If you like something unusual, if you wish to make your trip unique this summer, if you cherish exploring a new cultural experience, you don’t really have to travel to another continent. Broadly unnoticed and highly underrated, China certainly has all the potential to be your dream destination. With an astounding 41 UNESCO world heritage sites in its kitty, there is actually a lot to reconnoiter.
Here are a few unexplored scenic spots of China which are not only a symbol of the great Chinese civilisation but the pride of the nation as well.
The Great Wall
It is said that if you visit China and don’t see the Great wall, you’ve seen nothing! The Great Wall stretches over a staggering 6,400 km approximately, making it the longest human-made structure ever! Surviving for centuries, it stands intact, strong and proud as ever. Being one of the wonders of the world, it is a major tourist attraction of the Dragon nation.
Beijing, the capital city, serves as the best and most convenient place in China if one plans a visit to the Great Wall. But most people don’t know much about a section of the wall near Beijing — Mutianyu.
Just 45 miles from Beijing, this section of the Great Wall is quite different from the rest, as it is narrower and not frequented by tourists. This place gives you ample time and space to take long walks along the wall and admire the breathtaking scenery.
There are many other must-see places in Beijing, namely The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, Temple of Heaven, The Olympic Green and The National Museum.
The Terracotta Warriors
The Mausoleum of first Qin emperor, better known as the Terracotta warriors, is an assemblage of terracotta sculptures which were buried with the King for his protection in his afterlife.
The army consists of approximately 8,000 clay warriors, 130 chariots, 520 horses, 150 cavalry horses and more than 10,000 bronze weapons extended into three pits which make it one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th century.
It has been the subject of a few Hollywood flicks and owing to its popularity, it is sometimes aptly dubbed as the eighth wonder of the world!
Xi’an, the capital of Shaanxi province and one of the oldest cities of China, is well connected to all the major metros and has the closest proximity to the Terracotta Warriors.
Xi’an is also famous for other attractions like The Bell Tower, The Drum Tower, The Large Wild Goose Pagoda and the City Wall, so please chalk out your itinerary accordingly.
Yangtze River Cruise
Undoubtedly one of the best things a nature lover can do in the red nation. River Yangtze, the largest river of China and the third largest river in the world, is undeniably the lifeline of the country. This cruise starts downstream, from Chongqing to Yichang for three days and four nights.
The river during its course has three picturesque gorges, namely Xiling, Qutang and the most stunning Wu Gorge. There are also numerous temples, other small gorges and a once in a lifetime opportunity to do the dragon boating!
The cruise ends at the largest electricity-generating unit of any kind and the biggest dam in the world — The Three Gorges Dam. There are many international cruise companies which operate on this route and an advance booking is recommended.
One of the many administrative seats in the annals of Chinese empire, Hangzhou used to be one of the most prosperous cities of ancient China. Even Marco Polo praised Hangzhou, calling it, “beyond dispute the finest and the noblest in the world.”
Now cosmopolitan in look and nature, you can still find touches and traces of antiquity in its every nook. It is quite rightly known as the tourism capital of China. Renowned for traditional shopping streets and a myriad pagodas, Hangzhou is best known for the blissful West Lake.
With a circumference of about 20 km, the West Lake has been a part of many legends. The scenery and ambience leave one awestruck.
One can also take a ferry ride on the longest canal in the world — The Grand Canal. It covers a distance of over 1,700 km and connects Beijing to Hangzhou. A train from Shanghai takes about two hours to reach Hangzhou.
With friendly people, delicious cuisine, comfortable transport, easy affordability, and just so much to see and experience, China makes for a memorable holiday.
Most people arrive in China via Beijing or Hong Kong.
China is big and so are the climactic differences between the areas. A line could be drawn at the level of Shanghai. On it and above it, it is compulsory for offices to be equipped with heaters. South of the line, it is warmer all year round but, with the exception of the tropical Island of Hainan or the southern part of Yunnan, it can also be cold for a couple of days or months.
- The writer is a travel enthusiast