Great Wall of China, Beijing, China

The Best Way to See China

Are you ready to get lost in the wonders of China? Visit this exotic country to experience its ancient history, see unique landmarks, and surround yourself in Chinese hospitality. From Harbin to Guilin, Shanghai to Chengdu, and locales in between, you’ll find fascinating sites where you’ll forge lasting memories.

If you’re ready to consider a fabulous China vacation, you have some decisions to make: Should I take a private or group tour? Plus, what are the must-see sites, and should I explore them by myself or with a group?

Things to See
To make the most of your exploration in China, make sure the following attractions are on your itinerary:

  • In Beijing, visit Tiananmen Square and view Tiananmen Tower, Great Hall of the People, Monument to the People’s Heroes, The National Museum of China, and the Mao Zedong Memorial Hall. Tiananmen Square is one of the richest cultural spots in Beijing.
  • While you’re in the Beijing area, head to the Great Wall of China, a massive fortress-type historical structure more than 2,000 years old.
  • Head to Xian to see the Terra-Cotta Warriors, more than 1,800 life-size statues. The warriors are part of the world’s largest ancient imperial tomb complex.
  • In Guilin, cruise along the Li River. You’ll see some of China’s most stunning natural beauty in the form of towering mountains from this waterway.
  • Suzhou, not far from Shanghai, is known as “the Venice of the East.” The city boasts tranquil canals and an atmosphere full of history.
  • The Yangtze River is the third-longest river in the world. A Yangtze River cruise reveals amazing natural beauty, such as the Three Gorges, and ancient Chinese cultural points of interest.
  • Giant pandas are among China’s national symbols. Visit Chengdu to get a close-up look at these breathtaking and benevolent animals.
  • In Lhasa, Tibet, explore the wonders of Potala Palace, an architectural marvel that dates back to the 17th century. The structure literally has hundreds of shrines and rooms inside.
Tiananmen Square - Beijing, China
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Yantze River cruise scenery
Yantze River cruise scenery
Three pandas posing, Chengdu
Three pandas posing, Chengdu

The Best Way to See the Sites

Group Touring
Taking a China small group tour is an excellent choice if you want to have a hassle-free experience. Some of the perks of group touring include the following items:

  • Transportation, some meals, and accommodations are all taken care of. A knowledgeable guide offers insight into the places you visit.
  • Your guide takes care of logistics and hotel check-ins, so you won’t have to worry about the language barrier. Simply enjoy your welcome drink and look forward to the amazing tours ahead.
  • You can get to know your fellow travellers and form lasting friendships.
  • The group atmosphere is ideal for first-time or solo travellers. The Splendours of China & Tibet Tour can pair you with a roommate – an experience which keeps costs down and provides you with a bit of company.
  • In addition to telling you about the sites, your guide can give you insider tips on places based on their personal experiences. Your guide may also take you to lesser-known spots for a more exclusive China excursion that can’t compare to traditional, mainstream tours.
  • Group tours tend to cost less than private tours, so you can save your money for souvenirs!

Don’t think that choosing a group tour will restrict what you can do during your trip. Travel itineraries purposefully include free time so you can strike out on your own. Group touring also presents the perfect opportunity to explore communities, practice your Chinese language skills, and get a closer look at how the locals live.

Terracotta Warriors group tour, Xian
Terracotta Warriors group tour, Xian

Private Touring
Private touring in China offers more flexibility than group touring. Tailor the experience to your preferences and travel interests. The following are some of the advantages to choosing a private tour:

  • You can plan to see a special event, such as a concert, opera, or sporting event.
  • You have more time to independently explore. This benefit is ideal if you speak some Chinese and want to chat with Beijing residents in Tiananmen Square, for example. Also, if you have an artistic flair, you can use the extra time to sketch, photograph, or do some travel writing of your own.
  • A flexible itinerary means you can change your plans while you’re traveling to see newly discovered sights you didn’t know existed.
  • You can explore on your own and visit places such as Huangluo Yao Village, otherwise known as the Long Hair Village. The women in the village cut their hair only once in their lifetimes, around the time they turn age 18.
  • You’ll travel in a smaller vehicle than you would with a group, which makes navigating China’s huge cities like Beijing and Shanghai easier.
  • You’ll have more opportunities to dine on local food, such as the cuisine served in the night markets or from street vendors.
  • Departure dates are flexible, so you can leave when the time is most convenient for you.

While private touring often costs more than group touring, if your budget allows, you’ll immerse yourself in a tour experience uniquely your own.

Bamboo raft on the Li River
Bamboo raft on the Li River

So What Is the Best Way to See China?
The answer to that question depends on your circumstances and preferences. Both private touring and group touring offer distinct advantages. Whichever China travel tour option you choose, however, you’ll never regret your trip to see one of the most captivating countries in the world. Whether you’re photographing ancient sites like the Great Wall of China or taking in the pulsing, modern vibe of Shanghai surrounding you in its streets, you’re sure to love your time spent in the Middle Kingdom.

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Adam Hodge
Adam Hodge

VP of Marketing - When he’s not paddling a canoe or drinking copious amounts of coffee, you’ll find Adam talking about some kind of travel plans. He spent a month doing Tai-Chi in China, horse-camped in Mongolia, rode 3rd class trains all over India, tour-guided in Europe, worked in Namibia and surfed in Costa Rica – the travel bug bit this Canadian repeatedly. Food is one highlight of any destination for him, and he’s admitted on a few times to be willing to try just about any food once, and apparently “putrefied shark wasn't that bad”.

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