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4 Chinese Cities You'll Want to Get Lost In
When you travel to a large country, you know that there are
countless options for places to visit. Just like in the United
States, China is a massive place with a number of major cities that
make for excellent stops on your itinerary. If you’re thinking of
planning a trip that will take you through the land of the Great
Wall, be sure to consider stopping into one of these four
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Of course, with any trip to China, Beijing should be on your
“must-see” list. In addition to being a bustling home to 20 million
residents and the nation’s capital, the city is also rich in
history and centrally located to a number of popular attractions.
If your goal is to walk the Great Wall
, Beijing is close to some of
the best-preserved stretches of the structure. Even if you don’t
want to leave the city, you should check out the Forbidden City, a
former imperial palace that also has the distinction of being the
world’s largest palace.
The city is full of countless museums and historical sites, making
Beijing a perfect stop to understand the nation’s rich culture and
history. But don’t fall under the impression that Beijing can offer
a window into only the past. The 798 Art District
is full of modern and quirky pieces
ranging from sculptures to paintings. And at night you can head to
Nanluoguxiang for a taste of Beijing’s nightlife and foodie
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If the hustle and bustle of bigger Chinese cities like Shanghai and
Beijing leave you feeling a tad overwhelmed, then dial it back with
a more laid-back city like Hangzhou. The southern city is part of the original Silk Road
and is best known
as a blend of “old world meets new world.” Tourists from China and around the world
can enjoy the
countless shrines, temples, bridges and pagodas dotted throughout
the city and around West Lake.
But Hangzhou is also a popular business destination that has
encouraged the metropolitan and tech vibe that can be felt in the
newer parts of the city. The city is home to the Alibaba headquarters
e-commerce platform and Amazon rival. And even if you’re not into
the tech world, enjoy a bit of whimsy with the Hello Kitty Park,
the only theme park outside of Japan that’s dedicated to that
anthropomorphic sweet cat.
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History buffs should make sure that Xi’an (pronounced “shee-ahn”)
is on their priority list. Xi’an is most famously known for the
1974 archeological discovery of the Terracotta Warriors. The
UNESCO site showcases
more than 8,000 statues of
warriors, horses, and weapons—and that number is still growing as
excavators continue to unearth more. Expect to spend about half a
day visiting the Terracotta Warriors as they’re located about an
hour outside of the city.
If you prefer to stay close to town, Xi’an still has plenty to
offer. The city wall closely resembles the Great Wall because it
was built within the same time period during the Ming Dynasty. And
it is one of the best-preserved defense walls that isn’t part of
the Great Wall. For a unique experience, rent a bicycle and cycle
on the wall to get a different view of the city.
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Depending on who you talk to, Lhasa can be a technicality.
According to most travel guides, Lhasa is considered a Chinese
city. However, it is located in Tibet and is an important place for
Tibetan Buddhists. Regardless of the geography, Lhasa is a
high-elevation city (11,647 feet above sea level), so you should
plan to spend quite a few days here to give your body time to
acclimate and avoid altitude sickness.