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China Travel

China

Destination Inspiration

From the awe-inspiring skyscrapers of Hong Kong to the ancient Great Wall, the mighty Yangtze river to the incredible Terracotta Warriors, China is a fascinating country where centuries old traditions blend with new age flair, where rugged natural scenery and cutting edge cities both have their place. In this vast nation echoes of times gone by are ever present, be they the legacy of Mao or of ancient emperors. Its complex cultural tapestry along with its vastly varying territories have intrigued visitors throughout time, and as China becomes increasingly open to tourism, visitors can unveil for themselves the mysteries of this compelling nation.

Travelling To China

The international airports of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing are likely entry points for first time visitors to China. Direct flights to each of these destinations are available if departing from Auckland, and there are numerous transit options available too as well as some great student/youth fares. Endless other cities are also served, usually requiring a connecting domestic flight. Visas are usually required for travel to mainland China (Hong Kong often being an exception) with some lengthy and detailed form-filling required. Be sure to check what you need for your travels and give yourself plenty of time to acquire the correct documentation.  

When To Visit

Such a vast nation of course comes with extreme and varied climates. The south of China has a warm climate all year with the summer months being incredibly humid and prone to rain storms, though the latter is applicable throughout the country. In the north and west, winters are bitterly cold, however visiting during the season does allow travellers to experience the amazing Harbin Ice Festival as well as Chinese New Year. Spring and autumn are great times to visit with more comfortable temperatures, the north being particularly stable at this time.

Top Places To Visit

Beijing

China's capital is a vast metropolis embodying the ancient and the new. The iconic Forbidden City is a must for visitors, the Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven also well worth it. The city's old Hutong neighbourhoods are an interesting insight into Beijing's past, and the Houhai Lakes are great for watching the world go by. At night, this area also lights up as one of the best nightlife spots.
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The Great Wall

One of the 7 Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China is probably the country's most recognisable symbol. Originally built as defence against invaders, the wall is over 20,000 km long and truly is a feast for the eyes. This jaw-dropping construction is an absolute must for first time visitors to the country and various parts of the wall can be reached in around 2 hours from Beijing.
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Shanghai

As one of China's financial hubs, Shanghai is a state of the art neon city with iconic skyscrapers, great bars and restaurants and excellent shopping. It is also home to incredible street food, tempting markets and the pretty Old Town. It is a fascinating example of old meets new, but also east meets west - the Bund area home to old banks and trading houses of the likes of the British and French.
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Xi'an

Located in central China, Xi'an is home to the famous Terracotta Warriors - mysterious, awe-inspiring and certainly worth a visit! Xi'an city however, is also worth taking the time to explore. Once an important stop on the Silk Road, its historic charm is still seen today. Be sure to visit the ancient city walls as well as the old Muslim Quarter known for its markets and delicious street food
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Hong Kong

Hong Kong is known world over for its famous harbour sky-line and neon lights. Filled with a great mix of traditional eateries and trendy bars, as well as swanky boutiques and night markets, Hong Kong never disappoints. Be sure to visit Tian Tan Buddha and Chi Lin Nunnery, and of course take the ferry across Victoria harbour. Step beyond with city to find secluded beaches and small villages.
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Explore Beijing with our STA Travel Insider, Joy!

Getting Around China

Given the language difficulties and strict systems in the country, China (with the exception of Hong Kong) can be difficult for independent travel. Taking local transport can be challenging, and many travellers opt to join a tour of some sort to avoid travel complications. As part of Chinese visa applications a 'Letter of Invite' is usually required along with a detailed travel itinerary and these can be provided by tour companies.
China Travel
The Dragon Trip
The trip that is designed specifically for backpackers…see the Terracotta Warriors, learn Kung Fu with the Shaolins and camp on the Great Wall with your new friends. Get to grips with city life in Shanghai and Beijing, before travelling to Hangzhou for a refreshing dip in a mountain lagoon.
18 Days
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China Travel
Highlights of China
If you're tight on time, this 14-day option provides the perfect opportunity to uncover as much of China's rich history as possible during your short visit. Meander along the Great Wall, visiting Shanghai, Yangshuo, Xi'an and Beijing with an expert guide to inform you about all the hidden gems you'll encounter along the way.
14 Days
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China Travel
Total Beijing
Experience this fantastic tour of all Beijing's highlights, with accommodation and meals included. Visit the impressive Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven - selfie sticks at the ready! Take an intriguing bike ride through the city plus take a trip to the mighty Great Wall!
4 Days
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China Travel
Best of Yunnan
Experience China unfiltered - this tour is for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle and sink into scenic villages while contemplating life hiking the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Stop by the Bird and Flower Market in Kunming, visit Old Town Lijiang and (if you have time) the unmissable Shibaoshan rock carvings - over 1300 years old and showing the spread of Mahayana Buddhism from Tibet to Yunnan.
10 Days
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China Travel
Walk the Great Wall of China
Finish and start in Beijing on the 10-day trip exploring China's capital and the Great Wall. As well as trekking part of one of the world's most famous sites, enjoy a dumpling cooking class, take part in a tai chi lesson, learn about China's ancient empire and simply enjoy the spectacular views and landscapes.
10 Days
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China Travel
Camping on the Great Wall
Tick another adventure off your bucket list; trek along the Great Wall and stay over night in your very own secluded spot. Enjoy a traditional lunch at a local farmhouse and an evening BBQ. Wake-up early and catch the ultimate Instagram-able sunrise, you'll have everyone suffering from FOMO.
2 Days
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China Travel
Cycle China
Get your blood pumping as you explore China with your guide on bikes. Enjoy breathaking views from Hong Kong to Beijing, with stops in Longsheng, Yangshuo, Guilin and Xi'an. You won't miss out on the famed Terracotta Warriors, Tianmen Square or the Great Wall but you'll get to see the villages that inspired painters and poets, with scenery that many other travellers will miss. Jump on and get pedalling, there's so much to see on this 12-day tour!
12 Days
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Terms and conditions

Information on this page is correct as of 9/08/2017 but is subject to availability and change without notice. Check with your Travel Expert for full details.