China is booming – rapid modernization, improved infrastructure, tourism campaigns and the Olympics in 2008 have all helped to open this vast country up to the mass travel market. China is a fascinating destination with bustling cities like Beijing and Shanghai, spectacular sights and also amazing food.
Find inspiration for the best things to do if you would like to book a holiday, travel, go backpacking or take a gap year in China.
Get information, tips, itineraries and inspiration for visiting China.
There are daily international flights into places like Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Book in advance to secure the best deals.
There are so many locations you might want to add to your itinerary including the ancient capital - Xian which is located in Central China. Here you will get to visit a museum of the Terracotta warriors and horses. Some say this is the eighth marvel in the world. There is a 2,000 year history here. The three terracotta pits face east. Eight thousand terracotta warriors, horses and 40,000 bronze weapons give the feel that soldiers are guarding Xian. While visiting make sure you see the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and the Famen Temple. The architecture will amaze you. There is also a nice dinner show with talented dancers performing.
In Beijing you definitely take time to see the Summer Palace. It has amazing parks and phenomenal views. The Summer Palace is an inviting recreational park for everyone. While there you should paddle boat across the lake and take pictures of the amazing views of Summer Palace and Longevity Hill. You also have the option to visit the Tower of Buddhist Incense and to climb Longevity Hill to the Summer Palace. The Forbidden City is is the largest and best-preserved ancient building in China. There are 800 buildings and 9,000 rooms in the Forbidden City museum. The architecture is formed in such a way that shows harmony in life.
Other places you might want to add to your itinerary include Shanghai and Hong Kong. If you are looking to get off the beaten track you might want to head to the Yangzte River Valley. When you visit this area, you will be afforded the opportunity to see pagodas, and the gateway to the Three Gorges. While taking a cruise trip, you can partake in shore excursions and get a better view of the dams.
There are so many things to do and places to see in China and we highly recommend booking a gap year program to experience the highlights. We list trips and programs with the worlds leading gap year companies where you can visit or work in places like Beijing, X'ian, Shanghai and Yunan.
If you would like to visit China but are worried about the language barrier we recommend taking an organised program. This will be more expensive than traveling independently but you will get to see exciting places, travel in a group with others and have a safe and fun gap year experience. Most gap year programs will require you to be aged 18+ and also open minded to living and working in a new country. There are start dates every month and most placements need to be booked in advance.
You can also search adventure trips where you can visit places throughout the country. From small group adventures to day breaks by bike, these trips offer a great way to experience new places in China with other travelers and a local guide. China can be a difficult country to travel in, the language is tough to pick up and also the size and diversity of locations can seem daunting. Traveling on a gap year program takes all the hassle away meaning you can enjoy the best experience possible and have a lot of fun.
Most gap year jobs and programs in China are open to all nationalities and you can apply with a friend / partner. For most structured programs you will need to pay a fee, this usually includes placements, transfers, accommodation, meals and in-country support. Accommodation is usually provided in the form of a shared house or hostel dorm, there are also cultural home-stays available where you can stay with a local family. On most programs you will work with local staff and also other international participants so you will not be alone.
Have you spent your gap year in China? Would you like to share advice or your experience? Contact us today.
"I decided to take a gap year to Asia and booked a flight to Shanghai from London. This was one of the longest flights of my life! China is amazing but a big culture shock so be aware of this. From the language, culture and food - everything is different. Be open minded and you will really enjoy the experience. Be sure to visit Beijing, Shanghai, X'ian, Chengdu - all facsinating destinations." - Paul, UK
"When I began to look into volunteer projects for my gap year in China, I decided on teaching English as I wanted to do something I am passionate about within another culture. However I wanted to experience a culture that would teach me something too and I had only read about China in textbooks. As I researched, it became apparent that the chance for a Chinese student to learn conversational English is invaluable. I wanted to share what I could and I knew it would be rewarding to potentially impact on a student’s future, even in the smallest way. Yet I was equally, if not more excited at the prospect of what the students would teach me and what I would find out about a country that still is, to an extent, shrouded in mystery." - Emily Ferris, UK
"I spent a year in China with Project Trust and it changed my life. I made friends for life and experienced a culture which is unlike anything I had seen before" - Harrison, UK
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