With China still in stages of Corona lockdown, and many other countries likewise, what to do? Travel is completely out for the time being and social distancing, staying at home while doctors heal the infected and scientists search for the cure is the state of play. So, chin-up and let’s go virtual touring.
This guide will provide an easy to digest intro to China’s famous cuisines with dish suggestions. I truly believe that the more knowledge you have about the local cuisine, the more rewarding your food experiences in China will surely be.
The capital of Guangdong province, Guangzhou, is a vibrant city that is the beating heart of trade, not only in the province, or southern China, but perhaps even the whole of China itself. It’s home to the country’s number one trade fair, the Canton Fair, and has throughout history been a major domestic and global exporting hub.
Here’s a list of over 50 unique destinations in China, from temples to remote villages, that will hopefully open things up a bit as to how unique, diverse and numerous the tourism attractions are that the country offers.
Guiyang, it’s shopping and eating, then, more shopping and eating. And that’s it. Oh, there’s banks in between the restaurants and stores, so you can get more money out and continue shopping and eating. The place is famous for it :D. Fortunately, there’s also some ancient history, amazing people, amazing food, temples, and mountain parks full of crazy monkeys.
If you are looking for a getaway from the hustle of Shenzhen or Guangzhou, like I was, you might want to check out Qingyuan. It’s a city packed with hot springs, eco theme parks and natural attractions. Fast trains from Shenzhen or Guangzhou make it a quick journey, from Shenzhen North Station it takes around 1 hour and from Guangzhou North about 15 minutes and Guangzhou South about 30 minutes. There are trains from GZ that go to Yingde Station which is useful if you are going to the Baojing Palace (a special cave).
Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is a beautiful, charming and ancient city that has a progressive feel. It has a long history dating back as far as 472 BC and has been the home of many of China’s emperors thus giving the city a rich treasure trove of cultural relics and historic sites.
Here is another one of those traditional Chinese shopping districts that I’ve come to admire, they span for block after block, most of them have been operating for centuries, they’re vibrant, teaming with life, and they’re packed with keen sellers waiting to do deals. These traditional marketplaces have soul, and character that the modern shopping complexes just don’t have. And the Dongmen, aka Laojie, market area of Shenzhen is no different.
Xiamen, or Amoy as some call it, is a small city by Chinese standards being home to only around 600,000 people but it can still get pretty busy being a popular tourist destination for many Chinese. It’s an attractive coastal city, clean and has a certain charm about it not seen in other Chinese cities I have been.
The south-east region of Fujian Province in China is a quite picturesque green mountainous landscape that has long been a home to many of one of Chinas minority groups the Hakkas. The Hakkas are probably most well known for cuisine, culture but mostly for their very unique homes of which many still standing today date back over 700 years old.
While Las Vegas goes down the gurgler apparently Macau is becoming the new gambling mecca of the world, going by the number of veteran US casino developers who are spending big bucks here, it may be true.
Macau is renowned for its casinos and its massive entertainment offerings, but the city offers a host of attractions, an insight into China’s colonial history, beautiful architecture, and villages by the beach that you won’t want to leave.
An icon of Hong Kong that just should be missed, this amazing tram has been operating since 1888, and has apparently has never had a day out of service! I’m glad I got to the tram when it opened, and enjoyed a relaxed ride up the peak. Later on through the day the place becomes over run with tour groups and the tram gets packed!
Shenzhen is an interesting city as it is another city that tells a story about the Chinas economic transformation. Shenzhen was not much more than a fishing village until about thirty years ago when a man named Deng Xiaoping had taken the reins as China’s leader from Mao Zedong in 1978.
My first introduction to Shanghai was similar to that of Beijing, another taxi driver that sees a foreigner as dollar signs. As I walked out of the Shanghai Station I walked straight up to the cab rank and was fortunate to find a couple of drivers who spoke English. I told them the hotel I was staying at and one said no problem, so I started to throw my stuff in his boot. It’s on the meter right? I asked, no meter, 100 RMB he replied.
This was my first trip to the Badaling section of the Great Wall and went with a tour group and I’m going to tell you why that’s a really bad idea from the first-hand experience. After that, I tell you what you should really do.
The Summer Palace is an imperial garden built by Emperor Qianlong in 1750 to celebrate his mothers birthday, it was later used as a garden where emperors and empresses would escape the heat of Beijing’s summers.
Look at any half-serious planned tour of China and the city of Xi’an will be on the list of destinations, and for good reason. It’s a city that has a depth of historical attractions rivaling that of Beijing, and many believe the jewel in Xi’an’s list of attractions is still yet to be revealed.
Mt. Emei or Emei Shan (Shan meaning mountain) is located in Leshan City of Sichuan Province. It’s one of China’s Sacred Mountains featuring Buddhist temples and amazing scenery. In 1996 it was given World Heritage status by UNESCO.
Leshan is a city located about two hours drive from Chengdu in Sichuan Province China. The star attraction of the city is the amazing Giant Buddha that’s been carved out from the rock face siding the river. It’s actually where three rivers meet being the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.
Shuhe Ancient Town (or city) is located in the city of Lijiang and less than 10 minutes by taxi from the ‘Old Town of Lijiang’ which is at the center of the city. It’s a place where you can easily find yourself forgetting what year you are in, as you walk along the original cobblestone streets and admire the old architecture while quite often running into locals still dressed in traditional clothing.
An intro to Lijiang including a map, and the five things that you must not miss.
Taking center stage on the city of Chengdu’s attraction list is the ‘Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding’. Its the largest and most successful breeding center being home to many pandas both young and old. Pandas are bred at the large park and along with being a popular tourist attraction, it also functions research and breeding center.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province which is located in western China, bordering with Tibet. It’s location actually makes it a great place to get started from, or base yourself in, if you are planning to visit Tibet or the southwest region of China including such places as Leshan or Mt. Emei.
Here are six painfully boring things you could do before traveling overseas for the first time
- Check the weather and local temperature prior to leaving and take appropriate clothing. Six degrees Celsius is really chilly in a t-shirt and shorts.
- Check where the airport is, and what the best way might be to get from the airport to the accommodation you booked.
- Actually book some accommodation, particularly so if you’ll be arriving at 11 pm into a country you’ve never been, nor speak the language.
- Have some sort of map, anything
- Have some local currency, or at least check that your ATM card will work there.
- Don’t forget to buy that phrase book before you leave, it will be handy when you land late at night and there’s a limited staff on shift and none that speak English, particularly when you have no accommodation booked, no money, and no idea.
It was 2010, I had just arrived at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in southwestern China.