10 Days in China: Best 5 Itineraries for a Unique Tour

If you think one week is not enough to explore the best of China, consider extending your visit to 10 days. We've compiled 5 different trip ideas for 10 days in China: the first China trip, the Silk Road trip, the kids-friendly trip, the Yangtze River trip, and the ethnic culture trip.

Map of Itinerary #1: Shanghai, Guilin, Xi'an and BeijingMap of Itinerary #1: Shanghai, Guilin, Xi'an and Beijing

This is the most classical itinerary, covering both cultural and natural sites that will wow you. It's suitable for all ages, especially if this is your first time in China. We're going through four cities: Shanghai, Guilin, Xi'an, and Beijing.

Best Time for This Itinerary: March to May and August to November

1 to 2Night cruise on Huangpu River; Yu Garden; the former French Concession; Shanghai World Financial CenterShanghai
3 to 5Downtown resorts; Li River cruise; Longsheng Rice TerracesGuilin
6 to 7Terracotta Warriors; handcrafted clay warrior experience; Tang Paradise; Ancient City Wall; Giant Wild Goose PagodaXi'an
8 to 10The Forbidden City; Summer Palace; Jinshanling Great Wall; visit a local family; optional: Temple of HeavenBeijing

Day 1 & 2: Shanghai

On the first day, you will arrive at Shanghai Pudong International Airport. After a short break at the hotel near the Bund, your China tour begins. You can take a night cruise on the Huangpu River and enjoy the light show on the skyscrapers.

On the second morning, visit Yu Garden first, which is right beside the Bund. It's an ancient garden that has more than 400 years of history. You will find beautiful pavilions by the lake in this garden, as well as some rockeries that have unique shapes. After that, you can admire the buildings that blend Chinese and French styles in the former French Concession.

Try Shanghai cuisine for lunch. Generally, Shanghai dishes are a little bit sweeter than other Chinese dishes and are not spicy. If you visit Shanghai during the Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival, visiting Wufangzhai, a classical desert chainstore, is on your top list. The zongzi and mooncakes of Wufangzhai have dozens of flavors, and all are delicious.

After that, visit the Shanghai World Financial Center. It's 492 meters tall and has 104 floors. You can bird-view the whole city on the top floor of this building.

In the afternoon, fly to Guilin. When you arrive, stay in the hotels in the downtown area.

The beautiful view of Li River at duskThe beautiful view of Li River at dusk

Day 3 to 5: Guilin

After a night of resting in Guilin, you are ready to continue your trip. Start your journey by visiting Elephant Trunk Hill in the center of Guilin. It's a renowned natural landmark in Guilin, much like an elephant drinking water from the river. In the afternoon, visit the Reed Flute Cave, a famous limestone cave. Inside the cave, you can explore various chambers with poetic names and enjoy the unique geological wonders.

On the fourth day, take a Li River cruise and enjoy the stunning natural landscape. The Li River flows for about 52 miles from Guilin to Yangshuo County. You will see picturesque scenery on the cruise, including endless hills, steep cliffs, and lush forests. The whole journey takes about 4 hours. When you arrive in Yangshuo, stroll around West Street and get ready for the next day.

On the fifth day, take an express bus to Longsheng County and visit the Longji Rice Terraces. Locals are planting rice on the terraces. In the autumn, the terraces will turn into a sea of golden waves. Longsheng offers a unique ethnic atmosphere due to the presence of numerous ethnic minorities, including Zhuang, Miao, Dong, and Yao.

When you finish your trip, head to the airport and fly to Xi'an.

Day 6 & 7: Xi'an

Start your Xi'an trip by visiting the Terracotta Warriors. These life-sized terracotta statues are built to guard the emperor in the afterlife. At the end of this journey, you can make a clay warrior on your own and bring it home as a souvenir. At night, visit Tang Paradise, a square built in the architectural style of the Tang dynasty. It shows the lives of people in this thriving era.

