Where does one start when travelling to a country just slightly smaller than the United States, but with over 5,000 years of recorded history? China’s compelling past is deeply etched into its its 26 provinces, 5 autonomous regions and 4 municipalities.
An exploration into China’s Many Wonders
China is a trove of treasures for man-made and natural wonders. If you’re an adventure buff like me, you’d kickstart your journey by paying homage to the world’s tallest peak.
- At the south Tibetan border of China stands the imposing natural marvel, the Mount Everest. Today, there are many experienced tour operators that will take you there, but this journey is not a regular visit to the malls, so you’ll need to be prepared physically, mentally and financially.
- Continue north and journey across the majestic Three Gorges, a 120-mile stretch of plummeting cliffs that frame the Yangtze River.
- Soak in the grandeur largest plaza and city square in the world at the Tiananmen Square. Covering an area of 44 hectares, this plaza is located at the heart of the capital city, Beijing.
- While in Beijing, pay a visit to the Imperial Palace and delve into its rich history to discover why it is known as the Forbidden City, declared a World Heritage Site in 1987.
- Then, venture southwards to visit a relic of the Qin Dynasty treasure in Xi’an, where over six thousand life-sized statues of the Terracotta Warriors are organised in a traditional battle formation on a vast, 14,000 square meters of land.
Hong Kong and Macau – Another Way to Experience China
As China’s most prominent examples of people brought together by early colonialism, these two distinct regions have been swathed in controversy, primarily as they are governed with a significant degree of political and commercial independence and autonomy. Hop over to visit these destinations and you’ll quickly notice that the experience of life and culture in these provinces are markedly different from the rest of China, and bear their own unique stamp of old world charm.
Just thirty five miles west of Hong Kong, located just across the Pearl River delta is the enclave of Macau, beautifully perched on a peninsula surrounded by a cluster of small islands.
With its history of Portugal once establishing its sovereignty over Macau in 1887, the astute traveller will notice a sophisticated fusion of Chinese and Portuguese influences in its local art architecture and cuisine, defining Macau’s unique and depth of character.
In my view, the quintessential experience of Macau is to enjoy an espresso and a Portuguese egg tart encased in a light, buttery and flaky pastry for lunch and traditional Dim Sum for dinner, accompanied by a a selection of the best Portuguese wines.