Browse our China Itineraries
The world’s most populous country is also one of the most diverse and fascinating. From the open expanse of the Gobi desert to the brightly lit mazes of defining cities such as Shanghai, China defies simple characterization. Trek the ancient Silk Road, explore the imperial beauty of Beijing’s Forbidden City, and enjoy world-class dining and entertainment in trend-setting Hong Kong. Ramble through the countryside for more authentic, traditional culture, and sip a hot cup of tea among rolling rice fields in a tiny mountain village.
As an established China travel agency, Backyard Travel offers tailored China tours that include guided museum and monument tours, outdoor expeditions, cultural explorations of China’s most remote corners, culinary discovery itineraries, and everything in between. With a tailormade China holiday from Backyard Travel, you know you’re getting the most out of the infinite possibilities of travel in China.
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The enormous country of China stretches from the hills and peaks of Inner Mongolia to the beaches on the South China Sea. From east to west, a tailormade China holiday will take you from gleaming cosmopolitan cities on the seacoast to mountaintop temples in Tibet.
In China’s boundless interior, provinces like Sichuan give you opportunities to try mouthwatering regional cuisine, see exciting wildlife, and visit traditional villages. The southern province of Yunnan is known for its still mountain lakes and stunning hills of terraced fields. If you’re a nature lover, you’ll have your fill of exploration with immense caves, drifting rivers, and surreal stone peaks in Hunan province. On the other hand, city lovers can marvel at the sleek skyscrapers and explosive streets of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
Click on a city to discover more about travel in the vast and
I wanted to send you a quick note thanking you and your team for a fantastic trip to China. The guides were outstanding. They both made my family comfortable and at ease and provided a wealth of information along the way.
Mr. Matt Paine (China, Mar 2015)
Thank you and your team for well-done job.The trip was unforgettable and we have a lot of pleasant emotions. Once again lots of thanks.
Mr and Mrs. Janis and Marite (China, Nov 2014)
Excellent. Maeve at Backyard Travel was personally involved in arranging our honeymoon - an experience that would not have been possible without Backyard Travel’s knowledge and support.
Mr. Deron Pease (China and Japan, Oct 2014)
Some Questionsabout our Tours of China
Visiting mainland China will require a visa for most nationalities, but obtaining one is a relatively straightforward process. A tourist (L) visa will allow you to travel freely throughout most of China, while visits to Hong Kong and Macau won’t require a visa at all. If you’re planning to enter Tibet, you’ll need a Tibet Entry Permit—we’ll make sure you get one when you book your Tibet tour with Backyard Travel.
You can apply for a visa for mainland China at a Chinese embassy or consulate in your country before traveling. The required documents will depend on your nationality and the embassy from which you apply, but nearly everyone will need a proof of hotel accommodation and a copy of your return air ticket, or a letter of invitation from a person or company in China. When you book your China tour, we can assist you with all of these documents. Make sure your passport has two available blank pages and is valid for six months after your travel dates. The price of a visa will vary from nationality to nationality.
Almost every major city in China has an international airport, and with air route development expanding annually, there are more and more long-haul direct flights to China. The main international entrances into mainland China are through its three major international airports in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai.
China offers a number of domestic carriers to get you from city to city in this vast country. Air China, China Eastern, China Southern, and Hainan Airlines are all established carriers, although more and more carriers and routes seem to pop up all the time.
Overland travel, even for long-haul trips, is also possible in China with its far-reaching network of trains and buses.
Because of China’s vast and varied topographies and microclimates, it’s difficult to characterize seasons, as conditions vary from place to place. In general, monsoon season arrives in April and May in the southern regions. It then spreads northward in July and August. All told, monsoon season is usually over by the end of October.
We’d love to give you an accurate, specific explanation on what kind of weather to expect when you make your customized China tour with Backyard Travel. So, if you’re planning a trip, just contact us and let us know when you plan to travel. We’ll give you the best recommendations for you.
There are a hundred possible answers to this question—it all depends on where you want to go and what experiences you’re seeking. Ranging from the subarctic climes of Harbin to the sweltering tropics of the south, and from the slick urban scene in Hong Kong to the wind-swept wilderness of the Tibetan plateau, China offers a rainbow of different experiences. We can help you customize your itinerary to reflect the best of China based on your available travel dates or the regions you’d like to visit. Just let our experienced China guides know your preferences, and we’ll help you create an unforgettable, tailor-made tour of China fitting your specifications.
One additional note to the wise: Transportation systems are strained to maximum capacity during Chinese holidays, when millions of people travel home to visit family and friends. Our China Travel Specialists will take this into consideration when helping you plan your trip.
China offers a dizzying array of bucket-list destinations—the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, and the karst mountains of Xinjiang—but these are exactly what all the other tourists want to see. That’s why we at Backyard Travel pride ourselves on giving you authentic experiences in China that doesn’t come with crowds. Even in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, we can (and do) take you off the beaten track. Whether it’s the hutongs of Beijing by sidecar, a walking tour of Shanghai’s French concession, or the cave houses of Xi’an, we can give you a more ‘insider’ experience within the major destinations. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to see China’s hidden gems, we some ideas for you.
Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, in China’s deep south, is home to a unique culture that once reigned in the Kingdom of Mengbanaxi, which translates to “ideal and wonderful paradise.” Here you’ll find banyans, wild elephants, and ethnic minorities staying as true as they can to their traditions. In the Western Guansu region, you can lose the tourist hordes by trekking into Tibet near Mount Tianzhou. Or float down a canal in Wuzhen Water Town, a veritable Chinese Venice with an ancient history and innumerous charming bridges. We also love Pingyao, an ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage Site that will transport you back to the heyday of the Qing Dynasty.
