China is a vast and diverse country, rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Even if you had 2 weeks in China, with so much to see and do, you may want some help to make the most of your time. So, we've put together the best itinerary ideas that showcase some of the best that China has to offer.
- Where to Go for a 2-Week Itinerary in China
- The Classic 2-Week Itinerary for First-Timers
- A 2-Week Itinerary Including Pandas
Where to Go for a 2-Week Itinerary in China
For a classic 2-week itinerary in China, Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai are three cities that should be included. They are the top windows to learning about China's imperial past, its more recent history, and traditional culture.
These three cities cover some of the top attractions in China like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Bund.
Besides these three cities, you could choose one or two more cities based on your interests:
- If you are interested in natural scenery and want to enjoy a relaxed vibe, we recommend Guilin and Zhangjiajie.
- If you are more interested in giant pandas, you should include Chengdu.
- Tibet is many people's dream destination because of its pure cultural atmosphere and plateau scenery.
We offer a personalized service. Just tell us your interests, travel dates, and other needs, and we will create a trip for you.
1. The Classic 2-Week Itinerary for First-Timers
- Beijing – Xi'an – Zhangjiajie – Guilin – Shanghai
If it would be your first time to visit China, you are recommended to consider this itinerary.
Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai offer the classic cultural attractions. Guilin and Zhangjiajie are recommended for enjoying China's iconic natural scenery.
Days 1–4: Beijing
In Beijing, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City are musts. For a visit to the Great Wall, we highly recommend a Great Wall hike from Jinshanling to Simatai. This section is wilder with breathtaking views, retaining the original appearance of a variety of watchtowers.
If you would be traveling with kids, we recommend the Mutianyu section, which is fully restored with cable cars, easier walking, and a toboggan.
If you want a special-occasion experience, we can arrange a sunset visit to the Great Wall with a romantic picnic.
For foodies, Peking duck is not to be missed, and there are plenty of hidden snack bars in the hutongs.
If you want to learn about local lifestyles, we can arrange a rickshaw ride through the hutongs or a home visit.
98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+
Amazing Great Wall tour with Helen
We did the great wall tour from Jiankou to Mutianyu with Helen.The tour was very well organized from the begining until the end.The treckking through the great wall was amazing and challenging. Helen took very good care of us and took as many stops as we needed to rest, drink water,have a snack or take pictures. She also explained us many things about the great wall and helped us with all our questions. After the long walk Helen took us to a local restaurant where the food was delicious! She managed everything perfectly so could have all the food ready when we got to the restaurant. Very recommended experience!more
May 2023, Marta
I had an amazing two trips on the Great Wall and the Forbidden City with the guide Ivy during my stay in China. She was very helpful and answered all of our questions with an enthusiastic approach. I have nothing to say but to highly recommend the trips they offer on the Great Wall hiking/camping and also the in-depth Forbidden City tour! Thank you Ivy and China Highlights.more
May 2023, Serhat Altay
Amazing First Time to Beijing with China Highlights
Tom, my private tour guide was there when I landed and accompanied me all the way through to sending me off at the airport after check-in at the end of my trip. Zhao the driver, who also did all the driving during my trip, was calm, confident and knowledgeable in taking us around. Both Tom and Zhao were punctual too. The Great Wall of China Hike I wanted to do started in a very remote, unrestored part of the wall. This would not had been possible without Tom problem solving many issues we had on the way up and I could not have done this on my own a a foreigner. It was well worth the effort and probably the highlight of my trip.The remainder of the tour around Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Kingdom and The Temple of Heaven was paired with a detailed commentary by Tom of which I learnt a lot.more
May 2023, Munsie
Beijing - city of surprises
A fantastic guide was waiting for us - Jack, who told all the stories with passion and commitment. He also fulfilled those wishes that were not in the plan. I highly recommend visiting Beijing with this guide.more
May 2023, Joanna i Piotr Kuzebscy
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot…
Liu Yuan was a superb guide and a lot of fun to spend time with during my first visit to Beijing. It was a wonderful intensive three days.more
May 2023, Pam S.
