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Travel to China: Largest area and population nation in Asia – 9 point super guide

China is a vast and diverse country with a rich history, stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, delicious cuisine, and unique cultural experiences. Here are 15 compelling reasons to visit the nation:

a. Reasons to visit China

concrete temple near body of water under blue sunny sky

1. Great Wall of China: Explore one of the world’s most iconic landmarks, the Great Wall, and marvel at its ancient fortifications and breathtaking views.

2. Terracotta Warriors: Visit the Terracotta Army in Xi’an to see thousands of life-sized statues of soldiers, horses, and chariots that date back over 2,000 years.

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3. Forbidden City: Discover the vast complex of palaces and gardens in Beijing’s Forbidden City, once the imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

4. Panda Conservation Centers: Get up close to adorable giant pandas at conservation centers in Chengdu, Dujiangyan, and other locations in the country.

5. Yangtze River: Cruise along the majestic Yangtze River, one of the longest rivers in the world, and explore the stunning Three Gorges region.

oriental pearl tower

6. Traditional Chinese Gardens: Wander through serene and meticulously designed traditional Chinese gardens in cities like Suzhou and Hangzhou.

7. Modern Cities: Experience the dynamic energy of the countries’ modern cities, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Chengdu.

8. Ethnic Minority Cultures: Discover the diverse cultures of the ethnic minorities in regions like Yunnan, Guizhou, and Xinjiang.

9. Chinese Cuisine: Indulge in a wide variety of delicious Chinese dishes, from regional specialties like Peking duck and Sichuan hotpot to dim sum and noodles.

10. Tea Culture: Immerse yourself in the nation’s rich tea culture by visiting tea plantations in places like Hangzhou and sampling different types of Chinese tea.

aerial shot of city

11. Historic Temples: Visit ancient Buddhist temples, such as the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang, to admire intricate carvings and sculptures.

12. Silk Road: Explore the historic Silk Road routes in western, which connected it to Central Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and discover ancient cities and cultural relics.

13. Mount Huangshan: Hike the stunning peaks of Mount Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province and witness its dramatic scenery of granite cliffs, twisted pine trees, and sea of clouds.

14. Acrobatics and Martial Arts: Experience the artistry and skill of traditional Chinese acrobatics and martial arts performances in cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

15. Festivals and Celebrations: Attend colorful and vibrant festivals in the nation, such as Chinese New Year, Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival, to witness traditional customs and celebrations.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, culture, cuisine, or modern urban life, it offers a diverse range of experiences that will captivate and inspire visitors from around the world.

b. Offseason to visit China

photo of boats on river during daytime

The offseason in the nation typically refers to the period when tourism is at a lull, and there are fewer crowds of visitors at popular attractions. This can be a great time to visit to the country for those looking to avoid large crowds, enjoy lower prices, and experience a more relaxed travel experience. The offseason in the nation varies depending on the region and the type of tourism you are interested in. Here are some considerations for visiting the place during the offseason:

1. Weather: In northern, winter (December to February) is considered the offseason, as temperatures can be cold, especially in cities like Beijing and Harbin. However, this is also when you can experience the beauty of snow and ice festivals. In southern, the offseason is typically during the hot and humid summer months.

2. Spring and Autumn: Spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are considered shoulder seasons in the place, with fewer tourists compared to the peak summer months. This can be a great time to visit popular attractions such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City without the large crowds.

woman in white dress

3. Chinese Holidays: Avoiding major Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year (usually in January or February) and Golden Week (first week of October) can help you steer clear of domestic tourist crowds.

4. Travel Deals: During the offseason, you may find better deals on flights, accommodations, and tours in the nation. Hotels and tour operators may offer discounted prices and promotions to attract visitors during slower times.

5. Cultural Experiences: Visiting the country during the offseason can provide a more authentic experience, as you can interact with locals without the hustle and bustle of peak tourist seasons. You may also have the opportunity to attend local festivals and events.

people on street standing

6. Natural Beauty: If you enjoy outdoor activities and nature, the offseason can be a great time to explore the national parks, such as Jiuzhaigou National Park and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, without the crowds.

7. Urban Exploration: In cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Xi’an, the offseason can be a good time to explore local markets, museums, and historical sites at a more leisurely pace.

Overall, the offseason in the country can offer a unique and rewarding travel experience for those looking to discover the country’s rich culture, history, and natural beauty without the crowds. Be sure to check the specific offseason periods for the regions you plan to visit and consider factors such as weather, festivals, and local events when planning your trip.

