Are you considering visiting the epic, jaw-dropping, and mystical land of China?
China is a vast landscape teeming with different personalities, treasures, opportunities and delights. However, it can be overwhelming considering where one can even begin!
Nonetheless, there’s something truly magical about China. And once you take the plunge into the history of China and its modern day transformation, like me, you’ll be captivated.
There are so many brilliant things to do in China! Your whirlwind China travel experience will take you from summiting breathtaking mountains to delving deep into magical ancient sites. You’ll venture onwards to traditional homes amongst a maze of alleyways.
Then swiftly, you’ll find yourself underground among unforgettable nightlife, and munching on a whole lot of *ahem*…’interesting’ food.
To whet your appetite, here’s 10 things about China that will make you book your flight now! And with the world’s biggest airport opening in Beijing in 2019, there’s no excuse not to go!
I have always been passionate about hiking, but once I reached China, my love for striding up a peak became insatiable! Being one of the biggest countries in the world, China does not fail to disappoint!
The postcard-perfect tiny village of Xingping opens up the true beauty of the Li River (proudly displayed on China’s 20 yuan note) in return for just a 30 minute hike (but my word it is steep!).
Why not visit China this May for its infamous eye-popping Dragon’s Backbone Rice Terraces in Longsheng. They will greet you twinkling and glistening underneath the rising sun as they gorge on the abundant rainfall and pleasant climate.
Huashan is a must see in China. One of my favourite hiking trails, even if it is one of the world’s most dangerous. Yes, this hike is not for the faint hearted. Tiny wooden planks, nailed to the mountain edges, are enough to make your legs go weak. So, I recommend investing in the safety gear to ensure you are as safe as possible.
Having lived in Shanghai for 2 and a half years teaching English, I quickly learnt that Shanghai will open up a world where you can be whoever you want to be (if you truly put your mind to it). This is the place where I finally decided to start my travel blog!
You must tick the unmissable Shanghai China tourist spots off your list: strolling along the Bund at night, cycling through the genteel French Quarter and gawping up at that tower(!!) but there is so much more to Shanghai than this.
Shanghai boasts uber cool, secret hidden cocktail bars, a thriving Burlesque scene, unmissable street art and nightclubs you would never imagine to be possible. It’s the ultimate playground for visitors and expats alike!
You think you know what Chinese food looks like and tastes like…then you arrive in China. You’re going to have to start all over again. Any takeaway you’ve had before is nothing like THIS.
China will turn your taste buds upside down, and with much enthusiasm and gusto!
For the best BBQ ever, I recommend diving straight into the succulent roasted lamb and nan bread from Xinjiang. Next up, chow down and slurp up the delicious insides of a Shanghainese dumpling. The Beijing duck is naturally, unmissable.
Yet, for the ultimate culinary experience, be brave and try the ultra spicy Sichuan dishes! Those Sichuan peppercorns are really something else!
Some awesome Chinese food facts for you: the Chinese eat twice as much fruit and veg as Westerners do! And yes, they do eat everything that moves. This includes snake, dog, boiled blood, pig’s ears and rats.
Make sure you get your chopstick practice in, as you’ll rarely see a knife and fork. And if you’re seated furthest away from the dining room door, with all animal’s heads pointing at you; lucky you! You are the honoured guest! Tuck in!
Of all the places to visit in China, the Great Wall of China should be called the ‘Ultimate’ Wall. ‘Great’ just doesn’t do it justice. Some Great Wall of China facts for you: it stretches over 4000 miles (6000 kilometres) and blood, sweat and tears were very much put into this longest wall in the world. It is said that for every foot of the wall, one person died building it. Yikes.
Wondering what the best time to visit the Great Wall is? It’s too hot and crowded to see the Great Wall between June and August when most people visit. If you can, come here during Autumn between September and November. The skies are blue and the weather is cool and clear.
Make sure to avoid the first week of October. This is a massive public holiday and most of China will want to join you.
Don’t forget these other famous places in China: the unique Terracotta Warriors in Xian, Beijing’s Forbidden City, and Dali’s 3 monumental pagodas.
If you want a great deal on just about everything, you need to visit the shops in-between your China sightseeing. The best things to buy include electronics, clothes, jewellery…and let’s not forget the tea!
It’s an absolute treat to have your own clothes made by a tailor and at a very reasonable price (!) too. Many visitors cannot resist the fake handbags, shoes and watches either (they just look like the real thing!). Get your haggling skills warmed up. It’s going to be a lot of fun!
Need I say more? There are top-notch places to see Giant Pandas in China, marvel at their beauty and become part of the Panda Keeper Programme. Chengdu Giant Panda Sanctuary is the most popular one of all, with 50 pandas. It’s popular with animal lovers and animal welfare advocates alike, so it does get crowded quickly.
For a quieter experience, I recommend heading to Dujiangyan Panda Base, 1.5 hours away from Chengdu. Further out from Chengdu, 3 hours away, is Wolong Panda Center. Access is hard but visitors are raving about this place, not to mention their work is helping the restoration and growth of China’s panda population!
China will give you the challenge in travel that you’ve been looking for. You’re going to experience culture shock, you’re going to be amazed, you’re going to be tested in interesting ways, and it’s going to be great!
You’ll leave feeling more confident, more prepared for challenges and with some awesome Mandarin in your toolbox, you’re going to rock it! Embrace the differences that you are about to discover and have the time of your life. Looking for more China travel inspiration? Check out Adventures Around Asia’s China Bucket List!