China is an epic country to visit, and it’s larger-than-life hospitality adds even more adventure to the vacation. Explore the ancient villages, national sanctuaries and mega-cities of China, while staying in pocket-friendly accommodations. Here’s how!

Itinerary

In Beijing, start your day with the unmissable sights of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Enjoy the surreal experience of walking past the preserved body of Mao Zedong in his mausoleum. Then, take a tour through the Simatai section of the Great Wall to avoid crowds, less-tiring climbs and beautiful views.

From Beijing, take the train to Xi’an (5-6 hours). Alternatively, you can also travel through the historic walled city of Pingyao (with train, around 4 hours). You will be mesmerized by Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors, which are one of the finest archaeological wonders of the world. Bon-apatite, feed yourself at the Muslim Quarter market with some of China’s best food.

Next make a visit to Lijiang, where you will find Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest canyons in the world. Here you can enjoy hiking and a fantastic scenery. A decent guest house to stay will cost you £8 for double sharing.

From Lijiang travel to pretty Guilin, which will take you around 1½ hours. This place is known for Li River to Yangshuo, where you can enjoy the breathtaking karst mountain scenery. Yangshuo is among Asia’s foremost destinations for rock climbing.

Make your last stop in urbanized Shanghai, exploring the back streets of the erstwhile French Concession area and wondering at the river sights from The Bund.

How to get around

China is a huge country, and to places will probably take much time. For a budget holiday, use comfortable high-speed trains to travel long distances.

Accommodation

Hostels and guest-houses on the outskirts of major cities are quite economical – just a few pounds for a room in quarters.

Daily budget

The local food is inexpensive, but all of the tourist attractions can be expensive. Students and senior citizens can check for discounts. You will need a budget of at least £35pp a day in China. Moreover, tipping is not their culture, so this can save you alot.

China’s costly visa, together with difficulties of traveling around, make much of the nation relatively unexplored by worldwide travelers.