We’ve got ideas to spare. If you’re dreaming of seeing China off the beaten track in a certain region or city, just contact our local Travel Specialists to get a China itinerary tailor-made to fit your personal travel style.
The wealth of sights, sounds, tastes and activities available in China makes it a great destination for family travel. You can couple kid-friendly activities (such as outdoor activities, exploring museums, or visiting China’s famous pandas) with more adult pursuits (cooking, tasting local teas and spirits, or history walks) almost every day. We also offer family China tours, from light treks on the Great Wall, to treasure hunts through the Forbidden City, to staying in cave houses in Xian. Let us help you create a custom China trip that will delight everyone in your family, even if you’re bringing multiple generations!
Although you can use your credit card in every major city in China, be warned that they won’t be accepted in many rural areas. ATMs also abound in every major city; credit cards can also be used to withdraw money at an ATM as long as the machine displays one of the logos on your credit card.
China has three mobile service carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, all of which offer SIM cards and calling credit. Although the price of SIMs vary (some come free with 100 RMB of credit, while some will run about 150 RMB for the card but includes 50 RMB of credit), they are ubiquitous and available at most major airports, mobile carrier stores, newspaper stands, malls, and large grocery stores like Tesco Lotus and Carrefoure. The three carriers offer 2G and 3G SIMs with smart-phone ability, as well as SIMs with no data.
Chinese cuisine is just as varied as the regions that make up this beautiful mosaic of a country. You may have heard the humorous saying that in China, anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is edible. Although this is far from the truth, regional dishes can range from the tame (steamed buns) to the surprising (fried sea slugs). You might be most familiar with Cantonese cuisine, such as dim sum, from the Guangzhou and Hong Kong region. This cuisine is not overly spicy and emphasizes freshly cooked ingredients and seafood. Sichuan cuisine on the other hand is famously hot and spicy, and offers culinary adventurers a lot to try. When traveling to Beijing, Peking duck is not to be missed. China really does offer something for everyone, even the less adventurous, as international cuisine is also readily available in all the major cities.
Tipping is not a common practice in mainland China, although it’s a different story in Hong Kong and Macau. As with all Asian destinations, however, you’ll want to tip your guide and driver. We recommend tipping your guide about US$20 to $25 per group per day, and your driver about US$15 to $20 per group per day.
Staff at many high-end, luxury hotels have recently come to expect tips, but it is entirely at your discretion. In Hong Kong or Macau, remember to tip most service providers, such as wait staff, taxi drivers, and hotel porters. Roughly 10 to 15% of the bill is the normal tip amount at fine restaurants in Hong Kong, while rounding the bill up to the nearest whole amount will suffice for inexpensive restaurants and taxi drivers. Hotel porters usually receive about HKD$10 (US$1) per piece of luggage carried.
As with China’s many destinations, accommodations in China also vary greatly, from the boutique hotels to the luxury resort, from family-friendly hotels to the romantic honeymoon suites. You’ll find domestic brands as well as international chains. Although hotels in China tend to be safe, it’s best to make sure that your valuables are secure and hidden. We at Backyard Travel have the local knowledge and inside scoop on the best accommodations in town, and we’re happy to help you find the best fit for your needs and preferences.
There are no required vaccinations for visiting China, but you’ll want to make sure you’re current on all your routine boosters, especially if you’re planning to travel into rural areas. These vaccines include tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B, typhoid, meningococcal meningitis, and Japanese encephalitis. We always strongly recommend having comprehensive medical insurance that covers medical evacuation when traveling anywhere in Asia. Check your government’s travel advisory on China for the most up-to-date information.
China does have a robust underground trade in internationally protected wildlife and natural resources. Before you buy that figurine made of elephant tusk, think about where the item may have come from, even if it’s claimed to be an antique.
When traveling through natural or rural areas, strive for as little environmental impact as possible. With a population of nearly 1.35 billion, China is already struggling to manage the impact of its citizens; don’t add to the struggle.
China is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, and etiquette and traditions are important to the Chinese. Address people with respect, and if you’re invited to someone’s home, bring a small gift, such as a box of tea or a bottle of spirits. Although Western fashions and bright colors are de rigueur all over China, dress styles tend to be more modest for women, so please leave the halter-tops at home.
Please do not bring pens, sweets, chewing gum, etc., to hand out to children, as this encourages begging. Instead, we suggest donating money to a reputable charity of your choice that has a strong mission of helping disadvantaged children.
Sights & Experiences
MORE FROM OUR TRAVEL JOURNAL
The Chinese are hardworking, ingenious, festive people, fiercely proud of what their country has accomplished and optimistic about the future. In both small villages and big cities, you’ll find curious, engaged people eager to share their culture.
Across this colossal country, the climate varies from frigid Himalayan tundra to breezy tropical coasts. Summer temperatures can be sweltering, while winters are dry and quite chilly. In much of China, downpours are common during the summer rainy season.
China’s big cities offer entertainment options ranging from live music and trendy nightclubs to down-to-earth ping-pong and karaoke bars. For more traditional fare, explore Chinese opera performances, elusive shadow puppetry, and riveting orchestras of folk instruments.
In addition to conventional beliefs such as Taoism and Confucianism, China incorporates diverse influences such as Tibetan Buddhism and the millennial history of its southern hill tribes. China is a simmering cultural melting pot, constantly blending old and new.
Especially in the east, Mandarin is spoken by the vast majority of Chinese. Regionally, languages such as Cantonese and Shanghainese are also widely spoken. A testament to its staggering cultural diversity, nearly 300 living languages are spoken across China.
Meet the China Team
"WHEREVER YOU GO, GO WITH ALL YOUR HEART"