Itinerary: 10 Days in China

What to do to spend 10 days in China?

You want to go on a trip to China but you do not have much time? Wondering which is the best route to make the most of your stay in the Middle Kingdom?

So I will offer you an itinerary to visit China in 10 days. It will allow you to discover some of the most beautiful sights of the country.

So, what to do and see in China in 9, 10 or 11 days?

The program of your stay: The city of Xi’an and its famous terracotta army , the beautiful Zhangjiajie rock columns , the breathtaking views of Guilin and the Li River as well as Beijing and the Great Wall of China.

So, on the way to this 10-day tour in China!

A little note before you start:

You noticed I did not mention Shanghai in this route. Indeed, for a trip of 10 days in China , I advise you to ignore Shanghai , a very westernized city, which is not really representative of the country. In such a short period of time, both enjoy the “real” China that has wonderful things to offer you.

If you still want to go through Shanghai, you can read my ” 2 weeks in China ”  itinerary  and adapt accordingly (delete one of the steps of this itinerary).

Day 1-2. Xi’an and the Terracotta Army

Starting your 10 day trip to China to Xi’an is a great idea for 2 reasons:

For your first day in China, you will visit one of the most famous historical sites in China: The Xi’an Terracotta Army .

Head for Xi’an Railway Station and take bus 306 to the Terra Cotta Warriors . The trip takes about an hour, and you have to get off at the terminus : you can not go wrong! It’s the same bus that will take you back to town.

The time to visit, may be to eat on site, and you will be back in town around 14:30 or 15h.

You will have time to go for a walk on the ramparts of Xi’an , starting from the south gate (the prettiest!). It is possible to walk there, or rent bicycles and go around.

At the end of the day, I recommend going for a walk on the side of the Great Wild Goose Pagoda , south of the city. You can also visit the park around, as well as the Great Tang All Day Mall, and its 1500m long avenue whose center is occupied by statues inspired by the history of the Tang Dynasty.

Right next to the pagoda, in the north, is the spectacle of the musical fountains of Xi’an , which is the largest in Asia, to see absolutely by night! The night performance takes place every evening at 20:30 or 21h in summer.

As I told you in my other itinerary article, I do not recommend eating in one of the food stands located in the park next to the  Great Wild Goose Pagoda , it’s really not good! Go a little further north of the park, the food is of much better quality.

For your second day in Xi’an, head for the city center with the Bell Tower , which once marked the center of Xi’an City. Then continue to the Drum Tower , the other remarkable monument. You can visit inside the 2 old towers for 50 yuan.

At the foot of the Drum Tower is the entrance to the Xi’an Muslim Quarter , and its famous market where you can fill up the belly at any time. You MUST eat there at noon! Do not forget to taste the “ChineseBurger  (Rou Jia Mo – 肉夹馍), which is Xi’an’s best-known culinary specialty.

In this area there is also the Great Mosque of Xi’an , which you can visit.

It is then time for you to go to the airport, to catch your flight to Zhangjiajie in the evening.

To stay in Xi’an

All Xi’an news is in my article: Visit Xi’an
The terracotta warriors of Emperor Qin in Xi’an

Day 3-5. Zhangjiajie National Park

The next stop on your 10-day trip to China is Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan Province. This is my favorite stop on this 10 day tour in China.

The site, very famous for its rocky columns (it has more than 3000!) Has also inspired the director of Avatar for the world of Pandora, the extraterrestrial planet on which the film takes place.

For this step, you will have the opportunity to sleep in 3 different places:

The city of Wulingyuan being more easily accessible than the Zhangjiajie National Park , I advise you to spend at least your first night, and therefore to stay in the park the other 2 days, if that is your plan.

To enter the park, it will cost you 250 yuan per person (about 30 euros). At this price, you will be entitled to a 4-day pass.

The Zhangjiajie National Park is really huge, I advise you to dedicate at least 2 days to visit it. For up-to-date information, do not hesitate to ask your hotel for details on the various excursions offered.

3 choices are offered for your last day in Zhangjiajie.

However, I do not recommend going to Lake Baofeng , another major attraction of the region: it became tourist trap.

Xi’an Transport – Zhangjiajie

To go from Xi’an to Zhangjiajie, the best is to catch a flight in the evening . Thus, can spend 3 full days in the national park . Do not waste time, it’s important when you only have 10 days in China!

Flight time: 1h30

To book your flights or train tickets, the best is to go through the website . This is the one I use, and it is on this website that you will get the best prices!

I strongly advise you to put as a favorite now! It will serve you a lot when organizing your trip to China .

