It’s one of the most varied and vast continents imaginable, is home to 1.3 billion people and is one of the world’s oldest civilisations. So, what is the best way to get the most from this exciting place, with its immensely rich culture?
It’s no mean feat, which is why we’ve put together this quick guide to help you find out where to go and what to see, depending on your top priorities!
Guilin, for the scenery
With curious caves, legendary lakes and rolling hills for miles on end, the Guilin region is home to some of the most magically beautiful vistas imaginable. Looking at a painting of the area, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the artist had plucked such a wonderful scene from the depths of their imagination.
If you have time, take a cruise down the River Li, which flows 83 kilometres from Guilin to Yangshuo, and offers unparalleled views of the surrounding mountains.
Beijing, for the history
As well as being the capital city of China, Beijing has more historical sites than anywhere else in the world. It’s home to the famous Great Wall, The Summer Palace (the emperor’s garden retreat), The Temple of Heaven (where rituals are performed by Ming and Qing emperors), and the Forbidden City (the largest ancient architectural site in existence). Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time to fit everything in!
Hong Kong, for the food
There are around 12,000 restaurants in Hong Kong, making it something of a minefield when it comes to deciding where to eat. On the plus side, you can be sure of one thing: variety.
If you’re looking for a quick bite on the street, be sure to try some traditional Hong Kong delicacies, such as faux shark fin soup (made with different kinds of fish), put chai ko (like sticky rice pudding) or saqima (a type of caramel fritter).
When it comes to restaurants, there is such a vast range of different foodstuffs that it’s hard to know where to start. But whatever you do, don’t leave Hong Kong without trying dim sum, fusion cuisine and plenty of fresh seafood.
Chengdu, for the pandas
With as few as 1,500–3,000 left in the wild, you’d be mad not to take advantage of this rare opportunity to see one for yourself. Chengdu is home to the Panda Breeding and Research Centre – an organisation dedicated to protecting these beautiful creatures, while still giving them 10 kilometres (six miles) of space to roam in.
It’s home to nearly 50 giant pandas and red pandas, and if you visit the Centre between July and December, you might even be lucky enough to see a new-born baby panda or two!
If you’re lucky enough to be making the trip to the second largest country in the world, where will your first stop be? Let your interests lead the way!