A Magical Get-Away to China

The Great Wall of ChinaChina has always been a cradle of culture and economic potential, and nowhere is this influence more evident than in Beijing, the capital and political, cultural and educational center of the People’s Republic of China, home to opulent temples, palaces, stone walls, universities and art treasures. All these testimonies of culture and history lie next to modern subway stations or world class stadiums and although this might seem strange at first, it only witnesses the rapid modernization of this great city.

Inside it, the city offers many historical sites, from the Forbidden City ( also known as the Imperial Palace ), a place of mystery for more than 500 years, within whose walls you will find intricate labyrinths of squares, sleeping chambers, gates, temples, pavilions and halls; to the Tiananmen Square, right at the heart of Beijing, with the Gate of Heavenly Peace, one of the world’s most famous public places.

Just outside of Beijing lies one of the most famous monuments of the world, the Great Chinese Wall, and even though seeing it completely is not possible ( because it is 5,500 miles long ), you may want to choose the portion you will see carefully ( the Badaling section with the large souvenir market and gondolas, the Mutianyu section, a favorite among recent travelers, where you can see majestic mountains and a cable car for quick access; or other, farther sections like the Juyongguan, Simatai, Jinshanling, Huanghuacheng, Jiankou, and Gubeikou which offer adventurous possibilities to visitors).

For tourists, language difficulties might be quite though to overcome – although the official language is Mandarin, each Chinese citizen has their own regional dialect and sometimes even completely different language, therefore it might be prudent to hire a bilingual guide when traveling in groups. Apart from the culture shock that comes with language impairments, eating and restaurants will represent a big hurdle for westerners, as the Chinese have completely different expectations when it comes to sanitation.

As such, tourists may witness food sitting out in the open, insects flying around the food, and in some cases even rodents scurrying past, so you might just want to prepare yourself, or if you have a weak stomach, stick to bland foods, avoid meat and drink bottled or boiled water.

Choosing when to travel is also an aspect worth considering : the best times would be either between March to May or September to October seeing that they provide an adequate climate in contrast to summer’s sweltering heat.

So chose a date, a flight, a section of wall and an affordable hotel and you may just be on your way to the vacation of a lifetime!

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