Great weather and a good trip out with Lily!
Many thanks to my guide Lily for customising the trip to make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible. She arranged to start an hour earlier to beat the crowd and I got to enjoy the Great Wall before the crowd streamed in and while the weather was cool. I requested to switch the next attraction to visit from Temple of Heaven to Ming Tomb and she not only accommodated the prompt request, but made all the necessary arrangements even before the trip coordinator managed to reply! Kudos! Our driver was jovial and friendly, always on top of traffic conditions and took detours to beat slow moving traffic. Hassle free day and I wouldn’t have been able to cover the two attractions so easily and comfortably without them!more
May 2023, Meibao
This was our first time traveling to Beijing
This was our first time traveling to China, so we really wanted to experience some of the major historical sights of Beijing together with a tour guide. Our itinerary was very carefully planned out according to our interests and tailored to our needs. First, we went camping on the Great Wall and hiked from Jiankou to Mutianyu, and the next day we got an in-depth tour of the Forbidden City as well as a tour of the Temple of Heaven and a taiji experience in the gardens. Our tour guide, Ivy, was truly wonderful in preparing and organizing our personalized itinerary. She is very friendly and knowledgeable, and she was always able and willing to answer all of our questions. Ivy provided us with a truly amazing first visit to China and I would warmly recommend China Highlights for everyone who wishes to travel to China and I would especially recommend Ivy as a tour guide for your trips!more
May 2023, Annalina Wheeler
Tom is the BEST tour guide EVER!
Just had the most AMAZING tour with Tom. He was beyond knowledgeable, so generous with his time and made me feel so at ease which was super important as I am travelling by myself. Thank you Tom for the best day-you have totally made my China trip a fabulous experience, one I will never forget!more
May 2023, SHARRYN HINCHLIFFFE
Superb service and wonderful time in Beijing
Superb service from Jack who were with us for 4 wonderful days in Beijing. Jack was clearly knowledgeable about the history and able to deliver insight information to us about places. He was also kind and accommodating to my mother who has bad knees. Both China Highlights and Jack were flexible about the itinerary to ensure that we enjoy the best of Beijing. We'll definitely use China Highlights' services again for our next trip to China.more
May 2023, Chani
First time booking a trip with China Highlights and was fortunate to have Sunny as my private tour guide. We went to the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, then arrived and walked around Gubei Water Town, and then visited the Simatai portion of the Great Wall at night. Was a very enjoyable trip as we were able to see a night time drone show in the sky, ride a private boat through the canals of the Gubei Water Town, and eat a delicious lunch at a local restaurant along the way. Sunny is super knowledgeable when it comes to the history of the Great Wall and took the time to explain various interesting facts and stories which made the trip very meaningful. The driver we had was also a very nice man who was always on time and eager to help. Was an unforgettable experience and would highly recommend Sunny and China Highlights :)more
May 2023, Allen C
Tour to the great wall from the airport
My guide Tom was ver kind and knowlegable, he explained everything to me about the great wall and even went out of his way to help me the next day at Bejings downtown! amazing service!!! thank you so much Tom!more
May 2023, Fer Villasefior
Great tour, fantastic guide!
