10 places you need to visit in China

10 places you need to visit in China

1. The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall is China’s most iconic landmark; spanning over 21,000km it is the longest man-made structure in the world, and deservedly has earned its place as one of the seven wonders of the world.  Original construction of the wall began with China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang in order to protect his newly formed Qin dynasty from the invading nomads, construction was then continued across the different Chinese dynasties. Whilst the wall traverses from Hushan, Liaoning in the east to the Jiayuguan Pass in the west, the best preserved and most visited section of the wall is near Beijing.

The Great Wall is China’s most iconic landmark; spanning over 21,000km it is the longest man-made structure in the world, and deservedly has earned its place as one of the seven wonders of the world.

Original construction of the wall began with China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huang in order to protect his newly formed Qin dynasty from the invading nomads, construction was then continued across the different Chinese dynasties. Whilst the wall traverses from Hushan, Liaoning in the east to the Jiayuguan Pass in the west, the best preserved and most visited section of the wall is near Beijing.

2. The Forbidden city

Located in Beijing, the Forbidden City also known as the Imperial Palace is the largest palace in the world, with its entire complex covering 183 acres, consisting of 980 buildings and 8707 rooms.   The palace took 14 years to build, with construction commencing under emperor Zhu Di in 1406. From 1420 to 1911, the palace housed 24 Chinese emperors during which time ordinary people were forbidden entry, with access only being granted to the imperial family and their courtesan. The palace is also home to 1.17million pieces of art from the Ming and Qing dynasties, including paintings, ceramics and sculptures.   

Located in Beijing, the Forbidden City also known as the Imperial Palace is the largest palace in the world, with its entire complex covering 183 acres, consisting of 980 buildings and 8707 rooms. 

The palace took 14 years to build, with construction commencing under emperor Zhu Di in 1406. From 1420 to 1911, the palace housed 24 Chinese emperors during which time ordinary people were forbidden entry, with access only being granted to the imperial family and their courtesan. The palace is also home to 1.17million pieces of art from the Ming and Qing dynasties, including paintings, ceramics and sculptures.   

3. The Terracotta army

While digging wells on the outskirts of Xi’an in 1974, a group of farmers stumbled across one of the most significant discoveries in the history of archaeology; the terracotta army, which had remained hidden underground for over 2,000 years.    The site holds over 8,000 life sized clay soldiers, with each sculpture individualised so no two soldiers look the same. As well as model chariots and horses all buried with the mausoleum of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang; representing the army that triumphed over the other Chinese armies in the warring states period to form a united China.

While digging wells on the outskirts of Xi’an in 1974, a group of farmers stumbled across one of the most significant discoveries in the history of archaeology; the terracotta army, which had remained hidden underground for over 2,000 years.  

The site holds over 8,000 life sized clay soldiers, with each sculpture individualised so no two soldiers look the same. As well as model chariots and horses all buried with the mausoleum of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang; representing the army that triumphed over the other Chinese armies in the warring states period to form a united China.

4. The Li River

The natural beauty of the 83-kilometer stretch of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo   has been the inspiration for generations of Chinese painters and poets. The crystal-clear river meanders through rolling hills, remarkable cliffs, startling caves, and beautiful forests as well as traditional farming villages. The best way to witness these spectacular sights that have been listed as one of the world’s top ten watery wonders by National Geographic Magazine, is by boat trip along the river.   (Imagery courtesy of http://www.enjoyunique.com/our-destination/one-famous-destination-li-river/)

The natural beauty of the 83-kilometer stretch of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo   has been the inspiration for generations of Chinese painters and poets. The crystal-clear river meanders through rolling hills, remarkable cliffs, startling caves, and beautiful forests as well as traditional farming villages. The best way to witness these spectacular sights that have been listed as one of the world’s top ten watery wonders by National Geographic Magazine, is by boat trip along the river. 

(Imagery courtesy of http://www.enjoyunique.com/our-destination/one-famous-destination-li-river/)

5. Jiuzhaigou valley

Jiuzhaigou valley is a national park and world heritage site located in Sichuan province. The valley boasts an assortment of magnificent tiered waterfalls and multicoloured glacial lakes that come in tones of blue, green and turquoise, surrounded by vast mountain forest, all in the backdrop of snow-covered mountains. The area is truly an unspoiled, natural wonderland.  The valley is also a habitat of the giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey. However, due to the vast size of the valley it is rare to see them. To get up close and personal with the panda’s in their natural habitat, it is worth taking a trip to Chengdu.   (Imagery courtesy of https://www.chinadiscovery.com/sichuan/jiuzhaigou/jiuzhaigou-valley.html)

Jiuzhaigou valley is a national park and world heritage site located in Sichuan province. The valley boasts an assortment of magnificent tiered waterfalls and multicoloured glacial lakes that come in tones of blue, green and turquoise, surrounded by vast mountain forest, all in the backdrop of snow-covered mountains. The area is truly an unspoiled, natural wonderland.

The valley is also a habitat of the giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey. However, due to the vast size of the valley it is rare to see them. To get up close and personal with the panda’s in their natural habitat, it is worth taking a trip to Chengdu.

