Updated 2016

Why you should add China to your Indie/RTW trip

Here are some ideas on why you should add China to your trip.

  • accept a new culture. The personal boundaries (i.e. personal space) are not as we know them in the West. Embrace the differences.
  • The contrast between the new China and the traditional China has never been more obvious. It makes for a fascinating travel experience.
  • China has embraced tourism in recent years and with the 2008 Olympic in Beijing the country is throwing open the doors to travelers from around the world.
  • Travel in China can offer both pleasures and pains. The country’s cities – especially those away from the beaten down tourist path – are fascinating to explore.
  • Do yourself a favor by taking some time to explore the countryside and the villages. Life is tranquil in China; you just need to look hard to find the tranquility.
  • The Forbidden City is one of Beijing’s landmarks. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was the imperial seat for Ming and Qing dynasty emperors from 1420 until 1912.
  • Visit the Great Wall. The most popular (and touristy) part of the wall is the Badaling Section, easy to reach from Beijing.
  • See The Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. The warriors have individually unique faces and they are dressed according to the rank.

Read: China for the Independent Traveler.

Indie travel tips for China

  • Skip the overcrowded Badaling Section of the Great Wall and travel further to The Mutianyu Section. It can be easily accessed from Beijing and you can also visit the Ming Tombs during the same day trip.
  • Go to Yangshuo, a small town near Guilin and see the Karst Mountains. They are beautiful and are also featured on the 20 Renminbi note.
  • Explore Lijiang on a bicycle
  • Enjoy nature in Jiuzhaigou Valley , famous for the lakes and multi-level waterfalls.
  • Visit Pingyao, Shanxi, a quaint Ming Dynasty era city. The City Wall is unrestored, yet incredible.
  • Visit the Labrang Monastery (the largest Tibetan Monastery outside of Lhasa) in Xiahe, Gansu.
  • See Luoyang, Henan, with its oldest Buddhist temple in the country.
  • Drink green tea in Hangzhou . Explore the green city and its historical sights.
  • Visit the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
  • See the Giant Pandas in Chengdu.
  • See the architecture on The Bund, Shanghai.
  • See modern China in Hong Kong.
  • Try the traditional food from as many provinces as you can.

Read: 7 Reasons to Visit China Now (Even on a Short Trip).


The majority of travelers arrive in China by flying to Beijing, Shanghai or to Hong Kong.

Read: Travel China by Train.


Once you are in the country you’d probably like to have a roof over your head at night. You can compare, contrast and book hostels in China on BootsnAll.

Finally, if you would like to travel with others or experience an adventure tour in China, check out our adventure trips in China.

Read: 14 Fabulous Things to do in Beijing.

Photo credits: Fortherock