My Solo Trip To China (Two Weeks Itinerary)
My solo trip to China was completely different and a memorable one. I’ve gathered some incredible experiences during my entire trip in various destinations from eastern to northern China. It was pretty interesting to discover many new things about this East Asian country for the first time. I loved the welcoming peoples, striking natural beauty, and exploring different destinations’ different variations was fun. Apart from the historical sites, it was surprising to see the glorious modern cities to classical ancient villages. Undoubtedly, there is a lot to do and see in China. Have you been to China? My China two weeks itinerary is packed with my travel experiences and tips for planning your own trip.
China’s visa policy varies from country to country, and best to check before planning a trip. I took one month visa before the visit and traveled via Dhaka-Singapore-Shanghai routes with Singapore Airlines.
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Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Best Time To Visit China?
- 2 Where To Stay in China?
- 3 Two Weeks China Tour Itinerary [14 Days]
- 4 Are You On Pinterest? Click To Save These For Later Read!
What is the Best Time To Visit China?
Spring (April – May) and Autumn (September – October) are the best times to visit China. I traveled in April and loved the weather – neither too hot nor cold. But remember, packing must be season-based due to weather variations in different regions. The northern part of China is cold enough than the southern part where you’ll face monsoon, So, you have to pack heavy to light clothes.
It is a must to download some essential applications before entering China. VPN download and installation are mandatory before boarding the flight to access all restricted sites from China. Another Chinese Baidu Translate voice translation App will help overcome the language barrier during your stay in China. WeChat App will help to communicate and payment transfers with local people.
It is best and common to travel by train in different regions once you’re in China. I pre-booked train and local air tickets from the Trip.com site. I loved China’s excellent high-speed or bullet train services during my entire trip to China. China train service is the best than local airlines; commonly, flights will be delayed. So, it is wise to go on a train journey when in China.
The subway is also a great option to travel on a budget around the cities. Rented private taxis will cost you high, but a good option is downloading the local DiDi-Rider App for an affordable ride in cities.
Proper planning on destination selections will save you time and money. It is tough to cover all destinations during the first visit for far distances unless you stay longer.
It is recommended to check out some must-read travel books to visit China to know more details about its top places, culture, and food habits.
Where To Stay in China?
There is plenty of budget accommodations in China. And keeping in mind the best locations on any accommodation selection is a must to save time and some cash.
The hostel is the best option for saving a lot on accommodation. There are many standard hostels where even possible to stay in a single room at an affordable price. I mainly stayed in hostels and loved the atmosphere. It was not an issue staying with all locals in hostels. All are very cooperative and friendly.
I also stayed in hotels and preferred to go with mid-range to luxury. It is far better to stay in a hostel than in a budget hotel where you may not get all the standard facilities.
My solo trip to China started with the modern city Shanghai. Shanghai is a must-visit for the best shopping, good food, iconic skyscrapers, museums, parks, and gardens. I had no idea there are many top things to do in Shanghai. But I spent only two days which was not enough.
I stayed two nights in a dormitory room at Shanghai Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel, which is located in Downtown. The famous Nanjing Road is very close to this hostel. I liked the location and best for shopping and dining. It takes just a few minutes by walking to reach Shanghai’s heart, the Bund, from the hostel.
I spent one night in Suzhou, one of the beautiful cities in eastern China and just 50 miles away from Shanghai. I stayed at the 4-star Hotel Soul Suzhou located in Gusu District of the 150-year-old Guan Qian Street. I loved all the comforts and facilities of this beautiful hotel. The most famous Humble Administrator’s Garden is quite near to the hotel.
Many prefer to stay in Hangzhou, the most beautiful city in eastern China, to explore the West Lake. But I decided to stay in Suzhou to explore beautiful classical gardens. I should keep more days for Suzhou. There is a lot to see in this famous city of gardens. I also wish to visit Hangzhou on my next visit to China.
If you’re not interested to stay in Suzhou, it is even enjoyable to go for a day tour from Shanghai to Suzhou for exploring some of the best tourist attractions in the city.
It is worth staying in Huangshan to visit the famous Yellow Mountain and the ancient Hong village and Xidi village. The scenic and quiet Huangshan city is best for backpackers. I stayed two nights in a dormitory room at a budget-friendly Koala International Youth Hostel located in Tunxi District. All are very hospitable of this hostel, and I had a good time with hostel mates.