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c. How to get to China

blue and white airplane

Getting to the country can be done by air, land, or sea, depending on your location and travel preferences. Here are some common ways to get in:

1. By Air: Flying to the nation is the most common and convenient way to reach the country. Many international airlines operate flights to major Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Hong Kong. Beijing Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport are some of the busiest airports in the nation. You can book direct flights to the country from major cities around the world, or connect through other Asian hubs like Tokyo, Seoul, or Singapore.

2. By Train: If you are traveling from neighboring countries like Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, or Vietnam, you can take international trains to the country. The Trans-Siberian Railway connects Moscow to Beijing, while the China-Vietnam Railway links Hanoi to Nanning in southern China. It also has an extensive domestic train network, including high-speed trains that connect major cities within the country.

high speed train at a station in china

3. By Land: If you are traveling from a neighboring country like Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Nepal, or Pakistan, you can enter the nation by land. There are several land border crossings with these countries, although travel regulations and visa requirements may vary. The Khunjerab Pass between Pakistan and the country, the Irkeshtam Pass between Kyrgyzstan and the nation, and the Horgos Pass between Kazakhstan and China are popular land border crossings.

4. By Sea: If you are coming from nearby countries like Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan, you can take a ferry or cruise to the country. Shanghai and Qingdao are common port cities for international ferries, with connections to destinations like Osaka and Incheon. Additionally, there are international cruise ships that stop at Chinese ports like Shanghai, Tianjin, and Hong Kong as part of their itineraries.

yangtze river cableway in chongqing city in china

5. Visa Requirements: Before traveling to China, make sure to check the visa requirements for your nationality. Most travelers need a visa to enter China, which can be obtained from Chinese embassies or consulates in advance. Some nationalities may be eligible for visa-free transit or visa-on-arrival under certain conditions.

When planning your trip to China, consider factors such as travel time, cost, convenience, visa requirements, and transportation options to choose the best way to get to the country. Be sure to check for any travel advisories or restrictions that may affect your trip, especially during times of heightened security or public health concerns.

d. Accommodation in China

ferries at chaotianmen dock and raffles city chongqing skyscrapers at night

When traveling to China, there are a variety of accommodation options to choose from to suit different preferences, budgets, and travel styles. Here are some popular types of accommodation in China:

1. Hotels: China offers a wide range of hotels, from budget-friendly accommodations to luxurious 5-star properties. Major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have a plethora of international hotel chains, boutique hotels, and guesthouses. You can find hotels with amenities such as restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, and spas. Booking platforms like Booking.com, Agoda, and Expedia can help you find and compare hotel options in China.

2. Hostels: Hostels are a great option for budget-conscious travelers and backpackers in China. Hostels typically offer shared dormitory rooms or private rooms with shared facilities like bathrooms and common areas. Hostels are a good choice for meeting fellow travelers, getting local tips, and experiencing a more social atmosphere. Websites like Hostelworld and HostelBookers list hostels in various cities across China.

person holding on door lever inside room

3. Guesthouses: Guesthouses, also known as “minsu” in Chinese, are small, family-run accommodations that offer a more personalized and homely experience. Guesthouses can be found in rural areas, small towns, and scenic destinations like the countryside or mountains. Staying at a guesthouse can give you insight into local culture, customs, and traditions.

4. Airbnb: Airbnb is available in many cities in China, offering a range of accommodation options from private rooms to entire apartments or houses. Staying in an Airbnb can provide a more local and authentic experience, as you interact with hosts and live like a local. Make sure to check the legality of Airbnb in the specific city you plan to visit, as regulations may vary.

two white ceramic mug on brown wooden tray

5. Traditional Chinese Inns: In historic towns and cultural villages, you can find traditional Chinese inns known as “siheyuan” or “tulou.” These traditional accommodations offer a glimpse into China’s architectural heritage and provide a tranquil environment for relaxation. Staying in a traditional Chinese inn can be a unique experience, with courtyard gardens, wooden furniture, and cultural activities.

6. Luxury Resorts: If you are looking for a luxurious and pampering experience, China has a range of upscale resorts and spa hotels in scenic locations like Hainan Island, Lijiang, and Yangshuo. Luxury resorts in China offer top-notch service, world-class facilities, and stunning views of natural landscapes.

When booking accommodation in China, consider factors such as location, amenities, price, reviews, and proximity to attractions or transportation hubs. It’s recommended to book accommodation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons or popular festivals. Be aware of local customs and regulations regarding accommodation, and communicate any special requests or requirements with the hotel or host to ensure a comfortable stay.

e. Travel to China

photo of chinese temple

Traveling to China can be an exciting and rewarding experience, as the country offers a rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, delicious cuisine, and modern cities. Here are some tips for planning a trip to China:

1. Research and Planning: Start by researching destinations in China that interest you, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Guilin, Chengdu, and Hong Kong. Decide on the duration of your trip, preferred activities, and budget. Consider factors like weather, peak tourist seasons, visa requirements, transportation options, and local customs.

