China is the second largest country in Asia after Russia and also the most populous country in the world. With thousands of years of history behind it, China is one of the oldest civilizations in the world and it is not surprising that China alone has 45 Unesco World Heritage sites, second only to Italy. It will take one a whole lifetime to explore the wonders of China. Below are most popular cities in China with a short description of the respective attractions.
Xian is the window to China’s ancient civilization as it was the first capital City in 221 BC during the Qin Dynasty and is the location of the famous Terracotta Army. Thus Xi’an is blessed with a great number of precious relics and historical sites, with the highlights being the Terracotta Army (a contender for the eighth wonder of the world), two historical Buddhist Pagodas (Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda), the Great Mosque, the Ancient City Wall, and the Banpo Site (a prehistoric civilization museum). Xi’an was also the starting point of the Silk Road, an ancient trade route that extended from Asia to Europe and played an important role in economic and cultural exchange between the East and the West in ancient times. Xi’an is, for certain, one of the most popular tourist destinations among foreign travelers.
2) Fangweng Restaurant, Hubei
Fangweng restaurant is truly one of the most unusual in the world, because it is literally “Floats” above the ground. Situated on a cliff near the famous cave Sanyou. People come here not only to have a cup of tea, and enjoy the beauty of nature and, of course, to think about eternity.The Sanyou Cave, or “The Cave of the Three Travelers,” is indeed one of the nearby attractions. But more generally, the restaurant is in the Happy Valley of the Xiling Gorge, an especially scenic stretch of cliffs, caves and park land located around area where the Chang Jiang River flows into the Yangtze.It is located in China, in Hubei Province, about 12km north of the city of Yichang, near Sanyou Cave, or “The Cave of the Three Travelers”.
3) Suzhou Water Towns and Gardens
China’s water towns hold the quintessential image of traditional Chinese villages. Suzhou is famous for the water towns around it and its traditional Chinese gardens. Suzhou’s gardens harmoniously mix man-made landscapes with natural scenery: architecture, painting, calligraphy, and horticulture are combined, and enclosed like pearls by walls.Centuries-old wooden houses lining crisscrossing canals, arched stone bridges, and people in bamboo hats punting sampans, form the unique charm of the ten or so water towns around Suzhou.
4) Mian Shan
stilts & cantilevers. Picturesque Canyon with a rivulet and Iron steps fixed to the side of the cliff & chain bridges leading to the top at around 1.6 km trek. Wonderful cascading small waterfalls and waterways with typical Chinese bridges etc in another location. It’s a 70 sq.km area and during the season an internal bus service is available and also cable cars functioning. There are a few hotels within the site costing from low to high. Entrance to the area is 150 RMB. Be prepared for a lot of climbing on steep steps along the cliff side. There is a wonderful ‘Sky Bridge’ at one location. You will never forget the amazing structures & breathtaking views of this not so well-known place. Fully worth a visit even if you do not want to climb.
Macau popularly known as “Las Vegas of the East”, is across Hong Kong to the east. Macau was a Portuguese colony in the16th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This lively city is rich with east-meets-west architecture and presents more than 20 historical locations, many shopping malls, numerous festivals and theatric events annually, glittering night scape and last but not least casinos.
Lhasa is the Capital of Tibet and it means “The Land of Gods”. The Potala Palace here is a Unesco World Heritage Site and it is the highest ancient palace in the world and is a treasure house for Tibetan historical artwork, sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddha statues, antiques, and religious jewelry . Lhasa, capital of Tibet, is the gateway to explore Tibet. The highest land on the earth is a world away, a traveler’s dream. There are many sites and religious sites in the city proper and its suburbs, among which the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Norbulingka are world famous. At Barkhor Street, visitors can go souvenir hunting, rub shoulders with locals, and experience the sacred “one step one bow” way to religion.
7) Rice fields, Yunnan
Rice terraces in China bring to mind such a thought that the rice cultivation in this country is carried out by means of landscape design. These multi-colored “stained glass windows” are truly an incredible sight! It is believed that Asia (particularly China) began to grow rice almost 8000 years ago. The hilly terrain wasn’t suitable for this purpose and then the peasants have shown their ingenuity and changed the landscape, adapting it for agricultural needs. Thus, rice fields were created. Usually, there is no influx of tourists here. The fact that there is no airport nearby, the roads are bad here and the outlying mountain ranges stops the travellers. But the positive side is that this is what allows to keep these landscapes in their pristine beauty.
When Marco Polo came to Hangzhou in the 13th century, he declared it “the most beautiful and elegant city in the world”. There is a popular Chinese saying: “Above there is heaven, below there are Hangzhou and Suzhou.” Hangzhou’s “heavenly” beauty attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to its exquisite West Lake area each year to enjoy the placid lake, beautiful gardens, reflecting pools, lavish temples, and lakeside teahouses. There are many well-known historical and cultural sites around West Lake, such as Lingyin Temple and Six Harmonies Pagoda. You can also combine a Hangzhou Tour with visits to the nearby ancient water towns, like Xitang and Wuzhen.