(Imagery courtesy of https://www.chinadiscovery.com/sichuan/jiuzhaigou/jiuzhaigou-valley.html)

6. The Yellow mountains

Moving on to another of China’s national parks, The Yellow mountains located in the Anhui province, close to Shanghai are the most famous peaks in China. Standing at a height of 6115ft, these are the perfect location for a hike and outstandingly beautiful especially during sunrise and sunset, when the mystical seas of clouds surrounding the mountain luminate. One of many interesting sights to behold is the flying stone, a 39ft tall stone balanced on the edge of the rock cliff.   (Imagery courtesy of http://www.absolutechinatours.com/Huangshan-attractions/Huangshan-Mountain-A-World-Heritage-in-China-251.html) 

Moving on to another of China’s national parks, The Yellow mountains located in the Anhui province, close to Shanghai are the most famous peaks in China. Standing at a height of 6115ft, these are the perfect location for a hike and outstandingly beautiful especially during sunrise and sunset, when the mystical seas of clouds surrounding the mountain luminate. One of many interesting sights to behold is the flying stone, a 39ft tall stone balanced on the edge of the rock cliff.

(Imagery courtesy of http://www.absolutechinatours.com/Huangshan-attractions/Huangshan-Mountain-A-World-Heritage-in-China-251.html) 

7. The Bund

The Bund is Shanghai's magnificent river promenade, the most recognizable architectural landscape of Shanghai, it has a distinctly European influence, with clear inspiration from Gothic, Renaissance and Art Deco styling.  Going for a stroll down the bund allows you to visit Shanghai's most exclusive boutiques, restaurants and hotels, whilst also giving the perfect view of the Pudong skyline, which is particularly remarkable during the evening. 

The Bund is Shanghai's magnificent river promenade, the most recognizable architectural landscape of Shanghai, it has a distinctly European influence, with clear inspiration from Gothic, Renaissance and Art Deco styling.

Going for a stroll down the bund allows you to visit Shanghai's most exclusive boutiques, restaurants and hotels, whilst also giving the perfect view of the Pudong skyline, which is particularly remarkable during the evening. 

8. The West Lake

The West Lake is a six kilometre square lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, that is surrounded by ancient buildings, gardens, picturesque hills and tea farms. The West Lake is undoubtedly the highlight of the city that Marco Polo described in the 13th centaury as 'the city of heaven'.   Although the natural beauty is spectacular all year round, the best time to go is the spring, when the walkways are decorated in the blossoming trees including the many peach trees that have been the inspiration of numerous classical Chinese paintings.

The West Lake is a six kilometre square lake in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, that is surrounded by ancient buildings, gardens, picturesque hills and tea farms. The West Lake is undoubtedly the highlight of the city that Marco Polo described in the 13th centaury as 'the city of heaven'. 

Although the natural beauty is spectacular all year round, the best time to go is the spring, when the walkways are decorated in the blossoming trees including the many peach trees that have been the inspiration of numerous classical Chinese paintings.

9. Yungang Grottoes

Located in Datong city, Shanxi Province, the Yungang Grottoes host the oldest collection of Buddhist carvings in China, with 252 caves containing 51,000 statues. Dating to 460 AD the breath-taking Buddhist cave art takes inspiration from Indian, Persian and Greek influences.  The largest Buddha effigy comes in at an outstanding 17m and the 5 caves created by Tan Yao in particular have been widely accepted as a classical masterpiece of Chinese art.   (Imagery courtesy of https://www.triphobo.com/tours/private-day-tour-to-yungang-grottoes-and-hanging-temple-with-lunch-from-datong)

Located in Datong city, Shanxi Province, the Yungang Grottoes host the oldest collection of Buddhist carvings in China, with 252 caves containing 51,000 statues. Dating to 460 AD the breath-taking Buddhist cave art takes inspiration from Indian, Persian and Greek influences.

The largest Buddha effigy comes in at an outstanding 17m and the 5 caves created by Tan Yao in particular have been widely accepted as a classical masterpiece of Chinese art.

(Imagery courtesy of https://www.triphobo.com/tours/private-day-tour-to-yungang-grottoes-and-hanging-temple-with-lunch-from-datong)

10. Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie located in the northwest Hunan Province contains some of China's most spectacular landforms, streams and forest areas. The area became famous after the release of James Cameron's box office hit Avatar, in which the Hallelujah Mountains were based of the Heavenly Pillar in Zhangjiajie National Forest park.  As well as boasting spectacular beauty, the area also houses more than 3000 distinct plant species as well as rich array of wildlife including the Chinese giant salamander, the water deer and the clouded leopard.  

Zhangjiajie located in the northwest Hunan Province contains some of China's most spectacular landforms, streams and forest areas. The area became famous after the release of James Cameron's box office hit Avatar, in which the Hallelujah Mountains were based of the Heavenly Pillar in Zhangjiajie National Forest park.

As well as boasting spectacular beauty, the area also houses more than 3000 distinct plant species as well as rich array of wildlife including the Chinese giant salamander, the water deer and the clouded leopard.  

 

Those on the Teach Globally programme are ensured to have sufficient time off from teaching to explore China and visit its greatest locations, what's more, our participant concierge team is on hand to provide advice on travel around China.

Team T.G.