Offciial language: Mandarin with English being widely spoken in popular tourist destinations
Welcome to the home of Kung-Fu and Pandas!
Located in East Asia, China brings you everything and anything from diverse landscapes to modern day man-made marvels that seamlessly blend in with the historic ways of life. It might be home to the Great Wall, but China holds thousands of gems just waiting to be discovered by tourists from all walks of life. Home to one of the four ancient civilizations, China oozes with brilliant history and enchanting scenery. It offers a piece of history at every possible turn with temple-topped mountains, water towns and lots of locals, all just waiting to be uncovered by tourists from all walks of life. With a background of civilizations dating back over 5000 years, China has a million reasons for being so famous. The main reasons for China’s fame and fortune however include their Giant Panda’s, the breathtaking Wall of China, the mystical Forbidden City and the sheer energy of the masses of people who call China home.
China is home to one fifth of the earth’s population? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that its people are so driven and China is one of the leaders in new technology today? It could be because in spite of all the outside influences, the Chinese culture has managed to preserve its individuality and unique identity. All of these factors come together in an awe-inspiring natural landscape to form one very unique country…China!
Must see places in China
The capital city of China is definitely in no short supply of great attractions. Here you can see the Tiananmen Square (the world’s largest public square), the Temple of Heaven (dating back to the 15th century), the Summer Palace imperial resort, the old city wall gates and the stunning Beihai Park.
The Great Wall of China
Built over 2000 years and stretching 5,400km stands 8m high and 6m wide. It’s located close to Beijing and is definitely an attraction you’ll want to see.
This is the real Manhattan of China if you will. Complete with massive skyscrapers, the stunning Bund waterfront and an ancient Chinese garden surrounded by shops and the legendary Temple of the City God.
From here you can go and explore the Buddhist mountain of Emei Shan and gaze upon the breathtaking statue of the Grand Buddha of Leshan that is carved into a cliff. There’s also a panda breeding and research center nearby as an attraction point
Shilin Stone Forest
Close to the Yunnan capital of Kunming lay one of China’s most wondrous attractions. The limestone rock columns of the Shilin Stone Forest resemble petrified trees and will definitely make for a great day trip.
The Yellow Mountains
The Yellow Mountains is one of China’s top national parks and with its amazing sunsets, seas of clouds, weird rock formations, twisted pine trees and natural hot springs, it might take more than just one visit here to truly soak up all the area has on offer.
The ancient capital of China is a great place to shop for silk and tea, with the West Lake being the most famous scenic attraction.
This is the capital of Tibet and is where you can find the Potala Palace, which was home to successive Dalai Lamas.
If you’re in the mood for something that feels like Venice, then Suzhou is the right place to head to. The streets line the Grand Canal and the water gardens. You can also indulge in some Suzhou silk fabrics and embroidery while there.
If you’re looking for a watery wonder, then the Li River in Guilin is the place to get to. It has been the inspirational site of many artists, with its raw natural beauty. The 83 kilometer stretch of the river between Guilin and Yangshuo is the most scenic, decorated with startling hills, steep cliffs, farming villages and lined with bamboo groves. It’s one of the world’s Top Ten Watery Wonders as voted by National Geographic Magazine, making this an unmissable destination in China.
Things to do in China
See the natural wonders
The Qomolangma Nature Reserve in Tibet is one of the most breathtaking natural parks in China. World Heritage Sites worth exploring include Mount Taishan Mountain Park, Huangshan Mountain’s rocky precipices, the Buddhist Mountain Emei Shan and Jiuzhaigou Valley’s lakes and waterfalls.
Go Tomb Touring
In Qufu you can view Confucius’ Tomb, Temple and Mansion. The founding father of the Qing Dynasty is buried at the Shenyang North Imperial Tomb and in Nanjing you can see the Xaoling Tomb of the Ming Dynasty and the mausoleum of China’s first president.
Take a hike
Much of China’s captivating scenery is best seen by foot, which is why hiking is a great idea! If you’re in the mood for a popular attraction, then head over to Everest Base Camp. Otherwise you can opt for something a little less crowded such as Qinghai-Tibet Plateau or Yunnan’s threatened Tiger Leaping Gorge that runs next to the Great Wall
View The Terracotta Army
The massive collection of Chinese warriors is made from hardened clay and can be found in the town of Xi’an. The warriors were entombed with Emperor Shih Huang-Ti when he died in the second century BC and were only discovered in 1974. Each of the 10,000 figures is unique and represents the actual imperial army. This is sometimes referred to as the eighth wonder of the world.
