• Claire

3 Weeks Backpacking CHINA Itinerary and Budget

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

In June 2017 I spent 3 weeks backpacking around China with a friend. I researched, planned and booked the whole trip myself. Staying in hostels and catching public transport to stretch our budget further, the whole three weeks ended up costing less than $2,000.


Here's where we went and how we got around:


Stop1. Beijing (4 Nights)


We flew to Beijing from the Gold Coast on a cheap AirAsia flight for $343. We had 4 days in Beijing which was plenty of time to see the top sights:


  • The Great Wall - we booked a tour to the Mutianyu section of the great wall through our hostel for $57

  • Tiananmen Square

  • The Forbidden Palace

  • Beihai Park

  • The Temple of Heaven

  • The Summer Palace

  • The Silk Market

  • The Olympic Village

Accommodation: 365 Inn Beijing


I wrote a blog post detailing everything we did in Beijing! See:


The Ultimate Guide to Beijing | Great Wall of China, Forbidden City + more!


The Forbidden Palace, Beijing

Great Wall of China, Beijing


Top tip! Bring a student ID to save up to 50% on attraction entrance fees!


Stop 2. Xi'an (3 Nights)


We left Beijing on a fast train to Xi'an which cost $111.52. From Xi'an, we visited the Terracotta Warriors and Huashan Mountain.


Accommodation: 7 Sages Youth Hostel


In Huashan, we conquered the 'most dangerous hike in the world'! See my blog post on the experience here:


Conquering the ‘Most Dangerous Hike in the World’! | Mt Huashan, China


Terracotta Warriors, Xi'an


Huashan Mountain


Stop 3. Jiuzhaigou (4 Nights)


From Xi'an, we caught a flight ($126.90) to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport and caught a shuttle to the small town of Jiuzhaigou. In Jiuzhaigou we spent 4 nights at a beautiful Tibetan homestay and visited Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong National Parks, did a Tibetan cooking class and went horse-riding in the mountains - Jiuzhaigou was definitely the highlight of the trip for me!

Accommodation: Zhuo Ma's Tibetan Homestay


Jiuzhaigou National Park


Huanglong National Park


Stop 4. Chengdu (2 Nights)


From Jiuzhaigou, we caught an 8-hour public bus from the local bus station to Chengdu (which was really cheap from what I remember). We had a short 2-night stay in Chengdu but felt it was enough time to see all the sights. We visited the Giant Panda Research Base and did a great walking food tour of the city.


Accommodation: Chengdu Mix Hostel


Giant Panda Research Base, Chengdu

Food Tour - Walking the streets of Chengdu


Stop 5. Guilin (5 Nights)


From Chengdu, we caught a 30-hour overnight train (which was 6 hours late) to Guilin for $115.34. We originally were only planning to stay in Guilin for one night but ended up spending 5 nights due to flooding that forced us to leave Yangshuo. You can read about that crazy experience here. We stayed at an awesome hostel which was great value for $8/night - it had super-fast internet, we had our own private room and served great food - which was an even greater bonus as we were pretty much stuck in the hostel for 5 nights! Unfortunately, due to the flooding situation, we didn't get to do any of the activities the area has to offer like hiking, bamboo rafting, rock climbing or visiting rice terraces. Yangshuo is usually a bustling area popular with backpackers and I would definitely include it in my itinerary if I were to visit China again!


Accommodation: Sky Palace Hostel Guilin


Altogether, the cost of food, accommodation, transport and spending money (and visa $109.50) for 3 weeks in China totalled $1919.15.



I've written more detailed blog posts on my travels in China, you can read them here. Follow my Instagram @claire_brack to keep up with my current travels!