China Travel Guide


China Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration

"China is more than just a country, it provides the best holiday adventures and memorable experiences; it's a world of its own kind. The cultural and geographic schisms, the desert and Dr Seuss landscapes make it one of the best places to trek. The sacred mountains, cultural treasures, huge national parks and monuments provide good scenes to explore and experience while on holiday."

Tour Highlights

PureTravel Says: Walking & Trekking – The Silk Road has wonderful trekking and walking experiences to be enjoyed. A walk to the Jiuzhaigou Grandeur Nature Reserve will allow you to see the snow crusted mountain peaks. The 118 turquoise lakes, forests and meadows will make your holiday more exciting, however you will need a reliable tour operator to guide you.

You can also trek through the Summer Palace. This trek is liable to take half a day. There is water, gardens and hills that can be seen as one walks through this palace. The next best place to enjoy walking is in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong. One can learn much about China’s political, scientific, educational, economic and cultural life.

The Great Wall is the next must-visit destination as it is among the 7 wonders of the world. As you walk along it, you will be winding up and down across deserts, grasslands and plateaus. The 6,700km stretch is an experience that you will not forget. The historic significance of the Great Wall will captivate you as you walk along it.

Culture – There are four main cities that you can tour in order to learn more about the culture. Beijing, Guilin, Shanghai and Xian are cities that continue to fascinate visitors.

At the Terracotta Warriors, you will be able to see the 6,000 Terracotta figures of warriors and horses. Each of the warriors has its own unique facial expression.

The Art Gallery in Beijing, known as 798 Art District, will give you a better taste of what China has to offer in terms of art. Through its own beauty, this art must be seen to be appreciated. You can also tour the Beihai Aquarium and see some of the Chinese culture that is displayed throughout.

Lhasa provides challenging holiday travel. It is a remote city with an altitude as high as 3,650m and leaving it with limited accessibility where one can witness the Tibetan religion. The name Lhasa means Holy Land or Buddha Land.

Wildlife – At Beijing Zoo trees, grass and lakes provide the scenery among pandas, polar bears and other wildlife.

Monkey Island at Hainan Dao has 1,000 Macaque monkeys. It is a narrow peninsula near Xincun that belongs to the Chinese government. It is best visited in the mornings and evenings for those who wish to actually see the monkeys.

Hainan Dao is the largest island in China, yet it is the smallest province with a population of just 8.2 million giving it a less hectic feeling around the city. There are thick canopies that make it a superb hiking place.

Adventure Tours – The Tai Shan has a mountain with a supernatural allure. Those who manage to climb it believe that they will live to see their 100th birthday. There are ceremonial buildings in the Forbidden City with three Great Halls to be explored. The Hall of Supreme Harmony is also to be found there.

At Hainan Dao City, there is Tainya Haijiao where there is a beach that is just 24km from the town centre. There is a stone that appears behind one of the notes and many people find it a good site to take photos. Snorkelling is also possible here using boats from the dock.

Explore the ancient Tomb of Hairui which has been fully restored in rich vibrant colours. Hairui was a very compassionate and popular official who lived in the 16th century. Comfortable shoes are recommended for this sight because there is a kilometer stretch where vehicles are unable to travel.

When to Go

The months of March, April, September and October are the best times to visit, which are the spring and autumn seasons respectively. However, you must be aware that typhoons can be present between the months of July and September especially on the southeast coast.

The nights can be cold and wet, so ensure you pack accordingly.

Turpan is the hottest place with temperatures rising as high as 47C during summer.

Top Tips

-Be aware that traveling during public holidays will mean that local transportation and accommodation will be busy.
-Be aware that Sichuan province has experienced earthquakes.
-Comply with officials at the border when entering China and ensure you have good maps.
-Check the latest advice when planning a trip to Gansu, Qinghai, Yunnan and Sichuan. There have been Tibet disturbances in these places.
-Check the latest advice for details on the Tajikistan border as there have been some issues here.

Holidays In Focus

Walking and Trekking

A reliable local tour guide is a must-have asset for the trek at Jiuzhaigou Grandeur Nature Reserve. A guided tour will allow one to trek through the meadows and even see the pandas, takins, golden monkeys that are protected here. This nature reserve has 118 forests and turquoise lakes.

You can walk to the Grand Buddha and see monuments, which can be viewed from several angles. You can also enjoy a trek along the river at the front of the Binhe Lu. In Beijing, one can take a stroll through Tiananmen Square, one of the largest squares in the world. The Temple of Heaven is another perfect place to walk.

A half day should be dedicated for walking through the Summer Palace. The waters, gardens and hills are some of the best scenery that you will see. If you visit during summer, three quarters of the park is occupied by Kunming Lake. There is the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity that you can also walk through while here, which is the main building. You will see a long corridor on the north shore. In the corridor, you will be able to see murals that are actually mythical paintings. The corridor is about 700m long.

The trekking course for the Great Wall is actually next to the wall as some sections of this wall are now in ruin and some have disappeared. The wall is more than 2,000 years old and as so it is a historical significance and an architectural grandeur. It was built during the Ming Dynasty.

The Great Wall actually starts from Shanhaiguan Pass and stretches to Jiayuguan Pass. Along the way you will see much of the Chinese culture. Wear light clothes such as a t-shirt and shorts during the day and be sure to carry a light jacket with for the evenings.

