I travelled this ‘loop’ route in August 2007 with my partner; it is a relaxed 3 week itinerary that hits a lot of the major tourist sites and cities. Guilin would be a good ‘add in’ to this itinerary if you can squeeze it in.
In order to make the most of your time in China, I recommend travelling by overnight train from place to place. We booked our trains a couple of days in advance and the majority of the time, we got the class of ticket and time we wanted. We booked all our train tickets through our hostels due to the language barrier at train stations.
1. Hong Kong (4 – 5 days)
Allow at least 4 days to explore Hong Kong, it is an amazing city with lots to see and do!
2. Shanghai (3 – 4 days)
Shanghai is a great city and full of surprises – it is the Venice of China.
3. Beijing (4 days)
Beijing is home to a number of high profile ‘unmissable’ sights including the Great Wall of China, and Tiananmen Square.
4. Xi’an (3 days)
Xi’an is home to the ‘Terracotta Warriors’ as well as its historical walls.
5. Yangtse Cruise (4 days)
The Yangste cruise was one of the most enjoyable aspects of my trip through China as we travelled on what felt like a very ‘local’ cruise with lots of Chinese tourists. It felt like we were really getting under the skin of China.
Our cruise started in Chongqing and called at Fengdu, Wujiang (lesser 3 gorges), Yichang (giant 3 gorges), and Wuhan.
We booked our cruise through a local travel agent in Chongqing and we paid no more than £100 each for a first class (self catering).
6. Hong Kong
In order to get from Wuhan to Hong Kong you will need to take an overnight to Guangzhou, then take the metro to East Guangzhou and catch a train to Kowloon.