This is a great picture to sum up my visit to China. It’s a picture of Temple of Heaven, one of China’s many magnificent monuments ready to wowed you. Well, at least that is the picture I’d like to think of China. Despite that, it is hard to sum up a nation as diverse as China through one photo. China’s historic might, closeness and power makes most people intrigued by this huge nation. However on my recent trip to Beijing and Shanghai, I found it to be confusingly modern but culturally intact. I’d only wished I would’ve seen it 30 years ago when everything was totally different and picturesque to my travel taste.
Don’t be fooled by my brief remarks on this amazing land. I barely scratched a surface, I’d wished I’d spent more time there – a lot more time just to explore its villages and countryside. China is a land of diversity and contrast. A land which has a very rich history spanning thousands of years and a civilisation that has seen the evolution of the world. It is also one of the countries I had dreamed of visiting and which I’m lucky enough to get to go there albeit briefly.
China is the most populous country in the world with over 1.4 billion people. Its rapid development within the past 20 years made it as one of the world’s biggest economy. It has the size roughly as USA, in terms of geography, made it enough to be a continent by itself.
China’s amazing size coupled with its rich history makes it hard for me to list down the places you should go to. Below is my personal compilation of places worth visiting:
- Beijing is the capital city and has been the centre of Imperial China for centuries. As a cultural centre, Beijing posses many places of attractions. Amongst them includes of historical importance as in the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, Drum and Bell Towers and also the Summer Palace. More recent but still attractive places to go includes the Bird’s Nest and Donghuamen Night Market
- Great Wall of China is arguably the most famous attraction in China. The wall stretches for thousands of kilometres. There are many sections opened for tourist. The most famous being the section in Badaling. Others include at Juyongguan, Mutianyu, Jinshanling and Simatai
- Shanghai is China’s largest city and its commercial and financial capital. The Bund is Shanghai’s iconic waterfront. Shanghai is famous for its western influence and remains today as China’s most westernized city
- Zhouzhuang is one of the many small canal towns located just outside Shanghai
- Hangzhou is one of China’s most beautiful city. It is famous for its lake and chinese garden settings.
- Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, north of Sichuan province is a protected site famous for its pandas and cascading waterfalls.
- Lijiang has a rich 800 year old history. It is now becoming a famous place to visit for its immense beauty and excellent environment. Lijiang is situated deep within China’s Yunnan Province.
- Fenghuang or better known in english as ‘Phoenix City’ is a beautiful ancient riverside town in Hunan province. Life here hasn’t much changed for the past 400 years.
- Tibet is famous for its monks, monasteries and controversy, a place so deep within the mountain range that most of it is inhabitable. It is also a world on its own, impeccable beauty and disconnected
- Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world and it could be accessed from Tibet’s less visited entrance
- Guilin is world-famous for its magnificent river and mountain scenery
- Xian is the oldest city in China and home to ten dynasties. The highlight of the city is the Terracotta Warriors
I have listed some important links that you might find useful when travelling to China. These includes information on visas, currency, getting there, getting around, accommodation and other travel related tips.
Trip Report; 8 Days in China – Beijing
Trip Report; 8 Days in China – Shanghai
China in Sketches
Made in London – Shanghai
Video; From 100th Floor of Shanghai World Financial Center
Video; Bund Sightseeing Tunnel – Shanghai
Video; The World’s Fastest Train – Shanghai