We got a 1 month visa from the Chinese embassy in Nepal, that in itself was a bit of an adventure (a frustrating adventure!).
I had done quite a bit of research before going to China, depending what time of year you visit, trains and flights can fill up pretty fast, it’s a good idea to have major journeys like overnight trains pre-booked a while in advance.
For more information on visa requirements, booking trains and anything else you need to know, click HERE.
There were certainly a few mishaps along the way but since when does traveling go completely to plan? It’s all part of the experience and nothing could ruin our time in this amazing country.
Our fist stop was Chengdu to see the pandas, I’d planned on 3 nights there and 2 nights at the Juizhagou Valley National Park, though our hotel receptionist in Chengdu advised us that due to an earthquake a few months ago, the park was partly closed and only allowed a certain amount of visitors each day, it was fully booked for a month in advance, we were grateful that we didn’t waste a 7 hour bus journey each way to be disappointed. We ended up staying in Chengdu for 5 nights.
From there we flew to Guilin, I had planned on staying there for 3 nights then flying to Shanghai for 3 nights, though our Shanghai flight was cancelled so we took one the next day, we stayed in Guilin 4 nights and only 2 nights in Shanghai.
We flew to Zhangjiajie next and spent 3 of my favourite nights in China, your ticket into the park lasts 4 days but we felt we had seen enough after 3 days.
A short flight to Xi’an for 3 nights, 1 awful night and 2 fantastic nights thanks to a hotel disaster, the only night this year that we spent without anywhere to sleep. Luckily hotels.com sorted out the issue and put us into a beautiful hotel for the next 2 nights completely free of charge.
From Xi’an we started our journey west with our first overnight sleeper train to Jiayuguan, the train was good fun and totally worth it to see the Great Wall at Jiayuguan. We stayed 2 nights in the city.
We took a bullet train to Zhangye to see the Rainbow Mountains and stayed 2 nights, it was the least touristy place we visited in China which was fun, we spotted a few locals taking photos of us while they thought we weren’t looking.
So there you have it, our 29 night China itinerary, China is so big that there’s no way to see it ALL on 1 month but we think our itinerary gave us a good overview and included all the major sights.