Popular Places To Tour in China
Mysterious China — home to ancient palaces, otherworldly beauty, and cities where Eastern traditions live cheek-by-jowl with Western inventions and the difference becomes blurred. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime vacation destination.
Most China tours will show you Beijing’s Forbidden City, a palace of 8,000 gold=roofed rooms, which was home to China’s emperors for more than 500 years. You’ll also visit the Beijing section of the 3,000=mile=long Great Wall.
But China offers so much more. A few of the top travel destinations:
Visit Chengdu, the pandas’ hometown. Here you can get up close and personal with the pandas with volunteer programs at Bifengxia Panda Base, where you can see pandas in their natural habitat, or at Dujiangyan Panda Valley. Both are outside the city. If you don’t have time for a volunteer program, stop by the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center.
An Army of Clay
An army of 7,000 clay soldiers, every one different, along with clay horses and chariots, all dressed for battle, rested unseen under the ground of Xian for thousands of years. In 1974, they were found by farmers digging a well. About 1,800 of the figures have been excavated. They represent soldiers who subdued all the other armies in China in the centuries before the Christian era, and they guarded the tomb of the Emperor Qin.
The Yellow Mountains
For sheer, breathtaking beauty, it’s difficult to top the Yellow Mountains. They’re home to hot springs, artfully twisted pine trees, oddly shaped hills that rise through oceans of clouds, and glorious sunrises. This is China’s most popular national park, and the most accessible one. If you want more world-class scenery, consider visiting two other national parks: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, home to unique rock pillars, and Jiuzhaigou National Forest Park, famous for its multicolored lakes.
Shanghai and Hong Kong
For bright lights and big cities, it’s hard to beat Shanghai and Hong Kong. Best views: In Shanghai, visit The Bund at night. It was the center of prosperity in Shanghai in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and showcases European architecture. In Hong Kong, climb Victoria Peak for a view of Victoria Harbor and Hong Kong’s spectacular skyscrapers — great day or night, but at night you can watch the Symphony of Lights play over the buildings.
So walk the Great Wall (hint: the best restoration is at Mutianyu, with 23 original-style watchtowers) and tiptoe into the Forbidden City, but be sure to see some of China’s other treasures.