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One Week in China - 4 Time-Smart Itineraries

Written by Ruru ZhouUpdated May. 25, 2023

One week may be a bit short for a tour to cover China's rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural wonders. However, with our well-planned itineraries, you can cover China's highlights in around three cities at a comfortable pace.

Whether it's your first time visiting China, or a business trip concentrating on specific regions, our itineraries offer tangible inspiration.  See below our suggestions for 4 time-efficient itineraries for a one-week trip through China.

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1) The Classic China 1-Week Itinerary for Families, Couples...

This is the most classic tour itinerary for one week's travel in China. Following this itinerary, you will discover the top highlights of China, including the Great Wall in Beijing, the Terracotta Army in Xi'an, and the Bund in Shanghai.

  • Days 1-3: Beijing
  • Days 4-5: Xian
  • Days 6-7: Shanghai
One week in China

Beijing: The capital of the exotic 'Middle Kingdom' is full of unique flavors. Discover the main features that China is known for around the world in Beijing.

Explore the Great Wall, and let its immensity wow your heart. Every brick could tell you a story of its history (our guide would tell you about Great Wall bricks and their inscriptions).

For a special experience, we will arrange a tour to visit the Simatai Great Wall section at night. Enjoy the enchanting scenery of the illuminated restored wall under the starry sky together. 

Do you want to have an authentic experience on the original wall? We can arrange a Great Wall hike on the unrestored section from Jinshanling to Simatai.

Simatai Great Wall at night

If you are traveling as a family, you might like to take part in some interesting tai chi exercises with a master. Your kids would really enjoy it!

In Xi'an, Discover the intricate facial details of the Terracotta Warriors, and learn the history behind them.  We understand that you not only want to visit the Terracotta Army but also to truly experience it. You will make a terracotta warrior of your own with a local artisan's guidance, and take it home as a souvenir. Stroll on Xi'an City Wall and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of how the city was in the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).

The bund in Shanghai

Shanghai: Stroll around the Bund and discover Shanghai's interesting 20th-century history. Our guide will lead you to take a "secret" route that travelers seldom see. He will explain you vivid history of the Bund in the 1920s.

We understand you may need some free time to explore on your own. The rest of your time in Shanghai is flexible to finish the tour on an individual note: just relax, experience Chinese fashion, go shopping, visit a street market, or take a visit to one of Shanghai's impressive skyscrapers.

2). A Relaxing 1-Week China Itinerary in Beijing and Shanghai

If you want to have a more relaxing China trip using 7 days, this itinerary may be best for you. You would have the opportunity to explore the rich history, culture, and modernization of two of China's most important and influential cities at a more relaxed pace.

  • Days 1-3: Beijing
  • Days 4-5: Shanghai
  • Days 6-7: side trip to Suzhou
One week in China: Explore Beijing and Shanghai

Beijing: Discover the main features that China is famous for around the world in Beijing. Explore the Great Wall at Mutianyu, its most authentically restored section. For a special experience, visit the Great Wall at night and view the sweeping Milky Way and the Wall by starlight.

Discover the Forbidden City where the last 24 Chinese emperors lived. We would help you avoid the crowds, and take you to visit some hidden halls. With us, you would see more features of the palace, which is the largest in the world. Discover its impressive buildings and rooftops.

Shanghai: Experience a blend of old and new in Shanghai. Stroll along the Bund and marvel at its architectural styles with a harmonious blend of East and West. Learn the interesting stories behind them.

Have a panoramic view of Shanghai's ambitious skyline from Shanghai Tower, the tallest building outside Dubai.

Check out our Best Beijing and Shanghai Itinerary: 6-day Beijing and Shanghai Tour

Side Trip to Suzhou

One week itinerary to visit Suzhou

Take a side trip to Suzhou. Wander around the beautiful Lingering Garden.

Explore tranquil Tongli Water Town near Suzhou. Relax in a rowing boat on the canal, admire well-preserved buildings, and experience local life along the waterways.

