With a population of 1.379 billion and an area of 9.597 million km², China is the second largest Asian country after Russia. Although it would be impossible to enjoy all that this vast country has to offer in a single trip (or even ten trips!) a Trans-Siberian rail cruise provides a captivating glimpse into China’s past, present and future. Whether you’re travelling by train or making your own way around, you should consider planning a comprehensive itinerary ahead of your trip to China.
Being aware of the “bucket list trips” China has to offer is a great place to begin when determining which attractions and destinations to visit first and which to leave for a future visit. Here, we reveal the bucket list trips that should feature on everyone’s itinerary so you can plan an incredible adventure and create amazing memories in the process.
The Great Wall
You can’t mention bucket list trips in China and not mention the Great Wall. At over 5,000 miles long, it would take roughly 18 months to walk its entire length. But each mile holds a fascinating history. As China’s ultimate historical hotspot, the Great Wall greets more than 10 million visitors each year.
With careful planning however, picking your departure points wisely, avoiding weekends and opting for an early morning or late afternoon visit – you can experience the Great Wall at its most authentic. Read more about the dos and don’ts of travelling to the Great Wall.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
This attraction not only has a great name, it’s a must-see for those visiting China. An unmissable trek located in southwest China, Tiger Leaping Gorge is perfect for travellers wanting to experience the wilder side of this great country. The scenic canyon runs along Jinsha River, and its beauty can be appreciated on foot or by bike. Just ask travel blogger Victor Eekhof who described Tiger Leaping Gorge as one of China’s most stunning hikes, as well as offering some essential advice in a recent blog post:
“There is only one real hiking trail, and that’s the upper trail. The other “trail” is a flat road which takes you (and 10.000 tourist coaches) to the Tiger Leaping Rock. While this is a stunningly scenic road and gives you a great sense of the raw power of the Jinsha river, it is more of a walk than a hike. The upper hiking trail takes you up a kilometre and gives you views you have only dreamed of.”
The Bund & People’s Square
From the depths of the countryside to the heart of the city, The Bund in Shanghai provides a fantastic view of the city’s skyline and its iconic architecture. Now home to a number of designer shops, restaurants, bars, and boutique hotels, the Bund is a certainly worth visiting if you’re staying in Shanghai. The People’s Square is another popular haunt and one of the city’s most famous landmarks.
Shanghai and Beijing are compared constantly. In fact, we ourselves aimed to settle the Shanghai or Beijing debate in a recent post. Both cities are so different, with the sights of The Bund and People’s Square contrasting with the traditional, history-rich attractions of Beijing. The Forbidden City in Beijing is a bucket list trip that should not be missed on your trip to China. This UNESCO listed site is the largest and best preserved collection of ancient buildings in the country, featuring over 900 in total. The Forbidden City is also the largest palace complex in the world.