China is the worlds most populous country and the third largest country by total area. Located in East Asia, China encompasses mountains, desert, lakes, rivers and over 14,000 km of coastline. The breathtaking beauty, captivating cultural traditions, delectable dishes and bewitching art is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to everything China has to offer the intrepid traveler.
CHINA TOP 5 THINGS TO DO
The Great Wall of China
When visiting China you can’t miss out on a trip to the Great Wall of China, one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. The Great Wall of China goes way back in time and the history surrounding it is equally as awe-inspiring. Discover the tales of wisdom, pain, dedication, blood, sweat and tears of the people who made this majestic wall that still stands tall and proud today.
The Forbidden City
In the heart of China, this place is an absolute must for all tourists. The Forbidden City has been part of China for centuries now and it was constructed during the rule of the Ming Dynasty. Admire the beauty and the extravagant culture of the Chinese traditions on the walls and halls. Step into the mesmerizing palace that took years to build, taking your time to admire the art.
The Terracotta Army
The first Emperor that ruled China wanted his own army to guard him in his afterlife. You can’t miss out on the intricate detailing of the army that stands even in the modern day to guard the Emperor. The techniques used to build the Terracotta Army in 476 BC are really fascinating so enjoy learning about how and why the Terracotta Army was built as you roam around.
The Li River
Ready to experience one of the world’s most breathtaking views? It lies in Guilin, China. Surrounded by majestic mountains lies the crystal-clear water of the Li River. The Li River stretches for as long as 83kms and is home to ducks, vignettes and water buffalo. Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and let your soul relax and recharge on the banks of the Li River.
Who can stay away from these cute bundles of joy? China is known for their Giant Pandas which are tragically close to extinction. These members of the bear family are a delight to watch. Spend your time in China cuddling a real-life teddy bear, a true Chinese national treasure.
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Bucket Bunny List of the top 25 Asia travel adventures.
Meet Komodo Dragons, camp at the Gates of Hell or do a Silk Road overland tour. Enjoy browsing our top 25 Asia Travel Adventures and be inspired to tick off a few yourself.
CHINA TOP 3 FESTIVALS
Chinese New Year
Commonly referred to as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year takes place between 15th to 20th February. It is one of the biggest and most important celebrations that takes place in Chinese each year. From the popular dragon dance to delightful food this festival has the whole shebang. The Chinese people associate their years with the symbol of an animal, for example the “Year of the Dog”.
The Dragon Boat Festival
Another huge festival that showcases the culture, heritage and importance of Chinese tradition. The Chinese indulge in the Duanwu Festival for three days before returning to their daily lives. During this festival the Chinese people demonstrate their unwavering faith towards ancient Chinese figures such as Qu Yaan, Cao E, and Wu Zixu. Watch the impressive boats decorated as dragons sail by, eat good food and dodge the superstitions surrounding the Dragon Boat Festival.
The Chinese Lantern Festival
The day that marks the end of the Chinese New Year is none other than the Chinese Lantern Festival. Like every other festival, this one is also celebrated according to the readings mentioned in the Lunar month of the Chinese calendar. People spend their time admiring the beauty of the moon along with flying lanterns and drones. This festival brings happiness and light to the lives of everyone who is a part of it.
Language: There are at least eight different linguistic groups, in addition to hundreds of dialects spoken in China. The official language is Mandarin Chinese however many Chinese people can speak conversational English.
Currency: Renminbi (RMB) or Chinese Yuan (CNY) is used in mainland China.
Visa: Visiting China requires a valid passport and a visa. Use these free online visa checker and calculator tools so you know if a visa for China is required (which depends on the country you’re from) and if so, how long it will take to process your visa and the cost.
Electricity: In mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau the common power voltage is 220 Volt/50 HZ. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each new country you visit.
Lonely Planet China: Check price on Amazon
WHAT TO EAT IN CHINA
Some of the most delicious, traditional dishes that you must try when in China are listed below. Don’t drool!
Sweet and Sour Pork: Yes, you can order this all over the world but will it have the same authentic taste? When in China, the blend of the sweet, sour and crispy taste of this traditional Chinese dish is going to make your taste buds dance in sheer delight.
