A land overflowing with a myriad of unusual sights and exotic wonders, China is one of Asia’s most inspiring holiday playgrounds. China isn’t just another place to casually tick off your travel list – it’s a destination pulsing with vibrant cultures and intriguing secrets, a country where you can stumble upon unique delights that you won’t find anywhere else. And while popular attractions like the Great Wall and the Yangtze River Cruise are truly amazing, sometimes the most unique encounters in China are the ones you won’t find on every other travel itinerary. Here are three of the most special experiences you can only enjoy in the jaw-dropping realms of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit the culture-rich town of Zhongdian
Perched on the very edge of the scenic Tibetan plateau, you’ll find the historic Zhongdian town nestled between beautiful snow-tipped mountains and surrounded by limestone terraces and glaciers. Explore the natural perfection of this quaint little town, stopping to check out the vibrantly dressed residents carrying heavy baskets on their backs. At the town’s heart, you’ll see a gigantic golden prayer wheel set up on top of a hill. You can climb up this 80 feet tall hill to give the wheel a spin and make a wish or prayer.
The Zhongdian town is also home to the famous Songzanlin Monastery which houses 800 Tibetan monks and boasts a history that spans over 300 years. The monastery is located close to the Tibetan border, which makes it a great place to pick up some Tibetan culture without actually leaving the country. The plateau on which the town sits is also an incredible destination in itself for those with a taste for China’s dramatic landscapes. The area around the town is filled with the sounds and sights of stunning wildlife, drawing in plenty of adventurous hikers all year round.
Get on the bullet train to Xian
A visit to China is just not complete without a trip to Xian, where you’ll get to see the country’s popular Terracotta Warriors. And while in the past tourists in Beijing had to hop on a flight or settle for a long car journey to get there, travellers today have the luxury of using the country’s new high-speed trains. The bullet train takes travellers from Beijing to Xian in only five hours, with views of jaw-dropping mountains and massive bright yellow and green fields to keep you mesmerised all along the way. With unbelievable speeds and one incredible view after another, a trip to Xian on the country’s bullet train is not an experience you ever want to miss.
Walk off the beaten track at Longji
Just a couple of hours away from China’s popular tourist town Guilin, the ancient and colourful rice fields of Longji offer curious tourists a picture-perfect location to soak up some authentic Zhuang minority culture. This is where you can escape the bustle of China’s busy streets and embrace the country’s traditional rural beauty. You can choose to go on guided walks between villages and snap some truly Insta-worthy pics while you’re at it. You can also stay at a local guesthouse for the night to savour the fresh mountain air while indulging in the best of the region’s local cuisine.
To experience the most of the local culture here, you can opt to stray off the usual walks and embark on a five-hour hike that begins in the village of Dazhai. This route will take you away from the crowds, allowing you to sneak a peek of what village life in China is actually like. Here, you’ll see farmers working away in their fields and tending to crops, and be able to walk for miles before laying eyes on another tourist.