Hanging Temple (Xuan Kong Shi) in Shanxi Province, China

Leshan Buddha in Sichuan Province, China

Guilin in Guangxi Province, China

China, an amazing country has five thousand year of history. It covers large geological areas from Southern tropical Hainan Province to Northern winter town Mohe close to Russia. The fantastic tourism resources have large varieties of attractions: historical sites, natural attractions and combination of both culture and natural sites. China has 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites more than any other countries in the world.


1. Is it Safe to Visit China?

China is a very safe country to visit. Similar to Singapore, Chinese laws are very harsh against crimes, guns, drugs, controlled substances and prostitution. China’s GDP per Capital reached $10,276 USD in 2019, exceeding the 10,000 USD benchmark as the country continued to move towards becoming a “moderate prosperous society” in 2020. Chinese are very friendly to tourists and you will feel the hospitality to welcome you for your vacations in China.

2. Entry Visa to China

The following 14 countries have visa free access to China: San Marino, Mauritius, Seychelles, Bahamas, Fiji, Grenada, Ecuador, Tango, Serbia, Barbados, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus and Qatar.  

For other countries’ tourists, I strongly recommend them to apply a 10-year multiple-entry tourists visa from Chinese Consulates, Embassy or Visa Application Centers in your home country. I obtained my 10-year multiple-entry tourists visa for myself in 2014 and for my son in 2017. It was very easy process. I found the fee for 10-year multiple-entry tourist visa is the same as 1-year visa, so may as well get 10-year visa.

Chinese airlines have extremely good coverage for routes all around the world. If you need to transfer via a Chinese airport, please consult Chinese embassy or Consulate website for transit visa-free policy. Numerous Chinese airports now have 72 hours or 144 hours visa-free transit which allows tourists explore China during your layover. 

3. Best Time to Visit

It is suitable to visit China any time all year around. No winters in most Southern Chinese provinces. In northern China, the coldest month is January. Try to avoid to travel during the Chinese National Holidays: Chinese New Year (either in January or February), May Day (the first week of May) and National Day (the first week of October) because local people will have one week off during these holidays. Students are off school in July and August, so you would see more tourists during this time as well. 

4. Travel Budget

Food and customer products (e.g., clothes, shoes, electronics, computer products, household items, etc.) are extremely affordable. My recommendation is to avoid big department stores. Instead, shop at specialty stores or private store for better price.  Supermarkets, Farmer’s Markets and restaurants can be found anywhere in the city. Please try traditional Chinese cuisine or local specialty foods. Restaurant food is as low as 2 USD per meal. 

5. International Flights

More than 30 airlines offer route services from North America and Europe, so tourists enjoy the low flight fares due to airlines competition. You will see most seat sale for travel date between November to April.  From Canada or USA, the return flight fare as low as $500 CAD (or $350 USD) including taxes. From Europe to China, the return fares are as low as 500 Euros.

6. Hotels

You may stay at hotels or Airbnb properties in the Bahamas. Book Airbnb from the link below will save you $62 CAD/$43 USD/41 Euros instantly for your first stay anywhere around the world:

Hotels are not expensive in China. You may find local travel agent in China to book hotels for a huge discount. 

7. Credit Card vs. Foreign Currencies

Credit cards are not well-accepted in China. Instead, local people use WeChat pay and Alipay for cashless transaction. You may use credit cards at airports and local big department stores. Make sure you have some Chinese currency (1 USD = 7 Yuan, 1 CAD = 5.2 Yuan, 1 Euro = 7.9 Yuan) available for your trip.

8. Chinese Domestic Train and Flight

China has the largest high-speed train network in the world. The train service is extremely safe and reliable. Due to the competition between high-speed train and Chinese domestic light, you will have flight seat sale up to 80% off, huge discount. you will not see in other countries.  

9. What Part of China is Recommended to Visit?

China is my favourite top three countries (Italy, Jordan and China) to visit. I have been to China many times before. In July 1999 when I visited Beijing, I met a couple from Switzerland and they visited China 7 times before. They love China so much and every time they visited different places because China has so much to see. 

I recommend tourists to visit the following Chinese cities:

Must Visit: Beijing, Piyao, Datong, Xi'an, Guilin, Zhangjiajie, Suzhou, Leshan, Luoyang (Longmen Grottoes), Taishan, Huangshan, Shilin (Stone Forest), Three Gorges, Jiuzaigou, Huanglong, Chongqing (Dazu Rock Carvings), Dunhuang (Mogao Caves) and  Haiko.

My Other Recommend Places: Chengdu, Chengde, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Benxi, Taihu, Lijing, Lushan, Majishan, Wutaishan, Penglai, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao (Shanhai Pass), Shenyang, Macao, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Taiyuan (Jinci)

Beijing is the capital city with a total of 7 heritage sites listed in the UNESCO list. This is evidence of Beijing's splendid culture and long history, an important part of the total 55 UNESCO sites in China, making Beijing one of the most visited destinations in China. If you have limited time to visit China, please visit Beijing first. 


Trip Highlights 

Vancouver to China by Air China 

One of my China trips in 2005

Temple of Heave is a must to see attraction in Beijing. It was constructed between 1406 and 1420. It is an imperial complex of religious buildings inscribed as on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. It is a masterpiece of Chinese architecture and landscape design. When you visit there, stand on the central round marble and speak for echo sounding. 

Qianmen Street is 845-meter long pedestrian street runs south from Tiananmen square, just long the Beijing central axis.  It is one of the last remnants of the business centers of the old Beijing. Numerous discount shops are located along this street. Great place for shopping. 

