China is the most populated country in the world, with a population of more than 1.3 billion. It is also one of the most economically and politically influential countries in the modern world. Despite this, its ancient culture is largely preserved, uninfluenced by many of the traditions and norms of the rest of the world. No wonder, then, that it is a hugely popular tourist destination, with many tourists wanting to experience its authentic history and intriguing traditions.
It is easy to understand the allure of China. It has a unique combination of a mysterious past and a fast-growing modern identity. However, as enthusiastic as you might be, due to its size it is nearly impossible to simply turn up and start checking off locations one by one. This is why planning is vital if you want to see the best of China. To assist you, here are four recommendations that’ll make your trip unforgettable.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall is, without a doubt, China’s most famous attraction. It has a fascinating history. It was built on the northern border of the country in order to protect the Chinese from the nomadic tribes that attacked them. While it cannot be seen from the Moon and many of the other myths have been debunked, it is a truly larger than life experience. It is, on average, six to seven meters high and runs for more than 20,000 kilometres.
Constructed more than 2,000 years ago, it offers an abundance of relics from the Ming dynasty, especially in Beijing, where it is best maintained.
Most people have only ever seen pandas on television or in pictures. You must catch a glimpse of the world’s most popular gentle giant when you visit China. They are popular in the south-central region and are said to have once roamed there freely.
They really are giant, with the average panda weighing up to 160 kilos and standing two meters tall. As large as they are, they are unbelievably chilled out creatures, spending most of their time eating, relaxing and sleeping. They mainly eat bamboo and due to its low nutritional value, they have to spend most of their time ingesting up to 20kg every day.
Uncovered in 1974, the terracotta warriors have been described as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the modern era. Found near the tomb of the self-declared emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, the Terracotta Warriors are an army of life-size sculptures of soldiers and their horses.
Though you can only access three pits, there are actually as many as 600, along with a system of underground vaults, many of which are still unexcavated. The Terracotta Warriors are found nearly half an hour from Xi’an. Time your visit well though, the traffic can be a nightmare.
The Palace Museum
At the core of Beijing is the Palace Museum, a national museum in the Forbidden City. Established in 1925 after the eviction of the last emperor, the museum soon opened its doors to the public. Since then it has received hundreds of thousands of visitors. In fact, the management has since set a daily limit to reduce the tourist pressure and to help preserve this iconic tourist destination.