyland.
Experience China's most famous attractions on this two-week tour. Trek the Great Wall, explore the world's largest palace, view the 2,000-year-old Terracotta Warriors, admire pandas at Chengdu Panda Base, and visit the countryside in Guilin and Yangshuo. You'll end the trip in Shanghai, a mesmerizing modern metropolis.
Take your kids to China, a nation of ancient history and modern wonders. Your family will be immersed in Chinese culture and visit the country's most famous sights, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Terracotta Warriors. This tour also includes family-friendly activities for families to learn and experience China's treasures.
Explore the beauty of Yunnan Province on this week-long trip, starting in the capital city of Kunming with hikes through karst landscapes and a visit to Yuantong Temple. Then transfer to the old walled city of Dali and explore the ancient old towns of Shaxi where you'll learn about the local Bai population. End your trip in Lijiang with hikes up Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and through Tiger Leaping Gorge, stopping to admire the famous scene at Black Dragon Pool.
This tour of China's Guizhou province leads you through its incredibly-preserved ethnic villages, where you'll learn about these distinct cultures and traditions, viewing untouched architecture and enjoying pristine nature. You'll start in the city of Guiyang with a night tour, followed by the exploration of traditional Kaili Miao villages with their distinct clothing and architecture. Enjoy the beauty of Gaoyao's terraced rice fields before ending the trip with visits to the ethnic villages of Basha Miao and Zhaoxing Dong, where you'll discover unique traditions.
Discover the best of Hong Kong on this family trip, starting with a bus tour of the city, a ride up the gondola to Victoria Peak, and an evening at Stanely Market. Spend two days riding roller coasters, playing games, and learning about marine life at Hong Kong's Disneyland and Ocean Park. End your trip with a day in Macau, complete with a ferry ride and a visit to the Venetian Resort.
This comprehensive China trip offers something for everyone. Experience China's most famous attractions, from trekking the Great Wall to witnessing the Terracotta Warriors to enjoying a boat trip to Zhuajiajiao Water Town to admiring cute pandas at Chengdu Panda Base. Your trip starts in Beijing, the Chinese capital, and continues on to Xi'an, the ancient Tang Dynasty capital, and Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, concluding in the modern metropolis of Shanghai.
Zig-zagging more than 3,852 miles (6,200 km) through deserts, plains, hills, and oceans, the Great Wall is a breathtaking wonder. Make your dream of hiking the Great Wall come true with this itinerary that is perfect for active travelers. Beginning and ending in Beijing, you will discover the classic hiking sections of the Great Wall from Huanghuacheng to Jinshanling, which offer breathtaking panoramas of the countryside. The trip concludes with a tour of Beijing, China's capital city that is steeped in history yet rapidly transforming into a modern wonder.
In 10 days you can see China's highlights plus embark on an active adventure, like cycling around rural villages in Guangxi. If you're a history buff, consider a greatest hits tour of Beijing's Forbidden City, a hike along the Great Wall, and a visit to the Terracotta Army in Xi'an. To go off the beaten path, combine the highlights with a cruise down the Yangtze River—and if you're really adventurous, travel from Beijing to Tibet and continue on to Mt. Everest.
With two weeks you can plan a diverse vacation that covers every major area China, plus the Tibetan Plateau. A highlights tour would include the historic sights of ancient capitals like Beijing, Xi'an, and Luoyang. A more rounded itinerary would feature not only historic sights like the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China, and Terracotta Army, but you could spend time with giant pandas in Chengdu and experience Tibetan culture in Lhasa. The five itineraries below offer all these options and many more.
This two-week tour focuses mainly on western China and covers some of the most off-the-beaten-path locales in Sichuan province and the Tibetan Plateau. It's an itinerary packed with outdoor adventure as you'll visit high-altitude villages, ancient Buddhist temples, and unspoiled national parks. Excursions to the mountain paradise of Shangri-La, the biological reserve of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and the peaks of Mount Siguniang are just a few of the many highlights of this unforgettable trip.
