Tourist attractions in China include the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Forbidden City, Terracotta Army in Xi’an, Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower, and a cruise on the Yangtze River.
Great Wall of China is about 6,700 km (4,163 mile) long protective wall, which was built during several Chinese dynasties from 221 BC onwards, with the construction starting during the first Emperor of united China, Qin Shi Huang.
The wall’s original intention was to protect united China from nomadic Xiongnu tribe’s attacks, and, at best, the defensive wall contained aboutone million soldiers on guard against these attacks.
For visiting the wall, only three parts of the wall are maintained for tourists, all within the municipality of Beijing.
You can tour all three wall sections from organized guided tours, with some tours also offering an option to stay overnight on the wall, such as with The China Guide tours (thechinaguide.com/sleeponthewall/).
Of the tourist attractions in China, Beijing’s Forbidden City, meanwhile, is the country’s imperial period palace…
…used as an administrative palace from the Ming Dynasty up to the end of Qing Dynasty, from around 1420-1912 AD.
Of the palace complex, which is made in a traditional Chinese palace architecture style, about 980 buildings have survived to this day, containing a total of 8,707 rooms, and covering an area of 720,000 square meters (7,750,000 sq.ft), making the place world’s largest palace complex.
The palace area is within central Beijing, and today, is being used as a museum — Palace Museum — documenting the role of the palace and its significance in the Chinese history.
Highlights at the palace include, in addition to the impressive buildings and statues, also the museum’s collections of art, about 1.17 million artworks in total, such as 320,000 porcelain items and more than 50,000 historical paintings.
Tourist attractions in China also feature Terracotta Army in Xi’an, located in the mausoleum of united China’s first ruler, Qin Shi Huang.
The terracotta soldiers, which date back to around 210 BC, were discovered only in 1974, when local farmers were trying to find a suitable place for a well.
The soldiers, which according to a legend, were added to the mausoleum to protect the emperor in the afterlife, are located in three sections, and number more than 8,000 soldiers, 130 wagons (pulled by 520 horses), and 150 cavalry horses, most of which are still to be excavated.
Today, the area is a “Terracotta Soldiers and Horses Museum“, and you can participate, for example, in guided tours to the mausoleum, during which you’ll learn more about the place’s history.
Top tourist attractions in China also include Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai, one of the most striking landmarks of modern Shanghai, which has quickly after construction (since 1995) become one of the city’s main symbols.
In addition to its special architecture, the tower is also known for its large size. In terms of height, the tower is 468 meters (1,535 ft) tall, which makes it, in fact, the world’s third tallest tower.
Oriental Pearl is designed mostly for tourism use, as several of its levels have observation decks, a total of 15 of them, most popular of which (and the highest) is the one at 350 meters (1,148 ft) above sea level.
You can also dine in the tower during a visit, as the place has a revolving restaurant, located at 267 meters (875 ft) height.
One unique feature of the tower is that you can stay overnight here, at the 20-room “Space Hotel“.
Finally, a river cruise at the Yangtze is a great way to see the many different faces of China, from Shanghai’s urban skyline to the peaceful rural villages, and the traditional way of life there.
Yangtze is the longest river in China (and Asia), third longest in the world (after Amazon and Nile), in fact, at a length of about 6,385 km (3,967 miles).
Significant sites along the river are especially:
- Chongqing, and
- Three Gorges Dam, which is the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant.
You can start a Yangtze River cruise from any of the major cities within the river, with cruise routes having different lengths.
The most popular place to start these cruises, however, being Shanghai, from where you can tour the river using five-star luxury cruise ships, or alternatively, with much simpler (and cheaper) river ferries.