Ma Po Tofu: A dish that goes back centuries in Chinese history is Ma Po Tofu. The use of ground beef along with tofu and green onions creates the perfect balance. Served with rice this is one of the most popular dishes in China.
Dumplings: These tiny balls of joy that burst into delightful flavors in your mouth are the hardest thing to stay away from and don’t my thighs live to tell the tale. Dumplings are filled with a variety of stuffing. Choose the one you like from pork, beef, vegetable, shrimp, fish and so many other choices.
Hot Pot: Another delicacy from the Chinese kitchen is Hot Pot. Cook your own hot pot by adding your choice of vegetables and meat in the boiling cauldron of water on your table. When the vegetables and meat are cooked dip it in your favorite sauce and enjoy just like the Chinese do daily.
Stuffed Buns: Hopping from Chinese tourist attraction to traveler hot spot and in a hurry? Stuffed buns will save the day. Grab these flavor-filled buns that are oh-so-delicious while on the go! A mixture of pork and vegetables are stuffed inside dough balls and then steamed. Munch on these as you enjoy the breathtaking views of wonderful, enchanting China.
WHERE TO STAY IN CHINA
China is a reasonably affordable place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in China is super easy because there’s so many options whatever your budget.
Hostels and dormitories make travel to China affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Whether you’re a backpacker, flash-packer or a luxury vacationer, China will not disappoint you. A basic hotel room in China can cost less than $30 dollars. If you’re looking for accommodation that includes western amenities and comforts then there will be more options to choose from in the big cities and popular tourist hotspots like Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. If you’re traveling to China during peak season or wish to stay in a luxury hotel then it’s wise to book your accommodation in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best places to stay have already been snapped up. China is a very popular year-round destination you know!
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in China. However, if you are backpacking in China or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in East Asia very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
PLAN YOUR CHINA TRIP
Top China destinations like Beijing and Shanghai aren’t weather reliant and the weather conditions at any time of year won’t affect your trip to these large cities. However the best time to visit China in general is between April and May and also September and October. This is when most of the main tourist destinations will have their best weather (not too hot or cold).
Summer time is between June and August and if you don’t mind crowds (particularly Chinese families with children) and heat it’s a good time to visit too. For lower prices visit China in Winter between November and March which is considered low season. Wrap up warm because China can get very cold.
CHINA TRAVEL BUDGET
China is generally an affordable destination for travelers on all budgets. The cost of your trip to China really depends on the level of comfort you will expect while here. If you are backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating street food then budget between $30 to $50 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $50 to $100 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $100 to $200 plus a day.
IS CHINA SAFE FOR FEMALE TRAVELERS?
Safety is a concern for most people traveling to China. Pick-pocketing, bag-snatching and other scams to take advantage of tourists are common. Female travelers should take care to dress appropriately and be extra careful when walking alone or at night. Some parts of China are dangerous so do your research before you go and avoid these places. Based on many years of solo travel in East Asia I would never leave home without travel insurance and recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks before your China trip.
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CHINA FLIGHT DEALS
CHINA TOURS & ACTIVITIES
CHINA PACKING TIPS
Packing for a trip to China, like most other places in East Asia, is a breeze. You really don’t need as much travel gear as you may think for a trip to China and it’s always best to travel light whenever possible.
That said, the gear you do bring on your trip should be the very best option available for you and that doesn’t always mean the most expensive. Jetset Bunnies around the globe are always discovering the latest and the greatest in travel gear for women and this is where we share our fabulous finds with you.
It’s so easy to travel light in hotter climates just remember to pack lightweight and breathable lose-fitting clothing. Be prepared for very cold morning and evenings depending on the month you visit and pack a warm sweater, coat, gloves and hat.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to China include, most importantly, a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Read our related blog post with advice on how to choose the best backpacks for women travelers. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
So if you’ve found your travel inspiration, figured out the practicalities and got the travel gear it’s time to stuff it all in a bag and go right? Well, no, hold your horses, you see there’s an art to packing which we have (almost) perfected.
Hop to our Travel Packing Tips for all of the latest on this topic.