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China has long been the focus of many an exotic Oriental adventure; for hundreds of years, travelers from all over the world have waxed poetic about the many wonders of this culturally and naturally diverse country. This Asian country is perhaps known more for the sheer number of its people (over a billion, as of recent census), pandas, and dim sum, but China has plenty more to offer curious travelers—whether they are looking for modern urban landscapes, historical landmarks, natural wonders, and of course, and exciting variety of mouth-watering cuisine.

Wonders of the empire

For history buffs, the best places to see in China is the Forbidden City in Beijing, The Great Wall of China, and the museum housing the famed Terracotta Army in Xi’An, Shanxi Province. These places will give you an idea of how powerful and impressive the old Chinese empire was, and how intricate, interesting, and different their aesthetics and architecture was.

Art in nature

Misty mountains towering over calm lakes are usually the subject of pretty Chinese-themed watercolor paintings, but the real thing is much more sublime. If you are in the mood for meditating while enjoying the breathtaking outdoors, you can head over to the Yangshuo’s karst mountains in Guilin, Guangxi Province. Hangzhou, which is very near to Shanghai, is also another sight to behold, with its carefully trimmed gardens, amazingly preserved temples and pagodas, and the prized longjing tea. If you decide to head over to Sichuan Province, do not forget to visit the nature reserve of Jiuzhaigou Valley—the reserve will definitely take your breath away with its beautiful blue lakes and numerous waterfalls. And of course, do not forget to get your fill of the sumptuous and spicy Sichuan cuisine.

Urban delights and more

Travelers who are more comfortable in urban settings will definitely enjoy the unique blend of past and present in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau. Finally, if you are in town for the adorable pandas, the Breeding Research Base in Chengdu, Sichuan Province is a must-visit spot.

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