Things to do in China

Our top activities in china

Walk in the footsteps of greatness

Besides its undeniable standing as an incredible triumph of engineering, to actually consider the enormity and significance of China’s Great Wall – a series of fortifications constructed from brick, stone, wood and packed earth that snakes its way across 8,850km of northern China’s mountainside – is to contemplate over 2,000 years of cultural isolation and political endurance.

You can visit for a day - there are cable cars and a toboggan run for those traveling with kids or who fancy more of an amble than a hike, or indulge in a lengthy itinerary that combines nights in village homestays and guesthouses with daily hikes of up to seven hours. Either way, to witness firsthand this stunning feat of human achievement against a lush landscape of chestnut trees and blooms is to fulfill the trip of a lifetime.

See the sights

Try not to overload your itinerary; approached wisely, China is as uplifting as it is intriguing. There is something for everyone in China.
If crumbling dynasties are your thing, start with the historic buildings of Beijing, a city with over 3,000 years of history and a cityscape that changes every day – the Forbidden City, China’s whopping great palace complex is the country’s largest collection of ancient buildings; you’ll need a full day to explore it. More landscape less history? Why not cruise the Yangtze River past the Three Gorges, the world’s largest dam (and, incidentally, the world’s largest hydroelectric power station too, but an awful lot prettier than that sounds…). If you want to channel your Zen while drinking chai, head out to China’s ancient villages where picture-perfect pastoral scenes, feng shui, and tradition abound.

Snap real Chinese life through a lens

Whether you’re a keen professional photographer or a budding amateur, anyone with an interest in snapping people and culture should take their camera to China. Discovering the country through pictures is an unforgettable way to learn more about its natural wonders as well as the ethnic minorities that live among them.

Eating & drinking

Chinese street food is a hallmark of the country’s culture. Snack stalls and night markets grace every city.

From the weird – donkey meat sandwich, anyone? To the wonderful – biting into a ‘yu ci’, a crispy ball of salt and savoury rice is like sinking your teeth into a pillow of pure joy, street food is an essential part of anyone’s China experience. Beijing’s Donghuamen Night Market, though not what we would term authentic, is a bustling taste explosion of everything from chicken hearts and grasshoppers to snakeskin on a stick.
Photo credits: [Lion statue: Yan-long] [rice paddies: nick mote] [market: vincentraal] [street food: Daniel]

Written by Polly Humphris
China culture & hiking vacation

China culture & hiking vacation

A wonderful experience of real China

From US $2830 14 Days ex flights
China highlights tour, tailor made

China highlights tour, tailor made

Walk along the Great Wall and relax in the stunning LiRiver

From US $2319 11 Days ex flights
China vacation and Yangtze river cruise

China vacation and Yangtze river cruise

A comprehensive China itinerary covering its length and breadth

From US $4279 19 Days ex flights
Silk Road vacations, Central Asia

Silk Road vacations, Central Asia

Journey along the Old Silk Road

From £4095 22 Days ex flights
A Classic Journey Through China

A Classic Journey Through China

China's iconic historical sights

From US $3200 13 Days ex flights
China on a shoestring small group vacation

China on a shoestring small group vacation

Experience the real China.

From US $3290 22 Days ex flights
Photo credits: [Page banner: Emile Guillemot]