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Tourists booked on flights to China are following a trend which has seen as many as 59m people visiting in one year. The country is vast, and the fact that it has only recently opened itself up after decades of isolation means that the whole world is curious to know what it has to offer. The answer is some of the most stunning lakes, mountains and valleys in the world, massively sprawling and exciting cityscapes and no fewer than 53 UNESCO World Heritage sites. If you want to see the future at the same time as exploring the past, then plane tickets to China are the only way to go.
The climate in China ranges all the way from the tropical to the sub-arctic, from the steam of the jungle to the snow of the mountains. This means that choosing a travel date with weather that suits depends entirely upon which part of the country you want to visit. One vital tip is to try to avoid travelling to or around China on one of the national Chinese holidays. A large percentage of the population of 1.404 billion will be travelling to or from home, and conditions on all forms of transport will become extremely difficult. Dates to look out for include Chinese New Year and 1st October, known as National Day.
When you’re booking an air ticket to China it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the country. The Orbitz search tool will let you hone your search and close in on the best deals. If you can be flexible about the date you travel, click on ‘Show flexible dates’ and we’ll find the cheapest flights over a specific period. In addition, you can use the ‘Nearby airports’ option to open up the choice of city you fly out from or land at, unearthing cheap flights to China as you do.
Most major cities in China have an airport, but those which accept flights from around the world include:
Beijing Capital International Airport is located 20 miles northeast of the center of Beijing. It is one of the busiest airports in the world, handling more than 94m passengers a year. Having been revamped for the 2008 FIFA World Cup, it now offers a welcoming environment, with Terminal 3 boasting an interior garden, 72 food outlets and traditional Chinese design flourishes.
Shanghai Pudong is the second busiest airport in China, with two terminals and four runways. It can handle 70m passengers a year and Terminal 2 was only opened in 2008. One excellent reason to fly into Pudong is that it is linked to Longyang Road Metro Station in Shanghai via the world’s first commercial high speed mag-lev railway. This means that a journey of some 18.6 miles can be completed in less than eight minutes. More conventionally, a standard metro train and eight airport bus lines take passenger form the airport to Shanghai.
Airlines which fly to China directly from the US include the following:
The enormous scale of China makes taking domestic flights the obvious choice for getting to see most of the country. Airlines like Air China, China Southern, and China Eastern offer flights between most major Chinese cities. Train lines also cover most of China, and a number of routes are already served by high-speed trains, similar to Japanese bullet trains.
The Chinese capital is best visited during spring or autumn, when the weather is neither roasting hot nor freezing cold. It’s impossible to list more than a tiny fraction of the attractions which lure tens of millions to Beijing – the grand sweep and poignant history of Tiananmen Square, the nearby colossus of the Chinese Wall and the tranquil beauty of Beihai Park are just the beginning, and this is a city which grows and changes during even the briefest visit.
Shanghai is the largest city in China and its ambience mixes the exciting nightlife of a port city with the rich history of the Jade Buddha Temple. Shanghai has always been more open to outside influences than much of China and this shines through in the cosmopolitan welcome it offers all visitors.
The city of Xi'an was once a crossroads on the famous Silk Road, and it now attracts millions of tourists every year eager to see the famed army of Terracotta Warriors, which were unearthed here in 1974.
Travelers from the US need both a valid passport and a visa to enter China. The air pollution in some of the bigger cities can be so bad, particularly in summer, that it may be advisable to wear a face mask. Traveling around within the cities themselves is often easiest if you follow the example of the locals and hire a bike.