The Final 2 Week China Itinerary

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China is a large nation, and with solely two weeks, it may be exhausting to know the place to start out when planning your China itinerary.

Many guests cease by the primary cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and possibly Xi’an, with a number of alternatives to get off the overwhelmed path and to expertise the attractive nature of China.

After 5 years of dwelling in China, I’ve had loads of expertise planning itineraries and displaying my family and friends round. Right now I’m going to share with you the proper two week itinerary for China.

The two week China itinerary I’ve put collectively will present you a number of the finest issues to do in mainland China and show you how to discover the most important sights, whereas additionally spending a while on the Tibetan Plateau.

Let’s have a look!

girl with hands in the air in front of lush view of Great Wall of China
Nice Wall of China

2 Week China Itinerary

So, the place to go in China? In case you solely have two weeks at your disposal, you’re going to have to be pleased with lacking out on a number of locations.

You will note probably the most iconic cities reminiscent of Beijing and Shanghai, in addition to go to some bucket record locations such because the Nice Wall of China, however you’ll have to save lots of Hong Kong and the southern provinces of China for an additional journey – there merely isn’t sufficient time.

Beneath is the final 14 day China itinerary for many who wish to get off the overwhelmed path and see a number of the finest locations to go to in China.

Days 1-3: Beijing

panorama of beijing skyline temples and high rises

It’s not a visit to China with out stopping by the capital metropolis of Beijing.

After a strong two-years of dwelling in Beijing, I could be a bit biased, however there are such a lot of unbelievable issues to do on this metropolis.

From mountaineering the Nice Wall of China to wandering the Forbidden Metropolis, and exploring Beijing’s hutongs, you may spend your full two-weeks right here and never see the whole lot.

Hike the Nice Wall

view of Great Wall of China through a rock wall hole
Hike the Nice Wall of China

I’m a little bit of a Nice Wall of China fanatic, and I’ve hiked NINE completely different sections of the wall. (Yeah, I do know I’m a bit obsessed.)

If you wish to see the Nice Wall the appropriate approach, my greatest recommendation is to get off the overwhelmed path and visit the Wild Wall, a bit of  the wall not formally open to vacationers.

Both that, or go to part of the nice wall that’s tourist-friendly, however un-restored. Take a look at a bit like Huanghuacheng, Gubeikou, or Jinshanling.

No matter you do, I positively suggest skipping Badaling, probably the most well-known and touristy part of the Nice Wall.

If you would like a bit that’s straightforward to go to, take a public bus to Mutianyu as a substitute. Whilst you gained’t have the wall all to your self, you’ll keep away from the crowds and have unbelievable views!

Wander the Hutongs

man walking down small Hutongs in Beijing
Marvel the Hutongs in Beijing

I’m in love with Beijing’s hutongs, a community of conventional alleyway streets and courtyard homes that used to cowl all of Beijing.

I’ve proven so many individuals across the hutongs that I’ve developed my very own little hutong-day tour route that covers the Lama Temple, Wudaoying Hutong, the Bell and Drum Towers, and Houhai Lake.

However in my view, the easiest way to go to the hutongs is to easily get misplaced in your approach from A to B.

I additionally suggest taking a tour of the hutongs to be taught extra about Beijing’s tradition and historical past.

Viator, a Journey Advisor firm, has a hutong and food tour. 

Tiananmen Sq., Forbidden Metropolis, and Jingshan Park

girl posing in front of view of Jingshan Park
Jingshan Park

You may’t go to Beijing with out seeing the long-lasting Tiananmen Sq. with the large Mao Portrait excessive of the doorway to the Forbidden Metropolis.

Spend about 30-minutes wandering round Tiananmen Sq., then head into the Forbidden Metropolis, the place you’ll be able to probe for about 2 hours.

The Forbidden Metropolis is GIANT, and you may simply spend all day there, however for me and most of my household and associates, two hours is simply sufficient to see the entire major sights with out getting overwhelmed.

When you’re completed with the Forbidden Metropolis, head to Jingshan Park, the place you’ll be able to catch a view of the Forbidden Metropolis (and the remainder of Beijing) from above!

In case you have extra time, then be sure you make a journey out to see the Summer season Palace for a quiet retreat from the capital.

In case you don’t wish to do it by yourself, listed below are a number of tour choices for you. Click on every hyperlink to see extra particulars together with worth, availability and evaluations.

