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Travel Logs April 2014

Compulsive Traveler

Ten Must-do Things in China

By Sandra Scott

Walking along the Bund, the riverfront walkway offers a glimpse of the old Shanghai with its 1920s-style buildings while across the river the skyline has a space-age quality. The Shanghai Museum is one of the best in China showcasing 5,000 years of history.

China is the world’s most populated country with over 1.3 billion people as well as the world’s second largest country. It has a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years – and, yet, today it is home to some of the most modern cities.

  1. Beijing is China’s capital and one of the world’s largest cities population-wise. The Forbidden City, located on Tiananmen Square, is no longer off limits to commoners. It was once the imperial palace and is now the city’s top attraction. Across the square is Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum which is free to visitors. A day tour to the Great Wall is a must.
  2. Shanghai is another of the world’s largest cities. Walking along the Bund, the riverfront walkway offers a glimpse of the old Shanghai with its 1920s-style buildings while across the river the skyline has a space-age quality. The Shanghai Museum is one of the best in China showcasing 5,000 years of history.
  3. Xian jumped into prominence in 1974 when the thousands of terra cotta warriors were unearthed -- truly an amazing sight. Each warrior is unique and there are still more to be uncovered. Mosey atop the city wall stopping at the various towers. Arab merchants first settled in Xian in the 1200s; today people can shop, dine and visit the mosque on Muslim Street.
  4. Nanjing was the capital of several imperial dynasties. World War II history buffs will want to visit the Memorial Hall of Victims depicting the massacre of 300,000 Chinese by the Japanese in 1937. Do not miss the final resting place of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China.
  5. Sanya is an island in the South China Sea and China’s fun-in-the-sun destination. The beach-ringed island is home to a bevy of hotels in all categories including some luxurious ones. As one might expect there are a variety of day excursions to a variety of places including Monkey Island and Li and Miao Heritage Village.
  6. Chengdu is for panda lovers. It is home to the giant panda breeding research center. It is best to visit in the morning when the pandas are most active. Other popular day trips from the city in a visit to the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and to the impressive Leshan Giant Buddha, the world’s largest Buddha statue. In the evening don’t miss a face-changing performance.
  7. Li River is home to some amazing Chinese landscapes. The lush countryside is punctuated with picturesque Karst peaks. A typical cruise goes from Guilin to Yangshuo but there are more adventurous and shorter trips on bamboo rafts. The scenes are often depicted in Chinese paintings.
  8. Yangtze River is China’s longest river and the third longest in the world. A cruise on the Yangtze River between Chongqing and Yichang through the Three Gorges includes amazing scenery and side trips to ancient cultural sites including Fengdu Ghost City plus a visit to the Three Gorges Dam.
  9. Harbin in northeastern China is the “Ice City” famed for its annual Ice and Snow Festival which usually occurs in January and lasts about a month. Of note are the fantastic ice sculptures but there are many other activities associated with the festival. During the summer the temperatures are cool making it a summer getaway.
  10. Guangzhou, formerly known as Canton, is China’s third largest city after Beijing and Shanghai. While there are many sites to visit especially from the republic era and some of the oldest temples most visitors come to shop and eat. It is where Chinese food as those in the West know it was originated.

 

Sandra Scott travels the globe recording the top attractions at every destination.

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