When it comes to travel less is often more, and with only a week in China you are best to confine yourself to just one or two of the principal destinations. Beijing and Xi'an, Beijing and Shanghai, Shanghai and nearby Suzhou and Hangzhou, or if you're less keen on culture (or are traveling with your kids), Hong Kong and Yangshuo, are all viable options. Below is a sample itinerary for Beijing and Xi'an.
Days 1-4: Beijing
Start your time in Beijing with a visit to the Forbidden City and make sure you have plenty of time to explore all of its nooks and crannies. The following day head to the Temple of Heaven and in the afternoon visit the Lama Temple, then stroll through the lakes and hutong alleys of the Back Lakes. Dine looking out over it all, aboard one of Kaorouji's flat-bottomed boats. On the third day, head out early to the Great Wall at Jinshanling or Simatai and take a steep, spectacular hike. By the time you get back to Beijing you will certainly have the appetite for a hearty and delicious Beijing Duck dinner. On day 4 visit the Summer Palace, or whichever of Beijing's astounding range of attractions appeals, and then take an overnight train to Xi'an.
Days 5-6: Xi'an
Check into your hotel and freshen up before heading out to explore Xi'an's historic sights. Get some insight about that which you'll see in the coming days, by heading to the first-rate Shanxi History Museum. Later in the day go for a wander through the artist's quarter, maybe looking in on the Forest of Stelae Museum, or taking a stroll along the City Wall which gives a good overview of the city. In the evening dine on dumplings at De Fa Chang. Early the following day, head out to the Terra-Cotta Warriors. In the afternoon visit the Great Mosque and then as the light fades enjoy an alfresco dinner of kabobs in the Muslim markets.
Day 7: Home Time
Take a morning flight back to Beijing and connect with your international flight home.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.