1 month in China

Day 1-5: Beijing

  • Beijing is huge. Moving from a place to another takes time but, fortunately, taxi are incredibly cheap: you won’t spend more than 4 USD per time.
  • Spend a day exploring the enchanting Forbidden City, the world’s biggest royal palace. Try to be there early in the morning if you want to avoid the crazy crowd of the afternoon
  • Take a look to Tiananmen square, located nearby. It’s considered the symbolic heart of China. It’s the place where the most notable events of Chinese history took place: the Tiananmen Square protests in 1976, the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in1949 and the sadly famous Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, which resulted in military suppression and the deaths of hundreds of civilian protestors
  • Enjoy the peaceful and quiet atmosphere of Lama Temple, the well-known Tibetan temple situated nearby some nice thrift shops
  • Eat the delicious peking duck at Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant. It’s the best in town, but to eat there you need to go in the early afternoon to make a reservation.
  • Nearby we discovered a nice tiny restaurants, where the walls and the floor are black. The name was written in Chinese so it was impossible to remember, but they made the best dumplings of ever

Day 6: The Great Wall of China

  • It’s not easy to arrive to the portion of the wall nearby Jinshanling, especially if you don’t speak Chinese, but try to resist to the temptation to visit a portion nearer Beijing.
  • Jinshanling portion of the Wall has preserved its charme and it’s off the tourist maps: you’ll be all by yourself on one of the 7 Wonders of the World
  • The walk it’s usually between 8.10 km – be sure to have enough food and water with you, the day will be more tiring than you think

Day 7-10: Pingyao

  • Pingyao is a lovely ancient village not far from Beijing which maintain the charme of the old times
  • Rent a bike to explore the tiny historical centre and stop to buy some chinaware and lacquer boxes on the way
  • Every hostel/hotel organize a tour in the ruins nearby. The ancient military camp, situated nearby the slope of a mount, is now converted in a ravishing buddhist monastery. The view from the top of that it’s incredible

Day 11-12: Xi’an

  • Xi’ an isn’t particularly beauty, so stay there just the time you need to visit the Terracotta Army. This UNESCO site, with more than 8.000 statues, is something you can hardly forget
  • If you have time, take a look to the Muslim quarter and have a fancy dinner at Lǎo Sūn Jiā, an upmarket restaurant famous for its delicious dishes

Day 13 -14: Chengdu

  • Chengdu it’s a good stop on your way to Guangxi region. In the morning go to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, a reserve where you can glimpse Sìchuān’s famous animal.
  • There’s the chance to hold a baby panda in your arms – for a quite expensive price

Day 14 -17: Yangshuo

  • Yangshuo it’s fantastic. Rent a motorbike to be independent and visit also the tiny town nearby, like Xingping – where we bought beautiful wooden fans
  • Buy the ticket to see the Impression Sanjie Liu, a breathtaking show which utilizes the waters of the Li River as its stage. Just that show worth the price of your flight tickets to China
  • Visit the amazing Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces, where the green is so bright that it can hurt your eyes
  • A cruise into the waters of Li River can be beautiful, but only if you avoid to do it in the portions of the river where all the tourists are taken

Day 18 – 24: Hong Kong

  • Check your Visa before leaving for Hong Kong: if you’re planning to go back in China – like going to Shanghai – you need a Visa which allow you to renter
  • Hong Kong is a beautiful, huge and friendly city that will make you fall in love. Take a week to properly explore it.
  • Get lost inside Temple Street Night Market, among the smells and tastes of this beautiful place. You can literally buy everything, but be prepared to bargain over the price
  • Go outside the city and prepare to be astonished by the giant Tian Tan Buddha
  • Have a endless view of the city from Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade, preferably with a cold beer in your hand. Another place similar in beauty is Victoria Peak: just the travel with 125-year-old gravity-defying Peak Tram it’s fun enough to make your day
  • Buy a nice ‘jade’ medallion at the Jade Market. Some seller are friendly enough to explain you how to recognize the different qualities of jade
  • If you want to eat a real dim sum in Hong Kong, the place you’re looking for is the Lin Heung Tea House
  • Hong Kong it’s a city all to discover: allow yourself to just wander among the streets of Chan Wai and Kowloon

Day 25 – 29: Shanghai

  • The modern Shanghai doesn’t boast must-see sights like other big cities, but it’s a city made for walking in its streets you’ll always find a surprise. And, after a month of crazy travel, there you can enjoy fancy aperitif and a deserved relax
  • Eat the tasty dumpling soup at Din Tai Fung
  • Dongtai Road is full of tourist tat, but among that stuff you can find some real treasure. Take a careful look
  • The best place to try local eats is without any doubt the tiny and overcrowded Jishi. The only problem is the incomprehensible menu: be careful in ordering fish

Day 30: Beijing

  • You can go back to Beijing to take your international flight to home either with a national flight or with the fat train. Choose whatever you prefer, but book it in advance

 

Generally speaking:

  • 20 USD in average per night  for a double room in a good hostel/hotel. However, the price for an accommodation in Hong Kong are way more expensive (25 USD in a dormitory; 80 USD at least for a double room). Check Airbnb for some special offers
  • 15 USD per meal for a fancy restaurant; in the street market you can eat delicious dishes for few dollars, sometimes better than in proper restaurants.  Quanjude Roast Duck Restaurant is more expensive than the average but, believe me, those are money well-invested
  • The entrance fee for the most interesting places is quite low, when there’s one
  • It’s not easy to move from a place to another, mainly because the distances are enormous. If you’re planning to use the train book the tickets at least two weeks in advance. They’re not expensive, but travelling will take hours and hours – and Chinese train are pretty tough. A smart alternative could be taking national flights: it’s more expensive but faster and more comfortable
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