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HomeRoad TripsAsiaEast AsiaChina

Road Trips in China

China is a vast and diverse country that offers a wealth of opportunities for taking a road trip. With its modern highways, scenic mountain roads, and historic trade routes, China provides a unique and captivating driving experience that is unlike any other.

One of the best things about taking a road trip in China is the opportunity to experience the country's incredible natural beauty. From the rolling hills of the Sichuan Basin to the towering peaks of the Himalayas, China is home to some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes in the world. Whether you are looking to explore the country's famous Silk Road or travel through the lush green landscapes of Yunnan, a road trip in China is an excellent way to experience the country's breathtaking scenery.

Another reason why China is a great destination for a road trip is the country's rich cultural heritage. With over 5,000 years of history, China is home to a wealth of historic sites, ancient cities, and cultural landmarks that are sure to captivate visitors. Whether you are interested in visiting the Great Wall of China, exploring the stunning temples of Tibet, or experiencing the vibrant energy of Beijing, a road trip in China provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the country's rich cultural heritage.

The food in China is also a major draw for visitors. With its rich and diverse culinary traditions, China offers a range of delicious and unique dishes that are sure to tantalize the taste buds. Whether you are looking to sample the street food of Shanghai, savor the spicy flavors of Sichuan cuisine, or try the famous Peking duck, a road trip in China is an excellent way to experience the country's diverse and delicious cuisine.

Finally, China is a safe and welcoming destination with friendly locals who are eager to share their country and culture with visitors. With a well-developed road network, modern infrastructure, and a range of affordable accommodation options, China provides a convenient and accessible road trip destination that is perfect for travelers of all levels of experience.

In conclusion, China is a great destination for taking a road trip due to its incredible natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, and welcoming atmosphere. With its diverse landscapes, historic sites, and vibrant cities, China provides a unique and unforgettable road trip experience that is sure to be a highlight of your travels.

Expect on your itinerary

Urban life Urban life
Value Value
Culture Culture
Historical sites Historical sites
Landscape Landscape
Shopping Shopping
Benefit-stress ratio Benefit-stress ratio
Security Security

Best months to drive

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Discover Road Trips in China

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Tibet Road Trip Tibet Road Trip

Tibet Road Trip

3,322 km 74 km/h 16 days roadtrip
Yunnan Road Trip Yunnan Road Trip

Yunnan Road Trip

1,908 km 61 km/h 13 days roadtrip
East Tibet Road Trip East Tibet Road Trip

East Tibet Road Trip

1,985 km 71 km/h 13 days roadtrip
Epic Karakoram Highway Epic Karakoram Highway

Epic Karakoram Highway

1,176 km 65 km/h 6 days roadtrip
West Tibet Road Trip West Tibet Road Trip

West Tibet Road Trip

2,906 km 76 km/h 18 days roadtrip
Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip

Lanzhou to Kunming East Tibet Road Trip

2,849 km 80 km/h 14 days roadtrip
Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip

Beijing to Hong Kong Road Trip

6,619 km 89 km/h 28 days roadtrip
Guilin Scenic Drive Guilin Scenic Drive

Guilin Scenic Drive

94 km 39 km/h 1 days scenic
Guoliang Tunnel Scenic Drive Guoliang Tunnel Scenic Drive

Guoliang Tunnel Scenic Drive

14 km 30 km/h 1 days scenic
Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip

Sichuan -Tibet Road Trip

2,067 km 65 km/h 3 days roadtrip
China Road Trip China Road Trip

China Road Trip

10,216 km 86 km/h 35 days roadtrip
On the Old Silk Road On the Old Silk Road

On the Old Silk Road

3,623 km 73 km/h 15 days roadtrip
Old China Road Trip Old China Road Trip

Old China Road Trip

3,325 km 85 km/h 21 days roadtrip
Through Gobi Desert Road Trip Through Gobi Desert Road Trip

Through Gobi Desert Road Trip

3,455 km 53 km/h 20 days roadtrip
Hangzhou Scenic Drive Hangzhou Scenic Drive

Hangzhou Scenic Drive

216 km 64 km/h 1 days scenic
Torugart Pass Scenic Drive Torugart Pass Scenic Drive

Torugart Pass Scenic Drive

177 km 72 km/h 1 days scenic
Burma Road Burma Road

Burma Road

1,140 km 52 km/h 4 days roadtrip
Bishkek to Kashgar Road Trip Bishkek to Kashgar Road Trip

Bishkek to Kashgar Road Trip

1,131 km 71 km/h 7 days roadtrip
Hong Kong Scenic Drive Hong Kong Scenic Drive

Hong Kong Scenic Drive

30 km 29 km/h 1 days scenic

Road Trip Highlights in China

Chinese capital will leave an unforgettable impression on all travellers who choose it as their first stopover in China. Beijing comes across as a moloch of a metropolis whose cityscape is dotted with tall skyscrapers, advertisements, and large shopping malls. After you brush off the first overwhelming impression, it’s best to direct your steps to such places as Tian’anmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Observatory. 

