China, a captivating blend of history and natural beauty, beckons travelers with its incredible destinations.
From ancient wonders to modern marvels, there is no shortage of incredible places to explore in this vast nation.
These 15 places we've selected are great ideas for your annual family trip, birthday trip, anniversary trip, bucket list trip, or any other big milestone trip.
- 1. The Great Wall
- 2. Beijing
- 3. Xi'an
- 4. Chengdu
- 5. Tibet
- 6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- 7. Guilin
- 8. Shanghai, Hangzhou & Suzhou
1. The Great Wall — Top Landmark of China
The Great Wall is an absolute must-see when visiting China, particularly for first-time travelers. This ancient and magnificent military defense project, spanning tens of thousands of kilometers, continues to emanate a distinct allure.
Aside from the option of visiting the Great Wall via cable car, embarking on a hike along the Wall would also serve as a fantastic means of exploration.
For those with ample time and a penchant for adventure, camping on the Great Wall could be an exhilarating experience.
During summertime visits, it is highly recommended to explore the Great Wall at night to escape the heat. Alternatively, witnessing the sunset and indulging in a prepared picnic would make for a delightful experience.
If you are planning a trip to China and want to make an itinerary based on your interests and requirements, feel free to contact us. Our tour services are personalized.
Wow this tour was honestly the best tourI have ever taken! Our guide Simon Yao was simply superb! His English was excellent and he was very easy to talk to. He was personable and friendly but not overpowering or overbearing. Very knowledgeable about history. Thankfully the weather was good so we were not super hot !Finally at the wall we were amazed by it's beauty and grandeur. It really is something and pictures don't do it justice.more
Nov 2023, Annika M
Excellent two day visit to Great Wall
Our guide ‘Mark’ was incredible. So friendly, knowledgable and funny. The itinerary was perfect, we got to see two different parts of the Great Wall (one of which at night which was magical) and our hotel stay in Gubei was wonderful. Highly recommend to anybody visiting Beijingmore
Nov 2023, James_Wolstenholme
Great day out with Mark, thanks China Highlights!
We did a 1 day private tour with China Highlights to see Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, and the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. Communication was great throughout - from trip planning/booking with Roger and from our guide Mark who contacted us the day before to confirm meet up time/location. Avoided a lot of the queues and definitely learned quite a bit of history from our guide Mark…thanks again! No language barriers/issues…highly recommended.more
Nov 2023, ykeezy
China Three (3) Cities Tours
To the tour guides, Ethan, Jason and Tony, you guys have made my visit an awesome and memorable experience. All the tour guides spoke english and communicated very effectively. They are knowledgeable about all the sites visited including, Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, Panda Breeding and Research Center, Leshan Giant Buddha, Hallelujah Mountains, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Tianmen Mountain. The tour guides ensured I got the most out of my time I stayed in the various cities Beijing, Chengdu and Zhangjiajie.more
Nov 2023, Kadar
13 days in China
We booked a 13 day’s tour of China with China Highlights. Our travel advisor, Ms Leah Zhou organised an itinerary that suited what we wanted. She was really helpful and patient will all our needs. Leah helped us organised our 30th Wedding Anniversary Dinner and my 60th Birthday celebration?? in Beijing. For this to be possible, she had to liaise with our guide in Beijing. The flowers and cake were a real surprise. My husband and I, were really touched at the good service provided by China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou. Thank you China Highlights and Ms Leah Zhou for your constant care of your customers. I will certainly recommend China Highlights to my friends.more
Nov 2023, Eda Adams
Perfect Beijing experience
Covering all major sights our exploration of Beijing and surroundings was flawless guided by Lily, along with her knowledgeable and balanced information on Chinas culture and history. In particular, Lily was able to adjust the tour according to personal preferences, e.g. focus on photography, as well as suggesting additional activities like an impressive authentic artistic show. I highly recommend China Highlights as China tour operator and Lily Liu as excellent guide regarding the Beijing area.more
Nov 2023, Perfect Beijing experience
Amazing Beijing Tour with Risa!
Risa gave us a wonderful tour of the city! She thoroughly explained the cultuaral importance of each exhibit while also educating us on the Chinese culture. Appreciated having this wonderful Beijing trip with Risa:)more
Nov 2023, Angelica M.
Amazing Beijing Tour With Risa!
