Me and my girlfriend are looking on going to China for a month next year and just trying to get a bit of friendly advice.
Now i've done a fair bit of SE Asia but never ventured to china. Thinking on going May/June time and was just curious as to the best places to visit and also what kind of budget we need to be looking at and any other helpful info would be very much appreciated.
It depends what you are interested in, but I would recommend Yunnan Province. This is a province where a lot of ethnic groups live. Also, the scenery is gorgeous. Many beautiful places, and the capital, Kunming, is known to have the best weather in China. Be careful about the May holiday. It is a crazy time to travel. Do your research and try your best to avoid national holidays. They last for a week and are hell to travel in!
Your budget depends on what you want to do, but if you stay further away from the east coast, things are quite a bit cheaper. A budget hotel should be less than $20/night, food should be very, very cheap too. The only expense that may cost a little is if you hire a guide to should you around. This is recommended since the guides speak the local dialects. They can introduce you to some interesting hill tribes and the culture that goes along with them. Try searching for "Black Forest Cafe." They look like a good place that offers food, tours, maybe lodging.
Here are the places you may want to consider. They are, according to my experience, representing best parts of China.
1. Beijing: forbidden city, great wall, temple of heaven.
2. Xian: Terracotta warriors. Amazingly impressive.
3. Tibet: religious region with great scenery
4. Silk road: take a short one from Qinghai (a big beautiful lake) to Urumuqi (a beautiful mountain lake). The desert scenery along the way is also impressive.
5. Guilin: Yangshuo
6. Yunnan: Lijiang
7. Sichuan: Jiuzhaigou and Lugu lake (beautiful scenery in Jiuzhaigou. Lugu lake is a state of daughters with matriarchal culture. )
8. Riverside towns in South part of China: Hangzhou, Suzhou, Tongli.
9. Shanghai: the most developed commercial city in China.
10. Sanya: a costal city in Hainan island with nice beaches and tropical weather.
China is big and diversified. It's not likely to cover all these places within one month. So you need to choose based on your own interests.
Have a good trip.