China Tours – Starting Ideas for your trip!

Our China Tours are a great starting place to create your very own custom-made China tour. Want to explore the real China, and visit the places that interest you most? We’ll support you 1:1 with a dedicated China expert, as you plan, book and travel! Book a tour with China Highlights today!

1 Your experience of China so far…

Popular 1st Time China Tours | in any season

Here are some popular tours for a first time trip to China. Visit the classic sights, but also work in personal touches and experiences that make your first trip to China even more memorable.

These recommended tours all feature on the "Top 10 China Tours" list, and 80% of people who buy these top 3 are first time visitors.


First Time Tour Routes

China is unbelievably large! You would need months to do it justice. Travel blogs and resources like the Lonely Planet often advise to focus on one region, or if this is your second trip focus on a couple of provinces and explore in-depth.

Gateway City: Think outside the box!

Don't assume you're restricted to the main hubs of Beijing and Shanghai, our tours can start from any city. In fact, 90% of our tours are customized to our traveler's needs. So consider flying directly into Chengdu to see the Panda’s, and perhaps out of Beijing. That’s the beauty of planning with us, you’re not restricted to dates, routes or gateways like a overseas operator.

When and for How Long to Visit?

We recommend at least 8 days, but a 14-day tour will allow you to step out of the classic routes to experience both a cruise on the Yangtze River and see the magical scenery of Guilin. We will suggest the best places for your season of visit, but here are some dates to avoid when planning a China tour.

How to Plan a China Tour

Our China guide has some practical articles and advice on planning your first trip to China. Take a look at "How to Plan a First Trip to China". Also see "5 Top Tips for a First Trip to China" Our Travel Advisors are happy to chat and work with you to create your perfect trip.

Inspiring Destinations for a Return Visit to China

Stand on the lofty heights of the Tibetan plateau, or relax aboard a luxury train winding along the ancient Silk Road, sip tea on a private balcony on a luxury Yangtze Cruise, enjoying the scenery, or take a road trip to Shangri-La, and don’t forget about the rice terraces and minority culture of China’s southwest.

If cruising down the Li River on a bamboo raft is more your style, consider Guilin. You’ll get a chance to capture the dramatic Chinese karst mountain peaks as they cut through the mist like something out of a classic Chinese painting. The area also offers the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces and numerous fascinating minority areas.

Good to know
We want to show you the other side of China, the side large group tours and overseas operators don’t. So with us you’ll not just ‘tour’ China, but touch it in a personal way.

Deciding on the Destinations

The challenge about a second or third China tour is deciding where to go. The famous travel guides often advise a second tour to focus on just one or two provinces. This is good advice but we recommend you first decide on the key sights and design your tour in that region.

Here is an example:

E.G. The Panda Research Center as a Major Trip Focus

“If the Panda protection project is on the top of your list you could focus on Chengdu, home to the pandas. As it’s a central city you have three great options.

1) To go east on a Yangtze River cruise towards Shanghai, and visit the ancient water towns that surround it.

2) Go west and visit Tibet. Chengdu is also a popular and convenient gateway to the Tibetan plateau.

3) Go south to Guilin for the rivers, mountains and terraces.”

Popular Focuses, Regions and Days

Major Focus & Region Est. Days
Tibet & Gateway City 5-7
Yangtze Cruise + Pandas 7-8
Silk Road – Deserts & Minorities 8-10
South West Guilin, Shangri-La, Guizhou 10-12
South West + Tibet or Yangtze 14-16
Silk Road Deserts & Tibet 14-16
South Region, Silk Road, Tibet 25-28

3 China Tours by Theme

We’ve designed 40 awesome itineraries by theme, to get your trip planning off to a flying start. These themes are a great starting point for finding or designing your very own China tour with us.

Since 1998 we’ve been perfecting and tweaking our private China tours, so you might even find one that fits you perfectly. Once you’ve found something you like, contact us from that tour page, letting us know your requests, changes, and dates. You might also like to create your trip from scratch. Either way, you’ll be dealing 1 to 1 with our China based travel advisors to create "Your kind of tour." .

Did you find something you like? Simply reach out and let us know the changes, ideas and ways we can make your kind of China tour.

Don’t let the planning stress you out!
We’re here to help. Create Your Trip