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2. Visa and Travel Documents: Most travelers to China need a visa to enter the country. Check the visa requirements for your nationality and apply for the appropriate visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate in advance. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date.

3. Health and Safety: Consult with your doctor or a travel health clinic before your trip to China to discuss vaccinations, medications, and health precautions. China has a different healthcare system, so consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, evacuation, and trip cancellation.

lighted buildings during nighttime near body of water

4. Language and Communication: Mandarin Chinese is the official language in China, but English is widely spoken in tourist areas and major cities. Consider learning basic Chinese phrases or download translation apps to help you communicate with locals. Carry a phrasebook or language guide for reference.

5. Transportation: China has an extensive transportation network, including high-speed trains, domestic flights, buses, subways, and taxis. Plan your itinerary and research transportation options between cities and attractions. Booking train tickets and flights in advance can help you save time and money.

6. Accommodation: Choose accommodation that suits your travel style and budget, whether it’s a hotel, hostel, guesthouse, Airbnb, or traditional inn. Book accommodation in advance, especially during peak seasons or holidays, to secure your preferred stay.

photography of the temple

7. Cultural Etiquette: Familiarize yourself with Chinese customs and etiquette to show respect for local traditions. Learn about dining etiquette, greetings, gift-giving customs, and social norms to avoid cultural misunderstandings.

8. Currency and Money: The currency in China is the Chinese Yuan (CNY) or Renminbi (RMB). ATMs are widely available in cities, but it’s advisable to carry cash in smaller denominations for shopping, transportation, and tipping. Notify your bank of your travel plans to avoid card issues.

9. Sightseeing and Activities: China offers a wide range of attractions and activities, from visiting the Great Wall and Terracotta Warriors to exploring ancient temples, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant markets. Plan your sightseeing itinerary and prioritize must-see landmarks based on your interests.

10. Respect Local Laws: Familiarize yourself with Chinese laws and regulations, including restrictions on internet access, photography, public behavior, and religious practices. Respect local customs and follow guidance from authorities to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Remember to pack essentials like travel documents, comfortable clothing and shoes, adaptors for electronic devices, sunscreen, and a reusable water bottle. Stay informed about current events and travel advisories in China to ensure a smooth and memorable travel experience.Enjoy your trip to China! Have a great journey!

f. Weather in China

snow in a narrow alley in city in japan

China is a vast country with diverse geographic features and climates, so the temperatures can vary significantly across different regions and seasons. Here is a general overview of the temperature in China throughout the year:

1. Spring (March to May):
– Northern China: Temperatures range from around 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
– Southern China: Warmer temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F).
– Spring is a pleasant time to visit China, with blooming flowers, clear skies, and mild weather.

2. Summer (June to August):
– Northern China: Temperatures can exceed 30°C (86°F) and even reach up to 40°C (104°F) in cities like Beijing.
– Southern China: Higher humidity with temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F).
– Summer is hot and humid in most parts of China, and it’s also the rainy season in the south.

bridge with a railway track in perspective

3. Autumn (September to November):
– Northern China: Temperatures cool down to around 10°C to 20°C (50°F to 68°F).
– Southern China: Pleasant temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F).
– Autumn is a popular time to visit China, with clear skies, mild temperatures, and colorful foliage in many areas.

4. Winter (December to February):
– Northern China: Cold temperatures with winter averages between -10°C to 5°C (14°F to 41°F).
– Southern China: Milder winter temperatures ranging from 5°C to 15°C (41°F to 59°F).
– Winter in China can be cold, especially in the northern regions, while the south experiences milder conditions.

It’s important to note that these temperature ranges are general guidelines, and the actual temperatures can vary depending on the specific region and elevation. For higher altitude areas like Tibet or the mountains, temperatures can be significantly lower compared to lower-altitude cities.

Before traveling to China, it’s recommended to check the weather forecast for your specific destination and pack accordingly. Bring layers of clothing, including warm jackets for winter and light clothing for summer, as well as rain gear if visiting during the rainy season. Planning your trip based on the weather conditions can help you make the most of your visit to China.

g. Best time to visit China

tourists at forbidden temple

The best time to visit China largely depends on the specific regions you plan to visit and your preferred activities. China is a vast country with diverse climates, so the ideal time to visit may vary based on your interests and priorities. Here are general recommendations for the best times to visit different regions of China:

1. Spring (March to May):
– Best time for cherry blossom viewing in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an.
– Pleasant weather with blooming flowers and clear skies in many parts of China.
– Good time for outdoor activities like hiking and exploring cultural sites.