We were very kindly received in Beijing by our tour guide Risa. She gave us a very thorough tour of the city and showed us wonderful places, while also explaining the important history/culture of China! Very beautiful city filled with many things to do and full of culture! This was very well planned and made it very easy for us to visit the city and foreigners:) Thank you Risa!more
Nov 2023, Angelica M
Do Beijing like a local
They organised my trip very quickly and efficiently. On the day, Anna was very friendly to me, my mum and my baby. Very accommodating to our needs. The car was immaculately clean and very comfortable. We visited everything we initially wanted and more. Also, Anna took us to the best meal we had in China. It makes a difference to have a local choosing the dishes!more
Nov 2023, Natali A
Beijing 2 day tour
Spent 2 days in Beijing with Ethan as my guide and had a fantastic experience. Ethan is very knowledgeable, easy company and takes excellent photographs. The organisation was excellent as well including the driver for the tour as well the airport pick up.more
Nov 2023, Tam
Excellent Two Weeks Across China
We used Asia Highlights (China Highlights in China) to help plan two weeks across China: Beijing, Xian, Guilin, a Yangtze cruise and Shanghai. Albee helped put it all together and was a huge help. She was very responsive and all the guides in each city were excellent! The hotels were perfect. We would definitely use the company once again for other trips to Asia.more
Oct 2023, Charles
Great Experience with China Highlights
Over at Beijing, Angela met us at the train station and ensured we were well settled in our hotel. We spent 2 days with her as our Guide. Angela is well informed and also adapted the itinerary to cover areas we wanted to take advantage off, e.g. apple picking at the orchard! The driver we had on both legs were good and friendly.more
Oct 2023, Edwin
China Round Trip in October 2023 Family FT & G Braun from Germany
Here in Beijing we got Jack as a tour guide who is very knowledgeable and supportive as well as flexible when there is a change in the program needed. Communication with him is easy as he is fluent in English. It is difficult to say which attraction is the greatest as all are outstanding being it the Forbidden City, the Great Wall or the Summer Palace as well as the Temple of Heaven. The driver, Mr. Hu needs also to be mentioned very positively as he politely took special care of us and his driving style was safe and patient with all the heavy traffic situations.more
Oct 2023, Franz-Theo Braun
I engaged Roger Li at China Highlights to arrange a One Day Beijing Tour for my clients from Brazil and the UK after our business meetings last week. Not only did the clients have a fantastic time visiting Tiananmen Square, Forbidden Palace and the Great Wall all in one day; but they came back with rave reviews on how well the day was organised and commented on the expertise of the tour guide too. I had 4 very happy clients then meet me in Shanghai for part 2 of meetings - thanks to Roger and Felix! Many thanks again.more
Oct 2023, Bobby Tsang
Jinshanling amazing hiking trip
We took the hiking trip Jinshanling package, we like it because the view was amazing, not much crowd and our tour guide arrange everything perfectly. We like it.However please be aware that this hiking trip will involve challenging stairs step and inclination, but still suitable for someone that exercise regularly.more
Oct 2023, Frans A
Awesome experience touring Beijing with China Highlights. My tour guide, Jennifer, was knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and very accommodating. It was like taking a tour with a friend. My favorite part of the tour was walking the Great Wall of China. Jennifer made sure to take me to a remote area, not just the crowded tourist area near Beijing, so I could get a more authentic experience.more
Oct 2023, Consumer
Awesome personalized tour. Well worth the money.
Lily Liu was our guide. I highly recommend using her. She helped us check out several local places that we absolutely loved and was great at answering all our questions and helping us experience Peking duck, Hawthorne and other things we were curious about.more
Oct 2023, Jessica P
Two great weeks!
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness. We're glad that China Highlights took us to the Mutianyu Wall instead of the crowded Badaling Wall. Less crowded and great views all around!more
Oct 2023, Road36501241284
Beijing 4 day trip
Silvia arranged my itinerary which included buying the high speed train ticket from Shanghai to Beijing and airport transfers. I did not have to think about anything. She added places to the itinerary which I would not have known to visit .more
Oct 2023, Wing Yee Cheung
Amazing 2 weeks because of China Highlights
We had Olivia as our tour guide in Beijing and Mervyn in Xi'an. They were both fantastic at their job and made us feel so welcome and added to the great experience we were already having. So grateful to their professionalism and wide knowledge as well as their friendliness.All in all, we are so glad for China Highlights. Affordable and really value-for-money kinda tour.more
Oct 2023, Elisabeth Zackrina
2. Beijing — The Ultimate Destination for First-Time Explorers
Beijing, the capital of China, is the most popular tourist destination in China every year. You could get the maximum experience of Chinese culture and history from one destination.
There you could learn some stories about Chinese emperors by walking in the Forbidden City, which was once their home.
For foodies, Peking Duck is not to be missed, and there are plenty of hidden snack bars in the hutongs.
