China is vastly different from the contexts in which westerners normally find themselves, making it an utterly transfixing destination to visit. From the natural beauty of China’s rural areas to the buzzing cities, the cultural attractions and of course the cuisine, China offers travellers a range of new experiences to immerse oneself in. Here is a list of some of the top attractions that you’ll see on your tour to China:
The Great Wall of China
Built over a period of 2000 years and snaking across 6700 kilometres, the Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure on the planet, and certainly one of the most impressive. Built to defend China from invading Mongols of the north, the Great Wall stretches from East to West in northern China, and though parts of it are in ruins, the wall is a spectacular landmark; an enduring symbol of Chinese civilisation.
The Terracotta Army: Xi’an
Perhaps rivalling the Great Wall in terms of sheer scale, the terracotta army is a vast collection of terracotta statues built by the Emperor Qin. Discovered in 1974 by a local farmer, over 2200 pieces now stand in military formation in excavated pits. Incredibly, no two faces are alike, making this another one of China’s most fascinating attractions.
Often depicted in Chinese paintings, the sheer faces of the limestone karsts of this region are familiar to most travellers but no less impressive when seen in real life. Rising out of the rice paddies and pagodas, the dramatic limestone cliffs make this one of China’s most picturesque destinations. Situated in the northeast corner of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Guilin is an attractive city with plenty of shaded avenues, thoroughfares and rocky parkland to explore.
Capital of the People’s Republic of China, Beijing is the country’s political, cultural and economic centre. An enormous urban expanse, the bizarre designs of some of Beijing’s skyscrapers provide the backdrop to an exciting, modern city with loads to see, do and eat! The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace are probably the primary attractions on any tourist’s checklist, but there is so much to explore in the hutongs too – ride a rickshaw, try the famous Peking roast duck and generally soak up the culture of the world’s biggest city.
One of China’s most charming cities, Suzhou is famous for its waterways and canals, dotted with traditional houses, bridges and gardens. Take a cruise on the Grand Canal to see the best of Suzhou and watch the locals going about their daily business. As a major trading post for the ancient silk trade, Suzhou’s silk workshops are well worth a visit. Wander through the bamboo and pine forests, winding streams and hills without even leaving the city in the UNESCO heritage Humble Administrator’s Garden.
These are just some of the attractions to see in China. For more on these and other must-see destinations, as well as a range of group tours, holidays and some fascinating cultural festivals in China, take a look at our China section. Happy travelling!