- Climbing the Great Wall of China
- Exploring the Forbidden City in Beijing
- Shopping on Nanjing Road in Shanghai
- Boat cruise on Taihu Lake in Suzhou
- You can skip the popular porcelain and silk factory tours (tourist traps) unless you’re in the market…
- A visit to the Gardens of Suzhou is worth it!
- Unless you speak Mandarin, I’d recommend hiring a guide, as most signs aren’t in English.
China is one of those countries that I was always curious about and intimidated by at the same time. It’s such a big country and not many people speak English. Our visit to Beijing was short, but we were able to see the major sites. The highlight was venturing out of the city to see the Great Wall of China. The city itself is a big populated and polluted city, but there are gems like the Forbidden city and some markets.
My aunt and uncle were visiting China around the same time on their own, and I was traveling with a tour group. There was no way we could communicate with them to meet up, as we rarely had access to the internet. I also didn’t know what their itinerary was. As our tour bus entered the parking lot at the Summer Palace in Beijing, who did I see out of the corner of my eye? None other than my aunt and uncle leaving just as we were arriving! I tried to wave them down but the windows were shaded and they couldn’t see us! “Stop the bus” we yelled. They were so surprised to see me and my sister. What a small world. I mean, how crazy is it that without knowing each others itineraries in a country with a billion people– we bumped into our relatives on the other side of the world! It was hilarious.
Shanghai was great, especially at night with all the neon lights and flashing signs and fun shopping streets with strange music blasting and everyone speaking in Chinese. It was like being in some sort of dream-like amusement park! I also enjoyed the time we spent outside the big cities and exploring gardens and lakes in the countryside.
Flash forward 7 years, my sister and I returned to China for a 24 hour layover in Chengdu on our way to Tibet. The main attraction there for us was the Giant Panda Research facility, where we spent the entire day. We love Pandas!