If you want to experience the bustling (or leisurely retired) life of Beijingers, you could visit a Beijinger family in the hutongs or walk around a local community with markets and parks.
3. Xi'an — Embrace the Essence of Culture in a City Steeped in History
One of the most popular China destinations among foreign travelers, Xi'an particularly attracts tourists on their first trip to China.
The Terracotta Army in Xi'an is considered one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world. More than 6,000 life-size terracotta warriors and horses have been unearthed, all with different expressions and poses. Many remain interred.
For a richer experience and better understanding, we would arrange a hands-on experience of making your own clay warriors.
If you are looking for outdoor activities with your kids, we recommend a bike ride along Xi'an's 600-year-old Ancient City Wall where you could have a good all-around view of the city.
Hanging out and snacking on the Muslim Streets could also be a wonderful choice.
4. Chengdu — A Captivating Haven for Panda Enthusiasts
To make your first trip to China complete with a panda encounter, Chengdu cannot be missed.
Chengdu is the best place to see pandas in China. You could also take part in volunteer programs to take care of giant pandas.
During the program, you would get to go into pandas' bedrooms for daily cleaning duties, make their favorite cakes, watch them being fed, and get a souvenir certificate. See more on How Long to Spend in Chengdu.
5. Tibet — A Bucket List Favorite
Tibet is a sacred place for Buddhists as well as a bucket list destination for many travelers.
It is overflowing with rich Tibetan culture, characteristic Tibetan architectural structures, and unspoiled plateau scenery. Read more on How Long to Spend in Tibet.
There you could explore the Potala Palace, which is an iconic landmark in Tibet, travel to Everest Base camp and stand in front of the "Apex" of the Roof of the World, and gaze at the beauty of Yamdrok Lake and Namtso.
If you are traveling with kids and want to have some special experience, we recommend an interesting camp experience with a nomadic family on their pasture and working together with them. All our tours are customized.
- 5-Days Lhasa Classics and Lake Yamdrok Tour
- 8-Days Lhasa to Everest Base Camp Tour
- 11-Day Overland Trip from Lhasa to Kathmandu
- 14-Day Tibet Tour with Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarovar
6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park — Nature Lover's Paradise
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, featuring precarious peaks, limpid streams, dense forests, large karst caves, and biodiversity, is one of the must-see scenic areas in China.
It was thrust into foreign travelers' eyes via the movie Avatar. The Hallelujah Mountains were inspired (in part) by peaks like Heavenly Pillar in the park.
Experience the breathtaking beauty of a sea of clouds by taking a cable car to the mountaintop. Walk along the steps, and you'll witness spectacular views unveiled before your eyes, offering a unique perspective from various angles.
Additionally, the cool and refreshing air will rejuvenate your mind, making it an ideal summer retreat.
7. Guilin — A Family Adventure Awaits in Nature's Playground
Guilin's idyllic scenery draws millions of tourists from near and far every year. Its marvelous limestone scenery is renowned as "the most beautiful on earth". The fresh air and countryside scenery make it an ideal place to escape industrial pollution.
Relax on a Li River cruise and enjoy its stunning karst landscapes. Go to Yangshuo, the tourism-magnet town near Guilin. You could also enjoy some time relaxing on a bamboo raft ride, bicycle, and/or sidecar tour to explore the countryside.
If you are seeking an adventurous experience with your kids, explore a wild limestone cave or discover a beautiful valley that is still mostly unknown, even to locals.
Going kayaking to enjoy the cool water and appreciate the karst scenery along the river could also be a wonderful family activity, especially in the summer.
8. Shanghai, Suzhou, and Hangzhou — 1 Hour by Bullet Train
High-speed rail gives you some new comfortable and convenient China tour options. Suzhou and Hangzhou are now only an hour's travel by bullet train from Shanghai!
In Shanghai, explore the Bund in-depth and its historical buildings and visit the world's biggest Starbucks and see how AR (augmented reality) is used in the store.
In Hangzhou, you could visit a tea plantation to see how farmers pick tea leaves and discover the process of making tea.
A trip to Suzhou will let you appreciate the charm of traditional Chinese gardens and water towns. See more on How to Plan a Trip to Shanghai, Hangzhou, and Suzhou.
9. Huangshan — Where Majestic Mountains Paint an Unforgettable Landscape
The legendary natural scenery is the highlight of Huangshan. It has "the most beautiful mountains in China". The Yellow Mountains, with their seas of clouds, oddly-shaped rocks and pines, and hot springs at the mountain foot, attract many many visitors.
Besides the enchanting mountains, you could also see the beautiful surrounding countryside. Escape to a rural utopia in Bishan village and see how artists have turned this small area into a rural paradise.
