The Classic China Itineraries

So, you want to go to China, but where? China still fascinates us with its mystical oriental charm and ancient history, especially for first-time visitors. So, for a first-time China trip, let’s explore some of the classic itineraries that explore the key historical and cultural sites that should not be missed.

 

23 Day Classic explorer: Chengdu to Hong Kong
Route: Chengdu inc Mt. Emei and Leshan (3 days) – Lijiang (2 days) – Xi’an (3 days) – Beijing (4 days) – Shanghai (3 Days) – Xiamen and Yongding (3 Days) – Shenzhen (2 days) – Hong Kong (3 days)

18-day Ancient Wonder, Nature and Shopping: Beijing to Hong Kong
Route: Beijing (4 days) – Xi’an (3 days) – Chengdu (3 days) – Three Gorges (3 days) – Yangshuo (2 days) – Hong Kong (3 days)

8 Day Ancient history and modern China
Route: Beijing (3 days) – Xi’an (2 days) – Shanghai (2 days)

12-Day Classical Wonder
Route: Beijing (4 days) – Xi’an (3 days) – Guilin/Yangshuo (2 days) – Shanghai (3 days)

14-Day Classic History and the majestic Yangtze
Route: Beijing (4 days) – Xi’an (2 days) – Chengdu (2 days) – Chongqing (1 day) – Yangtze River Cruise (3 days) – Yichang (1 day) – Shanghai (2 days)

23-Day Classic Villages, Ancient Wonder, and Modern Metropolis
Route: Shanghai (3 days) – Beijing (4 days) – Xi’an (3 days) – Chengdu (2 days) – Lijiang (2 days) – Dali (2 days) – Kunming (2 days) – Guilin/Yangshuo (2 days) – Hong Kong (3 days)

 

The superb thing about the above routes and destinations is that it is unlikely that you will need a guide or to go on a tour package unless you expressly desire such. These routes are well traveled, have solid tourism resources in place, are foreigner friendly and it’s never to difficult to find someone who speaks English. If your good with a smartphone, your patient and flexible, your friendly and approachable, then you will have a great adventure.

Those are mostly classic key attractions that really should be first on your list. One reason because they are the most significant attractions historically and culturally, and again, also because they are gentle on the first-time visitor to China.

When you have your feet, so to speak, then it’s time to get more focused. And it never ends, it depends on your interest, but here are some examples

Central China: The Yellow River
Route: Xi’an (3 days) – Hua Shan (2 days) – Luoyang (2 days) – Song Shan (2 days) – Kaifeng (2 days) – Qufu (2 days) – Tai Shan (3 days)

The Great Wall: east to west
Route: Beijing (3 days) – Datong (2 days) – Hohhot (2 days) – Shapotou (2 days) – Lanzhou (2 days) – Jiayuguan (2 days)

Great Wall and the Wild West
Route: Beijing (2 days) – Datong (2 days) – Hohhot (2 days) – Shapotou (2 days) – Lanzhou (2 days) – Jiayuguan (2 days) – Dunhuang (2 days) – Turpan (2 days) – Kashgar (2 days)

Yunnan: Mountains and Minorities
Route: Kunming  (2 days) –  Dali  (3 days) –  Shaxi  (2 days) –  Lijiang (3 days) –  Zhongdian (3 days) 

Historic, Scenic and Cultural areas less traveled (for inspiration):

Dengfeng, Handan, Jingzhou, Jingdezhen, Meizhou, Yangzhou, Yongding, Zigong, Kumul, Yantai, Zhangye, Alshan, Baotou, Datong, Tonghua, Weihai, Zibo, Luding, Ya’an, Shiyan, Suzhou (Anhui), Jiaxing, Shaoxing, Shaoshan, Wuyuan, Huanglong, Tsetang, Tong Ren (Qinghai), Anshun, Yuanyang, Tongren (Guizhou), Anshun, Kaili, Zhenyuan, Kuqa, Korla, Yarkent, Dunhuang