China at a glance:

For a US tourist, not the easiest place to visit, but one that is sure worth the effort- China packs so much punch for bucket list items I’ve had to plan several future trips to make up for my grossly underestimating the time needed for our first trip. With 225 National parks (compared to only 62 in the US) and over 50 UNESCO world heritage sites, there is more to see in this country than you or I could imagine. That being said, it’s also a massive country. When planning your vacation to China, take into account how far away things are to better organize your trip by maximizing what you can see in each area. 

Is it safe?

Yes! That doesn’t mean it is easy to get around and like always, prudence with valuables against petty crime is still a must, but visiting the big cities, historic sites, and national parks are considered safe. 

Best time to visit:

Spring and Fall are the best times- especially if you want to see some of China’s incredible national parks. We visited in September and had near perfect weather (including visibility in Beijing).

*Avoid China’s national holidays particularly Labour Day (May1-5), National Day of the People’s Republic (~Oct 1-3), and Golden Week (Oct 1-7) as the popular sites will be VERY busy.

Currency: Chinese Yuan

Language:

  • Most of China- Mandarin
  • Hong Kong- Cantonese 

*China has thus far been the most difficult country in terms of getting around with just English. Highly recommend downloading the offline version of Google Translate. 

What to pack? 

This will depend upon the season and region which is comparable to the US. If you’re visiting Beijing, compare it to how you’d pack temperature wise for the same time of year in New York or Paris. If you’re visiting Hong Kong, compare it to Florida. 

Articles to help you plan your trip to China

How to prearrange train travel. 

How to apply for the China visa

General trips for getting around

Top things to see:

The Great Wall of China 

The Forbidden City  

The Summer Palace

Shanghai Disneyland

Huangshan Mountain 

The Bund in Shanghai 

Beijing basics

Beijing basics

Ok so here comes the first post about what can only be called an overwhelming trip to China! Our travel day started at the 0-Dark hundred hour of 4:30 to get to the airport for a 6:40 AM flight to San Francisco. Smooth 1.5 hour flight and a short 2 hour layover we were on… ...
Day hike to The Great Wall of China

Day hike to The Great Wall of China

  Let me start off… by apologizing about just how many photos are contained in this post. I could’t choose favorites.   When first planning our trip to China, I can’t tell you HOW many hours I spent agonizing over what section of the Great Wall to see with only one day to see it.… ...
The Adventure getting to Mount Huangshan

The Adventure getting to Mount Huangshan

*Disclaimer, this post was written to set an example of how CHALLENGING it can be to travel in China with only English and google translate. Read if you feel like being amused, but mostly the take away is if you’re trying to visit Tangkou/ Mount Huangshan- take a damn taxi.   *Also skip to the… ...
Mount Huangshan- The Eastern Slopes and Sea of Clouds

Mount Huangshan- The Eastern Slopes and Sea of Clouds

2nd best day of our trip (after the Great Wall) as the mountains and sites we saw this day were EPIC. but let’s get things straight.. this day was a TONNNN of stairs.    Our hotel receptionist told us 9AM would be a good time to head up so we didn’t set an alarm but… ...
Hike to the Fairy Bridge

Hike to the Fairy Bridge

Day 4, part 2 continued: The hike to the Fairy Walking Bridge. Once we reached the bottom we took the Northern rail car back up to the top which spit us out near the Baiyun hotel. (where I would personally recommend staying for location and reviews) We debated going to check in at our hotel… ...
Guide to Mount Huanghan- The Western slopes and Guest Greeting Pine

Guide to Mount Huanghan- The Western slopes and Guest Greeting Pine

Day 5- our 2nd day on the mountain. We were both kind of waking up around 5:30 and noticed lights of people/ groups out hiking to a peak to watch sunrise. We both had rough sleeping, but felt good enough at least so we got dressed, gathered our small pack of things, and headed out… ...