China sketch

Article Contributor: Ryan Fyfe

China as one of the four ancient civilizations of the world has a very long history. The mention of China first brings to mind an image of the 2,300-year-old Great Wall which is so grand it can even be seen from space. Certainly, this is not the only thing to see and there is plenty more to see and do in the People’s Republic of China.

China is the largest country in the world by population and the third largest in the world by size. The country of China has an area coverage of 9,596,960 square kilometers. This also makes it the largest country on the Asia continent. China has one the oldest civilizations in the world with China’s most spoken language Mandarin, also one the oldest spoken languages of the world. China with it’s large population, makes Mandarin the most spoken language in the world.  China has also advanced considerably over the years, both technologically and economically. With China’s hefty influence, the whole of East Asia has adopted Chinese culture, religion and developed similar writing methods.

It surely sounds interesting, but before you book your trip to China, you need to know more about the climate and choose which places to visit. Travelling in China is moderately easy. The country is very tourist friendly and the government firmly believes in their Harmonious Society policy for it’s citizens and the foreign visitors.

As a tourist you can expect to be well looked after. You can visit China in any season, but the winters in some parts of China tend to be very cold, so summer is preferable. The climate in Beijing is comparable to Washington DC.

And now, the places in China that you won’t want to miss. Here’s our short list of top attractions;

Beijing is the one place which is a must see. It is here that you will get the flavor of the country’s politics and culture, intermingled with the now modern city. Beijing is always crammed with activities to do. The best places to visit here are the Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall, Ming Tomb, Summer Palace, Lama Temple and the Capital Museum. Another reason not to miss out on Beijing is that it is one of the six oldest cities in the country and likewise, in the world. You could stay at the Orange Hotel or Michael’s House Hotel while you are there.

Shanghai is another of China’s ancient cities. It is also the largest city and has two sections; Puxi in the center and Pudong across from the historic center. If you visit Shanghai, you must see the Shanghai Bund, the Jade Buddha temple, Shanghai Yuyuan Garden, and the Shanghai Museum. Pudong Shangri-La and St. Regis, Shanghai are good options for accommodations.

The city of Guilin is located by the banks of the Li River and is known for its scenic locations. The landscape is flanked by mountains with rock climbing zones, crystal clear water bodies and caves to explore. Here you have the opportunity to visit the Chinese tribes of Hui, Yao and Zhuang. Other notable places to visit are the reed flute cave, the elephant trunk hill, the 7-star parks and the famed Guilin Folded brocade hill. Eva Inn is a renowned place to stay in here.

If you do see the Yangtze River, you should not pass up the opportunity for a river cruise. The ferry across the river is said to be one of the most romantic things you can do on this trip. It is a wonderful, but long ride on the along the river. The ride is 6,300 km and only the Amazon River and the Nile are longer.

Lhasa, Tibet is the closest you can come to heaven on your visit to China and Tibet. Nestled between the Himalayas, it is a civilization far removed from the everyday hustle and bustle that we are accustomed to. While in Lhasa,  you must see the Potala Palace, the Jokhang Temple, plus the Drepung and Sera Monasteries. The House of Shambala and Thangka Hotel are good places to put your feet up.

Also, while in the historical Tsang province of Tibet, you should make it a point to visit Shigatse, as it is the second largest city in the province.