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
- 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
The Bund in Shanghai