On the seventh day, bike or hike on the Ancient City Wall. The wall was built in ancient times. It's well-maintained, and even cars can run on it. You can enjoy the historical atmosphere on the wall. After that, visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, a holy site built in 652 AD. It was a relic of the Silk Road.

Your Xi'an trip ends here. Next, you're flying to the last stop: Beijing.

Day 8 to 10: Beijing

Beijing, the biggest city in China, is always worth visiting. On day 8, visit the forbidden city. It was a royal palace in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Now, it's been restored and has become a museum to display antiques. In the afternoon, you can stroll in the Summer Palace, which was once a royal garden. Take a boat on the lake in this garden and enjoy the day.

On the ninth day, take an express bus to visit Jinshanling Great Wall. In the morning, you can admire the Great Wall surrounded by seas of clouds. If it's still early before nightfall after this trip, you can visit the Temple of Heaven, an altar for the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties to pray to God. Now, it's popular among elders because they can do Tai Chi and Kung Fu there.

On the last day of your trip, pay a visit to a local family. You can learn to make dumplings and other traditional Beijing dishes with them. When you finish your meal with them, head to the airport and start your next trip.

Optional Extensions Based on This Itinerary:

Map of Itinerary #2: Best Silk Road TripMap of Itinerary #2: Best Silk Road Trip

If you're a history lover and are curious about the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that started in the north of China, I bet you don't want to miss this itinerary. 10 days is totally enough for an in-depth Silk Road trip. Follow us, and let's explore the colorful history of China in the following six cities.

Best Time for This Itinerary: March to April and late September to November

1Terracotta Warriors; Tang ParadiseXi'an
2 to 3Maijishan Grottoes; Fuxi TempleTianshui
4 to 5Liujiaxia Reservoir; Bingling Temple; White Pagoda HillLanzhou
6 to 7Mati Temple Grottoes; Giant Buddhist Temple; Zhangye Global GeoparkZhangye
8Jiayu Pass and the Great WallJiayuguan
9 to 10Mogao Grottoes; Crescent Spring; Yadan GeoparkDunhuang

Day 1: Xi'an

Let's say you arrive in Xi'an in the morning. You still have enough time to explore the city. The first stop is Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum. In this museum, you will see numerous Terracotta Warriors. Besides, there are other incredible antiques, like ancient armor and weapons. They were found in the tomb of Qinshihuang and are kept well. At night, visit Tang Paradise. You will see many traditional Chinese acrobats in the square. You can even put on ancient Tang dresses and take photos.

The outside view of Maijishan Grottoes in TianshuiThe outside view of Maijishan Grottoes in Tianshui

Day 2 & 3: Tianshui

On the second morning, you will take a bullet train to Tianshui. It's in another province, Gansu Province. It's about noon when you get there. You can have a local meal and rest for a while. However, do not add too much red oil to your meal because it might be too spicy. After the meal, visit Maijishan Grottoes. Dating back to the late Qin Dynasty, these grottoes have a collection of more than seven thousand Buddhist sculptures and one thousand square meters of murals.

On the third day, visit Fuxi Temple. It's built in the Ming dynasty, and it's a historical and cultural temple worshiping Fuxi, a legendary figure in Chinese mythology. After that, move on to Lanzhou, the capital city of Gansu Province.

Day 4 & 5: Lanzhou

On day 4, visit Liujiaxia Reservoir first. It's a dam where the Tao River and the Yellow River meet. You can take a boat to get to Bingling Temple. On the way, admire the unique Danxia landform of the dam and the clear green water.

On the fifth day, hike on White Pagoda Hill, one of the highest points in Lanzhou. This park is named because of the white pagoda in it. You can hike the mountain in the park to admire the pagoda and birdview the city until it's time to set off to Zhangye.

Day 6 & 7: Zhangye

Zhangye is also an important city on the Silk Road and has many historical remnants of it. On the sixth day, you will visit Matisi Grottoes first. Quite different from Mogao Grottoes, Matisi Grottoes houses thousands of caves on a cliff.

