Visiting China: Top China Travel Tips for First Time Visitors

Throughout China, Chinese New Year celebrations are currently underway, marking the arrival of the Year of The Pig. Don’t worry just yet, though, if you have missed the opportunity to visit and experience festivities first hand.

Traditionally, Chinese New Year sees millions of Chinese people disembark from cities like Beijing, as they make pilgrimages to family in rural areas. This can make traveling in China during the Chinese New Year period very chaotic. Conversely, late February through March is considered the best time to visit China. Even better, cheap flights to Beijing, China at can be booked for as little as $439 during this time.

Don’t Worry, Chinese New Year Celebrations are Worth Missing

If you are an Asian culture junkie, it might seem odd to suggest purposefully missing the opportunity to experience Chinese New Year activities first hand. However, if you are a first-time traveler to China, it is best to avoid major Chinese holidays. Travel disruption is common, and for the uninitiated, vacations can become stressful.

By comparison, travel inside mainland China is much less stressful at the start of the tourist season in March. We’ve, therefore, compiled a list of essential China travel tips for tourists during this time.

After Nabbing the Best Fares at Make Sure to buy a Travel Guide

At 9.597 million km², mainland China is comparable in size to the United States. For this reason, when looking for cheap flights at places like, it is worth looking at spending 3-4 weeks in China, to immerse yourself in all that China has to offer. More importantly, it always pays to invest in a comprehensive Lonely Planet travel guide, before planning a rough sightseeing itinerary.

Top China Travel Tips: Where to Visit & Why

Arriving in Beijing is easily the best way to start any sightseeing adventure in mainland China. Home to 21.54 million Chinese people, Beijing is a sprawling metropolis where ultra-modern architecture stands side by side with must-see attractions like China’s famous Forbidden Palace.

Day trips from Beijing can also take in the remarkable majesty of the Great Wall of China. Meanwhile, notable attractions in Beijing itself include sights such as Tiananmen Square, historic small streets called ‘Hutongs,’ and the beautiful Marco Polo Bridge spanning the Yongding River.

Ancient Xi’an Home of The Terracotta Army

One perk associated with starting trips to China in Beijing is that cheap flights and trains depart Beijing almost by the hour. Travelers can, therefore, easily find connections to other must-see cities all across the Chinese mainland. Moreover, one city definitively not worth missing is the original Chinese capital, Xi’an.

A historic walled city settled since at least 206 BC, Xi’an is home to several spectacular archaeological attractions, namely, the famous Terracotta Army and China’s Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Guilin: The Best Place in China for Spectacular Scenery

Towering Karst mountains and lush, fertile waterways are commonplace in Southeast Asia. However, Guilin in Southern China is home to the most beautiful Karst landscape in existence. (At least according to Richard Nixon.)

Rural China at its best, a visit to Guilin can pair city sightseeing with a variety of water sports and even rural wilderness hiking.

Hangzhou: The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

In the 13th century, Marco Polo described Hangzhou as the most beautiful place on Earth. Today, this picturesque tea growing region retains its historic Buddhist influenced beauty. Even better, Hangzhou is just a single high-speed rail connection away from Shanghai.

China Tourist Visa Requirements & Other China Travel Tips

After finding cheap flights to Beijing on air travel sites like, it is imperative to act fast to apply for a Chinese tourist visa. China does not ordinarily issue visas on arrival. Moreover, depending on your intended length of stay, applications might require evidence of proof of funds available for spending in China. This and poof of an initial hotel booking. Find out more by clicking here.

Where Possible, Always Book Accommodation in Advance

You can find cheap China Hotel deals on In China, communism is alive and kicking. As a result, tourists should prepare for oddities like China’s two-tier hotel system and lack of uncensored Internet access.

Not all hotels and guest houses in China cater for international tourists. This can be a problem for backpackers and last-minute travelers. Specifically, those who arrive in rural areas, only to find that local hotels can’t accommodate them. For this reason, always plan at least a rough travel itinerary, complete with details of hotels which do cater to tourists. Moreover, be prepared to live for a while without your favorite iPhone apps.

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