China is now the fourth most visited country in the world, with 56.9 million tourist arrivals per year.
China even declared 2016 the China-US Year of Tourism as a way to attract US visitors. As a result, a record 1.66 million American tourists visited China in the first nine months of 2016.
This was a 7.5 percent increase, making China the top destination in the Asia-Pacific region for US tourists.
It seems the world is finally discovering how much China has to offer as one of the most fascinating destinations there is. Read on to find out why visiting China should be in your future plans too.
Breath-taking Natural Wonders
China might be an unexpected travel destination for some. But, its stunning natural wonders alone are enough to win it a place on your list of dream vacations.
As one of the world’s largest countries, China offers diverse landscapes to suit everyone’s tastes. Deserts, snowy scenes, fertile plains, mountains ranges and lush tropics – China has it all.
And, if you’re wondering where to visit in China for a slice of paradise, head to Hainan Island, known as the ‘Hawaii of the Orient’.
And then there’s the Yangtze River, the third-longest river in the world. For a dramatic glimpse of the Yangtze, visit the Three Gorges, a scenic marvel in China’s landscape. The Wu Gorge (Gorge of Witches) offers some of the most dramatic sights along the river. Sailing along in tranquility as you take in the misty mountain peaks is sure to take your breath away.
Or, for a more exciting way to experience China’s landscapes, the Glass Bridge in Zhangjiajie is fast becoming a popular China place to visit.
Rich and Ancient Heritage
Few places in the world have such an extensive and varied history as China. Many of these historical sites, such as The Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors, should definitely be on your must-see in China list.
Not to mention, the top place to visit in China, The Great Wall, which has had as many as eight million visitors in a single day!
Not only are these ancient sites incredible to see, but they’re also great places to learn about Chinese history and culture. But, as well as these well-known attractions, China boasts many other treasures.
These include ancient palaces, pagodas, giant Buddhas and stunning temples.
In such an expansive and diverse country, you might feel that you don’t have enough time to see even a fraction of what China has to offer. Which is why, for the best China reise experience, you should consider destinations such as Chengdu, Huangshan, and Luoyang, as well as Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi’an.
Impressive Modern Development
As a country of contrasts, China is also home to some of the largest cities in the world. In addition to temples and ancient sites, expect to see plenty of skyscrapers, high rises, and innovative design.
Shanghai is a prime example of modern-day China. Here, the bright neon Pudong skyline reflects on the Huangpu River in a display of the city’s financial power. Other examples of modern development include Xinghai Square in Dalian, Wu Si Square in Qingdao and Chaotianmen Square in Chongqing.
And, thanks to China’s high-speed trains, traveling around this vast country is even easier than before. Running at up to 217 mph, the train takes you from Beijing to Shanghai in just over four hours.
Diverse Cultural Mix
When it comes to finding out what to know about traveling to China, nothing will prepare you for the incredible cultural mix. There are over 500 people groups in China, as well as 55 different ethnic minorities.
And all of them practice a range of different customs.
If you have a special interest in witnessing more of this diversity, Guilin, Yunnan, and Guizhou offer colorful examples of minority culture.
In Guilin’s Longji Rice Terraces, you can visit the Zhuang people’s wooden stilted homes and see Yao women with record-breaking long hair. Lugu Lake in Yunnan is home to the Mosuo people, the most famous matrilineal society.
And in Guizhou, you can visit a Miao village, watch their traditional way of making paper from trees and hear their mountain songs.
And, even if you stick to the main cities during your China travels, you can still experience a wealth of different cultural experiences. These include festivals, Chinese medicine, opera, calligraphy, and traditional costumes.
Of course, the favorite cultural experience of many visitors to China has to be food.
Chinese food is world-famous, but most people’s knowledge of this complex cuisine is limited to their local take-out. As such, tasting Chinese food in China will open your taste buds up to a whole new world of ingredients and flavors.
Each region boasts its own unique specialty, including Beijing roast duck, rice noodles in Gulin and soup dumplings in Shanghai. Coastal regions offer a variety of seafood, while Hunnan and Sichuan are known for their spicy dishes.
But, no matter where you are in China, the best way to sample the delights of Chinese cuisine is to try street foods. Chinese barbecue, called shao kao, is a great option, as is the roasted sweet potato. And, don’t forget to try some of the fragrant and delicious varieties of tea too.
Warm and Welcoming People
Although tourism in China is growing, western tourists are still a novelty for a lot of Chinese people. Many Chinese tourists, who have traveled from distant provinces to the larger cities, will have never seen a western face before.
As a result, you might find that you’re more of a draw than the breath-taking sites you’re visiting and that many Chinese people want to take photos with you.
Embrace these fun interactions and enjoy the experience of meeting locals. China is full of warm and welcoming people who are much friendlier than tourists expect.
Make Visiting China Part of Your Future Plans
Whether you’ve been curious about China for a while, or you’d never considered it as a travel destination before, it’s clear that this incredible country has a lot to offer.
The most striking element of China has to be its mix of contrasts. Sweet and sour, ancient and modern, tranquil and energetic – all combining into the rich tapestry that is modern-day China.
If you’re sold on visiting China, check out these tips on saving for vacation on a tight budget.