China is a massive country with a landscape that varies just as massively. From some of the largest and most chaotic cities in the world to serene, peaceful natural views, China allows something for every type of explorer.

If you are lucky enough to have a month to explore China, you can check off quite a few stops on your China bucket list. Knowing where to start with your China adventure is whole other issue, however.

Use this itinerary to get you started on your China planning and to create a template for your adventures. This is only a rough starting point, amend and add or subtract locations and experiences that interest you.

Shanghai

Home to the world’s largest international airport, Shanghai will more than likely be where you begin. This city is the most Western of all Chinese cities and the metro makes it an easy starting point. Kill any jet lag and spend a few days exploring some of the cities modern areas like Lugiazui, a futuristic neighborhood or Bund which offers beautiful views of the Shanghai skyline.

Spend a day on the West side of the river, Puxi eating street food on East Nanjing Road and visiting the Shanghai museum.

Beijing

It’s easy to occupy yourself in and around Beijing for a week. This city is an extremely difficult to navigate one and is far more chaotic than Shanghai and will be a shock to your system when you venture off the train. Plan to explore historical areas like the Forbidden Square or Tian’anmen Spruare or brilliant Summer Palace.

For an interesting perspective on post communist China, head over the Bird’s Nest stadium where the 2008 summer Olympics were held.

Finally, spend a day adventuring on the Great Wall of China located just outside of Beijing. The wall is easily accessed by train.

Terracotta Warriors at Xi’an

A quick stop of 2 or 3 days is great to explore this historical area. The city is well known for its deliciously unique food and the iconic statues known as the Terracotta warriors.
Sichuan Province

Spend a few days here if not for anything else to experience the food. Known for the Sichuan pepper, the food in this province is all about spice. If hiking appeals to you this is a great place to add a few extra days and go on a trek.

Hong Kong

As a bonus to your trip if you have time, jet over to Hong Kong to experience a much less Chinese piece of the world for a few days. Cantonese food, a very Big Buddha and intricate gardens await every explorer.

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