This grand China adventure kicks off in Hong Kong with day trips around the city plus a jaunt to Macau, known as the "Las Vegas of Asia." Then it's off to Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where you'll visit a giant panda breeding center before heading to Zhangjiajie and its famous towering sandstone cliffs. The trip culminates with a boat ride down the Li River in the tranquil southern region of Yangshuo.
The Great Wall of China is one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and an integral part of China's historical legacy. But rather than see it on a mere day trip, you'll spend a few days hiking various sections of the wall along with an expert guide. During the tour, you'll walk the ramparts along restored sections and gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture as you chat with villagers and sample local cuisine—you can even camp near the wall if weather permits.
Xian was one of the original historical capitals of China for over 1,000 years. Over five days you'll discover its secrets and highlights, such as the ancient City Walls and of course the thousands of clay statues that comprise the Terracotta Army. You'll cap the adventure with a trip to Luoyang where you'll see thousands of Buddhist rock carvings that date to the 5th century.
In five days you can experience the highlights of Shanghai plus take a day trip to one of the most romantic cities in the region: Suzhou. First, you'll tour Shanghai's historic gardens and old neighborhoods, like the French Concession quarter, which is now a Bohemian enclave. Then you're off to Suzhou and adjacent Tongli, a town on a canal so beautiful it's known as the "Venice of Asia."
Spend a quick five days touring the most historic sights of China's capital, like the Forbidden City and Summer Palace. You'll arrive in Beijing and visit Tiananmen Square before heading off for a hike on the Great Wall. Then you'll tour one of the nation's holiest sites, the Temple of Heaven, and cap the trip with a boat ride on the lake at the imperial Summer Palace.
This seven-day trip to China covers three historic and beautiful areas that couldn't be more different. You'll arrive in Beijing, and tour landmarks from its imperial past, like the Forbidden City and Great Wall. Then you're off to the south of the country for river tours amid the limestone mountains of Yangshuo followed by some relaxation in the modern metropolis of Shanghai.
You'll pack an incredible week with the highlights of China's Yunnan province. After arriving in the city of Kunming, you'll transfer to Dali and visit the Stone Forest, a natural marvel of towering limestone rocks. Then you'll tour other historic towns and cities that were once fixtures on the ancient tea trading routes while also visiting incredible natural wonders like Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Black Dragon Pool.
This weeklong tour follows a route from Beijing to Shanghai—two great metropolises of China. You'll land in Beijing and tour ancient royal stomping grounds like the Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, and Forbidden City. After visiting the Great Wall of China you'll catch a bullet train to Shanghai and tour its most famous neighborhoods plus make a day trip to the ancient water city of Suzhou, known as the "Venice of Asia."
Get ready for an adventure into the very heart of China as you embark on a five-star cruise down the Yangtze River. The journey begins in Beijing, where you'll not only visit the Forbidden City but you'll take a walk on the Great Wall, too. Then you're off to Chongqing where you'll board a riverboat for three days on jade waters flanked by towering cliffs before finishing the trip in Shanghai.
In just a week you'll manage to cover many of the highlight cities of China, from ancient Xi'an to modern Shanghai. This "golden triangle" tour begins in the nation's capital of Beijing, where you'll visit the most incredible landmarks like the Imperial City and the Great Wall of China. Then you're off to Xi'an to see the famous Terracotta Army before finishing the trip in the metropolitan playground of Shanghai.
Over 10 days you'll experience ancient capitals of China like Beijing and Xi'an, which are regarded as the cradles of Chinese civilization. Beyond touring historic sights like Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall, you'll visit the thousands of Terracotta Warriors at Xi'an. Capping this trip is a five-star cruise down the Yangtze River followed by a couple of days in Shanghai, a modern metropolis with limitless options for fun and adventure.
This 14-day itinerary covers the highlights of China and more, beginning in Shanghai before flying to Sichuan province to visit the largest Giant Panda breeding center in the world. After stopping in Tibet's capital of Lhasa for a cultural tour, you'll head to the ancient capital of China, Xi'an and see its historic Terracotta Army. The trip culminates in Beijing with a visit to the Forbidden City and a walk around the most iconic landmark in the country: the Great Wall of China.
