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A first-timer’s guide to China

| Words by Ashley Diterlizzi |

China is a large and diverse country which makes it a traveler’s delight. From spectacular scenery to breathtaking antiquities and history that spans thousands of years, China is a destination that has attracted visitors for years. It’s time to discover China.

Map of china

1. Walk the Great Wall of China

Often considered one of the seven wonders of the world, China’s Great Wall is the largest man-made structure in the world. Although not really visible from space, the wall is still a wonder to behold.Read more about the famous attraction in our article on the Great Wall of China facts.

2. Feast on the flavors of an empire

From Peking duck and delicious dumplings to Sichuan spices, China is home to a variety of dishes much loved around the world. Food is such an important part of the culture in China that it’s one of the most popular social activities to do so eat up!

3. Explore the country’s capital

From the Forbidden City to Tiananmen Square and the Temple of Heaven, Beijing has a lot to offer visitors. The main port of entry for many visitors, take the time to learn about the country’s imperial history in the intriguing city. We’ve put together a list of the city’s hidden gems, discover them here.

4. Cruise the longest river in Asia

Take to the waters of the Yangtze River and discover China’s natural beauty. The river winds its way through beautiful gorges and limestone pillars. Drift along man-made dams and discover Fengdu Ghost City and Wuhan Yangtze Bridge.

Hong Kong Harbor

5. Visit Hong Kong

An autonomous region of China, Hong Kong is home to an iconic skyline and protected natural landscapes. More than 70% of the region is made up of mountains and sprawling country parks which makes it a beautiful part of China to discover.

6. Meet a giant panda

It wouldn’t be a trip to China without meeting a panda! We recommend meeting a panda at the Panda Research Base in Chengdu where they focus on conservation for these beautiful animals. Stop off at the research base on our China Panorama tour.

7. Time travel to Xian

Visit one of the most impressive archaeological sites in the world, the army of Terracotta Warriors. Located near Xian, the intricately carved warriors were buried for more than 2,000 years and were found in great condition.

8. Wander the Silk Road

The ancient Silk Road connects China to countries in Asia’s west, Russia and the Mediterranean. Many of the roads are lined with villages, happy to share their ethnic cultures. Most of the Silk Road in China is now serviced by trains.

9. Lose yourself in China's largest city

An autonomous region of China, Hong Kong is home to an iconic skyline and protected natural landscapes. More than 70% of the region is made up of mountains and sprawling country parks which makes it a beautiful part of China to discover.

10. Venture to Tibet

Another of China’s autonomous regions, Tibet offers high-altitude adventures, stunning views and beautiful monasteries. The draw card for many visitors to this region is its position on the highest plateau on Earth. Wander across huge plains and by turquoise lakes.

Giant Panda in Chengdu

Tips and tricks

Where to stay

For the best hotels in China, check out our latest China brochure.

Getting there

Flights operate directly between Australia and China.

Climate

Although China amalgamated five time zones into one, the climate cannot be altered so it’s different across the country. Generally the best time to visit is in spring (March to May) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant in many parts of the country. Read more about the varying climate here.

When to go

As a rule of thumb, the best time to visit China is spring and autumn; March to May and September to October. For more information on when to go, read our guide on when to visit China.

Money

The currency used is the Renminbi.

Did you know?

The Chinese are the inventors of many things including paper, ice cream, gun powder and kites.

Top Tip

Focus your itinerary. China is a huge country and houses some of the world’s largest mountains, forests and most remote jungles. You’re not going to be able to see it all in one go.

Experience the diversity of China on one of our small group journeys or check out our range of private tours.