Not so far away from the capital, you’ll find the marvellous Great Wall that stretches from the Gobi Desert to Shanhaiguan. For more natural wonders, head for Manchuria. Dalian port is a place offering stunning panoramas, and in Shenyang you’ll be enchanted by the interesting local architecture with many small restaurants and markets. Other urban jewels here include Changchun and Harbin, where the famous Ice Festival is held.

The arid area around the Yellow River is also worth consideration. Xi’an is considered one of the most popular holiday destinations with plenty of top-notch accommodation options and dining venues. Its greatest tourist attraction is the Terracotta Army. The city itself is located at a magnificent and picturesque backdrop of the Hua Shan mountain range. Its summits are riddled with plenty of temples that add to the ambiance of this place.

Don’t forget to explore the dunes of Shapotou, see the colorful architecture of Yinchuan, or learn more about the Chinese industry in Baotou. Nearby, you’ll find another extremely popular highlight, which is the fabulous Tomb of Genghis Khan. To top up the Chinese adventure, you can also visit the Yungang cave temples and Datong, with the nearby Hanging Temple. For more religious architecture, try traveling to Luoyang and the excellent Shaolin temple located in its vicinity.

Suggested Road Trips in China

Traffic regulations in China: general information

Even though Hong-Kong and Macau follow left-hand traffic, you might be surprised to find that China follows right-hand traffic. If you see no central lines on the road, you are obliged to drive in the centre. In such a situation, two approaching vehicles should simply move to their right in order to pass each other without a collision.

An International Driving Permit is not widely accepted across China. What’s more some parts simply consider it to be illegal and moving without a local driver’s licence will guarantee you 14 days spent in jail.  

When it comes to drinking and driving, the allowed blood alcohol level is 0.02% so even one larger drink may take you beyond this limit. It’s best to avoid drinking before hitting the road altogether. Penalties that you might receive for breaking this regulation vary from CN¥ 1000–2000 to three years in prison or five years of driver’s licence suspension.

Speed limits imposed by China

The general rules concerning speed limits are the following: 30 km/h on single carriageways, 40-80 on the China National Highways, 70 km/h on wider urban roads with 2 to 3 lanes/central reservation, 100 km/h on city express roads, and 120 km/h on highways. Exceeding the speed limit will guarantee you a fine of CNY200 for speed that is over 10 km/h above the limit. If your speed is 50% over the area limit, your penalty may be as high as CNY2000.

China: toll roads and speed cameras

China offers travellers an extensive toll road system. Interestingly, it has as much as 70% of the world’s toll roads. The amount to be paid is mostly dependent on the road type as well as the distance that you would like to cover. These are always well-maintained and offering top-notch driving experience.

When taking a Road Trip in China

Here are some important things to be aware of when taking a road trip in China:

Best Time for taking a Road Trip in China

The best time for taking a road trip in China depends on the region you plan to visit. Here are a few guidelines to consider:

It is important to keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable in some regions, and conditions can change quickly, so it is always a good idea to check the latest forecasts and be prepared for a range of weather conditions.

How expensive is a Road Trip in China

The cost of a road trip in China can vary depending on your travel style, the places you visit, and the duration of your trip. However, here's an estimate of the average cost per day per person on a road trip in China:

Accommodation: Budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses can cost around $10-30 per night, while mid-range hotels can cost around $50-100 per night.

Food: Dining in China can be affordable, especially if you stick to local eateries and street vendors. You can expect to spend around $5-10 per meal at a budget-friendly restaurant or street vendor, while mid-range restaurants can cost around $15-20 per meal.

Transportation: Renting a car in China is not common among foreign tourists. Instead, most travelers use public transportation or hire a private driver. The cost of public transportation varies depending on the mode of transport and the distance traveled. Taxis and private drivers can be expensive, so it's important to negotiate the fare beforehand.

Activities: China offers a variety of attractions and activities, such as visiting historic sites, hiking scenic trails, and exploring cultural landmarks. Admission fees vary depending on the attraction, but on average, you can expect to spend around $10-20 per attraction.

Overall, a daily budget of around $30-50 per person is reasonable for a budget-friendly road trip in China. However, this is just a rough estimate, and your actual expenses may vary depending on your specific travel plans. Renting a car in China can be expensive, and it's important to research and budget accordingly before embarking on a road trip.

Guidebooks and Road Maps for Road Trip in China

Here are some recommended guidebooks and road maps for a road trip in China:

These guidebooks and road maps provide valuable information and resources for planning a road trip in China. Whether you're interested in exploring the country's natural wonders, cultural attractions, or outdoor activities, these resources will help you plan a memorable and rewarding road trip.

Good Reads before taking a Road Trip in China

If you're planning a road trip in China, there are several books that can provide you with a deeper understanding of the country's history, culture, and landscape. Here are some recommended reads:

These books offer a diverse range of perspectives on China and can provide valuable context and insights for a road trip in the country. Whether you're interested in China's history, culture, or contemporary society, these books can help you gain a deeper appreciation for the country and its people.

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