Guilin is such a green and charming city in southern China. It is a popular tourist destination in China and best for backpackers as well. I loved all about Guilin for the scenery, and there is a lot to explore. I should have booked more days for Guilin but spent only two days!
I stayed in a single room at Guilin This Old Place Int’l Youth Hostel in Xiufeng District. Rong Lakeview around the hostel is simply excellent and such a photogenic spot. I loved all the hostel facilities; everything was so neat. It was best to move around the scenic location, Two Rivers and Four Lakes of the hostel.
It is also best to stay in a small resort town Yangshuo near Guilin city. The entire town is very picturesque for the breathtaking scenery of the Karst Mountains.
China’s northern large city Xi’an became a must-visit destination for the famous tourist spot Terracotta Army. I spent three nights in the city at the traditional Ancient City International Youth Hostel, located in the heart of the city on Lianhu Road. The location is good for shopping and eating, close to Muslim Street. I stayed in a single room, and the staffs were very cooperative.
China trip is incomplete without visiting the Great Wall of China in the capital city Beijing. Besides, all top historical sites are located in the northern city of Beijing. I spent three nights at the 200-year-old Qianmen Courtyard Hotel in Qianmen Street.
It was interesting to explore this oldest hotel for the beautiful Chinese oriental decor. The location is also excellent to shop and eat like a local. The famous Tiananmen Square and Forbidden City are nearby this hotel.
The famous Qianmen Street is good for budget accommodations. You’ll see many Chinese courtyard residences in each hutong converted into traditional Chinese-style hotels.
Two Weeks China Tour Itinerary [14 Days]
My two-week China tour itinerary included Shanghai, Suzhou, Huangshan, Guilin, Xi’an, and Beijing. I’ve visited and explored various top places from those cities. And found it is possible to travel to China on a Budget. You don’t have to spend more on accommodations and food. Besides joining some group tours in China, I explored around on my own.
Pre-booking the entire tour will cost you high. It is better to book local guided tours from China for exploring some must-visit and iconic tourist attractions like the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven.
How safe to travel solo in China? It is safe, and you’ll find locals are curious and helping in nature. You don’t need any extra precautions to travel all alone. You can join many group tours where English speaking guide is available in the big cities. I didn’t face any trouble as a solo female traveler during my 14 days in China. Read inside to get the itinerary and my complete China travel experiences.
Day 1: Shanghai
Nanjing Road, Pedestrian Street of East Nanjing Road
I arrived in Shanghai in the afternoon. On the way, it was great to see the first look at some of Shanghai’s iconic landmarks, including Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial center, and Shanghai Tower. Before leaving Pudong International Airport, I bought a China Unicom Prepaid SIM card to use during my 14 days trip to China.
It was fun spending my first day walking along Nanjing Road, Shanghai’s best shopping street. The eastern part of this road or Nanjing East Road is the central shopping hub where you’ll find many branded stores.
After evening this road became complete with many shoppers as indeed so much to explore and buy. I had a fun time while I enjoyed shopping a bit more from my favorite H&M brand store. I purchased several items – the red and black colored light jackets I worn during my entire China trip bought from this largest Shanghai H&M store.
There are also many food stalls on Pedestrian Street of East Nanjing Road to dine the best in the local restaurants. I enjoyed checking some fruit stalls and tried different Chinese fruits. Later came back to the hostel after eating with the farmer cooked mixed fish and Chinese bread.
Shanghai food was the best. I loved the Chinese food in Eastern China a bit more than other destinations of China. All in all, various Chinese fruits were simply the best to try a lot during my whole trip.
Day 2: Shanghai
Huangpu River Waterfront, The Bund, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre, Yu Garden, Shanghai Museum, Waibaidu Bridge
The second day I had a comfort breakfast with Chinese Noodles Soup from Blue Mountain Hostel. Later I went to explore the city on foot. I loved the Huangpu River Waterfront site the most. When in Shanghai exploring the Bund, the symbol of the city is a must. It was simply amazing to enjoy the best city views from this site.
There is a 45 km long Huangpu Riverside Walkway from where you’ll get to see all iconic skyscrapers on the east side of the River – China’s tallest building Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Centre, and Oriental Pearl Tower. And the west side of the Bund is lined with many historical buildings of different architectural styles. The iconic Swatch Art Peace Hotel is also located here. Walking along the Bund Sightseeing Avenue is fun, I loved to capture a lot of photos of this colorful waterfront area.
