31 days in China Itinerary

31 days in China Itinerary

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Route & dates

31 days in China Itinerary

Start: Auckland
Fly:  17​h
1
Sanya
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 45​min
2
Zhangjiajie
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h
3
Lijiang
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Shangri-La County
— 1 night
Fly + taxi:  3​h 30​min
5
Lhasa
— 4 nights
Fly:  7​h
6
Dunhuang
— 1 night
Fly:  5​h
7
Xi'an
— 4 nights
Fly:  5​h 45​min
8
Datong
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
9
Beijing
— 4 nights
Fly:  4​h 15​min
10
Shanghai
— 4 nights
Fly:  15​h 45​min
End: Auckland

3
nights
Sanya

Sanya ©
The climate and coastline bring visitors from far and wide on vacations to Sanya, with its 40 km (25 mi) of shoreline almost entirely devoted to tourism.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Yalong Bay and Nanshan Temple. Get outdoors at Sanya Daxiaodongtian Area and Sanya Zhujiang Nantian Spa. Next up on the itinerary: stroll around Luhuitou Park and enjoy the sand and surf at Dadonghai Beach.

To see where to stay, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Sanya visit planning website .

Auckland, New Zealand to Sanya is an approximately 17-hour flight. You'll gain 4 hours traveling from Auckland to Sanya due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Auckland in July, things will get warmer in Sanya: highs are around 36°C and lows about 28°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Mon) so you can travel to Zhangjiajie.

Things to do in Sanya

Parks Nature Beaches
Find places to stay Jul 1 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Yalong Bay ©
Yalong Bay
Nanshan Temple ©
Nanshan Temple
Sanya Daxiaodongtian Area ©
Sanya Daxiaodongtian Area

3
nights
Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie ©
The city of Zhangjiajie has become particularly well known for its striking surrounding landscape.
Take a break from the city and head to Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area of Zhangjiajie and Tianzi Mountain. Spend the 5th (Tue) exploring nature at Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park.

To see ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Zhangjiajie road trip app .

Traveling by flight from Sanya to Zhangjiajie takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and ferry; or do a combination of train and bus. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Lijiang.

Things to do in Zhangjiajie

Parks Nature Tours
Find places to stay Jul 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan

3
nights
Lijiang

Lijiang ©
The cultural capital of the Naxi people, one of the 55 minority ethnic groups in the country, Lijang traces its history back over 800 years, with the city developing from a trading post on the ancient Southern Silk Road.
Get in touch with nature at Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain and Blue Moon Valley. Get some historical perspective at Shuhe Ancient Town and Old Town of Lijiang - China. Spend the 10th (Sun) exploring nature at Three Parallel Rivers National Park. There's more to do: steep yourself in history at Mufu Palace.

To see photos, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Lijiang online trip planner .

Traveling by flight from Zhangjiajie to Lijiang takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In July, daily temperatures in Lijiang can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Shangri-La County.

Things to do in Lijiang

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain
Find places to stay Jul 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain ©
Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain
Shuhe Ancient Town ©
Shuhe Ancient Town
Old Town of Lijiang - China
Old Town of Lijiang - China

1
night
Shangri-La County

Shangri-La County ©
Known previously as Zhongdian, Shangri-La County gained its current name in an attempt by city officials to promote tourism.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Mon): explore the stunning scenery at Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia).

To see where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Shangri-La County visit planning tool .

Traveling by car from Lijiang to Shangri-La County takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Mon) so you can travel to Lhasa.

Things to do in Shangri-La County

Parks Nature
Find places to stay Jul 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia) ©
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Xia)

4
nights
Lhasa

The capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa possesses a wealth of Tibetan Buddhist sites of historical and cultural importance.
Get some cultural insight at Jokhang Temple and Barkhor Street. Step off the beaten path and head to Off-Road Tours and Sera Monastery. Next up on the itinerary: steep yourself in history at Norbulingka (Precious Stone Garden), get outside with Outdoor Activities, take in the spiritual surroundings of Nechung Monastery and Temple, and step into the grandiose world of Potala Palace.

For other places to visit, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Lhasa itinerary maker .

Getting from Shangri-La County to Lhasa by combination of flight and taxi takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or drive. July in Lhasa sees daily highs of 26°C and lows of 14°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Fri) early enough to travel to Dunhuang.