The place to remain in Beijing

  • For sightseers, the world east of the Forbidden City is full of cheap accommodation.
  • For hostels, there’s the effectively positioned YHA Peking International Youth Hostel.
  • For a funds resort, associates have loved the fashionable Hotel Kapok, once more proper subsequent to the Forbidden Metropolis.
  • A few blocks east you come to Wangfujing the place the high-end hotels are clustered.
  • The Mandarin Oriental is a private favorite, and towers over DongHuaMen night time market (as a result of reopen n 2016). Alternatively, search for a family-run conventional courtyard resort in the identical space.
  • In case you’re going to be spending each night time within the bars, it will be extra handy to be over by Sanlitun, the place you’ll discover many of the expats and backpackers hanging out in Bar Road.

Days 4-6: Xi’an

Xian ancient city wall with pagodas.
Xian historic metropolis wall

Xi’an is one among my favourite cities in all of China.

This historic capital is a must-see in your China itinerary and could be very straightforward to get to from Beijing. Whereas it’s tempting to take a fast flight, I really suggest using the 4.5 hour high-speed train instead.

When you think about arriving on the airport 2 hours early, and the way far the airports are from each cities (and the truth that Chinese language flights are at all times delayed), the prepare finally ends up being each quicker and cheaper than flying!

Bike the Xi’an Metropolis Wall

girl on bike in front of the city wall in Xian -
Bike the Xi’an Metropolis Wall

Biking across the historic metropolis wall is a should in your journey to Xi’an.

You may hire bikes at most of the major gates on the wall, however personally, I like to recommend beginning on the South Gate.

A motorbike journey across the wall can take wherever from 1-2 hours relying on how usually you cease for photographs. Not solely will you get to discover this historic web site by bike, you’ll have a view of all of downtown Xi’an from the wall!

When you get off the wall I positively suggest exploring the artwork and caligraphy district close to the South Gate.

There are such a lot of outlets and souvenirs within the space, and it’s a ravishing neighborhood to {photograph}.

Discover the Huiminjie Muslim Market

people walking through the Huiminjie Muslim Market in the rain
Huiminjie Muslim Market

One of the best time to go to the Muslim Market is simply earlier than dinner.

Eat your coronary heart out on the many meals stalls, and wander via the memento space to cut price for issues to take dwelling.

Whilst you’re right here, be sure you attempt native lamb kebabs and liangpi noodles!

Terracotta Military

group of terracotta warriors in dug out
The well-known terracotta warriors in Xian China

You may’t go all the best way to Xi’an with out taking a day-trip to the Terracotta Warriors – plan time for it in your China itinerary.

This historic military dates again to the primary emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, and is China’s equal to the pyramids.

Right here you’ll be able to see row upon row of life-size terracotta warriors in large pits.

Altogether, with the bus journey and visiting the location, you’ll wish to funds your morning and afternoon for this day-trip.

See all the tour options and availability for the Terracotta Warriors here.

Hua Shan

woman standing on the side of a building
Hua Shan

In case you can handle to squeeze in a day-trip to Hua Shan, then I 100% suggest it!

Take a harrowing cable automotive up the aspect of the mountain, to embark on the “world’s most harmful” hike.

Right here yow will discover the infamous Hua Shan plank walk, the place you’ll strap your self right into a harness and stroll alongside a plank embedded into the aspect of a cliff.

The view down is sufficient to make your coronary heart beat out of your chest, it’s one of many craziest issues to do in China, however the expertise is price it!

The place to remain in Xi’an

  • The extremely rated Japanese Home Boutique Resort provides oriental-style guestrooms in Xi’an downtown, round a 5-minute stroll from Xi’an Metropolis Wall. See rates and availability.
  • Hantang Inn Hostel Xi’an is positioned within the heart of Xi’an. It combines Chinese language and Western designs. See rates and availability.
  • Positioned apart from Tang Paradise, a 9-minute drive from Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Gran Melia Xian provides lodging in Xi’an, that includes personal gardens, a lake and a world model shopping center, indoor pool and spa heart. See rates and availability.

Day 7-8: Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong

girl posing in front of blue lake Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou in northern Sichuan, China

Jiuzhaigou in northern Sichuan province is among the most stunning locations I’ve ever been, and probably the greatest locations to go to in China.

Hike all day via crystal-clear lakes and rivers that replicate the intense blue sky.

Right here you’ll be capable of see all the best way right down to the underside of every lake, and seize pictures most individuals may solely dream of.

Huanglong Area with green pond in winter snow season,
Hunaglong within the winter

The subsequent morning head to Huanglong, which is understood for its colourful calcite deposit swimming pools. These sky-blue mushroom-cloud swimming pools make it apparent why many Chinese language individuals name Huanglong a “fairyland”.

