China as a tourist destination offers limitless scope for exploration, the country is full of incredible experiences. Once you start touring China beyond the limits of the major cities, you’ll find that history paints a beautiful backdrop to the entire culture and customs of the country. Tourists will discover fascinating, unusual, and adventurous things to do.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT
1.THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
The magnificent Great Wall of China stretches more than 6,000 kilometers from the fortresses of Shanhaiguan in the east all the way to Jiayuguan in the west, passing through Hebei, Tientsin, Beijing - where the best preserved sections of the wall can be visited - Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, and Gansu. Averaging six to eight meters in height but rising as high as 16 meters - and wide enough in places for five horses or 10 men to pass - the wall boasts numerous battlements and watchtowers, some dating back as far as the 7th century BC, with the best-known areas added around 210 BC when its various sections were joined. The most visited sections today is near Badaling Pass, Gubeikou and Mutianyu.
2.THE IMPERIAL PALACE, BEIJING
Located in the very heart of Beijing the largest and most important building in China is also known as the Forbidden City. It was built between 1406 and 1420 as the residence of 24 Ming and Qing Emperors, whose presence forbade the entry of anyone other than the imperial family and their courtesans. The massive palace is protected by a 10-meter high wall with watchtowers and a wide moat surrounding it. The massive complex consists of areas set aside for ceremonial and administrative purposes, as well as a private residence used by the emperor. Highlights include the five white marble Golden River Bridges; the Hall of Supreme Harmony, a 35-meter-tall building housing the imperial throne; the exquisite emperor's banquet hall; and the Palace Museum with its large collection of art and artifacts from the Ming and Qing dynasties, to name but a few.
3.THE TERRACOTTA ARMY
While digging wells on the outskirts of Xi’an in 1970, farmers stumbled across what was to be China's most important archeological find: the Terracotta Army. Distributed over three large underground pits and built to guard the First Emperor's tomb were more than 8,000 life-size warriors, some 520 horses, and more than 100 chariots, along with numerous other non-military characters dating from around 280 BC. The statues stand as testament to the importance bestowed upon the emperor and the afterlife. The site is part of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Park and is one of China's most important tourist destinations.
4.THE SUMMER PALACE
The palace was built in 1153 and is set amid more than 700 acres of beautiful parkland. In the 14th century the large lake was added to enhance the Imperial Gardens. Highlights include the magnificent Hall of Well-being and Longevity with its throne, and the beautiful Great Theatre, a private three-story structure built in 1891 to satisfy the imperial family's love of opera, the Hall of Happiness and Longevity, and many miles of picturesque pathways and walking trails. Tourists can also visit the ruins of the Old Summer Palace, said to have once been one of the country's most elaborate and architecturally attractive palaces, but which was sadly destroyed by colonial forces in the mid-1800s.
5.THE CLASSICAL GARDENS OF SUZHOU
The garden was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered as one of the world’s most important historic gardens. The gardens were established in the 11th century in the historic city of Suzhou in Jiangsu province. Of the surviving restored gardens, the most famous is the delightful Garden of Lingering, a seven-acre site laid out in 1800 on the site of a park originally created during the Ming Dynasty. As one of the most famous garden complexes it boasts a pool, several attractive buildings, a man-made hill, a grove of peach trees, and a lovely covered pathway on the walls of which hang more than three hundred stone tablets engraved with old Chinese characters.
To be continued...