China travel route: a 3-4 itinerary

There is only one country in the world where I experienced a culture shock: China. With a special culture, enormous bustle but beautiful nature with limestone in Zhangjiajie, rice fields and rivers, panda bears and rich history, China is a unique country to travel through. In this 3-4 week itinerary through China you will travel through the most important cities and highlights of Central China.

We’ll refer to Trip.com, where you can easily arrange your train journey and tickets online without having to learn Chinese. We booked all our train journeys in China with Trip.com and totally recommend it!

China travel route 3 – 4 weeks

China is an ideal country to travel through by train. The country is enormous and distances are therefore mainly covered by train, which is a good and affordable option. 3 weeks should be more than enough to cover this route, but we did the route in 4 weeks because we like to travel slowly. You could spend longer in for example Zhangiajie for hiking. Or extend the route with options we’ll mention later on in this article. Are you more of a city person? Then you can spend longer in the cities Chengdu, Shanghai or Beijing.

Day 1-3-: Arrival in Shanghai


On your first day you can start booking train tickets for the coming days and acclimatize. We found the Trip.com website to be an indispensable website for ordering train tickets. Here you can order your tickets in advance and pick them up at the stations in China.
You can book your tickets through Trip.com and collect them well in advance (preferably a day earlier) at the Shanghai station on the same day. Pick up on your departure date? Then make sure you arrive at the station well in time, as there may be a long line. Also keep in mind if there are no holidays or Chinese holidays, then it can be even busier.
Tip: we slept in the cozy Shanghai Rock & Wood International Youth Hostel (own room). Here you can eat in the “restaurant”, meet other people, play pool and chill out with your laptop. Are you with a backpack? The hostel is an acceptable walking distance from ‘Zhongshan Park’ or ‘Yan’ An West Road ‘metro stops.

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