China travel guide
China round trip
The traveller touring trough China will encounter on his trip in the Middle Kingdom many contrasts. Bizarre mountainous sceneries, wonderful green river basins and dry steppes alternate with glittering business metropolises as Hong Kong or Shanghai. This round trip through China presents a broad spectrum of such kinds of varieties and is perfectly suitable for backpackers, who would like to make a cultural tour through China and who bring along sufficient time to do this. As a time frame approximately one month should be taken into account.
This tour leads you through numerous historical towns from north to south. The exciting aspect of this tour is, that you will travel actively, meaning that you will travel as often as whenever possible from one place to the other just by using train and bus. This will bring you very close in contact with the local people. And this will enrich your tour certainly with many more impressions than you could experience while travelling by any airplane of this world.
Do not understand these tours leading through China as being a simple vacation. Try do understand instead them rather as individual tours respectively cultural trips leading throughout China, in which it is up to you to decide about your speed.
Travel itinerary for China tour No.1
Germany â€“ Beijing
Flights from Germany to Beijing departure daily from many German cities. Airlines such as Air China, KLM or Lufthansa can be used. Flight time is approximately 9 hours.
Apart from some brief interruptions, Beijing has been capital of China ever since 1115 AD. However, most of the historical buildings in their present appearance originate from the time after 1418. One of them and particularly worth emphasizing is the Forbidden City, which served as seat of the government for the Chinese rulers until 1908. This gigantic site extends over a surface of 1 square kilometre, and while passing through, the visitor feels distinctly hints of the restricted power the Chinese emperors had.
One of the most imposing buildings in China is without any doubt the Great Wall of China. It meanders its way nearly 6.000 km over mountain peaks up to the edge of the Gobi desert. The most popular and most visited part of the Wall lies in Badaling. When departing from Beijing, you could make a nice daily trip there.
In addition, many other see-sites such as temples, towers and parks do make Beijing a paradise for culture enthusiasts: To name but a few examples: you should visit The Heavenâ€™s Temple, Lama Temple, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Beihai Park and the Zoo.
Beijing â€“ Luoyang
Departure by train on late afternoon, destination: Luoyang. Four-bed compartments in sleeping car, comfortably equipped with soft beds and televisions. Travel time: 15 hours.
You will arrive in Louyang in the late morning, thus still having enough time to allow for a trip. The Long Men-grottos for example are located only 12 km away southwards from the city. They are artificial caves, situated on a cliff-section extending over 1 km in length. The beginning of the construction dates back to 493 AD. Today, you can find within the caves an impressive collection of memory stones, pagodas and Buddha-figures. The grottos were declared world cultural heritage in 2002.
Seeing Kung Fu is a genuine attraction for everybody who is on vacation in China. The Kung Fu-monastery Shaolin lies close to the river of the holy mountain Song Shan, 110 km away from Luoyang. There, a master of Kung Fu, together with his pupils will demonstrate to you these traditional Chinese martial arts. While returning to Luoyang, you will pass the temple of the White Horse, which is well worth a visit.
You can find the Luoyang Museum near Wangcheng-Park. It displays archaeological finds dating back ca. five thousands years. The collection consists of skilful crafts in bronze and ceramics.
Luoyang â€“ Xian
In the evening, rail journey to Xian. Travel time: 6 hrs.
Xian lies in the province Shaanxi. From 1120 to1368, it has served as capital for 13 dynasties. The city is starting point of the Silk Road and centre for politics, culture and trade in northwest of China. Today, the town boasts above all for its impressive terracotta army, which is housed in the tomb complex of the first Chinese emperor and which will surely prove to be a highlight of your China tour.
The infinite number of life-sized statues made from terracotta symbolized the dead guard for the protection of the emperor that was to secure the entire complex. Today, this army ranks amongst the greatest archaeological finds ever made in history.
Xian has however many more things to offer. For example, visit its old part of the town. Go for an amble over the market and visit the great mosque. It is one of the four-greatest Islamic buildings in China. The Wild Goose Pagoda belongs to the greatest temple in Xian and houses valuable Buddhist writings. The provincial museum exhibits approx. 100.000 cultural items belonging to former dynasties. And the Stele-wall-museum houses the largest and most complete collection of steles in China.
Xian â€“ Chengdu
Flight from Xian to Chengdu. Flight time is 1 hour.
Chengdu is situated at Jinjiang River in the province Sichuan, idyllically surrounded by paddy - and wheat fields. Thanks to its many cultural monuments, the town is a very popular destination for tourists who are embarking on a tour through China: The Marquis Wu Shrine for example lies near the south of the city. Approximately 40 famous persons who lived during Shu- and Han-dynasty were buried here, surrounded by memorial stones and scrolls.
