The Ultimate 3 Week China Itinerary

Updated: Apr 3, 2020

China has so many amazing sights to see! You could spend months, or even years, traveling here and you still wouldn't be able to see it all! But, this 3 week itinerary will you give you the most of your time in this beautiful country, flying into Beijing and flying out of Shanghai. You will visit all the must-see places and get a taste of what China has to offer! (Make sure to also check out these tips for traveling China)


Days 1-3: Beijing

The capital city of China most famously known for the Great Wall. It is a city filled with a combination of modern and ancient ambiance through architecture, food, and culture. Make sure to soak up all this city has to offer:

- Great Wall

- The Forbidden City

- Jingshan Park

- Temple of Heaven

- Houhai Lake

- Drum Tower

- Bell Tower

- Tianamen Square

- Beijing Mill


Next, make your way to Xi'An using 1 of the following 3 options:

1) Bullet train: multiple trains from 06:21 - 18:55 | time: 4.5-6 hours | cost: 515.50 RMB

2) Sleeper train: 3 trains- 20:12, 20:40, 21:06 | time: 11-15 hours | cost: 150-250 RMB

3) Flight: multiple flights from 06:40 - 23:30 | time: 2 hours | cost: 600-700 RMB


Read my full guide to Beijing here.


Days 4-5: Xi'An

A city known all around the world as the home of the infamous Terracotta Warriors: rows of thousands of sculpted soldiers, horses and chariots that depict the armies of the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, and are serving to protect him in the afterlife. But there is more to this city than this infamous site:

- Terracota Soldiers

- City Wall

- Muslim Quarter

- Drum Tower

- Bell Tower

- Feng Qing Park


Next, make your way to Chengdu using 1 of the following 3 options:

1) Bullet train: multiple trains from 07:10-19:50 | time: 3-4 hours | cost: 263 RMB

2) Sleeper train: 1 train at 21:02 | time: 11 hours | cost: 128 RMB

3) Flight: multiple flights from 06:05-23:05 | time: 1 hr & 45 min | cost: 550-700 RMB


Read my full guide to Xi'An here.


Days 6-7: Chengdu

Chengdu is the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province, known for its ridiculously spicy food! It's also famous for it's pandas and cool night life scene. Relax and enjoy your 2 days here:

- Panda Breeding Research Center

- People's Park

- Day trip to Leshan Giant Buddha

Next, make your way to Chongqing by bullet train:

There are multiple trains from 06:43-22:12 | time: 1.5-2.5 hours | cost: 96-146 RMB


Read my full guide to Chengdu here.


Days 8-10: Chongqing

The fourth largest city in all of China, that many people have never heard of! It is nicknamed the "Mountain City" because it is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The Chongqing province in itself offers so many amazing and beautiful activities for visitors. Make sure you make the most of your 3 days:

- Ciqikou

- Hongyadong

- Times Square

- Eling Park

- Ronghui Hot Springs

- Huashengyuan Golden Cake Dream Kingdom Park

- Hong'ensi Forest Park

- Day trip to Wulong Karst Geological Park


Next, make your way to Guilin using 1 of the following 2 options:

1) Bullet train: multiple trains from 07:19-17:28 | time: 4.5-5.5 hours | cost: 281-288 RMB

2) Flight: 3 direct flights- 08:00 (2 airline options) or 08:50 | time: 1 .5 hr | cost: 430-700 RMB


Read my full guide to Chongqing here.


Days 11-13: Yangshuo (near Guilin)

Yangshuo, China- Maybe a place that you've never heard of, but to many backpackers in China this is one of the top priorities! A small town in the midst of lush karst formations, the Li River, and untouched nature. This is a nature-lover's paradise! Make sure to rent a moped and see:


- Yulong River Scenic Spot

- Xianggong

- Damian Mountain

- Xingping town

- Xingping Fishing Village

- LaoZhai Mountain

- 20 Yuan View

- West Street

- Day trip to the Longsheng Rice Terraces


Next, make your way to Hong Kong using 1 of the following 2 options:

1) Bullet train to Shenzhen: multiple trains from 09:07-17:50 | time: 3-3.5 hours | cost: 239 RMB

+ Bullet train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong: multiple trains from 06:43-23:31 | time: 20 min | cost: 68-75 RMB

2) Flight: 1 direct flight- 23:25- 00:55 | time: 1.5 hrs | cost: 1100-1300 RMB


Read my full guide to Yangshuo here.


