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China is vast. Off-the-scale massive. It is like several countries in one. From the placid mountain lakes of Tibet, the impassive deserts of Inner Mongolia to island-hopping in Hong Kong or cycling between fairy-tale karst pinnacles around Yángshuò, China's landscapes are beguiling. China is a place that will surprise you continuously. China is a fascinating country with a fascinating history and a culture full of mystery for Westerners.

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China is overwhelming in many ways and has an enormous range of wonderful places to visit. Below or picks we recommend.
  • Beijing –visit the old Hutong area with traditional courtyard houses. Try to avoid the touristy streets. Mao’er Hutong and Wudaoying hutong are very nice with small little shops and nice restaurants. Off course the Forbidden City should be visited as well. It is massive and impressive!
  • Great Wall – well, this is off course a must see. We went to Jinshanling and walked in the direction of Simatai. A wonderful route and it wasn’t touristy (May)!
  • Jangshuo/Guilin – hiking on foot Yandi to Xingping and visiting the rice terraces of Longji (2-hours from Guilin) are beautiful! Another stunning landscape are the mountains of Tianzi, have a look at this drone video of Tianzi Mountains and you will be convinced!
  • Goqui Island – this island belongs to Shengsi, an archipelago of almost 400 islands at the mouth of China's Yangtze river. It holds a secret shrouded in time – an abandoned fishing village being reclaimed by nature.
  • Mount Huangshuan (Yellow Mountain) – a beautiful area to walk! One must be aware that the chances of having mist and/or rain are more tan 50%. However, even if one is not lucky with the weather, trekking on this mountain will be rewarding. You should be prepared to walk up and down a lot of steps.
  • Sertar - a surreal place home to 40.000 monks, 600 km above Chengdu. It is quite a ride, but therefore completely off the beaten track.

What to eat

China offers a large variety of delicious dishes. Below our recommendations to try when you are going to visit China.
  • Spicy cabbage –this delicious dish is prepared with a lot of garlic, ginger and sometimes chilies. Many restaurants serve a variation of this simple side dish
  • Hot pot (huǒ guō – 火鍋) – Hot pot is the Chinese version of the western style fondue. The concept of it is simple. They put a pot of simmering broth in the middle of the table. Around it are plates of meat, seafood, and vegetables, with different sauces and spices you can use for preparing your delicious food. A very sociable way of dining and a must try when you are in China
  • Tomato & Eggs (Fānqié jīdàn – 番茄鸡蛋) – you can’t go wrong with this dish. Fried eggs, tomatoes and some spices and herbs
  • Pickled Cucumber Salad (Liang Ban Huang Gua – 涼拌黃瓜) – this is great and simple dish served in almost every restaurant. In Beijing they serve it with a lot of garlic but no spices, in Sichuan they use chili paste, and Guangzhou places put in a dose of black vinegar. Lovely side or lunch dish
  • Steamed Filled Buns (Bao Zi) – these are Chinese bread rolls filled with meat or vegetables. Perfect for starting your day! The larger the buns the more delicious they are in our opinion. In general it comes with a bowl of sauce in which you can dip the bun. Yum!

When to go

As China is so massive it is impossible to mention one specific period. In general we can state that the best time to travel is in the spring (April, May, June) and autumn (September, October). Tibet can best be visited in the summer due to its height. May, June and September are the best months to visit Tibet, but are also the busiest months.

What to know

If you are going to China then it is necessary to check whether you need a visa or not. Depending on the nationality of your passport, the rules vary. Be aware that a visa for a business trip is different than the one for tourism purposes. Travel China Guide has useful information about the different visa types. To check if you need a visa have a look at Visa for China

Top rated activities

Experience the nomadic lifestyle of Tibet
$1,110.00 p.p.

Experience the nomadic lifestyle of Tibet

Chengdu, China

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