Trying to choose the right place for your next vacation? If you want to find somewhere that’s diverse, exciting and packed full of new experiences, China should be the next country on your travel list.
Home to over 18% of the world’s population, China has a lot to offer, no matter what kind of getaway you’re looking for. China isn’t just a good vacation spot–it’s an opportunity to explore a country and culture that’s different from your own.
Don’t be intimidated by the language barrier, pollution, or the prospect of traveling abroad. Whether it’s the history, the culture, or the beautiful landscape, a trip to China is something that you’ll never forget.
But don’t take our word for it–check it out for yourself! Here are the top 10 reasons why you should travel to China.
1. Rich Culture and History
China is one of the greatest ancient civilizations and it boasts a history of over 3,000 years.
Throughout the country, you’ll find monumental treasures and historical sites–like ancient palaces, walls, temples, pagodas, and giant Buddhas.
You can explore the Great Wall of China, the Terracotta Warriors, The Forbidden City, or the Temple of Heaven. These must-see attractions and many more offer an intimate glimpse into the vast history of the country.
Whether it’s tea, medicine, poetry, martial arts, calligraphy, opera, porcelain, or the many festivals, there’s so much that you can learn from China’s rich culture.
2. Breathtaking Landscapes
There isn’t just one landscape that defines China. As one of the largest countries in the world, China has a wide variety of diverse and spectacular landscapes.
Whether it’s deserts, coastlines, mountain ranges, plains, tropics, or frozen landscapes, China has it all. Wherever you go, you’re sure to find something beautiful. The country is famous for its gorgeous gardens, lush foliage, winding rivers, and traditional architecture.
Waterways are the lifeblood of China. One of the most enchanting is the Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world, which stretches for almost 4,000 miles. Take a boat ride down the river and watch the villages and gorgeous cliff landscapes go by.
You can also try visiting the legendary Yellow Mountains, the rainbow lakes of Jiuzhaigou, the Tiger Leaping Gorge, or the stunning plateaus in Tibet. You can even visit Hainan, a tropical paradise island off the coast of China.
View here for more on how you can explore the most gorgeous, photogenic locations in China.
3. Amazing Cuisine
Forget whatever you think you know about Chinese food. In China, you can learn about all the amazing Chinese cuisine that goes beyond what you can find at your local takeout place.
The cuisine ranges across different provinces and regions. Each place has its own specialties and tastes. For example, noodles are more common in the north, while most foods are served over rice in the south.
Some locations–like Sichuan and Hunan–are known for spicy food, while coastal cities are better known for seafood. A few specialties to try include roast duck, soup dumplings, hotpot, and dim sum.
And don’t forget to check out the street food! Some of the carts along the street will offer sweet treats or cheap, delicious meals specific to each region.
4. Great Shopping Opportunities
China might be known for exporting products across the world, but their unique products can’t be beaten. Whether it’s a typical department store or one of many authentic markets, you can find a wide variety of commodities to bring home with you.
Fine silks, tea sets, carved jade, scarves, handbags, pearls, and chopsticks are some of the most sought-after items. You can also find calligraphy, bamboo baskets, beads, Chinese knots, jewelry, and other items.
Check out some traditional street markets to find authentic and handcrafted items to bring home.
5. Fascinating Diversity
Just like there isn’t one location that makes up China, its people are the same way. Because of the topographical diversity, there are 56 ethnic minorities in China and over 500 different groups.
Each practice their own social and cultural customs.
This rich cultural tapestry makes China one of the most diverse places to explore. You’ll never run out of new experiences and you’ll meet people from all kinds of backgrounds. Here are some minority cultures in China that you can explore:
- Tibet. Walk through the streets of Lhasa and explore mountain monasteries
- Yunnan. Discover one of the few matrilineal societies in the Mosuo people
- Zhuang. See the houses on wooden stilts and the Yao women with record-breaking long hair
- Miao. In this village, you can hear ancient mountain songs and witness the traditional paper-making process
6. Exotic Wildlife
While you might be able to see pandas in zoos, China is the only place in the world where these cuddly creatures live outside of captivity.
Often called “China’s national treasure,” the giant panda is one of the most treasured endangered species. With round features and a uniquely cute appearance, you can get up close and personal with these gorgeous pandas.
Take pictures with them, meet them in their natural habitat, and learn more about how they live.
You can head to Chengdu and visit the panda breeding center to see them and even touch them. For a cost, you can even hold a panda baby.
If pandas aren’t your thing, you can also get close to some equally adorable (if perhaps less cuddly) animals. Head to the far west and ride a camel through the desert. Or travel to some animal parks to see Siberian Tigers up close.
7. Interesting People
As one of the biggest and most popular nations in the world, there are plenty of people in China for you to meet.
A lot of people in China are excited to see Westerners, and they may want to stop, chat, and take pictures with you. Many of them are friendly, amazing people, and you can hear a lot about their intriguing life stories.
To a native English speaker, you might be intimidated by Mandarin. It might be different to many
European languages, but the uniqueness makes it all the more amazing to hear. Chinese languages and characters are stunningly beautiful.
Besides, it can be fun to challenge yourself and learn some basic terms to hold a conversation with the locals.
8. Modern Development
While you might think of China as a collection of quaint villages and strongly-held cultural identities, China entered the digital era long before many other countries in the world.
It boasts some of the largest cities in the world and is becoming more modern each day.
With innovations like high-speed rail, mobile communication, and internet shopping, China is one of the leaders in a quickly developing world.
You can board a high-speed train, buy a coffee with a digital wallet, and rent a shared bike to explore the city. In cities like Shanghai, you can explore modern skylines, high rises, and the Pearl of the Orient Tower.
9. Low-Cost Travels
It’s easy to keep costs low when you’re traveling to China. If you’re traveling on a budget, the cost for international plane tickets might be well worth the cost.
Street food tends to be relatively cheap, and there is a wide net of public transportation. If you make good use of the trains, stay in hostels instead of hotels, and limit your stay in big cities to a few days at a time, staying in China for cheap is easier than ever.
Also be sure to trade in your dollars before you get to the airport to avoid big bank fees.
10. Traditional Medicine and Massage
Chinese medicines are more than just a cure. They’re a system of health and wellness meant to prevent disease before it happens. Whether it’s skin cupping, acupuncture, or various plants and herbs, there’s something out there for anyone.
Massage is also more than just a special treat like it is in the West. Traditional massage therapies offer just about anything you can think of for a reasonable price.
For pain relief, skin care, or therapeutic treatments, Chinese massages are all about full body wellness.
Travel to China for an Authentic Experience
Ready to experience this incredible country and all it has to offer? A trip to China can be more than just a fun getaway–it’s a rich and authentic cultural experience. You can return home as a more sophisticated and worldly person.
Not convinced yet? Looking for more travel tips before you decide to travel to China? Check out our travel section for more relevant advice.