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China is all about numbers. 8,000 life-sized Terra Cotta Warriors. 3,750 miles of the Great Wall of China. 21 million people in the country’s massive capital, Beijing – a truly 21st century city. A nation with 5,000 years of history still tops lists as one of the most attractive travel destinations in the world. From the rice paddies-turned-modern metropolises, Hong Kong’s neon skyline and Macau’s glitzy Las Vegas vibe to the holy temples of Beijing and beyond, China holds surprises at every turn. Across this vast country ancient traditions and superstitions blur together with today’s business, travel, and cultural establishments. And these closely held traditions shine when you leave the city and venture into vast, rural China where remote villages and ancient temples are scattered throughout the country’s 3.7 million square miles.

Tours & Packages

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Small Group Tour A Taste of China
Historical Beijing & the Great Wall, Xi'an & the Terra Cotta Army, plus futuristic Shanghai; optional extensions: Yangtze Cruise or Hong Kong
from $1699 w/ Flights 10 days
per person, double occupancy*
Small Group Tour Best of China & Yangtze River Cruise
Beijing & 4 night Deluxe Yangtze River cruise, plus Xi’an, Hangzhou & Shanghai. Stay in 5 star hotels throughout; optional extension to Hong Kong
from $3599 w/ Flights 17 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Singapore & Hong Kong Adventure
East meets West in Hong Kong, plus experience the cultures of Singapore; explore independently with flights, hotel & city tours included
from $2299 w/ Flights 10 days
per person, double occupancy*
Independent Package Singapore, Hong Kong & Bali Adventure
Ancient temples & modern skylines; explore independently with flights, hotels & city tours included plus optional Nusa Dua Beach extension
from $2999 w/ Flights 14 days
per person, double occupancy*

Trip Reviews

Check out independent, verified reviews from real travelers on Feefo.

Highlights

  1. Beijing

    Beijing skylineWith a population of over 21 million people, China’s capital city of Beijing is a force to be reckoned with. Beijing is located at the northern tip of the triangular-like North China Plain and is surrounded by mountains from the north, northwest, and west, which shield the city quite well. Becoming more urbanized each day, Beijing is modernizing while still maintaining its ancient, old-world charms. That’s what’s so exciting about this incredible city- new technologies and structures can be seen at one moment, and at the very next you can see an ancient temple, wander the narrow hutangs (alleys), and chow down traditional Mongolian lamb and Sichuan-style crayfish!

  2. Great Wall of China

    Great Wall of ChinaThe Great Wall of China is as impressive as it is long, spanning over 3,750 miles. The wall stretches east from Dandong to the west of Lo Lake. Before the Ming Dynasty when bricks were used to add to the wall, rammed earth, stones, and wood created its foundations. Fully created by the Ming Dynasty, the original goal of the wall was to protect the old northern borders of China from various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe. Several walls were built during the 7th Century B.C.E., and eventually, these fragments were joined together to create a stronger, more fortified structure, that today is referred to as the “Great Wall of China” that so many flock to see!

  3. Xi’an & the Terra Cotta Army

    Terra Cotta Army, Xi'anThe Xi’an & and the Terra Cotta Army are clay sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. These sculptures exemplify a form of “funerary art,” representing the life of the late emperor. They were buried with the emperor in order to protect his spirit in the afterlife. Created around the late 3rd Century B.C.E., these figures were discovered by local farmers in Lintong District in 1974. Each soldier sculpture may be a part of a different rank in the army, resulting in various sized likenesses. The tallest are the generals, and other possible ranks are warriors, chariots, and horses.

  4. Shanghai

    Shanghai skylineSteeped in a curious history full of gangsters and colonial adventurers, Shanghai has blossomed into an incredible hot spot that is a must-see for travelers to China. As the most populous city in the world it stands at a striking 24 million in population—and is on the rise. Glass-and-steel high-rises have created a stunning skyline among the clouds as down below, commerce and culture flourish. Don’t miss a chance to check out the city’s budding arts scene, including music and Chinese Opera, as well as traditional Chinese cuisine.

  5. Yangtze River

    Qutang Gorge photo by Tan Wei Liang ByornThe Yangtze River is not only the longest river in Asia, it is the third largest in the world, behind the Amazon and Nile, respectively. For 3,915 miles, it wanders throughout China’s borders – creating a scenic water way and contributing immensely to China’s economic boom. In fact, the Yangtze River Delta generates around 20% of China’s gross domestic product. The Three Gorges Dam which crosses the river near Sandouping in the Hubei province is the largest power station (hydroelectric) in terms of installed capacity. Those who have the pleasure of cruising the Yangtze River will be treated to incredible views of The Three Gorges (Qutang, Wu and Xiling) which lie between Chongqing and Yueyang and features cliffs that soar thousands of feet above the river.

  6. Forbidden City

    Forbidden CityThe Forbidden City served as the Imperial Palace of China for almost 500 years, spanning from the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) until the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911). As the political center and stronghold of China, many emperors and their families lived within its fortified walls.  Recorded as the largest collection of reserved wood from the ancient world, this structure is now the residing place for the Palace Museum. The Forbidden City is a rectangular edifice that is located in the center of current day Beijing. The design of the Forbidden City reflects a significant amount of symbolism. For example, yellow symbolizes the imperial power of the emperor, so all of the roofs are glazed yellow.