The place to remain in Jiuzhaigou

  • Positioned close to the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, InterContinental Resort Jiuzhai Paradise is about 35 minutes’ drive from Jiuzhaigou Valley Nationwide Park, a UNESCO World Heritage web site. See rates and availability.
  • Jiuzhai morning resort is a ten minute stroll from the doorway to Jiuzhaigou. See rates and availability.
  • Positioned in Jiuzhaigou, Rissai Valley, the extra lux Ritz-Carlton Reserve includes a backyard, terrace, bar, and free WiFi all through the property. See rates and availability.

Day 9: Horse trek in Songpan

man riding horse in mountains
Horse trek in Songpan

In case you love using horses, you’ll positively wish to put this in your China itinerary and take a one-day horse trek on the Tibetan plateau.

The lovable mountain city of Songpan, simply close to Jiuzhaigou, is dwelling to day and in a single day journeys on horseback.

Journey with an area Tibetan information, and discover elements of China that almost all vacationers won’t ever see.

Day 10-12: Chengdu

Hot pot  on table
sizzling pot

After a fast flight or a 4-6 hour bus ride down to Chengdu, you’re going to wish to spend the afternoon exploring the attractive gardens and teahouses on this scenic metropolis.

To your first night, I additionally extremely suggest going for decent pot, a well-known consuming expertise from Sichuan and Chongqing.

Don’t fear, they’ve non-spicy broth for many who can’t deal with the warmth!

Leshan Buddha day journey

buddha carved into orange rock face
Leshan Buddha

When in Chengdu, you’ll have to make a journey to the Leshan Buddha, the most important carved stone Buddha on this planet.

You may simply hop on a day journey out of your resort, or take one of many many vacationer buses there and again.

This Buddha is unquestionably well worth the two-hour journey to see its large scale. I’m in regards to the dimension of one among his smaller toes!

The Panda Reserve

Lovely pandas

In case you go to Chengdu, you positively can’t miss the Panda Reserve, it’s probably the greatest issues to see in China.

Make sure to head there within the morning, when the large pandas are most lively. Catch them consuming bamboo, taking part in with each other, and sleeping in timber. Who knew little pandas like to sleep in timber?

You’ll additionally want to go to the newborn space, the place they’ve the youngest pandas taking part in with toys and rolling round.

Belief me, the Panda Reserve will certainly be a spotlight of your journey. You can take a private tour here.

The place to remain in Chengdu

  • Ascott Raffles Metropolis Chengdu provides luxurious flats with free Wi-Fi all through the property. The flats all function upscale facilities and a few models are absolutely outfitted kitchen. See rates and availability.
  • Positioned alongside the historic Qintai Path, Chengdu Wenjun Mansion Resort (Kuanzhai Xiangzi Department) is embellished in a standard Chinese language model, a 5-minute stroll from Tonghuimen Subway Station (Line 2). See rates and availability.
  • Set in Chengdu, ideally positioned subsequent to Jinjiang River, Shangri-La Chengdu provides well-equipped visitor rooms with gorgeous metropolis views, elegant eating places and an expensive ballroom. See rates and availability.

Day 13: Beijing

person in front of Temple of Heaven,
Temple of Heaven, Beijing

To your final day in Beijing, I like to recommend visiting the Temple of Heaven, my favourite imperial web site within the nation and one of many high China vacationer sights. You can take a guided tour here if you wish to go deeper into the historical past of this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage web site.

Afterwards, you’ll be able to head over to the Pearl Market, one among my favourite bargaining markets in Beijing.

Top off on sun shades, electronics, silk, pearls, and a brand new suitcase to get your entire buying dwelling!

I do know what you’re in all probability pondering. Wait… no Shanghai on this record of locations to go in China?! 

Personally, I’m not an enormous fan of Shanghai as a vacationer metropolis.

My choice to skip it could be fairly controversial, however I actually assume there’s way more to do and see for a traveler in Beijing, than in Shanghai.

Moreover, it’s at all times less expensive to get a round-trip flight out and in of the identical metropolis.

Nevertheless, for those who actually wish to go to Shanghai earlier than you allow, I’ve an optionally available Shanghai ending on this itinerary as effectively.

Simply take note, you’ll solely wish to head to Shanghai for those who can really sightsee on day 14, as a substitute of utilizing day 14 to fly dwelling.