It is best to spend time at the waterfront site in the evening for all the lights. You can have the food from the food court and spend the leisure time. It is also fun to enjoy from here Huangpu River Cruise along the Bund.
The iconic Waibaidu Bridge or Garden Bridge is the beautiful one built-in 1907. It is the first long-span bridge in Shanghai.
Some other must-visit city attractions are the traditional Chinese Yu Garden and Shanghai Museum.
It is best to take a city sightseeing tour by bus to explore Shanghai’s top tourist attractions. You can book this from Nanjing Road. If you keep more days for Shanghai, you may visit Shanghai Disneyland Park for the ultimate fun in the theme park.
Day 3: Suzhou
Humble Administrator’s Garden, Suzhou Museum, Cruising along the Grand Canal, Guan Qian Street
The third-day early morning, I left for Suzhou; it took just half an hour to reach the city by high-speed train from Shanghai Railway Station. Hotel Soul Suzhou is very close to Suzhou Railway Station. I found it a must to bargain when renting any private taxi or rickshaw in China; most drivers ask for more rates, even for short distances.
It was one of the best experiences to visit Humble Administrator’s Garden, the largest one in Suzhou. This classical Chinese garden during the period of the Ming Dynasty in 1509 A.D. It was interesting to stroll around walkways, old houses, bridges, and ponds inside the garden. The garden is considered the model of the modern Chinese Garden.
The Museum of Suzhou is close to Humble Administrator’s Garden and one of the finest ones to explore.
Later I took a rickshaw ride and moved around the city. I also enjoyed a motorboat ride along the Ancient Grand Canal. During the 40 minutes ride, we crossed many old bridges, buildings and got the local lifestyle feel.
Some other top Suzhou gardens are Lingering Garden, Lion Forest Garden, Net-Master Garden. And all together known as the Classical Gardens of Suzhou and now UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It was fun to walk along 150-year-old Guan Qian Street in the afternoon, best for shopping and eating like a local. This place became touristic and festive in the evening. I found Chinese people love fun and laughter; they all together in a group enjoy strolling around, shop, eat and talk a lot hehe.
Day 4: Suzhou, Huangshan
Suzhou to Huangshan scenic high-speed train ride, Tunxi Old Street
The fourth day after a buffet breakfast at the hotel, I left Suzhou for Huangshan. I took a high-speed train from Suzhou North Railway Station or SuzhouBei Railway Station. Three hours train journey from Suzhou to Huangshan was scenic and comfortable.
I reached HuangshanBei Railway Station in the afternoon for two-night stay in the city.
After arriving at the hostel, I booked day tours for the next two days. In the evening strolled around Tunxi Old Street. I joined one of my hostel mates, and we took a public bus to reach the destination. The bus service was good and best for budget travelers.
We had dinner at one local restaurant. The restaurant owner was too curious and took selfies with us. It is the typical scenario in China, hehe.
Day 5: Huangshan
The fifth day was for Ancient Hong village or Hongcun village visit in Hongcun Town. After breakfast from the hostel, I joined a group tour to explore the most picturesque Hong village that belongs to southern Anhui Province. It was a bus tour, and the roadside landscape was fantastic.
The Chinese Hongcun village is like a canvas and seems like many artists lovingly painted each corner of this village. Many residences from Ming and Qing Dynasties are there in the village. You’ll see many artists or art students paint or practice paintings on a canvas here.
Both Hongcun and Xidi villages are listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The action film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, was filmed in Hongcun.
The local guide explained all about the Hong village in Chinese, and there was no English-speaking guide.
Day 6: Huangshan, Guilin
On the sixth day after breakfast, there was a tour to Huangshan Mountain or Yellow Mountain. It is the top tourist attraction in Huangshan and also the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can reach the top of the mountains via cable car. Watching the sunrise is best from Yellow Mountain. But only possible if you stay in a hotel nearby the mountain.
I had a memorable goodbye with cute gifts as a token of love from the Koala Youth Hostel.
In the evening, I had a flight for Guilin with Air Guilin from Huangshan Tunxi Airport. But the flight was detailed three times and could reach Guilin at last after 4 AM local time. Just for two hours journey had to wait so long in the airport.