  7. Tiananmen Square

    Tian'anmen GateBeijing’s city square, better known as Tiananmen Square, is one of the city’s most iconic sights. Tiananmen translates to “Gates of the Heavenly Peace” and is named for a monument placed there to mark the entrance into the Imperial City (where the Forbidden City was located). In 1989 the infamous Tiananmen Square Massacre occurred -- a clash between authorities and college students who were advocating for democracy. This remains one of the most politically-heated topics in China, just as Tiananmen Square remains one of the most visited places by travelers to  the city.

Fast Facts

Already booked on one of our packages to China? See everything you need to know before you go.

Overview

Capital: Beijing
Population:  1.37 billion
Currency: Renminbi (RMB or CNY)
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, a variety of local dialects
Drives on the: Right
Time zone: UTC +8

Entry requirements

U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least eight months after your return date, though we recommend at least a year.

U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter China, obtained prior to arrival. Applications must be submitted through a fee based visa service such as our preferred provider, Visa HQ, or in person at the China Embassies or Consulates in the United States. See the U.S. Dept. of State website for more information.

We will send a visa support letter and instructions for U.S. passport holders to obtain your visa through VISA HQ after you have completed your registration form and made your final payment, approximately 60 days prior to departure. Please apply for your visa only after receiving this letter.

If you do not hold a U.S. passport, you are responsible for determining all entry requirements and obtaining any necessary visas. Consider using an expedited visa service.

More information about passport, visa & entry requirements.

Health Precautions & Vaccinations

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are no requirements for travel to China, but immunization against polio, tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis are recommended. Also ask your doctor about malaria suppressants if you will be visiting Hainan Island and areas close to the Laotian and Myanmar borders. Be sure to take insect repellent!

A note on blood and transfusions: RH negative and type O bloods are not commonly stored in China. There have also been problems with HIV contaminated blood supplies.

Center for Disease Control
World Health Organization

Weather

China has 4 seasons, similar to that of the northeast United States. During the winter months, December – February, most parts of China would be in a cold spell, especially more so in the northern part, with average temperature at about 20°F and 50°F. For travel during spring or summer, temperatures average between 60°F and 90°F.

Northern China is best seen in September and October, and southern China is best seen in November and December. Winters range from extremely cold in the north to moderate in the south.

What to wear

Your clothing should be casual and designed for comfort, without being too revealing. Take light cotton clothes that are easily washed and not too delicate. For travel during the rainy season, from May to August, a raincoat is necessary. However, since weather can be unpredictable anywhere in the world, to be sure you are comfortable during your trip and prepared for all types of weather possibilities, we suggest that you carry a small folding umbrella and take with you a warm jacket or all-weather coat with zip out lining. Be sure you bring gloves, warm socks and a hat, all of which will help you stay warm if the weather is cold. If you have two pairs of comfortable (broken in, not brand new) walking shoes, by all means, take both pairs. Packing to dress in layers is another way to prepare for a variety of weather conditions. Finally, remember that China is a casual country, and comfort should dictate your wardrobe for the tour.

Tipping

The currency of China is the yuan. Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. dollars. Your hotel will be able to exchange your cash for local currency. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not accepted. Travelers’ checks are no longer widely accepted. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please be sure to verify that they are still accepted in the places visited on this tour.

Money & Credit Cards

The currency of China is the yuan. Hotels and some stores accept major credit cards. However, for “street shopping” you will need local currency or U.S. dollars. Your hotel will be able to exchange your cash for local currency. We highly recommend that you bring crisp, new bills in small denominations. Old, torn, crumpled bills are not accepted. Travelers’ checks are no longer widely accepted. If you intend to use traveler’s checks, please be sure to verify that they are still accepted in the places visited on this tour.

ATMs are not always hooked up to international banking networks. Machines accepting foreign ATM cards have CIRRUS or MAESTRO logos. It is preferable to take along cash, travelers checks or credit cards.

Always notify your bank prior to departure to avoid any problems using your credit or debit card abroad.

Shopping

You will certainly have time for shopping, and China offers a great variety of goods to satisfy different tastes and price ranges. Normally, you will find the best quality in the government-owned Friendship Stores; however, prices may be higher. It is always a good idea to comparison-shop, and exercise the “buyer-beware” rule, just as you do at home. And remember, stores in China will NOT allow you to return or exchange purchased items.

Electricity & Power Adapters

220 volts. Plugs A, I & G. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter and converter kit before your tour to China.

Learn more about electrical standards around the world.

Cell Phones & Internet

Want to take your cell phone, tablet or laptop, but not sure how to get cell service or wifi? See our blog posts on using your cell phone abroad and the top 5 ways to get Internet abroad.

Photography

Cameras and video recorders are permitted, and photography is generally permitted everywhere except at airports and military installations. Memory cards for digital cameras will be available in major cities.

Did you know?
  • Beijing time is a thing! No matter where you are at in China (and despite its massive size of more than 3.7 million square miles!) everyone is in the same time zone.
  • There are more than 40,000 characters in the Chinese written language. Each character (or series of characters together) express meanings or things and most people only know a few thousand characters.  
  • Visiting Buddhists (or those passionate about Buddhism) can visit famous shrines in the four sacred mountains: Emei Mountain (Sichuan), Wutai Mountain (Shanxi Province), Jiuhua Mountain (Anhui) and Putuo Mountain (Zhejiang).
  • The birthplace of kung fu is the Shaolin Temple in Zhengshou (south of Beijing). 

 

 

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