Forbidden City is imperial palace for the emperors in Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing. It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  There are total 9,999 and a half rooms in the Forbidden City because only the God of Heaven could be entitled to 10,000 rooms. I have been to Forbidden City three times. It is my favourite attraction in Beijing. The self-guided tour will take approximately 3 hours. It is quite massive inside for tourists to visit.

After you exit from the Forbidden City's North Gate., then will see Jingshan Park in front of you.  Jingshan Park is a beautiful royal landscape garden. The mid submit of the hill is the highest point in Beijing. From the peak, Tourists are able to get a full view of Fobidden City. 

The Great Wall is about 80 km away from Beijing. You may take train or bus to visit Badaling part of the Great Wall. This impressive ancient Chinese construction is 21,196 km (13,170 miles) long. The section closes to Beijing is the most well-reserved part of the Great Wall. I have been to the Great Wall twice before. It wows me every time I visited it. Try to visit The Great Wall in the early morning or late afternoon for less crowds and better photo taking. 

The Summer Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998) is the largest imperial garden in Beijing. It consists of Longevity Hill, Kuming Lake, marble bridges, Marble Stone Boat (36 m) and many building complex. It is an impressive place to visit in Beijing (Must Visit Attraction).

Ming Tombs (UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003) is another major attraction in Beijing. 13 Emperors from Ming Dynasty buried in Ming Tombs valley. Each tomb has a hidden entrance. My tour guide shared a story about how archeologists opened Dingling in 1959. Dingling is a mausoleum of the Wanli Emperor (1572 - 1620) when was strongest period of Ming Dynasty, so  Chinese archeologists decided to open Dingling, the remaining 12 tombs are still sealed underground nowadays.  This tomb is very deep, 27 meters belowground. Archeologists successfully found the entrance. Inside the tomb, it has a massive-locking marble doors closed the chamber (each door is made of whole piece of marble weighed 4 tons). It's lower end was placed in a hole in front of the door while its upper end leaned against the back of the door. Then the door could not be opened from outside. With the four-cm wide gap between the two doors slabs, people doing the excavation work managed to open the door bu fitting in a wite to hold the stone block and use a piece of plank to push it down. In this case, the managed to open the giant marble door. Imperial mausoleum always has toxic gas or arrows traps to prevent people to open it, so archeologists threw in a roster in the tomb and she was still alive running around, then archeologists found it was safe to walk in. They found massive findings inside the Wanli Emperor's underground tombs which tourists can see in the museum.

Beihai Park is the Imperial winter palace in Beijing. This imperial garden is amazing. 

The main stadium Birdnest Beijing 2008 Olympics: Open to Tourists if you are an Olympic fan

Water Cube: Beijing 2008 Olympics Hosting for Swimming Event.

I took a train from Beijing West Train Station to Datong by train. It was very comfortable train ride that traveled through mountains in Shanxi Province. I was excited to see the most famous attraction Yugang Grottoes (UNESCO World Heritage Site as 2001). The stone carvings was constructed in the 5th and 6th centuries (Northern Wei Dynasty). There are 53 major caves and around 1100 minor caves. 

Amazing Inner view of Cave #15, carvings of over 1,000 buddhas

Another Inner View of Yugang Grottoe

Hanging Temple is 1 hour 20 minutes drive from Datong. Hired a driver to visit Hanging Temple in Hunyuan County. I saw the photo of Hanging Temple in a travel book which totally shocked me, so I added it to my Must See list in China. It is the only temple in China enshrining three religions - Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The temple boasts a fine collection of religious statues - 80 in call - including statues in bronze, iron, terracotta and stone. Hanging Temple has wooden structure. People built the temple choose this perfect location: no wind (blocked by the sourrounding peaks), only less than 3 hours of sunshine, so the temple is maintained so well for over 1400 years. It is the best temple I have ever seen.  

A Close View of Hanging Temple

Inside the Temple 

Pingyao Ancient City (UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997) is the Best-Preserved Town in China. It has the whole city walls, military defense structure, ancient local government, shops and residence. It still retains its urban layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties. You won't find any similar cities anywhere else in China. A must see attraction in China if you visit Pingyao. 

Colourful Figures in Jinci (1023-1032 Song Dynasty), Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. 

I travelled by train from Taiyuan to Xi'an to see Terracotta Warriors (UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987) which are truly amazing. A local farmer in Lingtong County just outside Xi'an found Terracotta Warriors when digging for a well. The size of the first Emperor of China - Qin Shi Huang's mausoleum is so massive, until today only small portition of this mausoleum is explored. It's amazing to see the impressive army force from over 2000 years ago. I was speechless when I saw over 8,000 Terracotta Warriors and 400 horses on the site. 

Big Wild Goose Pagoda (UNESCO World Heritage Site) was built during the Tang Dynasty in 649 AD. The Pagota had a height of 147 feet with 15 storeys in Xi'an. Shangxi Province. 

I flew with Hainan Airline (the only 5-stat airline in China) from Xi'an to Guilin. I surprised the airline supplied very good lunch considering it was only 2-hour flight. The beauty of Lijing can not be expressed by words. Took a Lijing cruise for the breathtaking view of the beautiful South China Karst Landscape (UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2014). 

Elephant Trunk Hill is the landmark in Guilin, Guangxi. A Must See attraction for tourists.

Shanghai is the largest City in China. I love the beautiful city skyline. I have been to Shanghao twice. The night cruise is strongly recommended to visit. Try the famous Shanghai Pork Buns.

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