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China Travel Guide
Home to the world’s largest population, China is a vastly developing country in Eastern Asia. It is the largest country in East Asia and is bordered by the East China Sea, Korea Bay, the Yellow Sea and the South China Sea as well as 14 other countries including Russia and Afghanistan. China offers the best of nature with its beautiful rivers, plateaus, mountainous karsts landscape, nature parks and remarkable alluvial plains. Intriguing historic, architectural and cultural features are also common in the country.
China's history has been a turbulent one which lasted for several millennia. As one of the earliest civilisations in the world, the country was ruled for thousands of years by imperial dynasties and as a result there are several historic cities in China such as Zhouzhuang, Shanghai and Zhujiajiao, Fenghuang, Beijing and Guangzhou. China’s capital, Beijing is a major cultural and economic centre, historic site and tourist destination.
Tradition also plays an important part in China’s lifestyle and Chinese food is one of the world's great cuisines. The country’s unique art forms, which include acrobatics, martial arts and Chinese opera, just add some more flavour to the mix.
While in the country, there are several opportunities to experience the ancient aspects of the famous Three Kingdom Dynasties. China’s civilization and historic heartland can be found in the Yellow Basin, grasslands, deserts, mountains and nomadic people as well as in the Islamic influences in the North West; exotic scenery in the South West and temperate mountains and forests in the country’s south central areas. Suzhou with its spectacular gardens and canals is considered the Venice of the East.
One of the most famous attractions in China is the Great Wall which can be seen from different localities in the country, such as Beijing. The tropical setting and beautiful beaches of the island Hainan can also be enjoyed, as well as the monasteries at Tibet, the famous Silk Road with its network of trade routes crossing over into Russia, and the Three Gorges area of the Yangtze River. There are several UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country as well. These include the sacred Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi Province which is over 1,500 years old and has over 51,000 Buddhist carvings. The Gansu Province is home to the Mogao Caves with its 4th century art and manuscripts, while the Dazu Rock Carvings which dates from the 7th to 13th centuries can be found near Chongqing. Also worth seeing is the Longmen Grottoes near Luoyang.
China is also home to several sacred mountains and world renowned pilgrimage sites which attract thousands of visitors each year. These include the Five Great Mountains, the Four Sacred Mountains, the mountains of Tibetan Buddhism, and the pilgrimage sites of Jinggangshan, Zunyi and Yan’an. Other attractions in the country include the Bund along the Huangpu River with its colonial architecture and skyscrapers, nature reserve and home of the Siberian Tiger, the Changbai Mountains, the Grand Canal of China, the Pagoda, the Shilin Stone Forest, the Forbidden City, Mount Everest which is the world’s highest mountain, the Old Yalu Bridge and Temples of Heaven.
In China, there are several opportunities for swimming and water sports like cruising on the Yangtze River, beach events, mountaineering and hiking. There are several superb forests and mountains, lakes, valleys, caves and waterfalls to see for example Mount Huang in the Anhui Province which is well known for its hot springs and unusual rocks. The natural sites of Jiuzhaigou with its paradisiacal valley; Huangguoshu Waterfall and Guili should not be missed while the Heavenly Pool in the Tianshan Mountains . The Xinjiang Autonomous Region can also be visited and if you love mountaineering make sure you enjoy China’s breathtaking karts scenery.
China is home to many museums, parks and gardens, zoos and architectural marvels. The Palace Museum, Taipei Palace Museum, Shanghai Museum, Henan Museum, Nanjing Museum, Liaoning Provincial Museum and Shaanxi History Museum are all national treasures worth exploring. The picturesque and architectural setting of the Suzhou Gardens Museum, the Summer Palace, China’s Great Wall Museum and the Confucius Temple, Family Seat, and Woods along with the Jin Ancestral Hall Museum can be enjoyed. A trip to World Heritage Sites like the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, Mountain Resort and Mount Emei Scenic Area is highly recommended.
There are a variety of options available for entertainment in China. Popular places like Beijing are equipped with many cinemas, theatres, bars and tea houses which provide an intense nightlife in the country.
Popular events which attract the participation of the entire country include the annual Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival in February or March, the April Tomb Sweeping Day, the Double Ninth Festival in October and the Winter Solstice Festival. There is also an exciting Double Seventh Festival in August, the electrifying Dragon Boat Festival in June, National Day in October and other traditional festivities like the Hungry Ghost Festival.
China has a beautifully diverse climatic environment. China’s southern sections have a general tropical climate while the northern areas have subarctic atmosphere. Hot summer and very cold winters are typical in the country, with the drier areas up north and wetter areas down south. Spring in the country is usually greeted by dust storms but also supports a blooming landscape in the country. China’s climate ensures a variety of winter activities like skiing and summer delights at the beach can be enjoyed. China’s southern and western regions are also susceptible to flooding
China’s major cities like Beijing, Suzhou and Shanghai boast many first class star rated hotels. You can enjoy stays in these sophisticated abodes, or enjoy the cabins, holiday homes and luxurious hotels set in the heart of the country’s jungles and natural sites as well as hotels with a traditional and historic feel. Some of the most popular hotels are the Beijing Hotel and the Beijing International Hotel, Celebrity International Grand Hotel, China World Hotel, Great Dragon Hotel and the Hilton Beijing all located in the country’s capital. In Shanghai, there are five star hotels like Grosvenor House Jin Jiang Hotel, Shanghai International Equatorial, the Ritz-Carlton Portman Shanghai and the Novotel Atlantis Shanghai and the impressive Grand Hyatt Hotel among others. The Sheraton Nanjing Kingsley Hotel & Towers can be found in Najing, while the Qingdao Seaview Garden Hotel and the Sunshine Hotel Shenzhen also provide luxurious accommodations of world class standard. The magnificent architecture, princely accommodations and water front setting of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Hangzhou is a great delight. China provides a wonderful experience for any kind of traveller.
http://www.cnto.org/ : Official Tourist Website
http://www.chinamuseums.com/index.html : Official Guide of China’s Museums
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_China : Information Site