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How to Easily Plan Your First Trip to China?

Are you first timers to China? You may find it difficult to plan a trip to China on your own, because China is so different from any other countries. Even though this may not be your first time to visit the other country, it’s important to plan your trip in advance. How to easily plan your first trip to China? Follow the 8 easy steps to start your planning.

West Lake in Hangzhou
West Lake in Hangzhou


1.Decide When to Visit China

With all kinds of beautiful sceneries, China always has something for you, no matter which season you come to visit. Obviously, you should follow your own schedule, like exact dates for your vacation, available time and also consider the best time to visit China. What’s more, the price of the flights will also be an important factor when you decide when to visit China.

You’d better visit China during spring and autumn, normally from March to May, and September to October. However, it also depends on places you want to visit, as China is so vast, especially if you want to enjoy a scenic tour. You don’t have to worry too much if you want to visit historical sites in major cities.

Autumn of Dongchuan Red Land
Autumn of Dongchuan Red Land


Remember to avoid dates below, because of the crowds and higher costs. If you really have to travel during these dates, try to pick some less popular places to visit.

  • Labor Day: May 1-3
  • National Holiday: October 1-7
  • Spring Festival: late January to early February


enlightenedRelated Reading: Best Time & Worst Time to Visit China


2.Choose Cities You Want to Travel in China

It’s hard to travel all over China, but it’s possible to take a glimpse of how the real China is during your first trip to China, among popular tourist cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Xi’an. The final itinerary depends on your purpose for this tour, in another word, the type of tour you want to have, scenic or cultural. Here are some good options you could choose, from different variety of tour you’re interested.

  • Classic China Tour: Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, Chengdu, Guilin, Hong Kong
  • Scenic Tour: Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Mt. Huangshan, Jiuzhaigou, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Kanas
  • Cultural Tour: Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Chengdu, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Luoyang, Dengfeng, Tibet
  • Minority Tour: Guiyang, Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Urumqi, Tibet
  • Hiking Tour: Beijing, Guilin, Lijiang, Shangri-la, Daocheng Yading


Daocheng Yading
Daocheng Yading

enlightenedRelated Reading: The 13 Best Places to Visit in China


3.Join a Tour or Travel by Yourself?

Visitors who travel to China for the first time should consider this question carefully. Since the language barrier may be your biggest concern, joining a tour is highly recommended, no matter for group tour or private tour. After you’re sure about your travel date and cities, choosing a tour will save a lot of your time, because our professional travel consultant will do the planning for you. Also, you don’t have to worry too much during your trip in China, because our experienced local guide will help you.

Here comes another question accordingly. Group tour or private tour?

Group tour will be cheaper than private tour, but for a private tour, you can have a more flexible schedule and pick your favorite places to visit, without waiting for other people. Additionally, the local guide can arrange more local activities for you to explore Chinese history and culture, such as visiting local family, cooking and making handcrafts.


enlightenedRelated Reading: How to Choose a Good China Tour Operator Online


4.Plan Your Travel Length

Usually people don’t want to visit one city only after the long journey. According to the feedback from our customers, most people like to stay for at least one week. If you want to deeply explore the real China, you may need more days. How many days to spend for first timers? In general, there are 4 decisive factors:

  • Your budget for this China tour. Consider how much money you want to spend on this tour, so that you can estimate how many days you can afford to stay.
  • Price for your round-trip air tickets. Check air tickets ahead of time, sometimes you may choose a cheaper price around your departure date. For example, If you plan to spend 6 days in China, but you find the price is cheaper after one or two days, you can think about 8 days for this China tour.
  • Cities you really don’t want to miss. As you may need 2-3 days for each city, you really need to pick top cities you really don’t want to miss for this time. For example, you may need 5-6 days for 2 cities, 7-8 days for 3 cities.
  • Available days you have. Based on your vacation or available days you have, plan your exact travel length.

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enlightenedRelated Reading: How Much Does It Cost to Visit China


5.Prepare for You China Visa

Search information for China visa in advance and prepare all the required documents, it’s better to apply for it a couple of days before your travel date. Or you can save your time and money for a visa-free trip in China. For US citizens and citizens from many other countries, you can have a 72-hour visa-free transit, or 144-hour visa-free transit in some cities of China.

enlightenedRelated Reading: How to Apply China Visa


6.Book Your Flights and Accommodation

Book your flights in advance so that the price won’t be too expensive. For accommodation, price will be different from cities you want to visit, areas you want to stay and also room types. If you choose central area, it will be expensive.

There are all sorts of accommodations you could pick in one city, including star-rated hotels, youth hostels and boutique hotels. You can decide where to stay according to your budget and location you prefer. For example, some tourists would like to experience night life in major cities, downtown area will be an ideal choice.

Shanghai City View
Shanghai City View


enlightenedRelated Reading: China Star Level Hotels


7.Know about Local Transportation

How to travel around China? When you research for the local transportation in China before your trip, you may find high-speed train is probably the best way for you, fast and convenient. Traveling by air is also a good way, but you’d better compare the price. For inner city transportation, metro is available to take in major cities, you can consider bus and taxi as well. For a more comfortable trip, we recommend a private car. Please feel free to contact us for an ideal private tour.

Ding-ding Tram in Hong Kong
Ding-ding Tram in Hong Kong


8.Pack Your Things

Don’t pack unnecessary stuff. You can make a packing list for all the things you might need, and leave some space because you definitely will buy something during your China trip. What’s more, check the weather first when packing your clothes, and do remember to bring some medicine for emergency use.


enlightenedRelated Reading: What to Pack for Travel to China


Enjoy a Hassle-free China Tour with Us!

Don’t stress out for the planning, professional travel advisor from Top China Travel can help you with all the arrangements. All you have to do is to enjoy your trip in China. See tours below for some good ideas.

Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin
Our customers in Guilin


Let us know all your requirements if you want a tailor-made tour, it’s quite easy to enjoy a hassle-free tour with Top China Travel.