This two-week China getaway combines the nation's major tourist draws with cultural exchanges and even a family-friendly trip to an amusement park. It starts in Beijing, where you'll tour the Forbidden City plus take an excursion to the Great Wall. Next, you'll see the famous Terracotta Army of Xi'an, spend time with giant pandas in Chengdu, enjoy a riverboat excursion amid the limestone mountains of Guilin, and cap it all with a tour of modern Shanghai and a trip to Disneyland.
Over 14 days you'll visit the ancient capitals of China, walk the historic Great Wall, see the Terracotta Army of Xi'an, plus take a cruise up the longest river in Asia, the Yangtze. It's a luxurious ride that leads to the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric power station in the world. All in all, this itinerary perfectly combines history, culture, and the cradles of Chinese civilization into one adventure.
Bike around southwest China on this tour of Yunnan region. Start in the appropriately-named Shangri-la, then bike to Bai Shui Tai. From here, you'll spend some days biking and hiking the magnificent Tiger Leaping Gorge before setting out to the area surrounding the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The tour ends in the historic town of Dali. Besides astonishing landscapes, this cycling tour will take you through historic rural villages, and introduce you to various Chinese minority cultures.
April is marked by rain showers and cherry blossoms, signaling spring in here. April straddles the tourist shoulder season and peak tourist season, which picks up in May. It’s an ideal time to explore China without the crowds and cold.
Once the new year’s celebrations wind down, it is shoulder season in China. Unless you want to partake in the world’s largest migration, it’s best to time your trip before or after Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year, a two-week festival that sometimes occurs in February (timing is based on the lunar calendar). The Chinese New Year starts on February 12 in 2021 and February 1 in 2022. Most businesses close during the holiday as those who can afford it head home for the holidays. Traveling post-holiday can be a bargain. Those brave enough to face the fierce cold that blankets much of China in February are rewarded with a spectacular winter wonderland.
Many parts of China are thawing out from below-freezing temperatures as spring beckons. Shoulder season continues, making this an ideal time to visit China's most sought-after destinations before the high tourist season begins and travel costs go up.
April showers bring May flowers, making China a kaleidoscope of colors in May. Temperatures and crowds increase, particularly the first week in May, a week-long workers’ holiday. May is a wonderful time to visit virtually every part of the country, from Xinjiang to the Great Wall to Hong Kong before the sweltering summer weather arrives.
July is hot—literally and figuratively—but its cities come alive with festivals, food, and fun. The extra daylight ensures jam-packed days to explore by land or water. Beat the heat by immersing yourself in Chinese culture, from cooking classes and crafts to folk festivals to nightly variety shows.
June is all about enjoying the great outdoors now that winter has gone and the sticky summer humidity has not quite started. The warmer the weather, the more tourists who arrive in China. There are several festivals in June, including the Dragon Boat Festival, in which revelers take to the water to race in colorful dragon boats, making this an ideal time to experience Chinese culture firsthand.
The height of summer can be an exciting time to visit China despite the heat and humidity. Cities are bustling and lively with throngs of travelers and locals soaking up the summer sunshine. Visitors are treated to several folk festivals this month, making it a uniquely special time to visit China.
As it approaches fall, the air is crisp and cool, and China is awash in crimson and gold. September is a splendid time to visit, as fall combines the best of travel: comfortable temperatures, fewer travelers, and more bang for the buck.
Simply one of the best times of the year, October checks off all the boxes: wonderful weather, smaller crowds, stunning foliage, and exceptional value. A magical time in China, fall is festive and fun no matter your destination.
November is a time of transition: the hordes of tourists have gone home, the sweltering heat and humidity that blankets much of China during the summer is a mere memory, and fall foliage has disappeared. It’s a golden opportunity to visit China thanks to the lack of crowds, decent weather that fluctuates from fall to winter, and moderate travel costs.
