China is a popular destination for EFL teachers. Most children in China begin learning English at school from the age of 10. There are currently millions of English language learners in China and while many of those are studying in formal schools, there are also private language academies which offer out-of-school classes. EFL employers draw on teachers from all over the world and China is rich with cultural diversity among the teaching community. The history and culture of China is also undeniable. Below we will outline a few things that we feel every visitor should see while staying there.
1. The Great Wall
The Great Wall of China is one of the 7 wonders of the world and a must see tourist destination for anyone visiting China. Its immense size and popularity means that it is accessible from many parts of the country. Stretching from horizon to horizon, it can be the most amazing and relaxing place (if you can get away from the crowds of tourists).
2. The Forbidden City and Tianammun Square
If you get some time to spare in Beijing, you should spend some time visiting Tianammun Square and the Forbidden City. These two incredible sightseeing locations sit adjacent in the center of the city. Unfortunately, Tianammun Square has a reputation for tourists, and therefore hawkers as well. Getting there when it is quiet can be difficult, but definitely worth it.
3. Pudong District
If travelling through Shanghai, it is worth visiting the Huangpu River and looking across to the Pudong District. This area has risen as the new commercial and financial hub of China and is home to some of its most recognizable skyscrapers. The best views of the city are early in the morning, and when you have had enough of these gleaming towers, you are just a short taxi ride from Puxi, the historic capital district of Shanghai.
4. Giant Buddha Statue, Leshan
China is such a huge, old and diverse country that no matter where you are staying, you can find something amazing. In the western province of Sichuan, you can find the Leshan Giant Buddha carved into the side of a cliff by the sea. It is over 71 meters tall, making it easily the largest non-modern statue in the world. It is situated at the confluence of three rivers (the MinJiang, the Dadu, and Qingyi), which only adds to its majesty.
5. Mount Huang
In the east of the country is a mountain range known as “HuangShan”. It is a popular tourist destination among tourists and especially hikers. It includes groves of pine trees, and the granite mountain peaks. Among the spectacular views, sunsets are particularly popular, and there are places that are so high, clouds can be viewed from above. If you don’t feel like hiking, there are cable cars which can take you straight to the top, and hot springs to relax in.
6. Victoria Harbour
If visiting Hong Kong, it is a great idea to visit Victoria Harbour. With Kowloon bay on one side, and Hong Kong Island on the other, it offers fantastic ‘night views’ as the lights from the skyscrapers reflect across the water. There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water. Hundreds of boats travel up and down the shore and some of these are ferries which allow tourists to snap some magnificent pictures of the Hong Kong skyline.
7. Terracotta Warriors
In the North West province of Xian, people can view a range of historical artifacts. Some of the oldest fossils of prehistoric human ancestors have been found there, and it was the seat of Chinese power during the 11th century. Easily the most famous historical artifacts and most recognizable symbols of Chinese culture, the Terracotta warriors, are also located here. Over 8000 soldiers, along with chariots, and cavalry horses are buried in four massive pits in Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum. Truly a sight to behold, the sheer scale of the operation is still impressive today.
While the name may not be as familiar as the Great Wall or terracotta army, the countryside in Guilin is some of the most recognizable in China. Tall limestone peaks and bamboo groves line the calm waters of the Li river. While it may sound remote and isolated, Guilin city caters to tourists with many hotels and guest houses. If you would prefer a more authentic experience, a river cruise to nearby Yangshou will satisfy all of your sightseeing needs (just don’t run out of room for photos on your memory card).
If cuddly creatures are your thing, or if you happen to be travelling with your family, one place that shouldn’t be missed is Chengdu. Widely known as the Home of Giant Pandas, the Chengdu Panda Base is the worlds leading facility for the preservation of this majestic species, and the breeding of other rare animals. From here, it is only a short trip to Tibet and whole other country of fabulous sights for travelers.
Located in the southern province of Yunnan, Kunming is known as the ‘Land of Eternal Spring’. Its subtropical climate means that there are plenty of large parks and Dian Lake remains a fantastic tourist attraction. The real drawcard of this city, however, is not in its natural environment, but with the people. A wide variety of China’s minorities live here and the many streets of the city provide tons of chances for amazing experiences.
Whatever you decide to do on your China trip, be sure to stay safe and be respectful of the ancient traditional culture. These are just some of the fantastic things you can see in China, we would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below.