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China Travel Guide

Looking for an in-depth China travel guide?

Then you’re in the right place!

Known for its ancient destinations and modern cities, China is a top destination for travelers around the world.

The country has so much to offer and every China vacation will look different depending on where you decide to go. A trip to China may require a little more planning than usual — see below for tips — but the adventure is absolutely worth it.

Don’t discount the country’s top attractions as “too touristy” either.

You won’t want to miss the most popular China tourist spots like The Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Imperial Palace in Beijing, and the Mausoleum of Light in Shenyang. Visitors can learn so much about China’s storied past from these gorgeous buildings that have stood the test of time.

Beyond the typical China tourist places, hikers and outdoorsy types have much to explore in this beautiful country. For instance, you can bike and raft along the Li River to see stunning mountain ranges or build up an appetite as you hike through Sichuan province.

There’s something for everyone to enjoy in this gorgeous country full of warm and generous people. And don’t forget to visit the nearby regions of Tibet, Macau and Hong Kong!

On that note, let’s dive into the travel China guide, which features resources from Jessie on a Journey as well as its sister site, Epicure & Culture.

Note: This guide to China travel contains affiliate links to trusted partners!

China Map

Use this China travel map to begin planning your trip!

China travel map

Click here for an interactive version of the above map.

Best Places To Visit In China

Learn about the top places to visit in China.

China Travel Advice

Use these China travel tips to plan the perfect trip.

Food In China

Take a virtual China food tour and savor authentic Chinese cuisine through these tasty guides.

Asia Travel Tips

This Asia travel advice can help you plan the perfect trip.

Top China Tours

Check out these fun tours in China from my affiliate partner, Viator:

  • Jinshanling Great Wall Morning Hiking Tour from Beijing
  • Tour of Jewish Shanghai led by a Jewish History Expert
  • Half-Day Chengdu Courtyard Cooking Class with Local Spice Market Visit

China Travel Insurance

No Asia travel guide would be complete without discussing safety.

It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling solo or with a group on a China tour. When visiting China — or any other country in the world — make sure to get travel insurance to protect your health and safety.

In my opinion, the best travel medical insurance for travelers is SafetyWing as they’ve got a large network and offer both short-term and long-term coverage — including coverage if you’re traveling for months as well as limited coverage in your home country).

Additionally, SafetyWing is budget-friendly and offers $250,000 worth of coverage with just one low overall deductible of $250.

With coverage, you’ll have peace of mind as you embark on your China itinerary.

Click my referral link here to price out travel insurance for your trip in just a few clicks.

China Hotels

Click here to browse hotels in China!

Prefer self-contained stays? 

Click here to check out unique local rentals!

You can also use this map to search for local stays:

Renting A Car In China

Need a rental car for your China trip?

Use Discover Cars to quickly compare your car rental options.

Their comparison tool does the homework for you, so there’s no need to have up 10+ tabs trying to figure out which company is the most affordable. Actually, you can save up to 70% using their tool!

China Travel FAQ

Below, find answers to frequently asked questions about traveling China.

Q: How should I prepare for a trip to China?

A trip to China does require a bit more planning than your average trip abroad. Most international visitors will require a visa to enter China. You’ll want to start the visa process one or two months ahead of your trip to account for any bureaucratic delays.

Don’t apply too far in advance, though — tourist visas are typically only valid for three months after issue.

Also, make sure that you carry your passport and visa with you at all times while traveling around the country as police, hotel staff, and other officials may check to make sure you haven’t overstayed your visit to China.

Your prescription medications may not be available in your average Chinese pharmacy, particularly if you are traveling to more rural regions. Make sure that you are well-stocked on any necessary medications before your trip so that you don’t get caught without them.

Also, consider getting a prescription for a broad-spectrum antibiotic and hydrocortisone cream to use in case of emergency, particularly if you’re planning a longer trip.

While in China, you likely won’t have access to your typical Western websites and social media apps as many are blocked by the government. If you need to stay connected to work or folks back home, consider signing up for a VPN service to gain access to the sites you normally use.

WeChat, China’s premier messaging app, will also help you stay connected during your trip. Have your friends and family at home download the app so that you can easily stay in touch.

Finally, toilet paper is not always available everywhere you go in China. Be sure to bring some on your trip and carry it with you while you’re out and about.

Tip: You can make your own little bags of TP for daily use instead of walking around with an entire roll.

Hand sanitizer and napkins are also always good to have in your bag.

It’s recommended to view your country’s China International Travel Information page for the most up-to-date information on entry and exit requirements — including visa information — for foreign citizens. You can also contact the Chinese embassy.

Q: Is China safe for tourists?

China has a fairly low crime rate and is generally pretty safe for tourists. In fact, it’s regularly touted as one of the best countries for solo travel in Asia.

The main thing to watch out for is petty crime. Be aware of your surroundings and try not to flaunt any obvious symbols of wealth to avoid pickpockets and purse-snatchers.

Also, stay awake on public transportation to avoid any possible theft. And of course, as you would in many other countries, avoid using unlicensed taxis, particularly when traveling from airports.

Q: What is China like to visit?

China is a fantastic place to visit but you may experience many things there that you’re not used to — though that’s the fun of traveling, isn’t it? Chinese cities are notorious for their high levels of pollution and smog is very much a reality. A simple face mask will make your visit more comfortable.

The people of China are generally quite friendly and generous to tourists but it’s important to understand Chinese customs while planning your trip. Read up on etiquette dos and don’ts before you go.

For example, consider bringing a few small gifts from home to give to your host if you are visiting someone in their home. And do your best to keep any criticisms of the country to yourself — discussions of politics and recent issues are considered quite sensitive topics.

Q: Is China cheap to travel?

China is a rather inexpensive country to visit compared to Western destinations. Your biggest expenses — like round-trip flights, visa fees, and tours — will likely be upfront.

Once you’re in the country, you’ll find that you can have a great trip to China on a budget. Little noodle houses and local restaurants will cost much less than those that cater to Western tourists, and Chinese hostels are known for their cleanliness and fun energy.

You’re also likely to find good deals on shopping, so leave some room in your suitcase!

Keep in mind that the further you get from major tourist areas in China, the less you’ll spend.

Q: When is the best time to travel to China?

China is a huge country with various environments, so the weather will of course depend on your planned destinations. That said, spring and autumn are generally pretty pleasant weather-wise, with temperatures topping out in the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit.

It’s also best to avoid visiting China during their three major holiday festivals, as these are the most popular time for Chinese nationals to travel.

  • Chinese New Year (late January/early February)
  • Labor Day (May 1-3)
  • Golden Week (October 1-7)

If you do plan to travel during these festivals, expect huge crowds, particularly at popular destinations.

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