China’s territories are massive. With 9.6 million square kilometers, it intimidates travelers from all around the globe. Despite its vastness, it is safe to say that you won’t have a tough time finding your way around the major cities and the treasure is well worth it. A good place to start your travels is in Beijing.
The Forbidden City is a must see and it is located in downtown Beijing. As its name mentions, it used to be forbidden to the common public. And, the price to enter without permission was your life. Luckily, today it costs just a few RMB (Renminbin) to tour it. It is the secrecy of the entire complex that draws travelers to walk its historic aisles. You can spend a good day and a half just touring its plazas and ballrooms. The red roofs combined with its towers and plazas make it one of the most stupendous travel experiences there is.
An imperative pit stop is The Great Wall. There are several entrances to The Great Wall close to Beijing. Mu Tian Yu is one of the less crowded. The hiking route has a fair amount of elevation, however, if you are not up for the task there is a cable car that will take you almost to the top.
Many parts of The Great Wall remain hidden under the vegetation and it is considered the largest man made structure in the world. Some parts are so steep that you can’t even imagine how many generations it took to build it. The breathtaking views will leave you with a sense of accomplishment!
Travel from Beijing to Datong to explore the beautiful province of Shanxi and discover the Yungang Grottoes. The Statues housed in the caves and niches are in good condition and all of the caves and statues have not suffered major damage from natural disasters. Few travelers adventure into to this little known region. However, if you are inspired to go and look for new horizons you won’t be disappointed. One thing to notice, the more you move towards this region, the more you will experience a real local flair. It is true that people will be less likely to speak English, but everybody is willing to point you in the right direction and perhaps you can practice your Pictionary skills.
Train transportation is an option from Datong to Pingyao. The train is comfortable and it has a sleeper. The ride is about 6 hours. Once in
Pingyao be prepared to experience one of the most well preserved cities in China. Pingyao dates back 2,700 years, so it is no coincidence that it will evoke all of the ancient Chinese history since most of its buildings haven’t suffered major modifications. The street’s cobblestones reveal a sneak peek of how life was behind the walls. Thoroughly stroll the city passages and absorb all of the culture. Sip a cup of tea and enjoy the intricate flavors hidden in walled flower tea houses lit by red lanterns.
Food is more authentic and less tropicalized for tourists, from sweet treats to fried seafood, beef and perhaps throw in a few insects, Asian cuisine has something for everyone. The street smells and noises will make you forget the jet lag.
Commotion rules the paved jungle and every possible vendor will shout to you for the best deal in town. It is quite impossible to pass by and not feel the excitement!
Architecture is always fascinating regardless of whether you are in the city or in remote places. However, remote places constantly catch my eye. It is admirable what humans can do in adverse conditions with just a few instruments. These are the carvings in Longman Caves, and I am sure you will be as awe struck as I was.
Our final stretch to the south was to pay a visit to the Leshan Buddha or as many people refer to as Dafu, a 71-meter sculpture next to the river.
China will not just open your eyes to the Far East, it will fill your mind with amazing memories of sounds, smells and hidden treasures. Get inspired and start planning your next adventure. We are interested to know about your next passport stamp and how The Natural Citizen will power your dreams. Be well, do good, be the Natural Citizen!