The wait is finally over! With China reopening its borders and easing restrictions on 8 Jan 2023, we’ve compiled an exciting list of hot spots to visit in the Middle Kingdom if you just can’t make up your mind on where to start.
Have you heard? China is reopening for travel and scrapping its quarantines for arrivals from 8 January 2023 onwards! However, even with the loosening of Covid’19 restrictions, mandatory testing, and lockdowns, do take note that you will still have to take a PCR test 48 hours before your flight to China.
We can’t wait to head back to the Middle Kingdom for authentic Xiao Long Baos, numbingly spicy Si Chuan cuisine, and cuddly giant panda bears. There’s just so much to see in this colourful land so full of culture. So read on for a breakdown of some of China’s hot spots to visit!
Image credits: Unsplash
Ancient culture. Idyllic gardens. Enchanting water towns. All encapsulated in one modern city (the World’s largest city at that). This thriving city that never sleeps is full of bustling crowds and high fashion, making it a world finance and cultural centre. But if you ask me, having lived in Shanghai for three years, there’s only one thing that comes back to mind when thinking of the Pearl of the Orient and that’s…drum roll, please… Xiao Long Bao. These flavourful soup dumplings envelop a seasoned pork filling with hot savoury soup that bursts in your mouth and is paired with Chinese black vinegar and thin ginger slices for the ultimate balanced bite. And if you think the ones at Din Tai Fung are good? Just try the ones in Shanghai at Jia Jia Tang Bao!
Hot spots include a visit to The Bund to get the best view of the city and of Lujiazui — one of Shanghai’s majestic modern skyscrapers. Take a walk along the Huangpu River embankment and soak in all the good architectural beauty. A definite treat for the eyes. Or take a trip down to the World’s third tallest building — the iconic Oriental Pearl TV Tower which stands at 468 meters tall!
Down for some exciting family fun? Shanghai Disney Resort will certainly do the trick with its wide variety of attractions to explore in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and even Adventure Isles. A dream for both adults and children alike. And if you’re an avid Starbucks fan, trust us when we say the Shanghai Roastery needs to be on your list. The first Starbucks in the World to offer an augmented reality experience to customers, it’s said to give theatrical Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka vibes. Trippy.
Tip: Suzhou and Hangzhou are just an hour away via Shanghai’s high-speed rail, making it convenient if you’re planning on visiting more than one city!
USP: For those who enjoy a blend of bustling modern metropolis and rich ancient Chinese culture
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — Stay tuned to our Shanghai Guide!
Image credits: Unsplash
The most popular tourist destination in China, Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, parks, tombs, and most of all, The Great Wall of China. This 21196.18km wall took over 2,000 years to build and has 15 strategic passages which snake across China from East to West, making it the largest man-made project in the world. The Great Wall is composed of four main sections: Head to Badaling for the more famous and accessible route; Mutianyu for the well-restored but less crowded route; Simatai for a view of the crumbling and rugged side of the wall; and Jinshanling for serious photographers and those who favour a good hike.
Must-visits also include the Forbidden City, China’s Imperial Palace that stretches back to the 13th century Yuan Dynasty to live out your C-Drama dreams. A tour of the world’s largest inner-city square — Tiananmen Square, a.k.a the Square of Heavenly Peace which marks the centre of communist China. And not forgetting Beijing National Stadium where the famed Summer Olympics were held in 2008, and the National Aquatics Center that’s situated right beside it with its delightful magical Watercube Waterpark.
USP: For history and culture buffs who love good scenery
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — Find out more about Beijing here
Image credits: Unsplash
Widely known for being home to China’s magnificent giant pandas, there are not one but four panda bases. For good ol’ panda viewing, head to Chengdu Panda Base which is located near the city. And for a more hands-on experience, head to Dujiangyan, Wolong, or Bifengxiacan! You’ll get to experience Chengdu’s giant panda volunteer programs where participants will learn about giant pandas and work with experts in taking care of these cuddly creatures. You’ll even receive a panda volunteer certificate at the end of the day!
A city famed for its leisure and entertainment, People’s Park is the place to leave your worries behind. Think dancing, loud music, caricature drawings, mahjong, small boats on lakes, tea houses, and fortune tellers. Ahh, life’s a breeze.
