Are you going to take a tour of China and you have absolutely no idea where to go (apart on the Great wall)?

Here we propose a trip to mix the most classic places with other more exotic but absolutely wonderful! A tour of China: Shanghai – Guilin – Chengdu – Beijing.

To find flights from city to city we recommend www.ctrip.com  available also in Spanish (hopefully also in Italian soon).

First stop: SHANGHAI

The most important financial city of China, and perhaps of the entire world, is a great point of arrival from Europe and the United States, especially because it is easy to find very cheap flights, to a minimum of 480 euro round trip (this is what we paid with Swiss Air from Madrid). This huge city reminds us the futuristic metropolis of Blade Runner, Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. There towering skyscrapers that defy the sky are surrounded by a huge anteater of old dilapidated houses, markets and shops of all kinds, street restaurants that appear only in the night, and scooters whizzing from every corner regardless of any rule!

shanghai by night

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From here you can easily reach by train the beautiful Suzhou, the “Venice of China”, and the ancient village of Zhouzhuang.

From Shanghai you can find flights to any Chinese city, as Guilin, where you can visit the breathtaking views offered by the Karst Mountains. We suggest to book with ctrip.com to continue the tour of China: Shanghai – Guilin – Chengdu – Beijing, In October we found a Juneyao Airlines flight for only 48 euro each person!

Suzhou

Suzhou

Second stop: The karst mountains of Guilin and Yangshuo; The rice terraces of Longsheng.

Don’t you know what are the Karst Mountains of Guilin and Yangshuo?

Very easy: if you are in China take a banknote of 20 RMB and look at the imprinted design!

These unique mountains, emerging one after the other, look like many mushrooms sprouting from the earth. The panorama offered is composed by a series of lines that cross each other in an endless and almost unreal way, looking more like the drawing of a child than the incredible work of mother Nature.

If heaven exists and it has various forms, this is definitely one of his landscapes on earth.

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yangshuo

Guilin, certainly fascinating, is the port from where you can take the ferry to cruise the Li River. What we suggest instead is to drop Guilin, and go directly from the airport to Yangshuo. There in two days you can visit the most important attractions of the area, and on the third day move 170 km north to reach the rice fields of Longsheng.

Longsheng. Picture by Severin.stalder

Also there the view offered is amazing: hundreds of rice terraces, built on the mountains, twisting like snakes and creating a wonderful mosaic of geometric curves.

Be careful! Any time of the year offers a different view: For example in May, when the rice fields will be flooded by the rain, the reflex of the light on the water will offer the perfect composition for the best photos of your life; or in September the rice grown up will look like gold on the highlands. We recommend you not to go in October because at that time the rice will have been harvested.

From Guilin the Tour of China: Shanghai – Guilin – Chengdu – Beijing continues with a flight Guilin – Chengdu, always booked with www.ctrip.com.

Third stage: Chengdu, the last Pandas’ refuge and the Leshan Giant Buddha

Chengdu, capital of the province of Sichuan, offers many glimpses of ancient China and some of the finest Buddhist and Taoist temples, like the Wenshu Temple. The main attraction of this beautiful city of 7 million inhabitants, is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This is the most important centre for the protection of this animal, symbol of the fight against the extinction of wild animals. Now this animal can be considered symbol of China itself, even more than the imperial dragon. In this centre you can see the giant pandas from birth to adulthood, and have close encounters with the very nice red pandas!

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Another important attraction “close” to Chengdu (2 ½ hours by bus) is the Giant Buddha of Leshan, the biggest Buddha carved in stone, 71 meters high!

Budda After Chengdu you can finally reach the last stage of the Tour of China: Shanghai – Guilin – Chengdu – Beijing. From Chengdu to Beijing the flight takes 2 hours and a half, and with Sichuan Airlines we spent 122 euro each.

Fourth stage: BEIJING

Beijing, the capital. Apart for the high pollution that sticks on your face, it is surely the most beautiful city in China. 4 or 5 days is the minimum stay to visit this immense concentration of art. Think that, for example, you need a whole day to visit one of the many sections of the Great Wall or another day for the Forbidden City. Also remember that most of the attractions and museums close at 16.30 – 17! Between them we remind you the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and for those interested in the history of the Chinese revolution the National Museum of China or the Military Museum.

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This tour of China: Shanghai – Guilin – Chengdu – Beijing is obviously just suggesting you a possible schedule for your first visit in China, but of course you can modelling it according to your needs and passions. We hope to return soon to visit more of that immensity that still remains to be seen, as the mountains of Zhangjiajie, the Hukuo waterfalls, the terracotta warriors of Xi’an (yes we have not chosen them for our first trip!), returning to the Great Wall of China to visit one of the many sections that we have not seen, as the submerged part of Huanghuacheng.

Thanks for reading and have a good trip!