Go see the Giant Pandas
In the Sichuan province one can take some time to get to see the endangered Giant Pandas in their natural environment at the breeding center at Wolong.
The Zhangjiajie Yellow Dragon Cave is Asia’s largest cave network and provides lots of great sights. There’s also the Guilin’s Reed Flute and Crown cave or Yangshuo’s Silver Cave with their beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
Get a Chinese Meridian Massage
This massage technique was especially designed to help promote the flow of vital energy through the meridians and bring the body back into balance. Most massage parlours across China offer this technique
Explore the beaches
China has some pretty amazing tropical beaches like Hainan Island with its pristine Sanya Beach.
Best time to visit China
Tourist visit China between Setember & October or March & April
Because China is such an extremely large country, the weather differs dramatically from one region to another, although the seasonal timing of the entire country is similar to that of Europe and the USA.The north and central regions of China is almost always rainy, with average summer temperatures of around 26°C and winter averages of around 0°C. The southeast of China can be very humid and has a semi-tropical summer, with average summer temperatures as high as 30°C as the norm. Winter time, January and February, has average temperatures of around 10°C. The best time to visit China would probably be between the months of September and October, in early autumn or alternatively between March and April in the early spring time.
Did you know?
The standard Mandarin greeting you would use to greet a local is “nǐ hǎo”, pronounced as knee how
Get ready to experience a lot of difference in the type of cuisine that is served from one region in China to another…
- Northern Cuisine are considered to be tasty and hearty .Specialties from the north include dishes such as Pecking Duck, Mongolian Hot Pot ad Shuijao which is pasta-like dough wrapped around pork meat, chives and onions, almost like Italian Ravioli.
- Southern Cuisine is where it gets a little freaky and ingredients are exotic to say the least. It’s not rare to find snake, dog, turtle or wildcat as the main ingredient in a dish. Specialty dishes include Dim Sum and Shrimp Wonton Noodle Soup.
- Eastern Cuisine is often rich and sweet, mostly pickled and notorious for seafood, soup and noodles. Specialty dishes include Xiao Long Bao, which is pork and crab stuffed steamed dumplings in a rich broth, Shengjian Mantou, which is pan fried pork buns, and Hairy Crabs.
- Western Cuisine is always bold and spicy and Sichuan peppercorn is liberally used in dishes. Specialty dishes include Kung Po Chicken, Dandan Noodles and Mapodoufu, which is a spicy bean curd.
- Maotai is a famous national drink and is a fiery spirit distilled from rice wine.
December - Spring Festival - This is China’s most important festival and holds the same value as Christmas has to Westerners. This is the time when families get together and homes get cleaned to welcome in the dawning New Year. Bright decorations, dancing, singing and fireworks are all integral parts of the Spring Festival that dates back more than 4000 years.
January - Yuandan Festival - China also loves to celebrate the New Year, and they do it in style with lots of shows and concerts, singing, dancing and off course local cuisine to round off the lively atmosphere.
March - Yuanxiao Festival - Also known as the Lantern Festival, this celebration marks the end of the Spring Festival. Thousands of lanterns light u the night sky as the Chinese celebrate and feast on Chinese dumplings.
April - Qingming Festival - A.K.A Tomb sweeping day is one of the most important days for offering sacrifices. Chinese people offer sacrifices to their ancestors and sweep the tombs of the deceased.
May - Labor Day - To celebrate international workers day, the country of China sees lots of live entertainment held in parks, public squares and theatres.
June - Duanwu Festival - Also known as the Dragon Boat Festival, this festival commemorates the life and death of the famous Chinese scholar Qu Yuan and sees traditional dragon boat racing as part of the celebrations.
August - Qixi Festival - This festival is dedicated to have girls show off their handicrafts and also make wishes for a good husband. Recently this festival has been called the Valentine’s day of China.
September - Mid-Autumn Festival - This festival originates from the worshiping of the moon and symbolizes harvesting and family reunion. This festival holds the same importance for the Chinese that Thanksgiving holds for Westerners.
October - The National Day of China - Various government organized activities such as fireworks and concerts are the norm for this grand celebration of all things China.
October - Chongyang Festival- Also called the Double Ninth Festival, this day is dedicated to eating Chongyang cake, drinking chrysanthemum wine, climbing mountains and paying homage to chrysanthemums.
- Make sure that you now some basic Mandarin phrases and take a traveler’s dictionary with you to help you cross the language barrier
- Plan and stick to your itinerary to ensure you do all you have set out to do
- Make use of the public transport systems to effectively experience all that is China
- You might want to consider investing in a pollution mask because the air in most of the touristic destinations is downright terrible and will probably be filled with smog