Lured by a culture that is vastly different to the western world, millions of visitors make their way to China every year. This colossal country is at the forefront of the world’s economy, has significant advancements in technology and its architectural feats are on another level (literally), but what is it about China that makes so many travellers want to spend their holidays here?
Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you think about China’s tourist highlights is the Great Wall, but this is just the start of the country’s jaw-dropping wonders. A trek along the Great Wall of China is obviously something you shouldn’t miss if you get the chance but step outside of the big cities and there is a whole host of natural and manmade wonders to enjoy.
From the rainbow colours of the Zhangye National Geopark to the Pearl Shoal Waterfall in Jiuzhaigou and from the impressive Three Gorges Dam to the crystal clear waters of Thousand Island Lake, beauty comes in many different forms.
Whilst the value of the pound may have slipped over the last year or so, China is still a country in which your money will go further than most. Food, hotels and public transport are all a lot cheaper than in the UK and other western countries – even when you consider a posh meal or a five-star suite. For example, on the Shanghai metro network, a ticket costing just one pound will take you anywhere in the city on a single journey. Furthermore, a plush suite in Beijing’s Hilton will set you back less than £300 a night.
With this excellent value for money, there is more scope to make your trip as luxurious as you like – even on a tight budget. It also means you can make the most of your time by seeing and doing as much as possible whilst you are there.
There’s no doubt that the food in China is completely different to our own cuisine, but it’s not all insects on sticks and sheep’s brain stews as some images may have you thinking. Whilst it’s also true that the Chinese food we enjoy regularly in the UK doesn’t represent the real thing, you can look forward to those kinds of flavours. Large amounts of vegetables, spicy sauces and fried options are all staples.
It’s difficult to sum up the food here, though, because of how much it differs from one region to the next. Each area uses ingredients from its surroundings to create dishes that are packed with flavour. Shandong, in the north, uses a lot of fish and seafood, whilst Fujian cuisine includes exotic ingredients found in the mountains.
There is a big street food culture across China, resulting in some delicious and cheap options for travellers. Some hawkers have been cooking up a storm for decades and have become celebrities in their own right. Some people are wary of eating from street stalls, but as long as you use common sense to assess the culinary set-up and its food practices, there’s no reason not to tuck in. A good tip is to do some research on the best places or stick to the sellers with the biggest queues.
Dating back 5,000 years, China is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world and so it is no surprise that there are more than a few stories to be told. Whether you enjoy wandering through museums, strolling the streets in search of interesting buildings or visiting the most popular tourist attractions, there are so many ways you can learn about the past. Dynasties defined by their leaders create clear markers in the country’s timeline, whilst the borders have constantly changed since the first written records way back in 1250BC.
Some of China’s best historical attractions include the Terracotta Army, the pagodas and temples of Hangzhou's West Lake, The Mogao Grottoes, and The Potala Palace in Tibet.
We could just leave it there. Pandas.
These cute and cuddly creatures are a big reason why animal lovers head to China every year. The fact that they are sadly dwindling in numbers has made them even more of a draw in recent times, but it certainly is a unique experience to watch them interact with each other and their environment. Chengdu Panda Centre is one of the best places to see pandas in China. You will learn about the great work they do to protect the species and how they try to increase their numbers before releasing individuals back into the wild.
These are just a few of the fantastic reasons to consider a holiday to China. If you would like to learn more about our range of tours or tap into the wealth of knowledge that our team loves to share, call us on 0800 021 3237. Alternatively, you can click here to submit an online enquiry.
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