As of 2019, China has a 144-hour visa-free travel policy in effect in about 13 regions of China. So, if you meet certain requirements, you can tour these areas without the hassle or cost of obtaining a China visa before you go.
Some of the regions are huge. Some have lots of travel attractions. They all differ for ease of entering and exiting. In this article, we'll recommend the best 5 regions to explore using China's 144-hour visa-free travel policies.
1. Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei Province
Beijing is China's awesome capital city. Besides giving a picture of modern China's power, the architectural wonders, such as the gigantic Forbidden City and Great Wall, show China's imperial past. See more on 20 Ultimate Things to Do in Beijing 2020.
Beijing Capital International Airport is the world's second-busiest airport, and in 2019 Beijing Daxing International Airport, another huge airport, has opened. So this makes the region not only the most popular for Chinese mainland tourism, but also easiest to access.
The Beijing 144-hour transit region has two cruise ports in Tianjin you can use to enter or exit too. You may also enter or exit by regular train or fast train to and from Hong Kong. See more on Beijing 144-hour visa-free travel.
3. Shanghai, Zhejiang Province, Jiangsu Province
Shanghai is China's biggest city, a trade and business center, and an international travel hub. Pudong is China's second busiest airport (8th in the world), so getting there is easy.
This large region has a combined population of about 150 million people. The Shanghai/Zhejiang/Jiangsu Yangtze Delta region is packed with notable highlights, including the Bund, water towns, classic Gardens in Suzhou, and West Lake in Hangzhou. See more on Reasons to Visit Shanghai.
Under the policy, you may enter/exit the region through several international airports, two cruise ship ports or via fast train from Hong Kong. See more on Shanghai 144-hour visa-free travel.
3. Guangdong Province (Shenzhen, Guangzhou...)
Guangdong is China's most populated province and among the top in China for tourism and business. The Pearl River Delta region, including Hong Kong and Macau, is the most popular travel region in China. (Hong Kong and Macau rank 1 and 7 respectively on TripAdvisor's Top 10 China Destinations, and Shenzhen and Guangzhou rank 5 and 9 respectively .)
Guangdong and Hong Kong stand out for shopping, mild weather, less pollution, and a more congenial atmosphere. Guangdong theme parks such as the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom and the Chimelong in Guangzhou are among the best in China. To learn more about the great variety of things you can do on a 6-day tour, see How to Plan a Pearl Region Delta Tour.
Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport is China's 4th largest airport (12th in the world), providing great access. With the 144-hour transit policy, you may only enter the region by this airport or two others. However, you may use many convenient ways to depart Guangdong by simply crossing the border into Hong Kong or Macau, which allow entry to citizens of many countries without a visa. The region is the easiest to exit. See more on Guangdong 144-hour visa-free travel.
4. Chengdu and More of Sichuan
Chengdu has become a favorite destination for pandas, food, and historical sites. It is known as China's "most laid-back city", and is famous for spicy food.
From December 1, 2019, Chengdu's 144-hour visa-free transit policy is extended to include 10 surrounding prefectures. So on your trip, you can now see the Leshan Giant Buddha, the panda bases in Wolong and Ya'an, and more...
You must enter and exit through Chengdu International Airport, which has a limited but growing number of flights to far away America, Europe, and Oceania, and many closer Asia airports which could be used to connect. See more on Chengdu 144-hour visa-free travel.
Xi'an, China's longest-serving ancient capital, has long been one of China's premier travel cities for its rich historical highlights, and as of December 1, 2019, China is implementing a 144-hour visa-free travel policy to the Xi'an area, replacing the 72-hour one.
The Terracotta Warriors Museum attracts about a million visitors each year. Other local highlights you may visit under this policy include the Xi'an City Wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
You may enter and exit only by Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, which has even fewer international flights than Chengdu, but still plenty of policy-permitted choices if you use connecting flights. See more on Xi'an 144-Hour Visa-Free Travel.
Make Your Visa-Free China Tour a Great One with Us
Using a visa-free transit policy, you can more conveniently sample China's fascinating cities and regions on a stopover. Our experts would love to help arrange your itinerary the way you want it, so that you can enjoy your visit to the fullest.
Here are recommended regional itineraries:
- 4-Day Shanghai, Hangzhou, Water Town Culture Tour: On this tour, you can visit the Bund, Nanxun Water Town, and Hangzhou.
- 4-Day Emperor's Tour of Beijing: The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and a hutong are included.
- 4-Day Essence of Guangzhou and Shenzhen Tour: Discover China's most dynamically growing region.
Our travel experts can answer your questions about the details of the 144-hour visa-free policy in the region you are considering visiting. Tell us what you want to do on our Create My Trip page, and we'll reply within 24 hours.
Related Travel Information
- See more detailed information about the other eligible cities and regions, see China's 144-hour visa-free travel.
- How to Visit China Without a Visa: 24-, 72-, 144-Hour Transit
- Visa-On-Arrival (VOA or a port visa) is another option for some airports and seaports.
- If you are deciding between Beijing and Shanghai, this article can supply the information you need: Beijing vs Shanghai — Which City Should I Visit?