Culture

Beijing is the capital city of China. It is here that the ancestors of the Peking men (otherwise known as Homo sapiens) lived in the caves. The Chinese cuisine and the western cuisine will ensure that you are well taken care of. The other thing that will make your holiday more fun on a Beijing holiday is the welcome you will receive from the people.

You will meet smiling faces in the city; children will even smile and say hello to you. At the end of the day, your accommodation will be a good opportunity to relax and unwind. The nightlife will also delight you. The concerts, bars and clubs will enable you to enjoy the modern cultures amidst the ancient history.

In the city of Guilin, you will enjoy the landscape, mountains and water that make the city beautiful. The odd shaped hills and the vegetation will also create beautiful scenery for you to enjoy. Bamboo and conifers are some of the vegetation among these. The Li River Folk Customs Centre is the other place you must visit.

At Macau, there are three major places that must be visited. Casa Garden has Chinese antiques, porcelain and contemporary art. The Fire Services Museum has a collection of old fire trucks, helmets, and boots of the ancient days. Explore the magnificent Lou Kau Mansion which was built in 1889 and belonged to the tycoon Lou Wa Sio.

In Xian City, you will be in the capital of the 13 dynasties. Hainan Dao has more exciting nightlife. The night market in Xian is also good for cheap lingerie and floral shirts.

The city of Shanghai is the elegant modern version of China. Here, you will witness the great economic impulse, the distinctive attractions and the blend of both eastern and western cultures.

The Huangu River, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Tower, Shanghai Museum and the Yuyuan Garden are some of the attractions and sights in Shanghai. Shanghai is also a shopper’s paradise. There are several commercial streets and shopping centers along the Huahai, Nanjing and North Sichuan roads. The other place to shop is the Xujiahui shopping centre it the Jiali’s sleepless city. Convenient transport, comfortable accommodations and colourful entertainment will be available in this city.

You will learn about the Chinese religion of Buddha. The 50,000 Buddhist statues, 1,000 Buddha motifs, and the Chinese symbols will help you learn a lot about the religion and culture of these people.

Holiday & Adventure Tours

You can join organised adventure tours at the Yangtze River where you will be able to cruise as you relax. On the river, you will also encounter some of the Chinese culture as the three gorges of the river are discovered. You will also see the ancient Shennong stream and two projects. The projects are the three gorges dam and the Gezhouba water conservancy.

You will find the craftworks and ethnic customs, the celebrities and legends like Luozu and Qu Yan while adventuring upon this river. The same river will also help you know some of the Bashu culture. You will see wooden coffins, plank road and the Baiheliang ridge.

You can choose to have your adventure tour at the Yungang Caves, where you will find incredible artwork. The English descriptions and explanations that are placed at the various points will guide you through.

You will see truncated pyramids. At the top of the mountain ridge, you will see the remains of the huge mud brick Qing dynasty fortress of the 17th century.

If you visit the scattered remains of the great wall at Liaoning in the Gobi desert you might notice that the bones of the deceased workers were part of the construction material. You will find the link to the Silk Road from here.

You can also discover the Forbidden City whilst in Beijing; an ancient building where two dynasties of emperors stayed. Allow a full day to tour the various rooms and areas of the Forbidden City fully. The buildings here are ceremonial and you will find three great halls, with the hall of Supreme Harmony among them. You will notice that yellow is the dominant colour as it signifies the royalty of the families that lived here. There are painted decorations as well within these grand and deluxe halls.

This city is listed by UNESCO as the world’s site for cultural heritage. There is a Palace Museum that you will also find here. It is divided into two parts; the north and the south. The south is the outer court and the north is the inner court. The south is where the emperor would exercise his supremacy while the north was his home where he lived with his royal family.

There are sacred mountains, canyon valleys, vast forests, huge national parks, and fascinating monuments to explore. If you cannot manage to visit all of them in one trip - it's a wonderful excuse to come back in the future!

China Geography

China shares borders with 14 other countries; Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam in the south; Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in the west; Russia and Mongolia in the north and North Korea in the east. China and Russia have the highest number of borders in the world.

China has coasts on the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea and also on the South China Sea. The Yangtze River, also known as Cháng Jiang locally, holds the record as the longest river in Asia and is also the third longest river on earth. The Yangtze River flows over 6,418 kilometres or 3,988 miles.

The Republic of China is now better known as Taiwan and China also has responsibility for the two special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau.

Classic Itineraries

-Terracotta Warriors Trek
-Forbidden City Trek
-Grand Buddha Trek
-Summer Palace Trek
-Tai Shan Mountain Climb, Trek
-Jiuzhaigou Grandeur Nature Reserve Trek, Wildlife
-Yungang Caves Trek, Artwork
-Great Wall Trek

Public Holidays, Festivals and Events in 2014

Chinese New Year – Year of the Horse – 31 January 2014
Lantern Festival – 14 February 2014
International Women's Day - 8 March 2014
Qingming Festival – 5 April 2014
May Day – 1 May 2014
Youth Day – 4 May 2014
Children’s Day – 1 June 2014
Dragon Boat Festival – 2 June 2014
Double Seventh Festival – 2 August 2014
Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival – 8 September 2014
National Day – 1 October 2014
Chongyang Festival – 2 October 2014
Winter Solstice – 22 December 2014

China Travel Resources

By Julie Bowman

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