Things to do in Lhasa

Historic Sites Tours Outdoors
Find places to stay Jul 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Off-Road Tours
Jokhang Temple ©
Jokhang Temple
Barkhor Street ©
Barkhor Street

1
night
Dunhuang

Dunhuang ©
Once a vital stop-off on the Silk Road trade route, Dunhuang today offers travelers of all persuasions a place to rest in the middle of the desert.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Sat): Head underground at Mogao Caves, admire the masterpieces at Dunhuang Grotto Art Protection,Examination and Exhibition Center, and then take in the awesome beauty at Mingsha Shan - Echoing-Sand Mountain.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Dunhuang trip builder .

Fly from Lhasa to Dunhuang in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sat) so you can travel to Xi'an.

Things to do in Dunhuang

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Jul 15 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Mogao Caves ©
Mogao Caves
Mingsha Shan - Echoing-Sand Mountain ©

4
nights
Xi'an

Xi'an
Historians often describe Xi'an, capital city for over a dozen dynasties, as the birthplace of Chinese civilization.
You'll explore and learn at Shaanxi History Museum and Tang Bo Art Museum. Get some historical perspective at Xi'an Mosque and Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta). Step out of Xi'an to go to Huayin and see Mount Huashan, which is approximately 1h 45 min away. And it doesn't end there: get engrossed in the history at The Museum of Qin Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses, delve into the distant past at Xi'an City Wall (Chengqiang), contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Xi'an Bell Tower, and see the interesting displays at Xi'an Museum.

For other places to visit, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our Xi'an journey planner .

Fly from Dunhuang to Xi'an in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or drive. In July, daily temperatures in Xi'an can reach 39°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Wed) early enough to travel to Datong.

Things to do in Xi'an

Historic Sites Museums Parks

Side Trip

Mount Huashan
Find places to stay Jul 16 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Shaanxi History Museum ©
Shaanxi History Museum
Mount Huashan ©
Mount Huashan

2
nights
Datong

Datong ©
The old city of Datong has an interesting and complicated history of development, sacking, and rebuilding.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Thu): explore the ancient world of Shanhua Monastery and then steep yourself in history at Hengshan Hanging Temple (Xuankong si). Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Huayan Temple of Datong and then Head underground at Yungang Grottoes.

To see reviews, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Datong trip planner .

You can fly from Xi'an to Datong in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Fri) early enough to drive to Beijing.

Things to do in Datong

Historic Sites Parks Nature
Find places to stay Jul 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Hengshan Hanging Temple (Xuankong si) ©
Yungang Grottoes ©
Yungang Grottoes
Shanhua Monastery ©
Shanhua Monastery

4
nights
Beijing

Beijing ©
As the political and cultural capital of China, Beijing stands at the heart of Chinese history, buzzing with the energy of its high population density and centuries of importance.
Your inner history buff will appreciate Mutianyu Great Wall and Tiananmen Square (Tiananmen Guangchang). Museum-lovers will get to explore The Palace Museum and 798 Art Zone. There's lots more to do: admire the striking features of Summer Palace (Yiheyuan), contemplate the long history of Ming Tombs (Ming Shishan Ling), contemplate the waterfront views at Back Lakes (Hou Hai), and get a sense of history and politics at Temple of Heaven.

To see maps, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Beijing day trip app .

You can drive from Datong to Beijing in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. July in Beijing sees daily highs of 38°C and lows of 26°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Tue) so you can travel to Shanghai.

Things to do in Beijing

Historic Sites Parks Museums
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Mutianyu Great Wall ©
Mutianyu Great Wall
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan) ©
Summer Palace (Yiheyuan)
The Palace Museum ©
The Palace Museum

4
nights
Shanghai

Shanghai ©
With a nickname like the "Pearl of the Orient," it's not surprising Shanghai offers some of the most rewarding attractions and activities in the Far East.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like The Bund (Wai Tan) and Zhujiajiao Ancient Town. Let the collections at Shanghai Museum (Shanghai Bowuguan) and Suzhou Garden Museum capture your imagination. Change things up with these side-trips from Shanghai: Xitang Ancient Town (in Jiashan County) and Humble Administrator's Garden (in Suzhou). There's lots more to do: take a stroll through Former French Concession, take in nature's colorful creations at Yu Garden (Yuyuan), admire the masterpieces at island6 Arts Center, and take in panoramic vistas at Oriental Pearl Tower (Dongfang Mingzhu).

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and tourist information, use the Shanghai visit app .

Traveling by flight from Beijing to Shanghai takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or drive. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Shanghai when traveling from Beijing in July, with lows around 30°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Sat) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Shanghai

Historic Sites Parks Museums

Side Trips

Suzhou, Xitang Ancient Town
Find places to stay Jul 26 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
The Bund (Wai Tan) ©
The Bund (Wai Tan)
Xitang Ancient Town ©
Xitang Ancient Town
Former French Concession ©
Former French Concession

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