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2. Summer (June to August):
– Ideal for exploring northern China and cities like Beijing, Xi’an, and Chengdu.
– Summer is the peak tourist season, so popular attractions may be crowded.
– Warm temperatures and longer daylight hours, suitable for outdoor activities and festivals.

gray and brown pagoda

3. Autumn (September to November):
– Best time to visit many parts of China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guilin, and Chengdu.
– Clear skies, mild temperatures, and colorful foliage in various regions.
– Great for hiking, cultural sightseeing, and enjoying local festivals.

4. Winter (December to February):
– Ideal for visiting winter destinations like Harbin for the Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.
– Best time to explore southern China and cities like Hong Kong, Guilin, and Hainan.
– Lower tourist crowds, discounted prices, and festive celebrations during Chinese New Year.

It’s important to consider factors like weather preferences, peak tourist seasons, local festivals, and specific activities when planning your trip to China. If you’re visiting multiple regions, consider the climate differences and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Ultimately, the best time to visit China is subjective and depends on your personal preferences and travel goals. No matter when you choose to visit, be sure to check the weather forecast for your destination, pack appropriate clothing, and make necessary arrangements in advance to ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip to China.

h. Festivals in China

procession showered with colorful confetti on the dajia mazu pilgrimage festival in taiwan

China is a country rich in history and cultural traditions, and there are numerous festivals celebrated throughout the year. These festivals are an important part of Chinese culture and offer a great opportunity to experience local customs, traditions, and cuisine. Here are some of the major festivals celebrated in China:

1. Chinese New Year (Spring Festival):
– The most important festival in China, celebrated according to the lunar calendar.
– Festivities include dragon and lion dances, fireworks, family reunions, and the giving of red envelopes with money.
– Dates vary each year but typically fall between late January and mid-February.

2. Lantern Festival:
– The 15th day of the Lunar New Year, marking the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
– Traditionally celebrated with colorful lantern displays, dragon dances, and the eating of tangyuan (sweet rice balls).

people walking in a parade on the city street during a celebration

3. Qingming Festival (Tomb-Sweeping Day):
– A time to honor ancestors by cleaning their graves, offering food and burning incense.
– People also enjoy outdoor activities like flying kites and having picnics.

4. Dragon Boat Festival:
– Celebrates the famous poet Qu Yuan with dragon boat races and the eating of zongzi (sticky rice dumplings).
– Held on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month, usually in June.

5. Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival):
– A harvest festival celebrating the full moon with family gatherings, mooncakes, and lantern displays.
– Held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, typically in September or October.

happy new year in china

6. National Day (Golden Week):
– Celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China on October 1st.
– A week-long holiday with parades, fireworks, and patriotic celebrations.

These are just a few of the major festivals celebrated in China. Depending on the region and local traditions, there are many other festivals and celebrations throughout the year that offer a glimpse into Chinese culture and customs. When planning your trip to China, consider aligning your visit with one of these festivals for a truly immersive cultural experience.

i. Duration of stay

man working inside the kitchen

The ideal duration for a trip to China can vary greatly depending on your interests, budget, and the specific places you want to visit. China is a vast and diverse country with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty, so it’s important to carefully plan your itinerary to make the most of your time there. Here are some general guidelines for the recommended duration of a trip to China based on different types of travelers:

1. First-Time Visitors:
– If you’re a first-time visitor to China and want to see the major attractions like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, and Guilin, a trip duration of 10-14 days is recommended.
– This allows you to experience the iconic landmarks, cultural sites, and diverse landscapes that China has to offer while also allowing time for travel between cities.

2. Cultural Enthusiasts:
– If you have a deep interest in Chinese history, culture, and arts, consider a trip duration of 2-3 weeks.
– This will allow you to delve deeper into the historical sites, museums, and traditional villages, as well as attend local cultural events and performances.

cars beside neon signages

3. Nature Lovers:
– If you’re interested in exploring China’s natural beauty, such as the Great Wall, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Jiuzhaigou Valley, and the Yangtze River, a trip duration of 2-3 weeks is recommended.
– This will give you ample time to enjoy the stunning landscapes, go on hikes, and experience the country’s diverse ecosystems.

4. Budget Travelers:
– For budget-conscious travelers, a trip duration of 7-10 days is a good starting point.
– By focusing on one or two regions and staying in budget accommodations, you can still have a fulfilling experience without breaking the bank.

Ultimately, the ideal duration for your trip to China will depend on your preferences, interests, and available time. It’s important to plan your itinerary carefully, considering factors like transportation, visa requirements, and seasonal weather conditions. Whether you have a week or a month to spend in China, be sure to prioritize the experiences and destinations that are most important to you to make the most of your trip.

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