China is a vast country that spans an entire continent. Everything can be found in China, from ultra-modern metropolitan areas to quiet villages that seem to have been lost in time. China is a country that is rich with ancient history and with a culture that is. In short, China is a beautifully diverse country that any traveler could spend a lifetime exploring. Of all the places China has to offer, there are a few that travelers definitely should not miss.
The Great Wall of China
No trip to China would be complete without seeing the Great Wall of China. In fact, many would say it should be a crime to travel to China without seeing one of the world's greatest monuments. The wall was constructed by ancient Chinese laborers more than 2,000 years ago, and still stands as a testament to human ingenuity.
Because the wall runs the entire length of ancient Chinese borders, there are many towns and cities you can visit the wall from. Most tourists prefer to visit from the city of Beijing, where the wall has been well maintained for walking but still has access to ruinous section. Any local tour company will be happy to arrange for a guided historical tour of the Great Wall, or you can simply take yourself on a self-guided tour to explore this ancient structure.
The Forbidden City
In ancient China, the Emperor was believed to be the son of the heavens, and was regarded as being beyond human in status. The Forbidden City was constructed as a palace complex for the Emperor. This complex was like no other built before it, being constructed as an entire city, self-sufficient and capable of managing the affairs of all 18 of China's Imperial provinces.
In ancient times, common people were not allowed to enter the Forbidden City, or even approach it. Few would dare to even speak of it because it was a place that was beyond sacred and off limits to the ordinary person. Today's world is quite different, and guided tours will allow anyone who is interested to marvel at the architecture of this amazing complex. Best of all, since the Forbidden City is located within the modern city of Beijing, you don't have to travel far from comfort to enjoy the beauty of this ancient site.
Take a Yangtze River Cruise
The Yangtze River winds across nearly 4,000 miles of Chinese countryside, stretching from Tibet in the West all the way to Shanghai on the coast of the East China Sea. Taking a river cruise upstream from Shanghai will exposure to the highlights of various aspects of Chinese culture. The river will wind you through five of China's largest metropolitan areas, as well as through lush green countryside that seems untouched by man.
Any tour company in Shanghai is capable of booking tickets on a Yangtze River cruise. Cruises typically depart several times per day during the peak season. The best times to cruise the Yangtze are from April to May and from September to October. The weather conditions are considered ideal during these months, although river cruises are available during all seasons.