This tour was fantastic! I loved hearing about the history of the Forbidden City and admiring the views at the Great Wall. William was a fantastic tour guide. We were a group of families with several young children, and he was very accommodating and flexible with timing and arrangements. I totally recommend this tour and William as a guide!more
May 2023, Ryan Corless
Four excellent sightseeing days in Beijing
We had wonderful four days in Beijing. The entire trip was tailored exactly to our wishes. From experiencing local food, to exploring the major sites of the city up to hiking the great wall of China. Additionally, we had two amazing guides Ina and Fan taking care of all the tickets and coordination required. Also, they could not only tell us everything about the sights we visited and give us an insight to local customs and traditions, but they did so in perfect German. The chauffeur service from Mr Chang was also excellent, getting us from A to B without any hazzle. The past couple of days were one of the most carefree trips we have had so far.more
May 2023, Katha
Great tour from William
Great tour organized by China highlights, our tour guide was William - his knowledge was impressive, his English was great and he was always on time. We did the four day tour including the wall and forbidden city - would definitely recommend to anyone looking for an English tour guide.more
Apr 2023, Lawrence
Beijing 2 day private tour
The tour itself was great, private driver to and from, my guide Ivy was great English speaking guide. She was very knowledgeable and passionate about her country. Was a great time exploring the Great Wall of china and then my second day did a city tour (forbidden city, hutong tour, summer palace). Felt extremely safe, and was confident having an English guide. Thank you china highlights. (Provide them what you want and they’ll make it happen). Prices are reasonable as I looked at a few places but for private tour, my own schedule, and confidence of getting around safely you can’t go wrong.more
Apr 2023, Mark
Everything was to the vest standard, the history all very well explained by the Tour Guide in Beijing, Ivy. Really enjoyed it, and appreciated the time.more
Apr 2023, Jonathan
Amazing Beijing Experience
I had an amazing time in Beijing and glad Tom was my tour guide. He went above and beyond and I’m truly grateful. Tom did all that he could to ensure my stay in Beijing for two days was pleasant and thanks to him, I say that it was. The driver was also nice and courteous, I called him Jon. The company is blessed to have a good tour guide like Tom on their team so if you are planning to come down to Beijing, make sure you ask for Tom. Thank you Christy and Kimmy for replying all my emails with questions that I had.more
Apr 2023, Pedro V
We had a great experience with China Highlights and Roger was highly efficient and helpful planning our itinerary exactly how we needed.more
Apr 2023, Brenda Sarmanho
Excellent service and tour guide!!
Excellent service and communication from the travel agent Roger Li and amazing tour and experience of Great Wall of China from our tour guide Amber. Highly recommended!more
Apr 2023, Evangelos Athanasopoulos
Maggie was such a tremendous help for…
Maggie was such a tremendous help for our recent Beijing trip. Very prompt and helpful in helping us plan and adjust/amend to our requests.more
Apr 2023, Hi
Days 5–6: Xi'an
The main attraction in Xi'an is the famous Terracotta Warriors. In order to offer a richer experience and better understanding of the Terracotta Warriors, we have arranged the hands-on experience of making your own clay warriors.
If you are looking for an outdoor activity to do with your kids, we recommend a bike ride along Xi'an's 600-year-old Ancient City Wall where you can have a good all-around view of the city.
Days 7–8: Zhangjiajie
The most famous attractions in Zhangjiajie are Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon with its Glass Bridge skywalk.
Take a cable car up to the mountain tops, see the pillars which are said to be the inspiration for Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains, and walk on the world's longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge.
If you are a lover of outdoor sports, you could stay for a few more days to experience some exciting activities like walking on the cliff-hanging gantries, biking, and adventurous hiking.
Days 9–12: Guilin
Guilin is the classic place to enjoy China's countryside beauty and leisurely outdoor activities.
A Li River cruise is recommended for enjoying the quintessential views of Guilin's karst scenery. If you want to experience countryside life, Yangshuo county is a must visit.
There you can experience farming with your kids and cycle around the villages. If your kids love adventure, we can arrange for your family to explore a less-traveled karst cave.
If you are looking for some quiet and romantic moments, we can arrange a riverside candlelit dinner for you.
Days 13–14: Shanghai
The essential sightseeing in Shanghai is focused around the Bund. A walk along the Bund visiting its historical buildings is a good way to learn about the history of Shanghai and present-day life.
You could leave some free time to enjoy a relaxing spa at your hotel or photo Shanghai's iconic skyscrapers. If you're traveling with kids, you may want to finish with a trip to Disneyland.
2. A 2-Week Itinerary Including Pandas
- Days 1–4: Beijing arrival and exploration with must-sees including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
- Days 5–6: Xi'an sightseeing with a visit to the Terracotta Army and a clay-warrior-making experience
- Days 7–8: Chengdu panda tour with a keeper program — make panda cakes, see pandas being fed at close quarters, and clean their enclosures.