After admiring the Buddha statues and murals in the Mati Temple grottos, head to the Giant Buddhist Temple. It's a Buddhist art museum that integrates architecture, murals, sculptures, calligraphy, and historical relics with great significance for studying the cultural exchanges between China and the Western Regions.

On the seventh day, before you take the bullet train to Jiayuguan, visit Zhangye Global Geopark first. Be prepared for the rainbow-colored mountains. We suggest you wear black or other dark clothes because it's the opposite color and won't mix with the background.

When you finish visiting, take a bullet train to Jiayuguan.

Day 8: Jiayuguan

Jiayuguan is a small city named after the Jiayu Pass, which was the first frontier fortress at the western end of the Ming Dynasty Great Wall and a mandatory stop on the way to Dunhuang.

You'll see the spectacular pass tower and the overhanging Great Wall. Either ascending the tower and overlooking the Qilian Mountains or hiking along the broken walls and gazing out at the endless desert, you will suddenly feel a strong sense of the vicissitudes. It's time to head to your final destination, Dunhuang.

Day 9 & 10: Dunhuang

Dunhuang is in the most northwestern part of Gansu. If you go westward, you will enter Xinjiang Province. On the ninth day of your Silk Road trip, you will visit the soul of Dunhuang, the Mogao Grottoes. Inside those grottoes, you will see countless Buddhist frescoes, sculptures, and artifacts. However, we're not allowed to take photos inside grottoes in order to protect them from flash. The photos you see online are taken in duplicate.

On the last morning, visit Yadan National Geological Park. Different from the geological park in Zhangye, the color of stones in Yadan is khaki, or brown. On the way, you will see other remnants of the remnants of the Silk Road, like the Hecang Fortress, Yumen Pass, and Yang Pass.

Optional Extensions Based on This Itinerary:

  • Xinjiang: Kanas Lake, Turpan's Flaming Mountains

Map of Itinerary #3: Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, and ShanghaiMap of Itinerary #3: Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, and Shanghai

Traveling is always exciting for kids. If you're planning a China tour with your kids, don't miss this family friendly itinerary. This itinerary covers many activities kids will like, such as visiting Shanghai Disneyland, having a Chinese calligraphy lesson, and even being a volunteer for giant pandas.

Best Time for This Itinerary: March to November

1 to 3Yu Garden; Shanghai Natural History Museum; night cruise on Huangpu River; Shanghai Disneyland; Zhujiajiao watertownShanghai
4 to 5The Ancient City Wall; Terracotta Warriors; Chinese calligraphy lessons in the Small Wild Goose PagodaXi'an
6 to 7Volunteer experience at the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base; Wenshu Temple; Sichuan face-changing operaChengdu
8 to 10Photoshoot at the Forbidden City; Huanghuacheng Great Wall; Peking Opera; facial painting experienceBeijing

Day 1 to 3: Shanghai

On the first day, visit Yu Garden, which features Chinese architectural elements, including pools, rocks, and pavilions. Then, you can take a leisurely walk in the market beside Yu Garden and try some local snacks. Basically, they are deserts and are popular among kids.

In the afternoon, visit the Shanghai Natural History Museum. This museum creates exhibits that showcase the wonders of the natural world. These exhibits may focus on specific topics like dinosaurs, insects, or the local ecosystems of China. When the night comes, take a night cruise on the Bund to get a close look at the skyscrapers.

Get up early on the second morning because you're going to Shanghai Disneyland. Since it's far away from the downtown area, we suggest you take a taxi or exclusive car to get there. During the parade, you will meet adorable LinaBell, a pink fox who made her debut in 2021 at Shanghai Disneyland. After enjoying the fireworks show at 8 pm, your Disneyland tour ends.

On day 3, you're going to visit a representative of Chinese water towns, Zhujiajiao Watertown. You can take a boat and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this town. In the afternoon, head to the airport and fly to Xi'an.

