China travel guide

China Tourism | China Guide

You're Going to Love China

A country of diversity and the blending of old and new, China offers a mixture of tradition and modernism from urban scenes to natural scenery and ancient temples.

What to do in China

1. Visit the Great Wall

It's over 2,000 years old and stretches 3,000 mi across the hills in the north of China near Beijing. The most frequently visited section of the wall is in Badaling, 37 mi northwest of Beijing.

2. Travel on a Traditional Boat

Take a river cruise. Go on the Yangtze River that winds its way through China to see the Three Gorges, which provide breath-taking scenery and panoramic views.

3. Discover Imperial China

Immerse yourself in an imperial realm and visit The Forbidden City – the home of China's emperors from the start of the Ming Dynasty in 1420 to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

4. Visit the Terracotta Army

Near the city of Xi'an, in the south-west of Beijing, check out the mausoleum of Quin Shi Huang. This army of clay soldiers and horses was created to stand guard over the body of the emperor and has been there since the 3rd century BC.

5. Enjoy a Hike in the Countryside

The Tiger Leaping Gorge hike in Yunnan, south-west China, is a challenging prospect. You can also venture into the countryside in Jiangxi, in eastern China, and hike along some of the old postal routes that run between the villages.

When to visit China

The best times to visit are spring, between March and April, and autumn, between September and October, when the temperatures are moderate and there is less chance of rain.

How to Get to China

Entry Requirements

Visas are required to visit China and passports must be valid for 6 months from the date of travel. Travelers must show an itinerary detailing all the places they plan to visit and hotels that have been booked.

Plane

Fly into one of Beijing's two international airports – Beijing Capital International Airport and Beijing Daxing International Airport – to visit the north of China, or Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport and Hong Kong International Airport to visit the south of the country. Central and western China are accessible from airports in Shanghai and Chengdu.

Train

International routes into China from Russia include the Trans-Manchurian (into the north-east of china) and Trans-Mongolian Railways (from Moscow to Beijing), while it is possible to catch a train from Kowloon in Hong Kong to Guangzhou in mainland China.

Popular airlines serving China

United Airlines
Good (2,294 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,027 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (3,748 reviews)
KLM
Good (258 reviews)
Air France
Good (266 reviews)
British Airways
Good (737 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,531 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (919 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (834 reviews)
SWISS
Excellent (281 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (442 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (144 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (560 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (326 reviews)
Scandinavian Airlines
Good (253 reviews)
Finnair
Good (335 reviews)
LOT
Good (207 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (173 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (553 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (114 reviews)
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Where to stay in China

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Where to stay in popular areas of China

Most booked hotels in China

Modena by Fraser Putuo Shanghai
Excellent (8.8, 515 reviews)
$49+
Jinling Hotel Nanjing
Excellent (8.7, 635 reviews)
$67+
Grand Central Hotel Shanghai
Excellent (8.5, 378 reviews)
$81+
Beijing Kuntai Royal Hotel
Excellent (8.5, 118 reviews)
$103+
Amara Signature Shanghai
Excellent (8.4, 358 reviews)
$114+
Central Hotel Shanghai
Excellent (8.4, 257 reviews)
$74+
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How to Get Around China

Public Transportation

Within the larger cities, like Shanghai and Beijing, there are good public transport links that include buses, trains and metro networks, but most towns have a bus network with flat rate fares that can start for approximately ¥1 ($0.15).

Trains

This is one of the best ways to travel within China as the rail network is extensive and relatively well-maintained, operating good links between the main cities. Trains leave on time and tickets are reasonably-priced – for example, a daytime, one-way ticket from Shanghai to Beijing costs around ¥558 ($78) for a second class ticket and approximately ¥1,752 ($247) for a business class ticket.

Bus

There is an extensive network of routes between cities that is operated by long-distance coaches, which can be used as a cheaper, albeit slower, alternative to train or plane. Some coaches may even have sleeping options for longer journeys.

Plane

Three main operators run domestic flights within China – Air China, China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. While flying may be quicker over the long distances, be prepared for delays in the busier seasons, such as during the Chinese New Year.

The Cost of Living in China

The cost of living in China is not high compared with other western countries. For groceries, you could buy a 0.2 gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for around ¥26 ($3.60). An inexpensive, local restaurant meal could cost approximately ¥25 ($3.50), while a meal for two at a middle range restaurant might cost in the region of ¥125 ($18). While major credit and debit cards are accepted in bigger hotels and upmarket restaurants or stores, most transactions outside these situations require cash. Currency can be exchanged in a bank, a high-end hotel or the airport.