China’s size is incredible, stretching from the East China Sea all the way west to Central Asia. This is a country formed by so many territories: so different from each other and yet so similar. The Middle Kingdom, as it is called, is a country of superlatives—the most people, the largest palace complex, the highest skyscrapers—but looking closer and you’ll see also rural tribes working in the rice fields; the tea is still harvested by hand; people in some parts still live like in ancient times.
After our 15 days trip through China we gathered for you amazing things to see and do in China.
Here there are:
1.Hike the Great Wall of China
Without a doubt, the most recognizable symbol of China’s rich history is the Great Wall. The 21,196 km long fortification, stretches from Dandong in the country’s east, all the way to Lop Lake in its west. While it’s true that the Badaling section of the wall is often crowded to the point that you’re barely able to see the wall you’re standing on, there remains a lot of places where you can not only experience the Great Wall’s majesty – but even have the wall almost entirely to yourself! So, make the hike in a place not so crowed, it is worth it.
2.Eat Peking duck in Beijing
Peking duck is famous all over the world so, no trip to China would be complete without trying this amazing dish.
While it’s available all over China, eating Peking (Beijing) duck in Beijing is something that should be on any culinary bucket list.
3.Relax in Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai
A classic example of a Chinese garden, Yuyuan Gardens in Shanghai is one of the most accessible and impressive examples of the art form. More about the Yuyuan Gardens you can find here.
At 20,000 square meters, the park is relatively small by Chinese standards but packs a lot into the small space including pavilions, rockeries, ponds and bridges.
Here you can find the China that you know from the books. I love it!
4.Experience a Chinese High-Speed Rail Ride
China high speed trains, also known as bullet or fast trains, can reach 300 km/h or a top speed of 350 km/h. About 2,600 pairs of high speed trains numbered by G, D or C run daily connecting over 200 cities in China and covering 32 of the country’s 34 provinces.
Beijing-Shanghai high speed train link the two mega-cities; 1,318 km away in just 4.5 hours.
It is definitely a unique experience. You must try it. More about riding the high-speed train you can find here.
5.Brake the rules in the Forbidden City
The Forbidden City, situated in the very heart of Beijing, was home to 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Any tour of Beijing would be incomplete without a visit to the Forbidden City.
Just stroll inside the city’s court yards. More about our adventure in the Forbidden City you can find here.
6.Don’t miss the Birds Nest of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games
The National Stadium, also known as Bird’s Nest, is the main stadium of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which is located in Olympic Green Village, 8 kilometers from downtown Beijing. During Beijing Olympic Games, the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony, athletics, football and some other events were held in the Bird’s Nest. After the Olympic Games, the Bird’s Nest becomes a hot scenic spot and a large-scale venue of sports events and recreational activities, such as holding vocal concerts.
Don’t miss a very pleasant walk through the Olympic village.
7.Take a cruise over the Li River
One of the world’s “Top 10 Watery Wonders”, the Li River has the most popular and picturesque scenery in China. The best way to appreciate the beautiful scenery of a river is to take a cruise. The cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo is one of the most popular activities in a Guilin holiday. We love it. More things about it here.
8.Take a bike around West River in Hangzhou
West Lake is man-made and created after the Chinese love for garden-style parks and recreation. It’s in the western suburbs of the historic center of Hangzhou. West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou, and is considered one of the most beautiful sights in China. West Lake was selected as one of the “12 superb sunset spots around the world” by CNN. Walking around West Lake is free, so just stroll around the lake to appreciate the beautiful scenery. For us it was a perfect get away from the city life. More things about it here.
9.Walk Along The Bund — the Symbol of Shanghai
For a century, the Bund has been one of the most recognizable symbols and the pride of Shanghai. The architecture along the Bund is a living museum of the colonial history of the 1800s. You’ve never been to Shanghai if you haven’t seen the Bund. The Bund is a mile-long stretch of waterfront promenade along the Huangpu River. To the west of this stretch stand 52 buildings of various architectural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and neoclassical styles. It is often referred to as “the museum of buildings”.
The best way to appreciate the buildings is to have a walk along the Bund. Roaming among the architectural complexes, you’ll have a better understanding of the century-long charm of this city. More about the amazing The Bund you can find here.
10.Get off Beijing’s beaten track in the hutongs
One of the best parts of Beijing is the dusty small streets and cute boutiques that make up its hutong district.
While modern Beijing has precious little time for the grimy local restaurants and crowded courtyard tenements of the city’s past, there remains a lot to love in these window alleyways where people live, play, eat, and do pretty much everything else.
Hutongs such as Wudaoying and Fengjia near Andingmen are a delightful mix of authentic China and modern hipster charm, with cute cafes, art galleries, local dives, fashion boutiques, and everything in between to be found.