Explore Jinli Street and Kuan Zhai Alley for a taste of Chengdu food culture and the best street food. The city is famous for its spicy Hot Pots, Mapo Tofu, and Dan Dan Mian that’ll leave your mouth numb and tingling with its beloved Sichuan peppercorns and chilli oil.
USP: For those who with a soft spot for cuddly giant pandas and need a break from the hustle and bustle
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — For more things to do in Chengdu click here
Image credits: China Discovery
So far, this guide has been all about cities so how about a taste of the countryside? This is your sign to head to Guilin! Translating to the Forest of Sweet Osmanthus, Guilin bares no limits when it comes to its share of natural beauty. This is a land of lavish rice terraces, unrivalled karst landscapes, flowing rivers, surreal caves, and peace galore.
Visit Ludiyan a.k.a Reed Flute Cave to marvel at the city’s largest and most spectacular multicoloured cavern. This geological wonder features a myriad of stalactites and stalagmites that are not only named based on appearance but by the legends that surround them such as Crystal Palace and Dragon Pagoda. What’s more, one massive stalactite is said to have been the magical spear of the Dragon King that was used by the great Monkey King, Song Wu Kong, in Journey To The West, giving this cave its ethereal and otherworldly aura.
If climbing’s your thing, try your hand at hiking up karst hills such as Xianggong Hill that’s located just outside of Guilin and Elephant Trunk Hill where you’ll be rewarded with the most breathtaking views. You can even take a cruise or kayak on the Li River — no doubt the biggest highlight of the city. Or tour the Longji Terraced Fields and experience minority village culture on exhilarating ATVs. There’s so much to do right here in this humble countryside.
USP: For those who desire a taste of the countryside
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — For more things to do in Guilin click here
Image credits: Unsplash
Named after its most prominent attraction, Huangshan Mountain, Huangshan literally translates to Yellow Mountain. A crowd favourite, these mountains are steeped in picturesque natural landscapes and rich history. Expect to see oddly shaped pines, rocks, hot springs, and a cloudy mist (Sea of Clouds) so thick it creates an enchanting imagery of a mountain island floating on clouds.
Other hot spots in Huangshan include exploring the ancient Xidi and Hongcun villages for their charming rural architecture and a taste of history and culture. Fun fact: If you’re a fan of the Kung Fu movies, Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon, you just might be excited to find that they were filmed right here at Hongcun Village!
On your way out, don’t forget to give Huangshan’s most famous tea — Maofeng Tea, a try. Light with a floral aroma, this green tea has a sweet profile that tastes just like apricots and peaches. Delicate and just like summer.
USP: For a view of its magnificent Yellow Mountains
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — For more things to do in Huangshan click here
Image credits: Unsplash
A contemporary city, many flock to Xi’an for its plethora of historical monuments, ancient ruins, and tombs. One of its biggest attractions? The Qin Tomb, also known as the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor who began construction of the Great Wall of China — Shihuangdi. This secret 50-square-km funerary compound was only unearthed 2,100 years after the emperor’s death. What they didn’t expect to find was an army of around 8,000 life-sized detailed terracotta soldiers along with horses and richly adorned chariots of now disintegrated wood. Other treasures discovered include weapons which retained their sharpness and shine, objects made of silk, jade, linen, and bone, and more. Curiouser and curiouser…
What else can you do in Xi’an? Cycle on Xi’an’s ancient City Wall and enjoy the night view. Experience the days of Imperial China through traditional song and dance with the Tang Dynasty Show while indulging in a dumping banquet. Visit Hukou Waterfall, the world’s only yellow waterfall in the world, and go rafting! For a taste of local cuisine, have a taste of some local favourites including Yellow River carp and Yan’an wine. Expect huge rapids and splashes when at the Yellow River Basin. You’ve been warned!
USP: For a view of its symbolic Terracotta Warriors
China’s Reopening For Travel: Hot Spots To Visit — For more things to do in Xi’an click here
Pack Your Bags, It’s Time To Explore The Middle Kingdom!
Now that you’ve got a list of sights to explore in China locked and loaded, you’re ready for your next adventure! Amidst the excitement of China being reopened, don’t forget to book your flight tickets and accommodations with your YouTrip card via YouTrip Perks for extra cashback and discounts!
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