Day 4 & 5: Xi'an

On the fourth day, bike on the Ancient City Wall. This wall is about 12 meters high and has more than 600 years of history. It's restored, well-maintained, and pretty stable. You can get a better view of the city on this wall. After that, it's time to visit the top highlight of Xi'an: the Terracotta Warriors. There are more than seven thousand warriors in the museum, and all are burial objects of Emperor Qinshihuang. To make the trip more unforgettable, you can make a clay warrior in a workshop and keep it as a souvenir.

On the fifth day, head to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda for a Chinese calligraphy lesson. It's suitable for both adults and kids. You will learn to write with a Chinese writing brush. When the class is over, go to the airport and fly to Chengdu.

Cute pandas are having fun with each otherCute pandas are having fun with each other

Day 6 & 7: Chengdu

Chengdu has many research bases for giant pandas. So, on the sixth day of your trip, you're visiting the Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base as a volunteer. During the day, you will learn the history of pandas and prepare a bamboo meal for them. When the day ends, you will receive a certificate for your volunteer journey.

Start your day 7 by visiting Wenshu Temple, a Buddhist temple dedicated to Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom. Locals will go there and pray for their families. You can have Chinese tea in the backyard of this temple. In the afternoon, go to a local theater for a Sichuan face-changing show. Performers wear vibrantly colored costumes with a series of masks stacked on their heads or hidden in their sleeves. Like performing a magic show, they can change the masks within the blink of an eye.

When the performance is over, go to the airport and fly to Beijing.

Day 8 to 10: Beijing

On the eighth day, start your journey by visiting the Forbidden City. It's the royal residence from two centuries ago. Admire the splendid palaces and get a glimpse into the royal family's daily life. The exhibitions include costumes, porcelain, paintings, and books that were found in the palaces. You can put on ancient Chinese clothes and take photoshoots with your kids.

On the next day, visit the Huanghuacheng Great Wall. It's the only watery Great Wall section in Beijing. You can hike on the Great Wall and admire the stunning view. There's an adventurous park by the water for kids. Except for playing in the castle made of nets and ropes, you can catch fish with your kids in this shallow water zone.

On the last day, watch a Peking opera. There are many theaters that provide classical opera shows in the central area of Beijing. You can experience facial painting or get a Peking opera mask at the theater. Your family trip to China ends here; it's time to set off for your next trip.

Optional Extensions Based on This Itinerary:

Map of Itinerary #4: Beijing, Xi'an, and ShanghaiMap of Itinerary #4: Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China. Numerous ships drive through it every day. In this itinerary, you will embark on a Yangtze River cruise to get a closer look at the stunning views of endless mountains along the river, featuring a senior-friendly tour in 3 cities: Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an.

Best Time for This Itinerary: March to April and late August to November

1 to 2Yu Garden; former French Concession; the Bund; Shanghai MuseumShanghai
3 to 5Admire the beautiful view on the cruise and take part in excursionsYangtze River Cruise
6 to 7Terracotta Warriors; Giant Wild Goose Pagoda; Ancient City WallXi'an
8 to 10The Forbidden City; Tiananmen Square; Mutianyu Great Wall; Summer Palace; cooking class taught by a local familyBeijing;

Day 1 & 2: Shanghai

On the first day of your trip, take a leisurely walk in the former French Concession. Explore this area and immerse yourself in its nostalgic atmosphere, where western architectural styles are still visible. Keep walking towards the east, and you will reach Yu Garden, another must-see in Shanghai. It's a classical Chinese ancient garden with aesthetic pavillions and lakes. At night, stroll around the Bund to see the light show of the skylined skyscrapers.

To learn more about China, visit the Shanghai Museum on the second day. There, you will see many themed exhibitions, such as ancient Chinese letters, the development of Chinese modern literature, and antiques from different dynasties. In the afternoon, head to Hongqiao International Airport for a flight to Chongqing for your Yangtze River trip.

