Camp out on the Great Wall of China – 中国的长城
A trip to China would not be complete without visiting and walking along the Great Wall of China. It would be like going to Rome and not seeing the pope… (I may have done just that…) but I digress, as one of the seven, new, man-made wonders of the world, the Great Wall of China should be on your to-do list. It is impossible to describe the sheer scale and grandiosity of the Great Wall, only when you see it in person will you realise the enormity of the Great Wall. Parts of the wall are over 2000 years old, being built in the 7th century BC, although, especially famous, is the wall built 220-206 BC by Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, however, little of that wall remains, unfortunately. To make the experience even more special, why not camp out on the Great Wall and view first-hand what ancient Chinese warriors who guarded the wall viewed – the stars and the moonlight shining down onto the great battlements. Visitors are able to spend the night inside an ancient Chinese Guard tower on the wall and are welcome to spend five or more nights hiking and camping out on the wall.
Giant Panda playtime – 熊猫
China is the home of the big, cute and cuddly Giant Pandas. Whether you want to watch them in the wild or get up close and personal with them at the Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, spending time and witnessing these amazing animals is a memory you will hold dearly forever. The staff at the Panda Breeding Center are trying to increase the numbers of these endangered species and have set up a habitat full of natural scenery and plants in order to make the Pandas feel as comfortable as possible. Anyone over the age of 17 may sign up to become a volunteer at the center where you’ll receive training on how to encourage the pandas overcome their dwindling numbers. You will end up bathing them, helping to track them and generally gathering information about the pandas. Many tourists opt to choose the one-day experience which includes photos with the Pandas as well as cleaning and feeding them.
Chinese ‘delicacies’ – 餐饮
If you really want to try out some exotic food, then China is the number one place to visit. Sea horses, insects on a stick and even chicken fetuses. Not for the faint hearted, Chinese food can go from the delicious to the bizarre in less than a second. China has over a billion mouths to feed, for a country to raise enough livestock to cater to this many people is near enough impossible, so it should come as no surprise that their diet contains insects and arachnids – a plentiful resource, full of protein – to western eyes it may look disgusting, inhumane even, but the Chinese would probably feel the same way towards westerners and our dairy industry. Nonetheless, it is certainly an experience to witness the abundance of food that China has to offer. For a glimpse into the world of Chinese food, check out this clip from reluctant funny man Karl Pilkington, enjoy.
Check out a live Esports event – 运动
If you are not familiar with the term ‘esports’, firstly, where have you been for the past decade, secondly, it is a term which essentially means competitive, professional gaming. Anyway, esports have taken China by storm with many of the top esports athletes coming from China. The most popular esports games include ‘League of Legends’, ‘Counter Striker: Go’, ‘DOTA 2’ and ‘Call of Duty’. Esports tournaments take place in arenas and stadiums in front of sellout crowds, the top Chinese esports athletes are worshipped like rock stars, have amassed total winnings of well over $1 million and have millions of fans from around the world. One Chinese team made up of five competitors won a joint total of over $9 million in a DOTA esports tournament last year and in 2015, China hosted the DOTA 2 Asian Championships, which included the 5th biggest prize pool (over $3 million) in esports history. China is set to host the 2017 League of Legends World Championship in September, with the final taking place at the Beijing International Stadium. Tickets to these events sell out FAST, so if you want to attend, be sure to purchase your tickets online well in advance.
Enter the Forbidden City – 紫禁城
One of the most popular tourist attractions in China, Forbidden City is China’s best preserved collection of ancient buildings and the largest palace complex in the world. Built 1406-1420 the complex consists of 980 buildings and served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the political center of Chinese government for nearly 500 years. So called because it was forbidden to enter without the permission of the emperor, it is now under the charge of the palace museum. Visitors are able to look upon a vast amount of ancient Chinese artworks and artefacts, with over 14 million visitors each year, the palace museum is the most visited art museum in the world. If you are thinking of visiting, visitors may only enter the Forbidden City through the Meridian Gate (Wumen). Three to four hours should be enough time to tour the central axis of the city however, if you wish to explore the east and west axis’ of the city then you will probably need more time.
Visit Macau – 澳门
Known globally as the ‘Vegas of China’, Macau is every bit as glamorous and glitzy as it’s American cousin. But the city is great for non-gamblers too, with a long history and a mix of blended cultures, Macau is a great city to visit for all. A Portuguese colony for more than 300 years, the city is a mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture with ancient Chinese temples built upon traditional Portuguese floor tiles. Macau features a wide variety of museums, from art and wine museums to buildings dedicated to the history of Macau under Portuguese occupation. A fantastic place to visit is the Senado Square, a paved town square and the meeting place for the Chinese and Portuguese between the 16th and 18th century. A UNIESCO World Heritage site, the buildings around the square are mostly European in style. The different cultures present in the architecture of Macau is astounding and obviously, if you love poker and gambling then there is no better place in Asia to be.
Yungang Grottoes – 云冈洞穴
If you have ever wondered what it would feel like to be transported back in time, then ensure that you visit these caves structures. Dating back to 5AD, the Yungang caves feature the most amazing examples of Buddhist cave art ever seen. Carved by the Turkic speaking Tuoba people, their inspiration came from Persian, Indian and Greek influences that swept along the famous Silk Road. The largest cave is 20 meters high filled with a variety of riches including a huge Buddha statue. If you’re holiday base is Beijing, then be prepared for day of traveling, the trip takes around 4-5 hours each way so be prepared for an early start and a late finish.
Author Bio: Iain is a sports and current affairs writer with a passion for traveling. He usually enjoys quiet and secluded holiday destinations, away from the crowds. But wherever he is in the world, he will ensure that he enjoys himself to the max.