Day 7: Guilin
Two Rivers and Four Lakes, Rong Lake Scenery Area
The stunning mountainous view from the rooftop of the Old Place Hostel made my morning. I kept my seventh day in China to see one of the most famous scenic spots of Guilin,
Two Rivers and Four Lakes. And mainly explored by walking the Scenery Area of Rong Lake.
The Two Rivers (Lijiang River, Peach Blossom River) and Four Lakes – Rong Lake, Shan Lake, Gui Lake, Mulong Lake form the most beautiful scenery in Downtown Guilin. There are total of 19 famous bridges and built to strengthen the scenic area.
Glass Bridge, Mid-lake Island, Beidou Bridge, Ancient Banyan Twin Bridges, Ancient Southern Gate, Rongxi Bridge, Yingbin Bridge are some of the beautiful spots worth visiting around the Rong Lake Scenery Area.
It was lovely to stroll around, so many beautiful walkways – so lavish green is the Guilin city. I loved to see how nicely protected the grass and trees. Later I had a delicious lunch with Italian Pizza from the on-site restaurant of the hostel. Each bite was so yum!
Elephant Hill Scenic Area and Sun and Moon Towers are some of the city’s top sightseeing places. Guilin by night comes out so charming for Two Rivers and Four Lakes. And so, after evening, cruising is a popular activity around this scenic spot.
Day 8: Guilin
Li River Cruise, Yangshuo, Shangri-La Theme Park
On the eighth day, I took Guilin’s scenic route to Yangshuo for a cruise trip down to the famous Li River. The Lijiang River cruising is fascinating for the stunning Karst mountains and river sight views.
Li River Karst mountains scene is there on 20 Yuan banknote. Bamboo Raft Cruise is popular on the Li River.
Then we visited Shangri-La Theme Park from Yangshuo County. Shangri-La’s viewpoint with the backdrop of the Karst Peaks is too scenic. Simply a beautiful countryside surrounding mountains, rivers, bridges, houses. We enjoyed a short boat ride and got to know the story and local customs behind the beautiful spot Shangri-La in Guilin.
This countryside whole day group tour was from Guilin to Yangshuo and Shangri-La guided by English speaking guide.
If you keep one more day, it is best to go with Longji Terraced Field tour out of Guilin city.
Day 9: Guilin, Xi’an
Lianhu Road, Muslim Street
On the ninth day morning, I was left for Xi’an from Guilin. The road is so scenic with the mountain view that leads to the beautiful Guilin Liangjiang International Airport. It was lovely to fly with Air Chang’an. Within two hours arrived at the Xi’an Xianyang International Airport for three days trip to the northern cultural city Xi’an in China.
In the afternoon moved around local markets on Lianhu Road. I loved to check mainly seasonal fruit stalls. There are also many clothing stores, best to shop and eat on a budget.
Later in the evening visited some food markets of the famous Muslim Quarter of Xi’an Muslim Street. And tasted noodles and fresh Pomegranate juice from one food stall. I decided to go for a street food tour another day to explore this street known as Bei Yuan Men Muslim Culture Street.
For the next day, I booked all for the Xi’an Terra Cotta tour.
Day 10: Xi’an
Fortifications of Xi’an, Terracotta Figures Factory, Furniture Museum, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum
On the tenth day, I joined a group tour by bus to explore the top Xi’an city attraction Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We stopped at one Terra-cotta Figures Factory to see the process of making terracotta sculptures. This factory is also connected with one Furniture Museum where showcases all furniture from Ming Dynasty.
Terracotta Army was built in the third century BCE but first discovered by some local farmers in 1974. One farmer is still alive, and his name is Yang Ji De. He has a restaurant on the site. We had our first lunch at that farmer’s restaurant before visiting Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum.
More than 8,000 terracotta figures were built under China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang by millions of laborers. It was all to protect his life after death. Not only laborers but also many artisans had been involved in Terracotta Warrior’s construction.
Interestingly, each figure of the Terracotta Army is different and very detailed. No way to find any similarity. The entire mausoleum site is a museum for further research and protection.
Day 11: Xi’an
Bei Yuan Men Muslim Culture Street, Flea Markets, Xi’an Great Mosque, Drum Tower, Bell Tower
On the eleventh day enjoyed Xi’an city tour by walking to explore nearby city attractions. It was fun to try various Xi’an foods from Bei Yuan Men Muslim Culture Street. Both sides of the 1100-meter-long street are lined with many delicious and halal food. There are also many fruit stalls best for fresh Chinese fruits and juices.
