Things to do in China
The Chinese culture is one that respects its ancestors so a reverence for the glorious history and traditions of the mighty East Asian nation holds true. How this world power navigates its path as it hurtles to keep up with its modernity is what makes China both intriguing and infuriating at the same time, but it’s always a rewarding destination for travellers of all persuasions.
Want to immerse yourself in the centuries-old dynastic traditions, architecture and spiritual beliefs of ancient China? There’s the entombed warriors, the Forbidden City, traditional temples, and of course, the Great Wall. Have an artistic interest? China has an exhaustive collection of national treasures, antiquities and artifacts to peruse in numerous museums, galleries and attractions as well as modern pieces, while architecture buffs will get stiff necks from admiring the clean lines and lofty heights of the soaring skyscrapers of Beijing and Shanghai.
Prefer a holiday with a gastronomic bent? Sample your way through the 8 traditional cuisines of China, up and down dedicated snack streets in Beijing, and dazzle your taste buds with the East West fusions in 5-star international hotels and restaurants in Shanghai. Retail therapy your preferred relaxation or cardio exercise? Shop ‘til you drop in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing with international labels, designer boutiques, huge outlets, night markets and traditional shops all open late to tempt you. And, if you’ve had enough of the cultural overload in the cities, take a fast train to the countryside to explore ruins, unique cultures and a plethora of scenic views.
So how does one ‘do’ China with such a huge variety of land to cover and experiences on offer? No matter what your holiday style, budget or impressions of China, the Far East has many cultures, cuisines, cities and countryside options that will surprise even the most jaded traveller. Here's some of our top places to go in China.
China’s most populous city, Shanghai is traditionally the most Western Chinese city where European architecture blends seamlessly with traditional housing and is brought to glittering life with modern skyscrapers, world-class shopping and nightlife.
The Chinese capital is the political, educational and cultural centre of the nation and justifiably proud of its achievements and trajectory. Tradition is everywhere you turn in the Old City confines with historic monuments on a grand scale and everyday cultural practices on show.
One of the world's greatest wonders and a recognisable sight, nothing can prepare you for the sheer spectacle of the Great Wall. Located just 60 kilometres from Beijing, the restored Badaling Great Wall section is the most popular, accessible and scenic location.
Off limits to outside eyes for over 500 years, the Forbidden City is a stunning and well-preserved collection of 1,000 imperial buildings that were once the exclusive domain of the ruling emperor, his family and servants. For a glimpse into royal Chinese history, it's a must-see sight.
Tiananmen Square in Beijing may be the world's largest public square, and it's certainly the site of many historic Chinese events. With a sweeping expanse of 440,000 square metres and not much in the way of ornamentation, this vast space is primed for a flash mob experience.
With European-style Art Deco and Neoclassical architecture gracing the promenade along the Huangpu River, The Bund is a romantic and popular Shanghai destination that lures lovers and visitors alike when its stunning buildings are lit up at night.