China – the perfect blend of tradition and modernity.
The land of the unknown yet familiar, the majestic yet simple, the ancient yet advanced.The perfect holiday destination in every sense. And yet, unfortunately, the Orient has been under- explored and overlooked when it comes to vacation destinations.
Here are some things you should bear in mind in order to have an unforgettable experience in the Orient, if and when you visit (although, in my opinion you absolutely must!) :
Bask in the view of the infinite Shanghai skyline.
Shanghai- the financial capital of China – is famous for it’s skyscrapers. The view up the 100th Floor of the Shanghai Observatory will make you be in wonder of just how much this city has achieved in the past two decades, transforming itself from a mere British fishing port to one of the most important financial centers of the world. However one thing is for sure – Shanghai most definitely is what one can call a ‘happy city’ – filled with people who enjoy work and leisure and luxury all the same.
In the evening – take in the view of the Shanghai Bund.
After the bird’s eye view, head straight away to the sea level view to get mesmerized by the spectacular Shanghai Bund. It’s exactly like they show in the photographs. And make sure to take the cruise rides offered to be able to truly appreciate the varied facades of architecture. Also, try and get a day as well as a night time view. It’s totally worth the wait.
Find peace in the Jade Buddha Temple.
The Jade Buddha Temple visit is a must if you really want to understand the Chinese culture. It’s incredibly interesting to see how polarized the beliefs and traditions are in this communist country and to notice how people have still retained and are highly expressive about their individual beliefs. From devotees lighting 101 incense sticks at a time, to monks reading out Buddhist religious scripts and chanting prayers, one is guaranteed to find peace in this novel, yet unbelievably serene environment. It’s a guaranteed way to calm yourself in the middle of the cultural extravaganza and a zillion ‘first time’ experiences that await you.
Shop till you drop at the Yu Yuan Market.
No trip to China is complete without a visit to the famous Yu Yuan Market. It’s the best place to visit to try the local traditional cuisine and to shop till you drop. However, if you are vegetarian, you might want to enjoy staring at the food items from a distance – since not everything being sold will seem edible to you. Be prepared for creepy crawlies on barbeque sticks. Also, don’t buy Jade ornaments here in this market, as there is no authenticity assurance.
Experience the spectacular Tang dynasty show.
The Tang dynasty was one of the most prominent dynasties of China, prosperous, wealthy and culturally rich. No wonder they’ve got an entire show dedicated to their achievements! It’s a spectacular cultural show and it engages you from the second you end the auditorium. From a drummer welcoming you at the main gate, to the delicately choreographed traditional dances, allow the the lights take you hostage and the music to leave you spellbound as you enter a whole new realm.
Discover ancient craftsmanship at the Terracotta Warrior Museum.
A recently unearthed archaeological marvel, the Terracotta Warrior Museum, offers everything a history buff could ever ask for. Learn about life in the ancient times while exploring the mysterious figurines and be amazed by the magnitude of it. A word of advice – if you aren’t a huge history fan in general, you might not want to dedicate half a day to take this tour, as tour companies generally do. After a while, it may get monotonous. Alternatively, make sure to take a guided tour so you don’t just stare at stone faces for hours.
Feel on top of the world at the Great Wall of China.
I’m pretty certain that this needs no description. Taking a cable car up the Great Wall and enjoying the view from the only man-made structure, or rather wonder, visible from the moon is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The one detail that you don’t know unless you research the ‘Wall Tours’ thoroughly is that there is a super cool way to climb down the great wall – a frikkin’ water slide!!
Check with your tour guide in case you plan on traveling with a company and make the ride a priority in your “Great Wall Experience’. Believe me, you don’t wanna miss it.
From roaming around the streets of Beijing (on a bicycle if you’re adventurous enough!) to visiting markets to buy the typical Chinese fans, Beijing is the one city where you are guaranteed to have a great time.
Tip – when you hear market, don’t imagine them to be like the ones in India. Markets in Beijing are similar to huge shopping malls where one can find everything from fresh farm produce to high end luxury goods all under one roof. It’s incredibly interesting to visit both – market malls and department store malls to really grasp the diverse nature of the Chinese economy.