Being one of the largest countries in the world, it is impossible for travelers to run out of places to visit in China. But with limited time and hundreds of places to visit, it may be hard for a tourist to decide where to go.

Here are our suggestions:

Beijing

You should never leave China without visiting the country’s capital. Beijing. One of the most popular cities in China, it contains several UNESCO World Heritage sites, such as the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Peking Man site.

One of its biggest attractions, of course, is the Great Wall of China. Stretching for 8,851.8 kilometers from Shanhaiguan to Lop Nur, the Great Wall is the only man made infrastructure that can be seen from outer space. No trip in China is complete without seeing it.

The Forbidden City is the home of the legendary emperors and empresses of China. In olden days, nobody could enter or leave the Forbidden City without permission from the emperor.

Olympics stadiums such as the Water Cube and the Bird’s Nest, from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, are also found in Beijing.

Other must-see sites in Beijing are the Tiananmen Square, which is the entry point to the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven, a UNESCO World Heritage site described as “a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations.”

Xian

Xian is the largest city on the northwest part of China. It is the home of the famous Terracotta Warriors and Horses found near the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Terracotta army lay hidden underground for almost 2,000 years until farmers accidentally discovered them in 1974. Each life-sized warrior is unique, from body type, facial expression, hair style, and clothing.

Other tourist attractions in Xian are the Huashan Mountains, where one can have a religious immersion in one of the many Taoist temples in the mountains and find Zen. You can also visit the big and small wild goose pagodas which were built 1,300 years ago.

Although there are no international flights that go directly to Xian, you can reach it by train via the Xian railway station, which links cities from Northwest and Southwest China. Tourists can also catch domestic flights via China’s domestic and low-cost air carriers; you can travel either to Beijing or Shanghai and then catch the next flight to Xian from there.

Shanghai

Also known as the “Paris of the East,” Shanghai has become the center for everything modern in China. It is also China’s fashion capital. All the major high-end clothing brands can be found there.

Not everything in Shanghai is modern and techno, however. For those who want to slow down in this fast-paced city, you can visit the Shanghai Jade Buddha Temple, the Shanghai Museum, or take a cruise at the Shanghai Huangpu River.

At night, tourists can visit the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, the third-tallest tower in the world. The best time to visit the tower is at night when all the night lights of Shanghai are turned on.

For those who want to go shopping, check out the Nan Jing road, the busiest street in Shanghai. Here you can find the best shopping malls and fashion boutiques in China. Every major clothing brand has an outlet at Nanjing road.

Silk Road

The Silk Road was the most popular trading route during the ancient Chinese period. This route connected South, East, and West Asia with the Mediterranean World. Since Chinese silk was the major trade product during those times, the route was called the Silk Road.

Although the Silk Road is no longer used for trade purposes, it is still swarmed by many travelers today because of the many major tourist spots found along it. Some of the many stops along the Chinese Silk Road are
• Xian, where you can find the Great Islamic Mosque and the famous Terracotta Warriors. Tourists can also stop at the Forrest of the Tablet Stones.

• Zhangye. Here you will find China’s world famous reclining Buddha, which stands at 7.5 meters high. Zhangye is also famous for its Zhangye Nan Wine (Rice Wine). Tourists can visit wineries which are hundreds of years old.

• Jiyayuguan Pass is one of the best preserved parts of the Great Wall of China.

Yangtze River

The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third longest river in the world. Here you will find the Three Gorges Dam, which is the largest hydroelectric power station in the world.

There are sections of the Yangtze River which have been made into natural reserves. To enjoy the sights and sounds of the Yangtze River, tourists can join the Yangtze River Cruises which pass through the Chongqing to Yichang route. This covers sightseeing of the Three Gorges Dam.

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