If you’re seeking an adventure, a shopping holiday and exotic food, then place China at the top of your list, just remember to pack travel insurance.
Why China? It’s landscapes, history, culture and modern life will become an unforgettable experience for any traveller. Not to mention Chinese cuisine, which is different and better than what we experience in Australia.
The Forbidden City, or Palace Museum
The Forbidden City (Imperial Palace) sits in the heart of Beijing, directly north of Tiananmen Square where the famous portrait of Mao Zedong hangs on the palatial crimson wall. The Forbidden City is the largest and most complete imperial palace and ancient building complex in China, and indeed the world. Its construction began in 1406 and was completed 14 years later, and now having a 580 year history. Twenty-four emperors from the Ming and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties lived and ruled China from the Palace. A must when in Beijing.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall winds its way across China covering over 5,500 miles (8,850 km). While the latest construction occurred after 1368 during the Ming Dynasty, construction of the Great Wall began over 2,000 years ago. In fact, the Great Wall is actually made up of a number of interconnecting walls spanning China that different dynasties and warlords constructed over the years. The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest sights in the world and it is an awe-inspiring feat of ancient architecture. Its winding path over rugged country and steep mountains takes in some great scenery. It deserves its place among “the New Seven Wonders of the World”
Discovered in 1974 when a local farmer was digging a well, the terracotta army, buried in 210 BC with the first emporer of the Qin dynasty, is a breathtaking site. The thousands of life-size figures have individually unique faces, hair and armor styles appropriate to their rank. The museum of the Terracotta Army is located in Xi’An, Shanxi province. Viewing Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s terracotta army, that is still guarding his burial site and protecting his entry to the afterlife coupled with a continuing archeological project is certainly one of the most memorable parts of any trip to China. It is approximately a one-hour flight, or an overnight train ride from Beijing.
Karst Mountain Terrain in Yangshuo
The Karst Mountains and caves in Guilin are one of the few places on earth that displays the beauty of huge, naturally forged cave geography. The hills and caves have been an ancient attraction with some inscriptions on its walls dated 729 AD in the Tang Dynasty. The beauty of the place and its imposing structures made this an almost spiritual place to visit and experience. Today, thousands of people visit the site each year and are attracting thousands more as the news of its beauty is being spread all over the world.
“Paradise on Earth”
Hangzhou is a beautiful city located in Zhejiang Province in Eastern China. It has enjoyed a mostly prosperous history and is famous for its West Lake and mountain scenery. The Chinese have a saying: Shang you tiantang, xia you Suhang. Roughly translated this means above there is heaven, on earth there is Hangzhou. “Paradise on Earth” is centred around the West Lake and the city is full of gardens, tranquil temples, pavilions and bustling historic streets to venture through. The hills surrounding the city grow the famous longjing green tea. Hangzhou is close to Shanghai but is a much more laid-back, cultural city.
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature reserve located in China’s Sichuan province. A beautiful example of China’s varied landscape, Jiuzhaigou is famous for crystal blue lakes and multi-level waterfalls. It is populated by a number of Tibetan villages so is also a superb place to see and experience Tibetan local culture.
Potala Palace, Lhasa
The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m. Now a Chinese museum, it is famous for its imposing white walls surrounding the inner red palace,The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. A visit here will take some planning.
The Bund, Shanghai
The Bund, meaning embankment, from the late 1800s and early 1900s was the seat of Shanghai’s most powerful businessmen. For a century the Bund has been one of the most recognizable architectural symbols and the pride of Shanghai. Every morning people come here to do exercises and every evening they come to appreciate the view with their loved ones. Perhps the most famous building is the HSBC Building, built in 1923 and at the time said to be the most luxurious building between the Suez Canal and the Bering Strait.
Stopping over in Hong Kong? You might be interested in our top 10 Hong Kong travel tips
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