It is a perfect way to spend your evening. More about Beijing you can find here.
11.The Longji Terraced Fields — World’s Most Incredible Rice Terraces
The Longji Rice Terraces offer some of the most fantastic scenery in China or indeed the world. It is so beautiful when the sun reflects in the water of the paddy fields and glowing with yellow ears when the harvest is ripe. Longji (Dragon’s Back) is a feast for the eyes. We couldn’t leave the place, it was like a sudden addiction.
The 66 square kilometers rice terraces are built into the hillsides, and look like great amphitheaters. More things about it here.
12.Try the street food
Boasting glorious history, modern metropolis and rich culture, Beijing has over 200 kinds of different snacks after thousands of years of development. Beijing snacks combine numerous flavors and styles, such as Hui, Mongolian and Manchurian ethnic flavors, and imperial styles of the Ming and Qing dynasties. Food streets or snack streets are always popular destinations for locals and tourists, especially at night. There are many such streets in Beijing, some are time-honored, while some are newly opened. More about the Beijing’s street food you can find here.
13.Hike the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain
It wasn’t until 1982 that China created its first national park: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. They couldn’t have chosen a better site – Zhangjiajie is famous for its 3,000 vertical pillars, each hundred of feet tall and covered in dense green foliage. These pillars were formed by erosion and draw in upwards of 30 million tourists every day…99% locals.
The rest of the Park is full of natural wonders from misty forests to towering sandstone pillars. This landscape even inspired the scenery of James Cameron’s Avatar.
It is simply amazing. More things about it here.
14.Gamble in Macau…or not
With annual gambling revenue seven times that of Las Vegas, Macau is the true sin city when it comes to games of chance.
A former Portuguese colony, the city still very much wears its colonial history on its sleeve. Macau offers a charming contrast of historic European buildings and glitzy casinos catering to the world’s largest gambling market.
Like Las Vegas, Macau is more than just gambling – with bungee jumping, shopping, live entertainment, greyhound racing, and a number of historic sites also worth your time.
We love the Venetian Hotel…it’s something. More things about it here.
15.See Hong Kong from atop Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist destinations day or night and it is the best place to view Hong Kong’s twinkling skyline.
The more active can choose to hike their way up to the peak, but the popular Peak Tram is a scenic and more comfortable alternative. More things about it here.
16.Eat hot pot
Chinese hotpot also known as Chinese fondue, is one of the most popular meals in China. It consists of a simmering metal pot of broth at the center of a table, and all raw ingredients placed beside the metal pot, so people can add and cook whatever they like in the broth. While hot pot is available all over China, Chongqing’s take on the popular spicy broth is perhaps its most famous variant.
17.Live like a local in rural China
For those really wanting to experience China away from its bustling city, it pays to get well and truly off the beaten track and visit a place not renowned for tourism.
You’ll need some Mandarin or world-class charades skills most of the time and you might have trouble finding hotels that can take foreign guests, but you’ll see China as it truly is – rather than as its state-owned media wishes it to be portrayed.
18.See the Neon Lights of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has developed out of a small fishing village in the 1800s into a dynamic and thrilling21st-centuryy cosmopolitan metropolis. It is a bustling coastal city full of impressive high rises, and a fusion of eastern and western cultures. It proudly proclaims itself to be ‘Asia’s World City’ and remains a key gateway to China.
It is damn impressing.
19.Walk the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
The world’s longest and highest glass bridge, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge opened to the public in August 2016. It offers a way to enjoy a panoramic view of the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon — if you dare to walk on it!
The glass bridge is very popular among the Chinese, so there many people going there. It is established that no more than 8,000 visitors each day have the opportunity to walk on the bridge. Entrance tickets can only be obtained by reservation.
As tickets are limited, we recommended to book a ticket through a travel agency, like us, who have first priority for ticket purchase. Individual booking is extremely unlikely to be successful.
20.Find your inner peace in China’s Temples
Apart from Buddhist grottoes, mountains, and religious sites like the Leshan Giant Buddha, temples are an important part of China’s Buddhist heritage and culture. There are a lot of famous temples in China with magnificent layouts and traditional Chinese architecture. Many of them date back many centuries. The hassle of the holidays often leaves tourists worn out with early morning starts and a full day run-around. For those seeking some peace and serenity, Beijing offers this and much more at its numerous and diverse Taoist and Buddhist temples.
21.Learn about the tea tradition
Hangzhou’s Meijiawu Tea Village is a famous Dragon Well tea plantation nestled in the hills surrounding West Lake. It is renowned as one of the most important production bases of West Lake Dragon Well tea in China, and possibly even the world. In its former years, it once entertained the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United States, Vietnam, Great Britain, Cambodia and many other countries and regions.