The Wuhouci Temple is located too on the outskirts of the town. It was built in 6th century to commemorate the life of the sage Zhuge Liang.
Finally, the dam wall system Dujiangya lies ca. 60 km northwest of the centre. Being a genuine attraction in China, it is for everyone who wants to go on holiday to China a necessary must-see. Nearby, coming through the mountains, the Min flows into the Chengdu plain. The whole complex was built around 250 BC, and since then it has served for branching water for irrigation plants. In 2000, UNESCO declared Dujiangya as world cultural heritage.
Chengdu â€“ Lijiang
In the afternoon, rail journey to Panzhihua. Travel time approx. 13 hrs. Continuation of the journey by bus to Lijiang.
Lijiang is home of the Naxi-minority, which became well known for its script, called the Dongba script. Its characters look similar to hieroglyphics. You can learn a many about their customs and ways of life in the institute for the study of the culture of the Naxi.
In the same area you can also find another attraction, the Yulong Xueshan Mountains, 30 km away of Lijiang. The 13 peaks of the mountains rise beyond 6000 m in height, representing a fantastic natural paradise on your China tour, in which you can see many wild animals and rare plants. Nobody has ever climbed to the mountains, but you can nevertheless reach a part of the way by taking the cable railway.
For everyone who is spending his holiday in China, it could prove very rewarding to go for a stroll around the old part of the town, called Dayanzhen, where one can experience genuine Chinese flair. There, you can also listen to a musical performance given by the Naxi.
Lijiang â€“ Dali
Bus ride to Dali, situated 150 km away, the town that lies southernmost on your China tour. Leads you through wonderful landscapes of the high mountains.
Lies 2 km northwest from Dali. Here you should visit the San Ta Si, the three pagodas. Behind the temple, built in 9th century, you will see a wonderful mountain scenery. Right after visiting the place, you have the option to travel further to the Erhai Lake, situated 1.980 m high. The nature of this region is particularly beautiful. Enjoy it while doing a cycle tour or making a boat trip.
Finally, there are many relicts preserved that originate from the time of the Nanzhao. You should not miss them on your China tour.
Dali â€“ Kunming
Travel by night train to Kumming. Travel time: ca. 9 hours.
The â€žCity of everlasting springâ€œ is situated in the province Yunnan. It is hometown of many nationalities, but dominated by the Yi-minority â€“ an ethnical group with bright colourful costumes. They are offering beautifully embroidered clothes and skilful crafts at colourful markets.
Particularly worth seeing on your China tour, is the bizarre stone forest. You can find it 120 km southeast from the town. Riding by bus to the forest would take approx. 2 hours. The forest is called so, because it is a wide plain area on which one can see standing rock-needles up to 30 m in height, which look similar to trees standing in a forest. You can walk through the labyrinth of ways and, with help of a guide, learn more stories about the stones, which are full of mysteries and fairytales.
Another quite beautiful trip would be to visit the west mountain. It is up to you to decide whether you want to climb the mountain by foot, leading over a stony way, or by using a chairlift. Once having arrived on the top of the mountain, you will be rewarded with a fantastic panorama surrounding the Dian Lake.
Kunming â€“ Hongkong
Flight from Kunming to Hong Kong. Flight time is approx. one hour.
Hong Kong is the last destination on your China tour. Hardly another town is so rich of contrasts as this one: Glittering landscapes of skyscrapers, huge Shopping centres and stylish modern nightclubs alternate with green mountains, dreamlike bays, temples and colonial buildings.
Get there by using one of the old English ferries with destination to Hong Kong Island, in order to be able to experience the Skyline as close as possible. Victoria Peak, rising up to 552 m in height is by far the highest mountain on the island. A rack railway will bring you to the Victoria Tower on 379 m height, from where you can enjoy looking at the skyline from top. This is a beautiful sight, particularly at night.
Another Hong Kong trademark and in China quite a big attraction too are the large wood junks with their yellow-red sails. You can book a trip around Hong Kongâ€™s islands at the junk harbour Aberdeen. On your boat trip, you will certainly also see one of the dolphinariums housing the very rare pink dolphins.
At the end of your China tour, you can also relax yourself at one of the numerous beaches. You will find one of the most-loved beaches around Hong Kong at the Repulse Bay.
Honk Kong â€“ Germany (or to any other country)
Flight from Hong Kong to Germany. Flight time is approx. 11 hours