The ancient philosopher Lao Tzu once said of China:
A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
What he meant probably was that China has so many distractions, so many attractions, that travelers often forget their final destination. That’s true even today. If the purpose of your holiday is shopping, you may end up playing golf. If it’s golf, you may end up frolicking in the snow. If it’s snow, you may end up learning Kung Fu. If it’s Kung Fu, you may end up in a nightclub. If it’s pleasure, you may find yourself in the hallowed courtyard of a Buddhist monastery. If it’s religion or history, you may end up taking a pleasure cruise on the Yangtze River.
The diversity of China makes it the most exciting travel destination in the world.
Where do you begin your voyage of discovery? Beijing is a good place to start. Counted among the world’s most populous cities, Beijing sprawls across 117,000 square kilometers of culture. Here 7300 historical sites and 200 other attractions await your arrival. Among them: Palace Museum, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Imperial Garden, the Great Wall, Prince Gong’s residence, unique Hutong (narrow streets or alleys) and the Olympic arenas.
From Beijing, take the bullet train to Shanghai. From a small textile and fishing town in the 19th century, Shanghai has grown into a global center of commerce, finance, technology, media, culture, fashion and tourism. Often called “Hu” or “Shen”, Shanghai stretches over 6340 sq km of flat terrain at the Yangtze River Delta. A mix of the old and the modern, the city is a visitor’s paradise. Don’t miss the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jinmao Mansion, Shanghai Museum and Shanghai Theater, the Shanghai river cruise, the Shanghai Tourism Festival and the China International Art Festival.
180 kilometers away is the city of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, a place of enchanting natural beauty. Called 'Heaven on Earth', the city overlooks the Qiantang River and unfolds into the West Lake and the Historic Interest Zone comprising 'Two Rivers and One Lake' (Fuchun and Xin'an rivers and Qiandao Lake). The modern cityscape tells only half the story. Steeped in history, Hangzhou showcases remains of bygone centuries. The other attraction is its cuisine.
Close to Shanghai is the ancient city of Suzhou, 2500 years old, punctuated with classical garden architecture, waterside towns, rivers, bridges and streets and lanes symbolic of the Song dynasty (960 AD-1279 AD. The double-chessboard layout of the city, where 'the streets and rivers go side by side while the water and land routes run in parallel' are intact. Strolling the streets, you can feel the lingering charm of its landscape. As the saying goes - 'Gardens to the south of Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them'.
The next stop on your itinerary should be Guangzhou, the city for shoppers. It has countless malls, many of them the size of ships. On their shelves are the world’s finest brands. Guangzhou has played host to the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) twice a year since 1957. Do make a reservation in advance, should your visit coincide with this mega biannual event.
Recommended: A stroll down the Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street and the Beijing Business Street. Food is the other attraction, especially the pastry.
Travel through the western plains of the Sichuan basin to reach the ancient city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. Shaped by the winds of 3000 years, Chengdu has a lot to offer: a hospitable climate, picture postcard scenery, folk art and places of historical interest. The Memorial Temple of Marquis Zhuge Liang, Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage, Mount Qingcheng, the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and giant Pandas are experiences that will stay etched in your memory.
If you visit China, you can’t possibly overlook Xi’an, the city of terra cotta warriors. As the saying goes: "Go to Shanghai and you will find a 100-year-old China; go to Beijing and you will find a 1000-year-old China; go to Xian and then you will find a 3000-year-old China." Called Chang'a (meaning the Eternal City) in ancient China, Xi’an, in the Yellow River Basin area, is the cradle of Chinese civilization, the eastern terminus of the Silk Road and the home of the famous Terracotta Warriors of the Qin Dynasty. It is also a Buddhist center.
China is a mere flight across the Himalayas for the Indian travelers. There’s more to see here than you ever expected. If you can’t take it all in one go, beautiful China is worth many visits.
The Chinese visa Application: It’s been made simple and hassle free. You may apply for the Chinese visa through Chinese Visa Application Service Centres in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. For more information on Chinese visas, you may please log on to Official website for Visa or Official Website of China Embassy.
Connectivity: Numerous airlines like Air China, China Eastern, China Southern and Air India, Spice Jet, Ethiopian Airlines etc. have direct connections from Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata to the Chinese cities- Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Kunming, Hangzhou.
When to go: China is a year-round destination when it comes to weather. There are cities with cool summers and warm winters. You may plan your holiday during the season best suited to you.
What to eat: China is a heaven in the bowl. With more than 18 schools of cuisines, you’ll have more choices than you can think of. For those still missing Indian food, there are plenty of option in all major cities.
We hope this information would have inspired you to the great Chinese holiday. We will publish more information on China tourism soon. Stay Tuned!