On China vacations, travelers can treat themselves to a wide variety of experiences. Bustling cities such as Beijing and Shanghai offer glitz, glamour and plenty of ways to stay entertained, whereas other destinations like the legendary land of Shangri La and the Dukezong Old Town are more about finding solace and spiritual nourishment. Where the cities and towns leave off in China, beautiful natural landscapes unfold, providing even more options for places to explore. The ethnic diversity of the Chinese people also adds depth to China vacations. Toss in internationally known attractions such as the Great Wall of China and the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian, and it becomes even more clear that a trip to China is likely to be anything but boring. Of course, no discussion about this largest of Asian nations would be complete without also mentioning its exciting, if not sometimes rather surprising, food scene.
China vacations can be ideal for travelers who are wishing to get a healthy dose of urban exposure. Some of the world’s largest and most vibrant cities call the country home. Beijing is among the most spectacular Chinese cities, thanks in part to its mix of imperial history and modern indulgence. Main attractions in Beijing include Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, but that’s merely the start, and no visitor to this enormous capital city should arguably leave without trying some crispy Peking duck. Well, non-vegetarian visitors anyways. As for other places to delve into the urban side of China, they include such tantalizing destinations as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Chongquing and Kunming.
When a break from the big city is in order during China vacations, it is possible to escape to any number of more peaceful destinations, such as Shangri La and the Dukezong Old Town. Shangri La China takes its name from a legendary fictional paradise that was introduced in the 1933 James Hilton novel, Lost Horizon. More officially known as Shangri La County, it is largely inhabited by the Tibetan people and can be found in northwestern Yunnan Province. The Dukezong Old Town is among the top attractions in Shangri La County. Its 1,300-year-old history and traditional Tibetan culture are largely responsible for drawing in tourists. For those seeking solace, China is also well known for its tranquil temples, with examples including the Huating Temple in Kunming and the Songzanlin Monastery near the Shangri La County borders.
Getting in touch with the natural side of things is something that many travelers hope to do on China vacations, and it is easy to understand why. This massive country offers all kinds of fascinating landscapes, with the Stone Forest and the Three Gorges region being just two examples. Found near the city of Kunming, the Stone Forest amazes visitors with its stunning rock formations, some of which rise as high as a six-story building. The Three Gorges region, or Yangtze Gorges region, on the other hand, is a scenic area that can be found along the Yangtze River. Many China vacation packages include such things as a Stone Forest visit and a river cruise in the Three Gorges region, making it easy for travelers to add such experiences to their vacation plans.
Well-known China attractions like the Great Wall of China and the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian certainly add to the allure of China vacations. Work on the series of fortifications that make up the Great Wall of China started way back in the seventh century BC, and renovations were consistently made over time, with a major Great Wall revival of sorts occurring in the fourteenth century. The collective Great Wall barrier has a length of just over 5,500 miles and is undoubtedly one of mankind’s most impressive architectural achievements. In relation to the Terra Cotta Warriors of Xian, or the Terra Cotta Army, it is a collection of sculptures that depict the armies of China’s first Emperor–Qin Shi Huang. The numerous sculptures were buried with the Emperor in 210 BC, and the total collection is an amazing example of funerary art.
There are so many different attractions that you could focus on when planning China vacations. Travelers shouldn’t get so lost in the various attractions that they forget the Chinese people themselves, however. No less than 56 different ethnic groups are officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China, with the Han Chinese being the largest. In fact, the Han Chinese is actually the world’s largest ethnic group. Throughout China, all the various ethnic groups offer their own mix of traditions and cultures, and depending on where you go, you might have the chance to witness a cultural demonstration or attend a colorful festival.
For the culinary adventurer with an interest in Chinese food, there many be no better place to visit. The country is known for its many delicious dishes, such as crispy Peking duck, and the more curious diner can seriously push the limits when it comes to trying new things. At a local Chinese market, you might even come across meat from animals that many Westerners would consider to be pets, so if nothing else, it isn’t uncommon for travelers to be surprised by the country’s vast culinary offerings. If something a little more familiar is what you have in mind when it comes to dining in China, there is a growing number of Western-style restaurants to select from. That being said, it can be especially rewarding to explore the cuisines of the various areas that you visit. This provides wonderful insight into the regional culture.
Regardless of what you have in mind for your China vacation, you might end up feeling a bit overwhelmed by the trip planning process. Partly because of its size, China can be a confusing country to approach. Thankfully, China vacations don’t have to be difficult to arrange. There are plenty of companies that offer China vacation packages, and these packages can include everything from your flight and accommodations to your meals and tours. That leaves little to worry about in the end, except having fun. Should you prefer to ignore the China vacation packages and go it alone, on the other hand, a Chinese phrase book and a good guidebook should be among your travel tools, as they can come in very handy.