The stunning view on Yangtze RiverThe stunning view on Yangtze River

Day 3 to 5: Yangtze River Cruise

On the third morning, take the included excursion to Shibaozhai after breakfast. It's a historical red pavilion on a hill. You can get a sweeping view of the surrounding area. You can take an optional land tour to Fengdu Ghost City.

On the fourth day, your Yangtze River tour continues. Under the guidance of staff, you can practice Tai Chi with other tourists on the cruise. After breakfast, get off the cruise temporarily for an excursion to Shennv Stream. You will get to the heart of the valley by wooden boat and enjoy the stunning scenery on the way there. If you're interested in Chinese history, an optional tour to the White Emperor City may be a nice choice.

On the fifth day, you will visit the massive Three Gorges Dam, a must-see engineering wonder in China. It's not only a hydroelectric power station, but also the largest ship elevator in the world. It lifts the entire vessel out of the lower water level and places it at the higher level. When the cruise passes the dam, your Yangtze River tour comes to an end. You will disembark at a wharf in Yichang and fly to Xi'an.

Day 6 & 7: Xi'an

Xi'an was the capital of China one thousand years ago, and it played an important role in the Silk Road. The antiques found in Xi'an are kept well. On the sixth day, you're going to visit one of the most famous antiques: the Terracotta Warriors. The life-sized warriors are made of terracotta. They were built to guard Emperor Qinshihuang in his afterlife. In the afternoon, visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Legend has it that it was built by the monk Xuanzang to store Buddhist treasures he collected on his trip to India.

On the seventh day, get up early for a hike on the Ancient City Wall, which has several hundred years of history. It's a good chance to immerse yourself in the rich historical atmosphere. Then, set off to Beijing by taking a flight.

Day 8 to 10: Beijing

The Forbidden City is always at the top of the list of Beijing highlights. So, on the eighth day of your trip, you will visit it first. Walk past the Tiananmen gate, and you will get to the entrance of the Forbidden City. All the buildings are in vibrant colors, making them look festive and sacred. You will find it really different from the ancient buildings you saw in Yu Garden. After that, pay a visit to a local family. You can learn to make dumplings and some Beijing cuisine with them.

The next day, take an express bus to the Mutianyu Great Wall. It's a mild section that is much plainer than the Jinshanling Great Wall. You can ascend and descend Mutianyu by taking a cable car. In the afternoon, get back to the downtown area and get ready for your last destination.

On the last day, enjoy a cozy morning break at Summer Palace. It's an imperial garden that has pavillions and a lake. You can take a boat on the lake until it's time to set off for the airport.

You've finished the whole itinerary of your China tour, you can fly home or to your next trip at Pudong International Airport.

Optional Extensions Based on This Itinerary:

Map of Itinerary #5: Hong Kong, Yunnan, and ChengduMap of Itinerary #5: Hong Kong, Yunnan, and Chengdu

There are 55 minority groups in China, and a large number of them live in the southwest of the country. Start from Hong Kong, you will go all the way towards the southwest of China, explore the ethnic culture in Yunnan, and experience colorful activities in Chengdu. Even if you're on a budget, you can still have fun because we're moving on to the next stops mainly by bullet train.

Best Time for This Itinerary: All year round

1 to 2Hong Kong Palace Museum; Hong Kong food tour; Tsim Sha Tsui; Victoria Harbor night cruise; Wong Tai Sin TempleHong Kong
3Stone ForestKunming(in Yunnan)
4Erhai Lake; Dali Ancient Town; Xizhou Ancient TownDali (in Yunnan)
5 to 6Lijiang Ancient Town; Naxi family visit; Jade Dragon Snow MountainLijiang (in Yunnan)
7 to 8Tiger Leaping Gorge; Gedan Songzanlin Monastery; Pudacuo National ParkShangri-La (in Yunnan)
9 to 10Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda; Wenshu Temple; optional: Sichuan operaChengdu

Day 1 & 2: Hong Kong

After staying in the hotel for a night, you may get used to the jet lag. Your China tour will start in Hong Kong, a city in the southmost part of China. Enjoy your first day by visiting the Hong Kong Palace Museum. Parts of the antiques from the Forbidden City in Beijing are displayed in this museum. Even if Beijing is not included in your itinerary, you can still get a glimpse of it.