- Days 9–11: Yangtze River cruise with excursions
- Days 12–13: Shanghai exploration with a visit to the Bund and some free time
If you or your kids love pandas, you might be considering Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an plus Chengdu.
For the best panda experience, we recommend a panda volunteer program, which would allow you to observe pandas more closely and understand them better.
We can arrange a convenient program for you: you would make panda cakes, clean panda enclosures, watch them being fed, and get a volunteer certificate.
Chengdu is also famous for its cuisine. If you would like a food-hunting tour or a cooking class, we can also arrange these for you.
To add relaxation to the central China part of the trip, we recommend a Yangtze River cruise, which departs from nearby Chongqing. It offers stunning views of huge gorges and plenty of typical cruise activities for all ages.
All our tours can be customized according to your travel duration, interests, and other needs. Just contact us.
3. A 2-Week China Tour with Tibet
- Days 1–4: Beijing arrival and exploration with must-sees including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City
- Days 5–6: Xi'an sightseeing with a visit to the Terracotta Army and clay-warrior-making experience and a food tour with dumpling making
- Days 7–11: Lhasa with must-sees and special monastery experiences plus a picnic visit to Yamdrok Lake.
- Days 12–14: Shanghai exploration with a visit to the Bund and some free time
Tibet, which is on many people's bucket list, can be visited during a two-week trip. If you have a passion for Tibet, we can arrange it for you.
On a 2-week itinerary, apart from the time spent in the golden triangle of Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai, you can spend about 5 days in Tibet seeing Lhasa and serene Yamdrok Lake with a picnic.
Insider tips: Lhasa is at a high altitude of 3,650 meters (12,000 feet), therefore your schedule in Lhasa is better arranged at a more relaxed pace, especially on the first day.
Tibet is usually closed to foreign travelers in February and March for 5 or 6 weeks. The best times to visit Tibet are from May to October.
Tibet Entry Permits, which are a must for foreign travelers, are best applied for 2 weeks in advance. We can handle it for you when booking a tour with us.
Costs for a 2-Week Tour in China
For a private tour of China, the average cost per day is about US$220–350 per person, including flights/trains within China, 4- or 5- star hotels, lunches, attractions, guides, and private transport. Kids under 10 usually get 30–50% off.
Thus, for a couple, a 2-week private tour may cost about US$6,000–10,000 in total. For a family of four, it may cost about US$11,000–15,000. (International airfares are not included.)
The cost of flights from the U.S. or Europe to China varies a lot depending on when you fly and which airline you use, from around US$1,200 to US$3,000 for an economy round trip.
The peak tourist times in China are on the first weeks of May and October (China's two golden weeks), summer holidays, and Christmas and New year holidays.
The biggest price difference between the off and peak seasons is in the price of hotels and airfares. Prices can go up by 50 to 100% in peak seasons.
Our refund policy minimizes the monetary risk to you when booking: you'll receive a 100% refund of any payments made to China Highlights if you cancel up to three weeks before departure. (See more details)
Here you can also get inspirations on our How to Spend 10 Days in China 2023/2024 (5 Best Options & Costs)
How to Travel around China
China has a highly-developed transport network. Air travel and high-speed rail are the main modes of travel and also the most convenient ways. Almost every major city is connected by high-speed rail and an airport.
When booking with us, let us know your travel preferences, and we will arrange the best travel routes for you seamlessly booking the flight/train tickets you need.
Within a city/destination, private vehicle and driver, which we supply as standard, is the most convenient and comfortable way to get around.
Touring China with Us
Our private tours are custom-designed to be the most convenient and fulfilling option for your trip to China. We would create an itinerary according to your flight times, interests, and any other requirements. Just contact us.
- 2-Week A Close Encounter with Pandas
- 2-Week China Nature Wonder Discovery
- 2-Week A Taste of China
- 11-Day Family Happiness