China has long been on my list of places to visit ever since I became serious about traveling. With my past trips being focused on miserably cold mountain climbs or trying to knock out the most dangerous countries in the world, this trip was a vacation from my vacations. Actually, the only reason I came to China was because I had to come here in order to enter North Korea! After North Korea I returned to Beijing where I had plenty of time to start exploring. I found China was easy to backpack, the population friendly, and there seemed to be an endless amount of things to do. I realized that I’d almost forgotten what it was like to travel in a normal and safe country. Nearly the same size of America, China is one of the world’s most culturally diverse countries. With all its past kingdoms and dynasties it also has some of the best preserved ancient history on earth. On this trip I visited the capital of Beijing, a trip to the great wall, and also visited the historic city of Xi’an. When I return to China I’d like to focus on the tropical regions in the south west and visit the scenic yellow river.
As the capital of the world’s most populous country, Beijing is one of several cultural and historical centers in China. Its history can be traced back over 3,000 years to the to the first city state of Ji. Beijing became the capital of China when the country became united under the first emperor over 2,000 years ago. The most famous sites of Beijing include the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and the Temple of Heaven. Aside from the countless historical and religious places to visit, the Beijing metropolitan area sprawls close to a massive 7,000 square miles with 16 districts to explore!
A city that is over 3,000 years old and having served the capital for 13 different dynasties, a visit to Xian should be mandatory for all travelers to China. Xian is tourist friendly, and it’s quite easy to rent a bike and explore the city on your own. Xian has the world’s largest city wall, China’s first mosque, and plenty of Pagodas, ancient temples and other sites to be explored. One of Xian’s most famous treasures are the terracotta warriors, an ancient life size army made entirely out of stone.
One of the world’s most amazing wonders, the Great Wall of China is so massive it’s even visible from space! The Great Wall is much more diverse than people think. Hiking along it can take you along simple stones overgrown with vegetation to castle sized guard towers overlooking the rugged terrain.
The sacred mountains of Huashan are one of the highlights of China. The mountains combine natural beauty along with plenty of activities for all travelers. Ride the cable car, stay in a hotel, or even climb the grueling warrior’s trail. The dramatic peaks and raging rivers that pass through this national park provide some of the best mountain scenery in the world.
The Zhouzhi wildlife reserve is one of the best places in the country to view native animals of China. The wildlife reserve also rehabilitates injured panda bears before releasing them back into the wild, and is one of China’s four panda research bases. Some other wildlife that can be found at the reserve include, red pandas, slothes, and the golden taiken.