Ever since Marco Polo’s writings introduced the world to China over 700 years ago, the country has come to be regarded as the embodiment of all that is exotic and mysterious. Even today after decades of growth, the country has managed to retain its fascination. The country truly offers something for all kinds of travellers. Here are our top picks.
No Visit is Complete without Seeing the Great Wall
The incredible Great Wall of China, or Changcheng as it is known in Chinese, stretches over 6,000 kilometres from Jiayuguan in the west to Shanhaiguan in the east. It passes through Beijing, Tientsin, and Hebei, Gansu, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia. The wall is about eight meters high but rises as high as 16 meters in some places.
The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, Beijing
This is China’s most important and largest building and can be found right in the heart of Beijing. The Imperial Palace was first started between 1271-1368 during the Yuan Dynasty. Much of what tourists can see today was built between 1406 – 1420 as has acted as the home of 24 Ming and Qing emperors. The Forbidden City stretches 720,000 square meters and is surrounded by a 10-meter high wall complete with moat and watchtowers.
The Terracotta Army
Ideal for travellers wanting a less structured trip, a visit to the country’s most important archaeological find is a must. The Terracotta Army spans across three massive underground pits and has been built to guard the First Emperor’s tomb. Here you will find more than 7,500 life-size warriors, over 500 horses, and even 100s of chariots.
Cruise the Li River
If you want to explore some of the most beautiful countryside in the country, head to Guilin, just to the northeast of Guanxi. The area is famous for its crystalline rivers that flow through the town. It is a popular area with tourists wanting to see such splendour up close and take a boat trip along the river.
The Three Gorges and the Yangtze River
Known locally as “Long River,” the Yangtze extends over 6,000 kilometres, rendering it the most important and longest river in all of China, and the third longest in the world. The river flows from Tibet right through to Shanghai in the east. There are several sightseeing options available, from riverboat cruises to adventure tours and trips to historical attractions.
Suzhou Classical Gardens
One of the most historical gardens in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gardens should be towards the top of your itinerary. The city itself is historic and the gardens were established in the 11th century when the city was experiencing exciting growth. The Garden of Lingering is well worth a visit as the seven-acre site was originally created in the 1800’s by the Ming Dynasty. The garden further offers several stunning buildings, a pool, a grove of peach trees, a man-made hill, and a stunning pathway on the walls with over three hundred stone tables that have been engraved with old Chinese icons.
Don’t forget to visit these places when you’re in China. You’ll never regret it.