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What are top 10 things to do in China?

It is well-acknowledged that visitors who go to Egypt shouldn't miss pyramids, to India shouldn’t miss Taj Mahal and to France shouldn’t miss the Louvre. Definitely, there are several places and things in China that travelers must mark in their itineraries, such as climbing the Great Wall, cruising along an ancient Chinese town and cooking Chinese dishes.

This list of TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN CHINA can help tourists avoid the pity of missing worthy places, as well as the worries of wasting time on inessential things. And only having done more than half of these 10 things, can people tell others that they have already been to China.

No.1: Trek On the Great Wall

Just as an old Chinese saying goes, ‘he who has never been to the Great Wall is not a true man’, this great wonder is on almost every itinerary of visitors who come to China.

The building of this great fortification took over 2,000 years with more than 19 dynasties involved; it is thus unparalleled in the scale and span of the world’s constructions. With a total length of 21,196.18 kilometers (13,170.7 miles), the Great Wall meanders from east to west across nearly 15 provinces with complicated topography. It is like a giant dragon, leaving its visitors an amazing impression of China.

No.2: Experience an Ancient Chinese Town—Tongli in Jiangsu Province

No one can resist the charm of ancient Chinese towns, among which Tongli water town is worthy of a visit. Located 11 miles (18 kilometers) from Suzhou downtown, the town has a long history of more than 1,000 years. It used to be the most favorite place that counts over 100 dignitaries among its erstwhile inhabitants.  

Houses surviving from the Qing (1644–1912 AD) and Ming (1368–1644 AD) dynasties are dotted along the riverside, making Tongli become a museum of ancient Chinese architecture. And since the town is surrounded by five lakes, it has numerous distinctive stone-arch bridges and canals on which you can hire a boat to cruise.

And you can also see distinctive garden-style architecture like Tuisi Garden and Jiayin Hall, buy special souvenirs and taste local snacks in Tongli.

No.3: Join the Panda Keeper Program in Sichuan Province

Giant pandas are unique to China, so it is a good chance for travelers who come to this country to join a panda keeper and take care of this endangered species.

Native to central-western and southwestern China, they are easily recognized by their large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, ears, and on their rotund bodies. Pandas are good swimmers and tree climbers because they are members of the bear family. But their diet is composed by 99% of bamboo.

Since the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) use giant pandas as its symbol, their lovely image has won the love and adoration of people all around the world. People love them partly on account that pandas all have an appealing baby-like cuteness that makes them resemble to living teddy bears, which draws hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors each year to come all the way to China only for a glimpse of these cute animals.

No.4: Visit the Terracotta Army in Xi'an

After having been buried underground for over 2,000 years, from 210 BC, the incredible mausoleum of the first emperor of China from the Qin Dynasty (221BC-207BC) and his terracotta army was discovered in 1974 when a local farmer was digging a well. And the site was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1987.

The terracotta army is of great significance because it is a perfect representation of the strong military force of the Qin at that time and a major factor forming the first united China.

Viewing Emperor Qin Shi Huang's incredible terracotta army guarding his burial site, is certainly one of the most memorable parts of any trip to China. And while visiting the exhibition hall, one would be shocked by the large scale of the ancient military army of the Qin Dynasty, which can lead you back to the ancient battleground.

No.5: Explore the Li River in Guilin

Guilin’s scenery wins its reputation as the world’s best, as a result of its numerous green mountains and clear waters, a major one of which is Li River.

Along the 83-kilometer-long waterway from Guilin to Yangshuo, you can see Karst moutains, ancient village residences and graceful plants growing at the edge of the river and view ducks, water buffaloes, and small vignettes of country life. The fresh air and idyllic scenery make it the best place for visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of a metropolis.

Travelers can choose two major means to cruise on the Li River: a bamboo raft or a boat cruise. No matter which way you choose, the relaxing scenic journey which allows you to take the splendid scenery along the riverside in a slow and comfortable manner will never let you down.

No.6: Climb up a Chinese Mountain to Enjoy Panoramic Views

Climbing up a local mountain is a must-to-do thing for travelers who come to China, because Chinese mountains have their own specialties compared to their counterparts in other nations. And when it comes to mountains, the first two places that spring into Chinese minds are the Yellow Mountains and Zhangjiajie.

The Yellow Mountains are home to "four natural wonders": the peculiar pine trees, oddly-shaped rocks, seas of clouds, and hot springs. They are well-known for its plenty of natural elements. Climbers who ascend the top of the range would not only witness spectacular natural scenery, but also find themselves treading upon clouds like a fairy.

As for Zhangjiajie, the place earns its reputation mainly as a result from being a filming site for ‘Avatar’. With numerous precipitous pillars and rich wildlife, Zhangjiajie creates a wonderland, surrounded by foggy peaks and lush plants which would leave a deep impression on any tourist .

No.7: Experience Minorities in Yunnan Province

China, a country of 1.3 billion people, has 56 ethnic groups. Apart from Han people, other Chinese ethnic groups have the unified name of minorities. The most important contribution that those minorities make to China lies in their diverse culture, covering their life styles, languages and customs. Therefore, they are actually considered more important to the country than their small proportion of population would suggest.

Southwestern Yunnan Province has 25 minorities and is the province with the largest number of minority ethnic groups in China. So if you want to take a close look at the minorities’ life-styles in China, Yunnan Province, which is home to the Naxi, Bai, Lisu people and others, is a good option.

No.8: Learn Chinese Kung Fu (Tai Ji included) in Shaolin Temple

Want to be the next Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee? Come to Shaolin Temple and learn Chinese kung fu!

Chinese kung fu, also known as wushu or martial art, is a traditional Chinese sport and serves as an essential part of traditional Chinese culture. Characterized by a variety of armed combat techniques, kung fu is very rich in its forms and content, including tai ji, qi gong (breathing exercises), nei gong (internal exercises), tongzi gong (children's exercises), hou quan (monkey's shadow boxing), tanglang quan (mantis' shadow boxing), and zui quan (perform like a drunkard).

Moreover, practicing kung fu is also known to be beneficial to people by increasing their energy, fitness, coordination, mental well-being, self-discipline, and confidence.

No.9: DIY Chinese Food

China has a vast territory with a wealth of local specialties. So in different places there are different ways for preparing dishes, which can be roughly divided into 8 regional types: Shandong, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, and Anhui cuisines.

With about 600 types of ingredients and more than 48 basic ways of cooking, it is no wonder that Chinese food incorporates multifarious flavors beyond your imagination and that local people enjoy the reputation of being experts at eating.

Despite being amazed at the various mouth-watering flavors of Chinese food, you may also want to learn to cook a Chinese dish, from which you can find out the secret of how Chinese people create a simple dish with amazing taste.

No.10: Celebrate Chinese New Year (Spring Festival)

Falling on the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar, Chinese New Year is China's biggest traditional holiday, a 15-day celebration filled with fun, joy of reunion, and delicious food. In many ways, this holiday resembles Christmas in the West, as it is about spending time with family, giving gifts, and enjoying traditional Chinese gourmet meals.

There are also many customs at Chinese New Year, such as cleaning the house to sweep away bad luck; decorating doors and windows with red ornaments, alluding to luck and prosperity; offering a sacrifice to the kitchen god; giving out red lucky envelopes filled with money to loved ones; serving festive foods; preparing a Tray of Togetherness.

Visitors who happen to come to China at this time can find a local family through agencies and join them to experience an authentic Chinese New Year celebration.