China and Beijing

China is now emerging on to the world travel scene after being hidden for so long. China has opened up and is the fastest changing country in the world. It has so much to offer and the country so vast that in a lifetime you would not see it all.

The Beijing Skyline

The Beijing Skyline

China is one of the most populated countries in the world. With more than 1.2 billion people and has one fifth of the world’s population. It has the third largest landmass of any country, besides Canada and Russia which is larger. Mandarin is the primary language of china and is spoken by 70% of the population. The four largest cities of China are Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin.

In northern china you will find Beijing which has been the capital for 3000 years. It is the sixth ancient capital of China. A city of millions where you can see such delights as the Great Wall of China, the remarkable Terracotta Warriors, and the pandas of Chengdu. You can also visit the Yak Herders and small villages out West. A visit to Xi’an is the largest city in northwest China. Some of the top attractions in Xi’an are the Terra­cotta Army, Huaqing Hot Springs and the Xi’an Great Mosque. A trip to Guilin, located by the bank of the Li River and is known for it’s outstanding beauty and vibrant mountains. The Yangtze River cruises are a must for those seeking a romantic escape.

In the East is the bustling city of Shanghai, situated on the estuary of the Yangtze River. You will find the modern and the traditional. Both skyscrapers and old Shikumen draw the skyline of Shanghai. The coastal province of Fujian, Guangdong and Hainan Island are a must and situated in southeast China on the coast of the East China sea. South west China is relatively unexplored by visitors but boasts some of the best scenery in China, including the incredible Yunnan Stone Forest.

With China’s 5000 year history, it is definitely the place to visit.  With its rich cultural heritage, beautiful scenery, remarkable cities and delicious cuisine, it is no doubt one of the world’s top travel destinations.

Beijing West Train Station

Beijing West Train Station

BEIJING

Beijing is the capital of China. The city is located at the northwest end of the Huabei plain in Northern China, 150 kilometers from the Bohai Sea and the cultural center of China. If you go to Beijing you will not be able to check out every single temple, there are too many to count! Beijing is one of the four great ancient capitals of China with the most wonderful array of attractions.

The Great Wall is China’s most cherished jewel and one of the greatest wonders of the world. Built over 2000 years ago, by Qin Shi Huangdi. The Great Wall is one of the largest building constructions ever completed and it extends by approximately 5,500 miles.

The Forbidden City built between 1406­ and 1420, is also called the Palace Museum and is situated in the heart of Beijing. It was home to 24 Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  It is one of the largest palaces in the world with over a million objects.

The Summer Palace, Yiheyuan, is the largest Royal Park in China. It is virtually a museum that dates back to the Jin Dynasty (115 – ­1234). A whole day is needed because of its size and if you have the time you can rent a boat on the lake to enjoy the spectacular view.

The Temple of Heaven is in the south part of Beijing and is China’s largest complex of ancient sacrificial buildings. During the Ming and Qing dynasties emperors would make offerings to heaven and pray for a good harvest.

Tiananmen Square is the largest public square in the world. The square holds over one million people and thousands come everyday. The square was built in 1651 and ranked as the sixteenth most popular tourist spot in Beijing. Tiananmen Square is also the site of many celebrations and parades each year.

Tiananmen

Tiananmen

Beijing has many shopping districts, depending on what you are prepared to pay, and every year new shopping centers and malls are being built all over the capital. The traditional shopping areas have been Wangfujing Street, Dongdan, Xidan Commercial Street, and Qianmen Street. Shopping at outdoor markets remain a must for foreign travelers. To look for local specialties, such as jade and lacquer you need to go to Panjiayuan Collection Street and Xiushui Street.

Eating in a real Chinese Restaurant in Beijing is nothing like the Chinese food back home. You can get almost any kind of food in Beijing, foods from all around the world. Peking Duck is the speciality of Beijing. Slices of roast duck with plum sauce and strips of onion made into pancakes are some of the favourite choices.

The Hot Pot is the number one authentic Chinese food in Beijing. You are seated at a table with large pot with burning coals in the center, surrounded by boiling water. The ingredients are usually, beef, pork, chicken and vegetables. The ingredients arrive raw and you put them in the water to cook.