The world’s most populous country, China, is also one of the most fascinating for travelers. With an ancient history that stretches back thousands of years and is cloaked in philosophy and myth, as well as rapid development that has seen it become one of the most advanced nations on the planet, it is a truly fascinating blend.
Most travelers will begin their journeys in one of China’s megacities, such as the sprawling capital Beijing with its never-ending array of sights, smells, and sounds. Visitors to this stunning city will be richly rewarded; Beijing boasts six UNESCO world heritage sites including the iconic Great Wall of China and mysterious Forbidden City.
China’s second-largest city, Shanghai, conjures up images of the excess and glamour of the 1920s, much of which it retains to this day – with some extra modern flair and culture added in.
Although it tends to be China’s glittering cities that steal the limelight, the country also boasts many areas where the air is fresh and the views absolutely stunning. Of all the gorgeous regions, Guilin, with its limestone scenery and collision of two lakes which once formed a medieval moat, is one of the most picturesque. Yangshuo, too, is very beautiful, and a river cruise down the mighty Yangtze River is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If it is history you seek, prepare to be amazed by the treasures of ancient China. Perhaps the best place to experience this is in Xi’an, home of the fascinating Terracotta Warriors. Similarly, you may like to retrace the footsteps of ancient traders by checking out the enigmatic Silk Road which passes through much of China.
There are so many places in China that offer delectable, mouthwatering cuisine that it’s hard to choose just one for the title of “best”. However, UNESCO City of Gastronomy Chengdu certainly offers more than its fair share of incredible food, served everywhere from humble street stalls to the glamorous restaurant. It also boasts many beautiful parks and a non-for-profit panda breeding center.
Beyond the mainland, there are also exciting places to be found. The island of Hong Kong may have only recently been returned to China from the British, however, in truth, it has always kept its close association with the mainland, while also have unique features including moving Buddhist sites and delicious food (especially the Dim Sum!)
There’s also Macau, widely known as the Vegas of China due to its relaxed gambling laws. However, it is much more than that, as a Portuguese colony for more than 300 years, it is an intriguing blend of cultures.
All in all, there are few countries on the planet that offer the brilliant diversity of China. Wherever you go, you are sure to be richly rewarded.