Singapore New Town

  Fast Facts

Official Name: People’s Republic of China

Location: East Asia
Population of China: ~ 1.4 billion
Capital of China: Beijing
Chinese Money: Renmibi (or Chinese Yuan) (CNY)
Chinese Timezone: UTC +8 (For the WHOLE country!!!)
Visa Requirements for Singapore: Most nationalities require a visa to visit China, AND you may have to get it in your home country unless you are on a formal tour. Check your eligibility and additional requirements for entry HERE.

Things to Do and See in China

Our Experiences in China

We’ve visited China twice as independent, travelers, both times for approximately 8 weeks. The duration of these trips meant we had to get our visas from the consulate in Australia – Double Entry – 60 days. Both journeys were challenging but rewarding. China is BIG in every respect and quite diverse depending on where and when you visit. We don’t pretend to have seen everything it offers, but we have explored quite a bit.

The first trip was part of our Grand Asian tour starting in May 2010. We arrived overland from Northern Laos, and Tim promptly had a stint in the hospital with suspected Malaria. We then headed up through Sichuan Province, Xian, Beijing, and onto Mongolia.

Here are some of our most memorable adventures on that trip.

  • Our first taste of China – Jinghong
  • We hit a Big hump – Kunming
  • A bit of Oz in China – Dali
  • Oops!! Wrong Place, Luckily!! – Lijiang Old Town
  • Shangri-La…Not Quite!! – Zhongdian
  • Well, I’ll be Dammed!! – Xiangcheng
  • One of the best days ever – Litang
  • Ride em Cowboy – Tagong
  • Alas, we have only pictures of Kanding, Chengdu, Xi’an, and Beijing

The second trip was part of our Silk Road Adventure. We flew into Guilin from Kuala Lumpur and headed to Shanghai. We then headed west to Chengdu, where we met up with family for a Tibetan Adventure through Sichuan province and The Tibetan Autonomous Region. We then traveled north via Xining to Xinjiang before a rather “character-building” border crossing from China into Kazakhstan.

Here are some of our favorite tales from that trip.

  • Longhair and Rice Terraces – Guilin
  • From Here to Modernity – Shanghai
  • An inauspicious first day – Kangding 
  • Back to where it all ended last time – Tagong
  • All new territory from here – Ganzi County
  • Big day at the office – Baimengsi
  • Nice Hair – Dege 
  • Best little detour – Ganzi Country
  • First tourists in town since last year? – Serta
  • A certain kind of homecoming. – Namda
  • What? No water! – Pema
  • The soldiers next door. Darlag
  • The lovely Chinese princess. – Daodaoche
  • KFC! Sad but true! – Xining
  • We were on the train, and no one could stop us! 
  • The Lhasa invasion – Lhasa
  • Heavenly Lake – Namtso Lake
  • EBC or bust – Gyantse
  • One horse town – Sherkar
  • Disappointment with a capital D! – Shigatse
  • Last days in Lhasa – Lhasa
  • Lazy days in Lanzhou! – Lanzhou
  • Hot in the Desert – Turpan
  • Crossroads in Kashgar – Kashgar
  • A pleasant afternoon in park – Urumqi
  • Dodgy, dodgy, dodgy exit from China – Yining

Despite all that, it will take us another few trips of equal length if we hope to see some of the other many highlights. Whether we’ll get back depends on whether we can fit it in with our other travel plans.

Bear in mind that (before COVID) parts of China have opened up a lot since our last visit, and infrastructure is continually improving. On the flip side, other parts have become even harder to visit or are off-limits completely.

Rules change regularly depending on the political situation, and COVID-19 has introduced new challenges regarding getting in and around the country. So make sure you do your due diligence before and during your trip.

Alternatively, go with a well-established tour company that can help you avoid any headaches with logistics. I’ve added a few tour options from our partners below. 

Guided Tours of China

Not everyone has the time or desire to plan and complete an independent trip. So for those who prefer to have someone else do the organizing, or travel with a guide, here’s a tiny selection of tours on offer. There are literally thousands.

Day Tours

Extended Tours

Intrepid Travel has a range of tours covering the highlights, including some incorporating other Silk Road destinations and also the Trans Siberian route from Mongolia to Russia. Check them out HERE.

GAdventures has some similar tours, plus adventures to the Tibetan Autonomous Region and on to Nepal- Check them out HERE.

Tour Radar – Has a good selection of reasonably-priced tours visiting all over China, taking in many of the highlights. 

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Disclosure: Note that some of the links and advertisements on this page lead to products from our partners. If you buy something after using those links, we may earn a small commission from the sale. However, you have our assurance that you won’t pay any more than you would by buying directly from their site. And we promise to only link to products or companies we’ve used personally, been recommended by trusted family, friends, or travel buddies, or researched thoroughly before adding them to the list. You may also see other links served to you by Google. These will display products that Google thinks you want to see. If you click on those advertisements, we also get paid a small (minuscule) amount. If you want to know more about how you help to fund our travels without costing you a cent – then CLICK THIS LINK for a more comprehensive explanation.