Although the metropolis has its own currency (the Hong Kong dollar), it has been part of the People's Republic of China for over 20 years and is a Special Administrative Region.
Hong Kong is located on both an island and mainland China, offering a mix of the metropolitan and rural. The island is probably what you imagine when you think of Hong Kong: a bustling western, cosmopolitan city with more shopping centres and dining opportunities than anywhere else in Asia.
Explore the hip district of Soho or take the Peak Tram to the highest point of the city for some stunning views. Discover traditional Kowloon on the mainland, take a stroll through Chinese markets, and admire the fascinating skyline of Hong Kong Island.
The rural side of the city can be seen best on Lantau Island, home to a huge Buddha statue, numerous hiking trails, and beaches.
An overnight stay in a ten-bed dorm costs 15 euros.
While you’re in Hong Kong, don’t miss out a trip to Macau, which is only about an hour away by ferry. Known as the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau attracts tourists with its countless casinos, great shopping, and adventure centres, as well as spectacular entertainment that is out of this world.
Drive from Hong Kong to Guilin for 30 euros.
The southern Chinese town is situated in the middle of a picturesque river landscape. An absolute must-do is a boat trip on the Li River, which flows through a beautiful karst hill landscape.
Check out Guilin’s largest green area, Seven Star Park, located on the banks of the Li River, home to a highly recommended street food scene. Visit Ludi Yan, also called Reed Flute Cave, where you can experience impressive limestone formations in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Visit the nearby Shanhu Lake, where you’ll find the most famous rock formation of Guilin: Elephant Trunk Hill. Another highlight is the rice terraces at Longsheng, just north of the city.
Sleep at a hostel in Guilin in a five-bed dorm for six euros per night.
Continue by bus for about 30 euros to Zhangjiajie.
The city is the perfect starting point to explore the region’s enchanting landscape. One of the countless attractions is the longest and highest glass bridge in the world – the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. Make sure to visit the National Park near Zhangjiajie, too, where you’ll find impressive rock landscapes from the movie Avatar.
Another highlight is Tianmen Mountain, considered to be one of the most beautiful mountains in the world. If you’re not afraid of heights, take the cliff-hanging Glass Skywalk for a completely different view of this famous landscape. Climb up the Stairway to Heaven, take the longest cable car in the world to the top of the mountain, and enjoy the view over the famous 99 curves of Tianmen Mountain Big Gate Road.
Spend the night in a hostel for five euros in a four-bed dorm.
Continue on by night train to Chengdu for approximately 55 euros.
The metropolis draws in travellers with its numerous attractions and rich historical heritage. The best view over this dynamic city is from the West Pearl Tower, the city’s highest building, standing 339 metres tall.
Another highlight is the vast New Century Global Center, which houses numerous shops, a water park, an ice rink, a reconstructed Mediterranean village, and even a 5-star hotel. In addition to ultra-modern shopping centres, Chengdu is also home to picturesque streets and many of the famous traditional tea houses. The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and Wenshu Temple, located in a beautiful park with hundreds of Buddha statues, are also worth seeing.
An overnight stay at a hostel costs five euros for a six-bed dorm.
Take another night train for about 30 euros to reach your next stop: Xi’an.
The former Chinese capital was the starting point of the Silk Road, the most renowned trade route in the world.
The most famous sight is the Terracotta Army, with over 7,000 detailed life-size figures of soldiers. The Muslim quarter with the Great Mosque, which is one of the largest Islamic mosques in China, and the Muslim Quarter Bazaar are also worth a visit.
Walk along the ancient city wall that surrounds the entire old town and visit the Drum Tower, which is colourfully illuminated in the evening, for a magnificent view over this former imperial city.
You can stay at a hostel in Xi'an in an eight-bed dorm for four euros per night.
Travel to Luoyang by train for 10 euros.
The city has a fascinating history as it was the capital of nine ruling dynasties and is now a hub for higher education.
See historical relics and artefacts and learn about the city’s rich cultural past in the Luoyang Museum. Head a bit east of Luoyang to visit the Temple of the White Horse, thought to be the first Buddhist temple in China and considered as the cradle of Chinese Buddhism.
During your time in Luoyang, check out the Longmen Grottoes, also called Dragon’s Gate Grottoes, with their fascinating stone sculptures. The Grottoes are not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also one of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art.
At a hostel in town, an overnight stay in a six-bed dorm costs just four euros.
Head to your last stop, Beijing, by night train for approximately 30 euros.
Tradition meets modernity in China’s capital and there is an endless list of things for you to explore, including the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven – one World Heritage site after the other.
The most famous attraction in Beijing is the Great Wall, twisting across 6,000 kilometres of China’s northern border. A visit to the Great Wall is an absolute must-do on every trip to China. We recommend a day trip to the Mutianyu section. After walking thousands of steps (don't worry, there’s also a cable car), you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic view over the Yanshan Mountains, the beautiful, natural neighbour of this winding wall. A tour here includes a visit to the Ming tombs in the Changping district, a visit to a jade carving workshop, and a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. The tour also includes return transfer, entrance fees, guide, and lunch, and only costs only twenty-five euros per person.
A hostel in Beijing costs just 10 euros per night for a six-bed dorm.