When you are adventurous enough to travel in China, you’ll be able to experience what beguiled people for centuries: the extreme beauty and beguiling mix of cultures that makes up the country.
There are so many sights to be seen in this almost mystical place that it boggles the mind where to begin. Of course, if this is your first trip here, there are some things that you should never miss.
The best place to start your travels would always be Beijing. More known now as the site of the 2008 Summer Olympics, it still holds many gems of old China that must be seen to be believed.
At the exact center of this venerable city is the Forbidden City. Built as a city that could function on its own, it was the home of the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. It’s the biggest palace in the world, covering a total of 74 hectares.
If anything, don’t miss the jade mountain that is displayed in one of the palace rooms. Carved out of a gigantic piece of jade, it almost fills the entire room and has pathways, trees, and even little people and animals making their way around it. One little hut even shows a family sitting down to dinner with the fish and bowls of rice carved out. It boggles the mind.
The palace itself is a museum, with more than a million items in display that include the things that the emperors and his courtiers themselves used, as well as other valuables that were collected by the nobility. Not all of these were the Imperial Court’s private property, however. Private collectors donated or sold some of the items to the Museum and others were unearthed during archeological excavations.
By the Forbidden City is Tian An Men Square, the common gathering place of the people. Here is a great place for people watching, where you can see how the people of China enjoy themselves on a normal day. From families playing with kites or pets, to people just strolling around and taking in the sights, it’s a bustling, interesting place to go.
The Great Wall is another place to go. Although this is just a small part of the wall that stretches all the way through China, this is the most photographed and scenic portion. You can take a cable car up and then hike along the wall itself. Watch your step while you do so, though. The steps themselves are all different heights and widths, the better to trip up barbarians unfamiliar with them.
Xian is another city that should not be missed. The site of the Tomb of the First Emperor of all China where the priceless Terracotta Warriors were found, this is a place that will make you stand in awe. Although the main dig area is closed to the public now, three completely unearthed pits are open for viewing the warriors and horses that were unearthed can be explored to your heart’s delight.
This is in no way the end of awesome things to see in China. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda still stands as a holy place for Buddhists. It’s quite unbelievable that it was built in 652 and all seven stories stand so well preserved today. You can climb to the top of the tower to view the unobstructed panorama of Xian and enjoy the Tang Dynasty sculptures that grace the walls on the way up.
There is so much more of the beauty of China. But again, it must be seen to be believed.