3). 1-Week Itinerary in Bustling-Yet-Tranquil East China

If you would like to focus your travel time around Shanghai, East China, this one-week itinerary could be the best option for you. It features an enticing mix of the best bustling city life, breathtaking natural wonders, historical water towns, and serene landscapes in East China.

  • Days 1-2: Shanghai
  • Days 3-5: Huangshan
  • Day 6: Wuzhen
  • Day 7: Hangzhou
One week itinerary in East China

Shanghai: Visit Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall to get an overview of Shanghai's development, including its history, present, and future. Walk on the Bund to marvel at its unique architectural vista, and learn about 1920s Shanghai in the French Concession.

Huangshan: Huangshan has long been called 'the most beautiful mountain in China'. Take in its breathtaking natural scenery of imaginatively named pines, oddly shaped rocks, and seas of clouds. Don't miss a sunrise over the mountains.

Visit one of the most beautiful old villages in China — Hongcun. Enjoy a relaxing stroll in the village, and explore its old mansions, water channels, and ancestral hall. Take some memorable photos at its serenely scenic village pond.

Hong cun village

Wuzhen: Uncover the charm of Wuzhen, a captivating water town. Discover its stone bridges, walk on the century-old pathways along the canal, and explore the traditional wooden buildings of this pretty water town. To fully appreciate the picturesque scenery and unwind in this serene environment, stay overnight there for beautifully-lit nighttime scenery and a relaxing vibe.

In Hangzhou, take a small boat on the stunning West Lake, and enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery around the lake: lush hills, ancient temples, and picturesque gardens.

Visit Meijiawu Tea Village, explore a Chinese tea farm, savor its renowned Hangzhou Dragon Well Tea (Longjing Tea), and pick some yourself. Drive uphill to wander amidst the verdant tea plantations, the very birthplace of authentic Longjing Tea.

Our best tour to explore China's East: 7-day Shanghai, Huangshan, Hangzhou and Wuzhen tour

4) 1-Week China Itinerary with Scenic Guilin

If you want to see China's natural scenery and serene rural life in your first 1-week China tour, this itinerary would be a perfect option to you.

This carefully planned itinerary will take you through China's diverse landscapes and rich history: the imperial majesty of Beijing, the breathtaking beauty of Guilin's karst mountains, and the dynamic urban life of Shanghai.

  • Days 1-3: Beijing
  • Days 4-5: Guilin
  • Days 6-7: Shanghai
one week in China itinerary with Guilin

In Beijing, visit the Great Wall at Mutianyu. See the awesome scene of the wall snaking along the mountain tops. Explore the grand Forbidden City, the largest palace complex in the world.

In Guilin, Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Guilin for two days. Enjoy a half-day Li River cruise, giving you time to relax and take in the stunning views around you. Marvel at the striking limestone peaks and take in the quaint countryside scenes, including farmers working in the fields and water buffalos grazing on the lush meadows.

The Li River Cruise

Have a tranquil walk along the picturesque lakes in Guilin City. Soak in the peaceful atmosphere of this history-themed manmade parkscape with traditional Chinese bridges, pavilions, and pagodas.

In Shanghai, visit the Bund and learn about the city in the 1920s. Have a bird-eye's views of its impressive skyline and take in the vibrant cosmopolitan atmosphere of Shanghai.

How to Travel Around China

Traveling around China can be an enriching experience, with various transportation options to suit your needs. Major cities are connected by an extensive high-speed rail network that offers comfort and convenience, allowing you to traverse the country quickly and efficiently.

For longer distances, domestic flights provide time-saving connectivity.

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.

Creating Your Ideal 1-Week China Itinerary

We are here to create a special tour itinerary just for you. Just tell us your ideas, and our traveler advisor will work 1:1 with you to help create your dream China trip.

Start planning your tailor-made tour with 1-1 help from our travel advisors. Create Your Trip

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