China is fast becoming a hot destination for not only backpackers but also those with a bit more cash to splash on a holiday. So here are 5 attractions perfect for those who want to go on a holiday to China to check out all the amazing things on offer.
The Forbidden Palace, Beijing
The Forbidden Palace is one of the most popular attractions in China. Dating back to 1420AD, this was the residence of numerous Emperors from several dynasties until 191AD. A UNESCO site, it heavily influenced other East Asian countries such as Japan with its architecture. The Forbidden Palace is actually a series of almost 1000 buildings over a large area, while the main building itself is home to the Palace Museum which consists of numerous relics and works of art from Chinese history.
The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is synonymous with China, much like the Taj Mahal is for India or the Eiffel Tower is for France. The Great Wall dates back to 7th century when it was built to defend itself from various potential invaders who would attempt to enter the Chinese Empire via its northern borders. This included the infamous Mongol hordes, but the last ever battle fought over it was actually between China and Japan in 1938. Today the wall can be visited on a day trip from Beijing.
The Terracotta Army numbers well over 6,000 sculptures of soldiers in full battle gear. It was discovered in the 1970’s by villagers in the historical town of Xian. The warriors were actually created as a burial decoration and buried with the legendary Emperor Qin Shi Huang in 210BC. In ancient China it was believed that this army would protect him in the afterlife. Today they can be seen in all their glory in Xian, where you can also take a look into the fascinating life of Emperor Qin Shi Huang himself in his Mausoleum.
Macau is a very interesting autonomous city (or Special Administrative Region, or SAR for short) located on the coast just a stone’s throw away from Hong Kong, if only because it was part of the Portuguese overseas territories way up until 1999. This has created a unique character vastly different to the Chinese mainland, where it retains so much more colonial history than Hong Kong across the bay. But in addition to feeling like a European city in East Asia, it is also known for its numerous casinos, and with its estimated annual revenue from gambling activities it generates 10 times what Las Vegas makes per year. So if glitzy casinos or European colonial history is your thing, then Macau is the place for you!
Another autonomous region within China is Tibet, birthplace of the current Dalai Lama and with one of the most spectacular and highest landscapes in the world. Potala Palace is the former home to the Dalai Lama, who now lives in exile in India. However, it is no less spectacular despite being empty for the last 70 years. Numerous Tibetan temples dot the moon-like landscape of Tibet, but the most famous and impressive is undoubtedly the Jokhang Temple, which is the most important site in Tibet for the indigenous Tibetan people. Finally, check out Namsto Lake – a very sacred site for Tibetans, it is over 70km at its longest point, and is at a height of 4700 metres, making it one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world.
So here are just 5 destinations for your holiday to China. A vast country with the highest population count in the world, China is as varied as it is gigantic.