If all you know about China is fried noodles and fortune cookies, then find a cheap flight to China and start exploring one of the most unique countries in the world. Some of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of our time originated from China, and many of their ancient beliefs are still practiced around the world today. Still, the country is modernizing at a faster-than-usual pace. It’s likely on your flight to China that most of the items keeping travelers occupied during the flight were produced and manufactured here.
In 1949 the Communist Party of China took control of the country, which became the People’s Republic of China. Today, the country boasts more of everything than one can possibly imagine. First time travelers booking airline tickets to China will revel in China’s imperial landscape – The Great Wall, the Yangtze River, the Silk Road, Tiananmen Square, and 33 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Step off your flight to China and step into a world where anything is possible. Thanks to the millions of travelers who book flights to China every year, whether for business or pleasure, China remains one of the world’s greatest travel destinations.
China is a very large country, with climates ranging from tropical and subtropical climates in the south to subarctic in the north and the Himalayas. The southern coast has heavy rains, with lighter rains in the west. The monsoon season lasts from July through September and affects the southern coasts. The north has warm, dry days and cool evenings while the south has cooler but more humid days.
Best Time to Fly to China
The peak domestic travel seasons, when the Chinese travel, include Chinese New Year, Labor Day, and National Day. The New Year occurs in January / February. The Labor Day and National Day dates vary, but are around May 1 and October 1. Hong Kong’s high season is October through December. Despite the heat and humidity, summer is the peak season to book flights to China for a tour of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Hong Kong’s off seasons are summer and winter. Conventions and trade fairs, however, book the best hotels, particularly in March and April. Winter in Beijing and Shanghai is the off season, and hotels offer substantial discounts. The best time to visit is autumn when the weather is gorgeous and there are few tourists.
Getting around China
Flying is the best way to cover large distances in China. With more than 470 airports and international and regional carriers, China flights are frequent and reduced fares available. Buses are available and sometimes provide faster service than trains. Trains range in service from express with all the services to slower and no-frills.
Foreign visitors are allowed to drive only within the city limits of Beijing and Shanghai and in Hong Kong. But few visitors feel renting a car is worth the hassles and headaches of driving in Chinese traffic, not to mention trying to park.
Major cities have an abundance of taxis and public transportation systems. Taxis tend to be inexpensive and popular with visitors. Hong Kong’s public transportation is excellent and includes ferries, the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), Light Rail Transit, and double-decker buses. Shanghai’s and Beijing’s subways provide fast transport around town and are crowded during rush hour.
Bicycling is popular in Beijing and Shanghai, but watch out for traffic! In Hong Kong and Xi’an cycling is considered suicidal in the more heavily trafficked areas.
The following chart gives approximate journey times fromBeijing
(in hours and minutes) to other major cities and towns in China.
China Travel Information
- A capitalist enclave in Communist China, Hong Kong is an Asian financial center and a mix of Western and Asian cultures. Hong Kong Island is action central for finance, luxury shopping, and nightlife, with beaches just a bus ride away. Kowloon has a whirlwind of shopping choices and most of the historic sights. The New Territories has lush parks, walks, and gardens.
- An intriguing mix of new and old, Beijing is a modern capital city - many travelers use their Beijing hotel as a starting point for their travels. Here you can visit the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and sections of the Great Wall of China. The nightlife is diverse with offerings ranging from opera to acrobatics, clubs, and karaoke.
- The largest city in the world, Shanghai’s foremost attraction is commercial activity, but there’s lots to explore, starting with the Shanghai Museum, Bund (waterfront promenade), YuYuan Garden, and colonial neighborhoods. A shopper’s and gourmet’s delight, Shanghai has shops everywhere and restaurants with all styles of Chinese food and international cuisines. The nightlife is alive again with performances, nightclubs, and bars, and you'll only be a stumble away from your Shanghai hotel.
- Once the only city foreigners were allowed to visit in China, Guangzhou is the economic center of the Pearl River Delta. A modern city, Guangzhou has over 150 historical sites including the Nanyue King Mausoleum, Chen family temple, Guangzhou Bowuguan, Six Banyan Temple, and Shamian Island, and plenty of Guangzhou hotels within walking distance to top attractions. The city is also famous for embroidery, local opera, and food.
- An imperial capital for 2,000 years, Xi’an has a fascinating history, elements of which can be seen in the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses, Banpo Site, Goose Pagodas, Bell and Drum towers, Ming city walls, Da Qingzhensi and ancient architecture. The experience of shopping the outdoor antiques market is also popular. A prosperous city with a large student population, Xi’an has a lively nightlife.