China Tours, Activities, Day Trips, and Things To Do
China is a populous nation in East Asia whose vast landscape includes grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, rivers and more than 14,000km of coastline. Few countries do the Big Outdoors like the Middle Kingdom. China's landscapes span the range from alpha to omega: take your pick from the sapphire lakes of Tibet or the impassive deserts of Inner Mongolia, island-hop in Hong Kong or bike between fairy-tale karst pinnacles around Yangshuo; gawk at the rice terraces of the south, take a selfie among the gorgeous yellow rapeseed of Wuyuan or hike the Great Wall as it meanders across mountain peaks; get lost in green forests of bamboo, or, when your energy is running low, relax on a beach and listen to the thud of falling coconuts. But there's so much more to China than natural scenery. With iconic cultural symbols to sacred temples and distinct architecture, there's a whole new world of opportunity just waiting to be explored. Just the mention of China makes many makes want to get packing. It's going places, and it's bound to be an exciting ride.
China has a great modern scene with major cities boasting tall buildings and modern designs, such as Shanghai, which is a skyscraper-studded global financial center. The capital city of Beijing mixes modern architecture with historic sites such as the Forbidden City palace complex and Tiananmen Square. China's modern face is dazzling, but its history is even more intriguing. The world's oldest continuous civilization is something awe-inspiring to experience. While you won't be tripping over artefacts, as continuous development and planning have taken their toll, rich examples of antiquity are still readily available. There's some piece of history to interest almost anyone from collapsing sections of the Great Wall, to temple-topped mountains, to villages that time forgot, to sleepy water towns, to sublime Buddhist grottoes and even ancient desert forts, the options are endless.
As the oldest continuous civilization, China has some of the most impressive sights imaginable, so there is no shortage of things to see and do in the country. Some of the most popular sights and attractions include: The Great Wall of China, which is more than 8,000 km long, this ancient wall is the most iconic landmark of China; Hainan, a tropical paradise island with heavy tourist-oriented development; Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve; the habitat of giant pandas with many multi-level waterfalls and colorful lakes; Leshan, famous for its huge riverside cliff-carving of Buddha and nearby Mount Emei, Mount Everest, which straddles the border between Nepal and Tibet, this is the world's highest mountain; Mount Tai, one of the five Daoist sacred mountains in China, and because of its history the most climbed mountain in China; Tibet, with a majority of Tibetan Buddhists and traditional Tibetan culture, it feels like an entirely different world; Turpan, located in the Islamic area of Xinjiang, this area is known for its grapes, harsh climate and Uighur culture; and Yungang Grottoes, more than 50 mountain-side caves and recesses filled with 51,000 Buddhist statues.
Food in China varies widely from region to region so the term "Chinese food" is pretty much a blanket term, just like "Western food." The Chinese live to eat and with 1.4 billion food-loving people to feed, coupled with vast geographic and cultural variations in a huge land, expect your taste buds to be tantalized, tested, and treated. Enjoy Peking duck in Beijing, savor a Chongqing hotpot or grab a seasoned roujiamo (shredded pork in a bun). Gulp down a steaming bowl of Lanzhou noodles in a Silk Road street market, raise the temperature with some searing Hunan fare or flag down the dim sum trolley down south. While visiting, relax your inhibitions and try a bit of everything. Be aware that some "Chinese" food, such as Beef and Broccoli or Chow Mein should be avoided (if you could even find them), as these are not real Chinese dishes and will get you strange looks from locals. Follow your nose in China and you won't want to stop travelling.
China is vast. Off-the-scale massive. A riveting jumble of wildly differing dialects and climatic and topographical extremes, it's like several different countries rolled into one. Take your pick from the tossed-salad ethnic mix of the southwest, the yak-butter-illuminated temples of Xiahe, a journey along the dusty Silk Road, spending the night at Everest Base Camp, or getting into your party clothes for a night on the Shanghai tiles. You're options are endless: whether you're an urban traveler, hiker, cyclist, explorer, backpacker, irrepressible museum-goer, or faddish foodie, China's diversity is second to none.