Ancient. Vibrant. Complex.
This vast 15th-century imperial complex was so named because commoners were strictly forbidden entry. Today, commoners and dignitaries alike are welcome to explore the palace’s countless courtyards and museums.
With its beautiful gardens, halls, pavilions and beautifully strange Marble Boat, the Summer Palace offers a tranquil escape from the bustle of contemporary Beijing.
The greatest public works project in the history of the Middle Kingdom, the Great Wall stretches from the Gobi Desert to the ocean. One well-preserved section of The Wall is easily accessed on a half-day trip from Beijing. Invest a few more hours and find yourself exploring truly remote sections.
Visit this temple for a taste of contemporary Chinese Buddhism and to view the jade carved Buddha, imported from Burma in the 19th century.
Another easy day trip from Shanghai, Suzhou lures visitors with its world-famous, carefully planned Chinese gardens. Created as early as the 11th century, each unique garden fuses nature and art to create palpable tranquility.
Featuring well-preserved relics of the cultures present in this area of China circa 4000 BC. Remains include a residential enclosure, a cemetery and an interesting pottery manufacturing area with six kilns. The museum houses pottery, farming and hunting tools, personal ornaments and funerary objects.
Sculpted from the nearby hills into wavy green steps, the rice paddies of Guilin are an unforgettable part of the landscape.
Devoted to the conservation of China’s most beloved animal this research base, located just outside the city, is one of Chengdu’s major attractions and a must for the animal lover.
The stunning scenery and small-town charm of Dali make it a favorite stop for travelers. The town is laced with traditional alleys and compounds, colorful hilltribe peoples and classic temples and pagodas. Hike into the hills to enjoy the view from Zhonghe Temple, explore the colorful villages of Xizhou and Zhoucheng or simply meander through the vegetables and batik fabric at Shaping Market.
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