Day 13-14: Shanghai

view of a shanghai skyline on water
Shanghai views

In case you actually wish to spend a while in Shanghai, ensure you have two full days on the finish of your journey to China to offer this mega metropolis justice.

After all, you’ll have to see the Bund.

Chances are you’ll wish to cease by a number of different well-known websites just like the Yu Yuan Gardens and surrounding space, Jing’an Temple, and the French Concession.

I additionally extremely suggest slurping on a plate of soup dumplings whereas in Shanghai.

Many individuals say that the most effective soup dumpling place is simply exterior the Yu Yuan Gardens (you’ll discover the road with out even attempting), however personally, I like to recommend going to a small native place exterior of a touristy space to get an genuine expertise.

Shanghai Tower, JinMao Tower from Yuyuan Garden, Old Town, Shanghai China
Jin Mao Tower from Yuyuan Backyard, Previous City, Shanghai China

Lastly, if you would like an amazing view of the town you’ll be able to go up in one among Shanghai’s iconic buildings.

I’ve solely been up within the JinMao Tower, however I’m dying to go to the Shanghai World Monetary Heart as a result of they’ve a glass-bottom flooring!

From both of those skyscrapers, you’ll be able to see the entire surrounding metropolis, and the world-famous Pearl Tower proper subsequent door.

The place to remain in Shanghai

  • In case you’re on a funds, I like to recommend the Shanghai Hidden Garden Hostel. The placement in Pudong is correct the place the whole lot is going on, in addition to being reverse the Bund.
  • On the excessive finish, the Langham Hotel in Xintiandi is a superb selection. Their service is nice and they’re proper by all the great buying and eating venues.

Getting Round China

bikes in front of paintings on wall

Navigating China can really feel overwhelming, nevertheless it’s fairly straightforward to get from place to position.

One of the simplest ways to get round China is by China’s in depth high-speed prepare community, connecting main cities with consolation and comfort. 12Go is a good resource for ticketed travel in China.

For shorter distances inside cities, yow will discover small native buses, or inside cities, there’s often a metro. Taxis are plentiful and low-cost, although the drivers not often communicate English.

Alternatively, hail a “Didi,” China’s reply to Uber.

Suggestions for Visiting China

Earlier than you begin reserving sights and accommodations, right here are some things it’s good to know earlier than you go…

  • Get a VPN! China is legendary for having the Nice Firewall over the nation, which implies social media apps reminiscent of Whatsapp, Fb and Instagram are blocked, in addition to most Google merchandise – Google Maps, Google Translate, Gmail…the whole lot. You’ll battle to make use of the web with out a VPN.
  • Get train tickets in advance. There may be often an extended line for tickets on the station and when touring between cities, good seats get booked up upfront.
  • Plan to go to in April or October, these are the quieter months and have good climate.
  • Be ready for the language barrier. Have essential addresses written down in Chinese language characters to indicate taxi drivers or ask for instructions.
  • Carry your personal necessities. Gadgets like rest room paper, napkins, and hand sanitizer might not at all times be available, so it’s smart to have them available.
  • Be ready for the squatty potty.
  • You may also get actually low-cost eSims from Airalo. You may set it up so it’s able to go as quickly as you arrive. That approach you don’t have to fret about discovering an area sim card. See prices and availability here.

Remaining Ideas

woman walking on trail beside steep mountains
Tiger Leaping Gorge

Clearly, with a rustic as giant as China, there are such a lot of choices for the place it’s best to spend your two weeks.

In case you desire nature, substitute Sichuan with per week in Yunnan and expertise the Longji Rice Terraces or hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of many world’s deepest gorges identified for its unbelievable mountain views and scenes of the Yangtze River.

Or finish your journey in Guilin and Yangshuo, the place you’ll be able to merely hire a motorcycle and cycle via the countryside.

There are far too many unbelievable locations to go to in China, and the unlucky actuality is that it’s inconceivable to see the whole lot in a number of months, not to mention two weeks!

Nevertheless, this China itinerary will create an unbelievable journey round China and is designed to offer you an amazing introductory go to.

You’ll get a peek at China’s politics, historical past, tradition, pandas, cuisines, and pure magnificence.

You’ll discover the largest cities, and smallest countryside cities, all whereas following a schedule that provides you time to understand every place.

Touring to China will be daunting, and whereas there is no such thing as a such factor as an ideal two week China Itinerary, in my view, this one is as shut because it will get!

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I hope this two-week China itinerary helps you intend your personal China journey. In case you have any China journey suggestions, please share within the feedback.