Days 14-16: HongKong

A city where Western and Eastern cultures collide in an ultra-modern setting. It is known for its international business, fashion, and a hub for travel throughout Asia. Hong Kong is small, but broken up into different islands and sections, which can be confusing. Use your 3 days to explore each section:


Tsim Sha Tsui

- Star Ferry Pier

- Clock tower

- Hong Kong Space Museum

- Kowloon Park

- iSQUARE


Wanchai

- Golden Bauhinia Square

- Wan Chai Heritage Trail

- Times Square:

- Tai Yuen Street Market

- Lockhart Road


Central

- Victoria Peak

- Lan Kwai Fong

- Central Ferry Pier


Lantau Island

- Tian Tan Buddha

- Po Lin Monastery

- Disneyland (if you want to visit, you should add another day to your time in HK)

Next, make your way to Zhangjiajie using 1 of the following 3 options:

1) Bullet train to Guangzhou: multiple trains from 08:05-22:50 | time: 1 hr | cost: 187-215 RMB

+ train to Zhangjiajie: 3 trains- 13:00, 17:24, 20:04 | time: 13-18 hours | cost: 163-172 RMB


2) Bullet train to Guangzhou: multiple trains from 08:05-22:50 | time: 1 hr | cost: 187-215 RMB

+ flight to Zhangjiajie: 2 flights- 11:40, 23:00 | time: 1 hr & 40 min | cost: 550-900 RMB


3) Bullet train to Shenzhen: multiple trains from 07:00-22:50 | time: 20 min | cost: 68-75 RMB

+ flight to Zhangjiajie: 1 flight- 22:15 | time: 1 hour & 40 min | cost: 700-800 RMB


Read my full guide to Hong Kong here.


Days 17-19: Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie, located in the Hunan Province of China, has arguably some of the most beautiful parks in the world. The National Forest Park is the inspiration for the Hallelujah mountains in the movie Avatar, hence the nickname "The Avatar Mountains," and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is filled with quartz-sandstone pillars in every direction- some even reaching 1,080 meters high! Bask in the beautiful nature scenes during your 3 days here:

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

- Huangshi Village

- Yuanjiajie Scenic Area

- Golden Whip Stream Scenic Spot

- Tianzi Mountain

- Suoxiyu

- Yangjiajie


Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon

- Glass Bridge


Tianmen Mountain

- Glass Walkway

- Tianmen Cave

- 99 Bends

- Stairway to Heaven.


Next, make your way to Shanghai using 1 of the following 3 options:

1) Bullet train to Changsha: multiple trains from 08:15-18:58 | time: 4.5-5 hours | cost: 54-83 RMB

+ Bullet train to Shanghai: multiple trains from 07:06-18:12 | time: 5-6 hours | cost: 478-502 RMB


2) Slow train: 2 trains- 15:55, 18:58 | time: 20-21 hours | cost: 189.5 RMB


3) Flight: multiple direct flights from 18:50- 23:40 | time: 1 hour | cost: 440-900 RMB


Read my full guide to Zhangjiajie here.


Days 20-21: Shanghai

This city is one of the most visited cities in all of China. Why? Because of its diverse and modern culture, architecture, and cuisine. This city is a cross between Asia and Europe, with modern skylines and traditional back alleyways. Make the most of your 2 days here by seeing the following:

- The Bund

- Nanjing Road

- Yu Garden

- Yuyuan Old street

- Yuz museum


Read my full guide to Shanghai here.


You've done it! You've seen so much beauty that China has to offer in only 3 weeks. I hope you've grown to love this magnificent country as much as I have.



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