At the end of this street will take you to visit the Drum Tower, flea markets, and the Great Mosque of Xi’an.
The popular tourist attraction Bell Tower is also possible to explore on foot, located very close to North Avenue.
Day 12: Xi’an, Beijing
Qianmen Street, Dashilan Pedestrian Street
On the twelfth day, I had to leave Xi’an for Beijing. The best way was to take the subway very close to the hostel to reach Xi’an North Railway Station. It took four and half hours to reach Beijing West Railway Station.
My last three days in China kept for Beijing’s ancient and historical city to visit several UNESCO Heritage Sites, including the Wonder of the World Great Wall of China.
In the afternoon, it was fun to walk along cute alleys or hutongs of Qianmen Street. It is a famous pedestrian street built in Ming and Qing Dynasties.
There are many oriental decorated hotels, traditional courtyard residences, markets, and restaurants in each hutong. You may also go for an old hutong tour by pedicab.
I had also moved around Dashilan Pedestrian Street, best for budget shopping and eating.
Later I booked Beijing city sightseeing tour and Great Wall tour for the next two days.
Day 13: Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Consultation Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Temple of Heaven, Pearl House, Summer Palace
The thirteenth-day Beijing city sightseeing tour started from the historic Tiananmen Square located in the Beijing city center. The square contains the Mausoleum of the former chairman of the People’s Republic of China Mao Zedong or Mao Tse Tung, the National Museum of China, the Monument to the People’s Heroes, and the Great Hall of the People.
Forbidden City is the ancient imperial palace from Ming and Qing dynasties from 1420 to 1912. No one could enter the palace besides royal families and high officials, so the name is Forbidden City. Now Forbidden City is the most visited Palace Museum in China. More than one million art pieces are there for the visitors to explore at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Then our tour guide took us to visit one Consultation Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine to know all about Traditional Chinese Medicine. We got a free consultation with a foot massage.
After lunch, we visited the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, which represents ancient Chinese culture. This beautiful temple complex is the UNESCO World Heritage Site built during the dynasties of Ming and Qing for annual prayer ceremonies to Heaven for a good harvest.
We visited one Pearl House where showcases various products of original Pearl and jewelry. I bought one Pearl locket.
Then we visited the beautiful Summer Palace of the Qing Dynasty. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the former imperial garden and surrounded by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake.
Summer Palace is a scenic spot consists of lakes, gardens, pavilions, palaces, halls, temples, and bridges. The gorgeous 17-Arch Bridge in Kunming Lake is one of the top attractions of the Summer Palace.
Day 14: Beijing
National Stone Place, Minh Tombs, Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, Chinese Tea House
The fourteenth day morning left for a guided tour to visit first the Tombs of Ming in the Tianshou Mountain. On the way, we first stopped at one Jade Shop, a National Stone Place, to know the importance of the jade stone to the Chinese peoples. Jade is a stone of longevity for them, and interesting to see various crafts on the stone.
Tombs of Ming are a collection of thirteen tombs of the Ming Dynasty. There are burial chambers of thirteen emperors at the underground palace of the Ming Tombs. Mausoleums were built by the emperors of the Ming Dynasty for their ‘Heavenly Life.’ The site has also been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After a delicious Chinese lunch, we finally visit the New Seven Wonders of the World Great Wall of China. This longest Great Wall became the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
We explored the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. I took the cable car to go up and down. It is also possible to hike and reach the section. The view is fantastic, and I enjoyed walking up and down the stairs.
China tour is incomplete without taking a sip of Chinese tea, the national drink of China. The last stop was to visit one Tea House to learn about top must-try Tea in China. They showed us the process of tea making and gave us to taste. I also bought several types of Chinese Tea.
At night I had some shopping from Dashilan Shopping Street, and it was my last day in China.
The following day left Beijing for Singapore by collecting all good memories from my 14 days solo trip to China.
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Any other top tips to add for a trip to China? Comment your China travel experiences below!
Nafisa Habib loves nature and often got fascinated by old beautiful architecture. Here she is with My Own Way To Travel to share her adventures on the road. To her nothing is so interesting than exploring new destinations around. And knowing a new culture and meeting new peoples on the road? Oh, yeah she just loves that too.