You can try classical Hong Kong dishes for lunch, such as wonton noodles, char siu (sweet pork), and dim sum. After that, take a leisurely walk in the Hong Kong center area: Tsim Sha Tsui. In this area, you will see some landmarks of Hong Kong, such as the Avenue of Stars and the Hong Kong Museum of Art. At night, take a cruise on Victoria Harbour and enjoy a light show of the skyscrapers along the shore.

On the next morning, visit Wong Tai Sin Temple. Here, you will see how to do "Kau Cim," a form of Chinese fortune-telling. When you finish this journey, head to the airport for a flight to Kunming, Yunnan.

Day 3: Kunming, Yunnan

You're going to spend a whole week in stunning Yunnan. The first stop is Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan. On the third day of your trip, you will visit the Stone Forests in Kunming. It features an extensive collection of limestone formations that resemble a forest made of stone. After that, take a bullet train to Dali.

Day 4: Dali, Yunnan

Today, you're going to bike around beautiful Erhai Lake surrounded by many ancient towns. It's the second-biggest lake in Yunnan. You can feel the breeze when you ride a bike. Stop at Dali Ancient Town and Xizhou Ancient Town for a visit. The whole journey will take about 4 hours. Consider having a local lunch in any one of the ancient towns. When you reach the end of your biking tour, it's time to go to Lijiang.

Naxi people are dancing in Lijiang Ancient TownNaxi people are dancing in Lijiang Ancient Town

Day 5 & 6: Lijiang, Yunnan

Start your fifth-day journey by visiting Lijiang Ancient Town. In this town, you will learn about the Naxi ethnic minority. You can admire the wooden architecture and ethnic decorations of the houses here when you stroll around this town. You can also find local people performing Naxi dances in the street.

Following that, pay a visit to the Naxi family. They will wear traditional Naxi costumes, introduce the culture of Naxi, and treat you to Naxi snacks.

On the sixth day, take an express bus from the Zhongyi Market in Lijiang Ancient Town. It will take you to the holy Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. It is permanently capped with snow, creating a breathtaking sight. You can prepare a small can of oxygen in case you have high-altitude sickness.

Day 7 & 8: Shangri-La

On the seventh day, take a bullet train from Lijiang to Shangri-La, and you will stay there for 2 days before heading to Chengdu. When you arrive, take a taxi or exclusive car to Tiger Leaping Gorge. Start your hiking trip and immerse yourself in the dramatic landscape, featuring towering cliffs and the powerful Jinsha River (upper Yangtze River) rushing through the narrow gorge.

After that, go back to your hotel and get ready for the eighth day. You're getting up early for a trip to Gedan Songzanlin Monastery. It's the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Yunnan and has a long history. In the afternoon, take an express bus to Potatso National Park. The park is home to a variety of plants, including pine forests, spruce forests, alpine meadows, and wetlands. You can stay in the hotel near the park and feel the relaxing atmosphere.

Day 9 & 10: Chengdu

On the morning of day 9, take a taxi to Diqing airport and fly to Chengdu. It's your last destination on your China tour. First, you will visit the Chengdu Research Base for Giant Pandas. There, you will see many pandas at a close distance, including adults and infants. After that, have a Sichuan hotpot dinner. Don't worry, you can tell the restaurant to serve you clear soup or mild spicy soup for your hotpot meal.

On the last day, visit Wenshu Temple and try Chinese tea in the backyard of the temple. If you still have spare time, watch Sichuan's face-changing opera before departure.

Optional Extensions Based on This Itinerary:

Plan Your China Tour with Us

If the itineraries above are not ideal to you, contact us or write to trip@odynovotours.com for a tailor-made trip. All the details can be adjusted to meet your needs.

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