- 3-Day Ancient Villages and Yellow Mountains Tour
- 12-Day Shanghai, Huangshan, Hangzhou, Guilin, and Hong Kong Tour - Selected Picturesque China
10. The Silk Road — Embark on an Unconventional Journey Through History
The Silk Road would show you a different China. It was once the most prosperous trade route in China. Even if it is no longer as prosperous as before, it is still proud to show its unique charm, waiting for every visitor to find its brilliance.
You would see marvelous landscapes with unique Danxia landforms, pristine deserts, and crystal lakes. Visit the old Mogao Caves to see fine murals and learn about how Buddhism entered China. See more on How Long to Spend on the Silk Road.
Feel its exotic culture in Xinjiang by visiting its lively bazaars, and mosques, and meeting friendly locals.
- 7-Day Xinjiang Highlights Tour
- 13-Day Beijing–Xi'an–Dunhuang–Urumqi–Shanghai Tour - Silk Road Highlights and China's Gateway Cities
- More 21-Day The Great Silk Road Tour
11. The Greater Bay Area (Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau) — Unveiling a Visa-Friendly Paradise
With its unique blend of cultures, this vibrant region offers many attractions.
From exploring the bustling streets of Hong Kong and admiring the skyline, to experiencing the glamorous Portuguese architecture in Macau and indulging in delicious Cantonese cuisine in Guangdong, there is something for everyone.
Besides, you could explore more in Guangdong to discover its Lingnan culture, such as watching amazing lion dancing and learning the Wing Chun style of kung fu in Foshan.
Hong Kong and Macau offer visa-free access to numerous international tourists, while Guangdong province also allows visitors to make use of the 144 visa-free transit policy.
12. Yunnan — Where Outdoor Adventures Meet Serene Natural Beauty
Located in Southwest China, Yunnan enjoys pleasant weather, warm in winter and cool in summer.
It is the most diverse and colorful area in China. There you could hike across Tiger Leaping Gorge, which is one of the deepest gorges on the planet, visit the majestic Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, enjoy a lazy time in the old towns, visit a non-public dormitory of Songzanlin Monastery, bike with the refreshing breezes of Erhai Lake...
All our tours can be customized. Contact us to create a trip according to your group size, time, budget, interests, and other requirements.
- 8-Day Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La Tour - Meet the Amazing Beauty of Yunnan
- 9-Day Yunnan Family Tour - Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Shangri-La
13. Jiuzhaigou — Immerse in the Serene Splendor of Lakes and Natural Beauty
Jiuzhaigou, located in Sichuan province, is a must-visit destination in China, especially for nature enthusiasts.
Its colorful lakes, cascading waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and unique ecosystem make it a fairyland.
Take leisurely walks along the wooden boardwalks, immersing yourself in the serenity.
14. The Yangtze River — Embrace Serenity and Rekindle Your Affinity as Couples
The Yangtze River, the longest river in China and Asia, would offer stunning and diverse landscapes along its course.
A cruise offers leisurely couple time and provides several typical China-culture-related onboard activities.
Embarking on a cruise along the Yangtze, you would be amazed by the majestic Three Gorges, featuring towering cliffs, misty mountains, and serene waters.
The mesmerizing scenery of the Gorges changes with the seasons, from vibrant greenery in spring and summer to enchanting autumn foliage. As the river continues, picturesque countryside and terraced fields unfold, showcasing the rural charm of China.
Along the way, cultural and historical sites such as Fengdu Ghost City and Shibaozhai Pagoda provide insightful glimpses into China's rich heritage.
15. Inner Mongolia — Uncover Extraordinary Landscapes and Adventures
Inner Mongolia, a vast region in northern China, is also a destination that should not be missed.
The grasslands, stretching as far as the eye can see, offer a unique opportunity to experience the nomadic way of life. You could also stay overnight in a traditional Mongolian yurt to experience their traditional lifestyle.
Adventure out into Kubuqi Desert's hinterland to escape crowds and enjoy all kinds of interesting desert activities.
If you want to explore Mongolian culture, don't miss the Naadam Festival.
Tour China with Us
Below are recommended China tour itineraries for you, including the most popular places from the list above.
For a different combination of China cities, or to tour more of China your way, contact us with your favorite China highlights and we'll tailor-make your dream tour. All of our tours can be tailor-made.
- 11-Day Beijing- Xi'an-Guilin/Yangshuo- Shanghai Tour
- 2-Week Beijing- Xi'an-Zhangjiajie-Guili-Shanghai Tour
- Find some inspiration from our popular China tours