When is the best time to visit?
September and October are the best months to visit China, when the weather is predictably sunny and mild. One exception is the first week of October, when the National Day
holiday closes businesses and brings domestic tourists out in droves to popular vacation spots. Spring (April-June) also brings pleasant weather to most of the country, but keep in mind that this is the rainy season for southern China. Winter travel can also be lovely—in January and February, travelers will enjoy ice & snow sculptures in Harbin
and many celebrations of the Lunar New Year
all over the country. Learn moreWhere should you go?
For first-timers, a comprehensive tour of China's top sites is recommended—this might include Beijing, Xian, Guilin,
With extra time (see below), you can observe giant pandas and try traditional Sichuan cuisine in Chengdu.
The southwestern Yunnan Province
is another gem, where you can discover ancient towns hidden in the region's remote corners.
Travelers wanting a deeper dive will have no shortage of options for getting off the beaten path. Consider a cultural excursion to visit the minority community of Guizhou
or take a historical journey into Pingyao
and the Shanxi Province
of northern China. Other places of interest include Shangdong Province
, where you can visit Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, and the many heritage sites of Henan Province
. For instagram-worthy pictures, beeline to Yellow Mountain
two of China's most photogenic spots.How many days do you need?
Five days is enough for a whirlwind of China's urban highlights. You can pay quick visits to Beijing and Shanghai, China's political capital and commercial center respectively. If you're more interested in history, combine Beijing with cultural treasure trove Xian instead. A 10-day tour offers a more reasonable pace and many more options—you can easily cover Beijing, Xian, Guilin, and Shanghai (or swap Guilin for Chengdu). Even more ideal is spending 2 weeks or more, allowing for deeper dives into areas of interest and extra time for hidden gems. Add a trip to Suzhou
, take a Yangtze River
cruise—options are endless, and trips can be tailored to your interests.Getting Around China
Flying is the quickest way around the country. China’s massive airports offer dozens of daily nonstop flights to cities all over the mainland and Hong Kong. That said, by the time you factor in security screening and travel time to and from each airport—the airports in both cities are outside the city center—it's often easier and more reliable to take the train. Learn more
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