As the calendar year comes to a close, winter begins in China. As temperatures drop, so do the crowds and prices, making this the perfect season to take an extended trip to discover China’s treasures and ring in the western new year with a bang (or gong!).
Timing is everything. Unless you want to partake in the world’s largest migration, it’s best to time your trip before or after Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year, a two-week festival that begins on January 25 in 2020 and February 12 in 2021 and February 1 in 2022 (timing is based on the lunar calendar). Most businesses close during the holiday as those who can afford it head home for the holidays. Traveling post-holiday can be a bargain. Those brave enough to face the fierce cold that blankets much of China in January are rewarded with a spectacular winter wonderland.
As the third-largest country in the world, the climate of China is as diverse as the country itself. Depending on when and where you go, you can find yourself experiencing weather that ranges from 100°F in summer months to below freezing in winter. The best time of year to travel to China depends on many factors, from the regions you’d like to visit, sights you plan to see—and how willing you are to sacrifice better weather for less-crowded venues.
Follow the famous Dragon's Trail cycling route across southern China from rural Guizhou province to Guangxi, near the border with Vietnam. It begins in the mountain villages of the ethnic Dong and Miao peoples and continues until you reach Guilin, an area known for its towering limestone peaks. Along the way, you'll pass spectacular scenery, including traditional villages, expansive rice paddies, and winding rivers.
This two-week China adventure is the ultimate introduction to the world's oldest continuous civilization—one that's modernizing at a staggering pace. Starting in Beijing, you'll experience the best of the capital before making your way to exhilarating Shanghai while taking scenic and cultural detours along the way, including a winter festival known for towering snow and ice sculptures.
This exciting 12-day itinerary includes some of China's best cultural and natural wonders. Kick off the trip in cosmopolitan Shanghai where you'll explore its modern waterfront, peaceful gardens, and artsy neighborhoods. Next is Zhangjiajie for a dose of dramatic mountain vistas before you continue to Xi'an to see the Terra Cotta Warriors. Finish with a bullet train to Beijing to experience the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and—on your last full day—the Great Wall of China.
This fascinating 12-day itinerary is the ultimate introduction to modern and ancient Chinese civilization. Kicking off in Beijing, you'll experience the best sites of the country's exhilarating capital before making your way to Hong Kong by way of a plane, bullet train, and luxury cruise with key stops along the way. Led by English-speaking private guides, this a great balance of history, breathtaking landscapes, and insight into Chinese culture.
Make the most of your time in Chengdu in Southwest China on this 4-day itinerary. See the Giant Leshan Buddha and Mt. Emei Buddhist sites, then wander through the historic city to see local life and catch a performance at the Sichuan Opera. End your trip with a visit to the Panda Research Base to see the famous animals up-close.
This 8-day tour to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai shows off China's highlights at a relaxed and comfortable pace. Start in Beijing to see Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall of China, then continue to Xi'an to see the Muslim Quarter and the Terracotta Warriors. End your trip in metropolitan Shanghai to see the modern Bund waterfront, ancient Yu Gardens, and historic French Concession.
This packed itinerary checks off China's top cultural and natural highlights. Visit Beijing to see the Forbidden City and hike along the Great Wall, then take the bullet train to Xi'an to see the Terracotta Warriors. Visit Guilin to see the world's tallest Buddha and enjoy Yangshuo's serene countryside. Tour Chengdu's panda research station before finishing your trip in metropolitan Shanghai.
This packed itinerary covers many of China's highlights, starting in Beijing with a tour of the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Great Wall. Then take a bullet train to Xi'an to see the famous Terracotta Army before heading to Guilin for river excursions in a paradise setting. End your trip in metropolitan Shanghai and explore its Bund waterfront, peaceful Yu Garden, and bohemian Tianzifang neighborhood.
Experience the ancient capitals of China, regarded as the cradles of Chinese civilization. You'll also explore the longest river in Asia on a luxurious river cruise which takes you to one of the world's largest dams. This tour is a great balance of history, breathtaking views, and insight into Chinese culture.