Sweeping mountains dating back to the beginning of time meet buzzing metropolises where the action never ends. China is known for its diversity. Steeped in tradition, religion, culture, and art yet a virtual shopping and night life Mecca, there is something for every traveler in this beautiful country.
Here are the top 10 “must see” tours in China…
Please note: All prices are approximates, in US dollars, and priced per individual.
1. Tour the Yangtze River (starting at $2,500 for a multi-day tour)
The Yangtze is the longest river in Asia, a sweeping waterway that stretches 3,988 miles into the East China Sea, near Shanghai. A boat cruise on the Yangtze River will take you meandering past from the glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in Qinghai in the country’s east—across southwest, central and eastern China. It really is one of the best ways to see the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as one-third of the country’s population, metropolises, culture, and scenery from the river.
2. Panda Tour (starting at $2,300 for a multi-day tour)
When you think of China, one of the first symbols that come to mind is the majestic panda. That’s why a panda tour is the ideal way to combine China’s cultural heritage with the country’s natural wonders. Venture into the natural landscape, hiking and exploring China’s countryside and plateau regions in search of the panda bear.
3. Explore Ancient China (starting at $60 for day tour)
An awe-inspired tour through China’s Shanxi Province will have you discovering the roots and golden age of Chinese civilization—including impressive Buddhist carvings collections, Ming-and-Qing dynasty-inspired architecture, and the famous Terracotta Warriors of Xian.
4. Soak in China’s Cityscape (hop on and off bus tour $48)
One can hardly visit a huge Metropolis like China without experiencing one of the most buzzing urban cities in the world—Shanghai! Watch the Shanghai action unfold at street level, when you blend in with the assortment of locals—elderly woman in pajamas hanging laundry, Prada-clad fashionistas browsing the art galleries, and end the day by grabbing pair of chopsticks and digging in to a traditional Chinese hot pot.
5. Chinese Gardens Tour (starting at $300 for a day tour)
Nothing says romance like a breezy walk through one of Suzhou’s classic Asian gardens. Escape the hustle and bustle of this jam-packed eastern city with it’s over 4 million population to savor the timeless romance of Suzhou’s rich history—in its sweeping canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens that echo back to the Song Dynasty.
6. Follow the Silk Road (starting at $2,200 for a multi-day tour)
China’s Silk Road tells an important tale of international trade dating back to Han Dynasty in 1877, when ‘the Silk Road’ was dubbed so by German geographer, Ferdinand von Richthofen, to indicate the international silk route and cultural bridge linking China with India, Persia, Arabia, Greek and Rome. The Four Great Inventions of China and religions of the West were introduced into their counterparts. It’s like an authentic choose your own adventure, starting at Chang’an (now Xian) via the Hexi Corridor to Dunhuang, and branching off into a Southern Route, a Central Route, and a Northern Route, extending as far as Pakistan, India, and Rome.
7. The Mysteries of Lhasa (starting at $2,100 for a multi-day tour)
The holy city of Lhasa is one of the most visited cities in the entire world. People flock to Lhasa either to enjoy the silence and remoteness—or to explore the ancient heritage and mysteries of Tibetan culture and religion. Snuggled between sweeping mountain ranges, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China will unveil the mysteries of Tibetan culture, art, politics, economy, and religion.
8. Historical Xian (starting at $70 for a day tour)
If being blown away by relics dating back to China’s origin are on your to-do list, then a haunting historical tour of Xian, China should be on your itinerary. You will find the people in Xian warm and accommodating—willing to impart the wisdom and history of their culture—including tales of the Terra-cotta Warriors, the stretching Ming City Wall, the Muslim Quarters, traditional crafts, museums, shops, dance, and theater with hungry tourists.
9. Behold Beijing (starting at $3,200 for a multi-day tour)
A trip to China without seeing the Great Wall is a tremendously missed opportunity. Beijing holds a rich history dating back over one thousand years. Dip your toes in the cultural, heritage, and relics of the city when you climb the majestic Great Wall, take in the revered Tiananmmen Square, stand in the lush gardens at Summer Palace, or set your eyes on the prize—Beijing’s Forbidden City—China’s celebrated imperial palace dating back to the Ming Dynasty.
10. The Mountains of Guilin (starting at $65 for a day tour)
The sweeping mountain vistas and lush river banks of Gulin are among the “don’t miss” adventures awaiting eager hikers and explorers in China. Located at the scenic base of the Li River, Guilin’s natural beauty—including rolling green hills, crystal clear waters, unexplored caves, and rocky terrain await with a wealth of teachings about the multiple ethnic minorities that call this fairytale paradise, home.