To stay in Zhangjiajie

The best option, when you visit Zhangjiajie National Park , is to sleep in Wulingyuan City, near the entrance to the park.

An experience to do too, especially if you like photography, is to sleep in the park . It is ideal to enjoy the sunset and the sunrise! On the other hand we saw better comfort level ^^

Sunset in Zhangjiajie

Day 6-8. Guilin, Yangshuo and Li River

The night train will get you to Guilin , in Guangxi Province, in the middle of the morning (I’m talking about the details of the trip a little further down). Time to go to your hotel to drop your things, you can have a good meal in town and enjoy a little sightseeing. For this half day in Guilin, I also recommend you to visit the cave ”  Reed Flute Cave “, which is sublime!

For your 2nd day, you will go to Yangshuo , going on a cruise on the Li River ! This is certainly the best way to discover the region and its karst peaks are internationally renowned. The landscapes are superb all along. It is a must in your stay in China.

The first step is to take the taxi to Zhujian Pier or Mopanshan pier , the starting points of cruises, located south of Guilin. The best is to take the first departure, the cruise between 4 and 5h. This will allow you to enjoy some Yangshuo and surroundings in the afternoon.

After dropping the luggage at the hotel, you can go to the Hill of the Moon (Moon Hill in English), one of the attractions of the Guilin area. To reach this arch in the rock, you will have to pay entrance fees and climb the 800 steps (about 20 minutes) that lead to it.

Another good plan for your afternoon may be to rent bikes in Yangshuo and walk along the Yulong River. This path offers truly sublime views!

For the cruise on the Li River, it may be wise to book it in advance . You can also check with your hoteland arrange a tour with a minibus that will pick you up directly in Guilin to get you to the boat. This is the simplest solution!

The next morning, you will have the opportunity to do one of the 2 activities mentioned above, or, what I recommend, to go on a bamboo raft trip on the Yulong River.

In the afternoon, you will have to head to Guilin Airport for an evening flight to Beijing , the next stop on your 10-day China itinerary.

To stay in Guilin

To stay in Yangshuo

In Yangshuo, the best advice I can give you is to sleep outside the city , because it’s very noisy! Excellent hotels, really quiet, are only 15 or 20 minutes by bike from the city center.

All the hotels that I propose to you are ideally placed : close to the moon hill and the pier to make Bamboo raft on the Yulong river.

Reed Flute Cave, Guilin

Zhangjiajie Transportation – Guilin

There are no flights at Zhangjiajie – Guilin at the moment The journey is done by train and in 2 steps:

  1. Take the night train from Zhangjiajie to Liuzhou (about 11h trip)
  2. Then take an express train from Liuzhou to Guilin (1 hour trip)

the advantage is that it saves you a hotel night! I advise you to take the 1st class for the train, called “soft sleepers”

To get an idea of ​​Guilin and its surroundings, I recommend you read my article: What to do in Guilin?

Day 9-10. Beijing and the Great Wall of China (2 days)

Your 10-day itinerary in China continues with the greatest classic: a visit to the Great Wall of China ! Since you do not have much time, you will have to go on a day trip.

It is possible to visit several sections, and the best of it is undoubtedly that of Jinshanling. There are some much closer to Beijing, like Badaling, which is crowded with people. To push a little further and live the experience of the Great Wall in peace.

It is possible to go there by public transport, or to reserve a tour for the day. In any case, the trip from Beijing lasts about 2 hours.

Getting to Jinshanling by public transport: The easiest way is to go to the Wangjing West metro station and go to the nearby bus station . Then take the bus to  Luanping and get off at Jinshanling Service Area . To reach the entrance to the section of the wall, which is about 2km away, there is a free shuttle that goes back and forth.

For your day in Beijing, I recommend you go for a walk on Tian’anmen Square , as well as visit the Forbidden City and the hutongs (old neighborhoods with charming little streets). These are Beijing classics, and the big advantage is that everything is easily done on foot.

It is unfortunately already time to take your return flight in the evening. But rest assured, I have already prepared many other itineraries for your next trips to China!

How to get from Guilin to Beijing?

To go from Guilin to Beijing , there are several solutions

To stay in Beijing

My comprehensive guide to Beijing will give you all the information to visit the city: What to do in Beijing?
Great Wall of China

10-day itinerary in China: latest tips

10 days in China , it’s very short! This route is therefore quite physical, with no real break time, to maximize the number of places you can discover during your trip.

You have of course the possibility to make it quieter, skipping a step and taking more time to discover Beijing for example.

If you have any questions about this itinerary or about China in general, please let me know in the comments.

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