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2-Week China Itineraries: Where to Go & Routes (2024)

Written by Chris QuanUpdated Feb. 22, 2024

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.

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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 its 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.

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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 classic cultural attractions. Guilin and Zhangjiajie are recommended for enjoying China's iconic natural scenery.

Map of a classic 2-week China itinerary

Days 1–4: Beijing

The Great Wall, BeijingThe Great Wall

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.

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Days 5–6: Xi'an

Xi'anOur family clients are making clay warriors.

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

ZhangjiajieZhangjiajie National Forest Park

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

GuilinBiking in Yangshuo

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

ShanghaiThe Bund

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 the glass of 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
Map of a 2-week China itinerary with pandas

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 the glass of their 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
Map of a 2-week China itinerary with Tibet

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.

You can get more itinerary ideas on our 14 Days in China: Top 10 Tours and Itineraries

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)

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.

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