Discover the best of China with this China travel guide.
China is a vast and surprising country with warm people, breathtaking landscapes, incredible historical sites and fabulous food. There’s so much to see and do – this China travel guide is here to help you as you start planning your visit to China.
Fast Facts About China
Language: Mandarin (Cantonese in Hong Kong)
Population: 1,451,144,623 (2022)
Currency: Chinese Yuan (CNY)
Government: One-party communist dictatorship
International dialling code: +86
Power voltage: 220 V 50Hz; Plug A, I & G.
Staying in touch: Most social media sites, including Google, are blocked in China. You will need a VPN to use them.
Things To See And Do In China
Visit the Terracotta Warriors – take a trip to the incredible burial site with thousands of terracotta soldiers and horses,
Toboggan Down From The Great Wall of China – don’t just walk on the wall – take a thrilling 20-minute toboggan ride back down again, just like Michelle Obama.
Cruise Down the Li River – a visit to Guilin and Yangshuo would not be complete without a leisurely cruise on the spectacular Li River.
Cycle Around the Ancient City Wall in Xi’an – get the absolute best view of Xi’an while cycling the 10km route around the 14th-century city walls.
Unleash Your Inner Artist – learn about the art and history of Chinese brush painting with a local teacher.
Escape the Bustle of Shanghai for the Venice of the East – discover the UNESCO World Heritage gardens and the canals of Suzhou.
China Travel Guides
- 19 Things To Do In Xian – The Ultimate Cultural & Foodie City
- Planning A Trip To China? 33 Important Things To Know
- Visiting The Shaanxi History Museum, Xi’an – Your Easy 2-Hour Guide
- 7 Interesting Facts About China You Should Never Believe
- Spicy Hot Pots In China – A Real Food Horror Story
- 2 Iconic Xi’an Landmarks To Visit For Free
Where To Stay In China
Four Seasons – This is a stunning place to stay when you visit China. The service is exceptional, and the location is perfect – just a 15-minute drive from the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The hotel has a sauna, indoor pool, city views and stunning oriental-inspired decor. Sunday brunch here is incredible!
Shichahai Shadow Art Performance Hotel: A hidden gem in the heart of the historical Hutong area in central Bejing. This lovely hotel is a peaceful retreat where you can try traditional cultural activities, including shadow art painting classes, practising calligraphy and making Chinese dumplings.
Aroma Tea House Hotel: This charming boutique hotel is a real find, just a 2-minute stroll from the Xi Cheng Pedestrian Street and Guilin Night Market and only a 12-minute walk from Elephant Trunk Hill and the Sun & Moon Twin Pagodas. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff, and the view from the breakfast room will take your breath away.
The Grand Park Xi’an location is brilliant. It’s close enough to walk to the old City Wall, the Bell tower, Drum tower and the Muslim Quarter. With super helpful staff and massive comfy beds, it’s the perfect hotel for a short stay in Xi’an.
We stayed at the delightful Yangshuo Moondance Hotel. Just a 15-minute drive from Yangshuo’s West Street buzz, the hotel has an idyllic riverside location with amazing views of the karst mountains. It’s ideal if you’re planning to enjoy the umpteen outdoor activities in the area.
The Best Ways To Get Around China
Getting to China: Many flights fly directly to major hubs in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou. You can check for the best flights to China on Skyscanner.
China is huge! The best way to travel the vast distances between Chinese cities is to fly or take one of the high-speed (bullet) trains.
Metro: Subway systems in China are efficient and easy to navigate as they are well signed in English.
Taxis: There’s no Uber in China; however, taxis are reasonably priced. Always carry a card showing your hotel’s name and address in Mandarin, as few drivers speak English.
Best Time To Visit China
China is very hot in the summer and can be brutally cold in the winter. Hence, the best time to visit China is from May to June and between September and October.
Avoid the January/February Chinese New Year period and China’s National Day holiday week from 1-7 October (known as Golden Week), as all transport, cities and tourist attractions will be impossibly crowded at this time.
China Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different travel companies and resources. Here are the ones that have consistently delivered excellent service and great prices. I trust and use all of these personally – so I recommend them.
- Skyscanner – My go-to search engine for flights, as you can quickly check and compare prices for most airlines. Trusted by over 100 million visitors per month, Skyscanner finds the cheapest flights and makes it easy to understand the trade-off between speed and cost, too – perfect for those long-haul flights to China!
- Booking.com: This is my go site when comparing accommodation prices. It usually has the best prices, and it’s easy to find and book accommodation. You’re guaranteed the best price, and cancellation is free too.
- Get Your Guide: I love and rely on Get Your Guide for day trips – there are more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations, so there are plenty of choices.
- World Nomads Insurance: When travelling, you need travel insurance. I’ve found that World Nomads provide the best cover.
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