To the land where you can find just about anything. Most goods are made in China for good reason, they’re incredibly affordable and comparable in quality.
This makes it a perfect tourist destination for all races especially Caucasians who tend to be curious about Chinese history and culture. We’ll dim sum points of enlightenment for you about the gorgeous imperial country of China.
Estimated budget: 162.5 Yuan (33.71 AUD) which can be broken down to the following:
Top 3 Must-See Places in Beijing
People may doubt you if you said you’ve been to China but did not visit the Great Wall of China, also known as the Mutianyu Great Wall. Spanning over 70km in length, this wall is the treasure that hailed from the Ming Dynasty that is an architectural masterpiece. This bridge is surrounded by lush landscapes that will guarantee a great view for all.
With over 9000 rooms and 250 acres, The Forbidden City is a great place to feed your exploration. This majestic structure was declared a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is listed as UNESCO’s largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world. Imagine that.
For a more modern take on Beijing, head on to 798 Art District which is housed amongst military factories, it represents an artsy and funky take on what Beijing was and currently is. Artists began opening studios and workshops in the 80s, and today its home to many galleries and exhibitions that make tourists and even locals linger. Grab a bite and chill here.
Top 3 Must-Try Foods in Beijing
Peking Roast Duck – The national dish of China which was coincidently born in Beijing. This crispy duck is coated in sweet maltose syrup and then cooked for hours in a hung oven. A serious must try when in Beijing. Available at Da Dong Roast Duck and Quanjude.
Jiaozi (Chinese dumplings) – Traditionally considered as Chinese but they’re popular across Asia, Jiaozi are typically filled with ground meat, vegetable and now even soup wrapped in a thinly puff-shaped dough. It can be steamed, pan-fried or boiled. Available in Baoyuan Jiaozi Wu and Din Tai Fung.
Zhajiang Mian (noodles with soybean paste) – Cooked with a special sauce, this noodle dish is comfort food to locals and has an earthy taste to it. Many restaurants have their own take on the special sauce and our recommendations would be Old Beijing Zhajiang Noodle King and HaiWan Ju.
Estimated budget: 227 Yuan (47.10 AUD) which can be broken down to the following:
Top 3 Must-See Places in Xi’An
The Terracotta Army or Terracotta Army and horses is a colossal collection of life-size sculptures in battle formation which recreates the mega imperial guard troops of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BC), the very first emperor of the first unified dynasty of Imperial China. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for every Xi’an traveller today.
After visiting the Terracotta Army, Huaqing Palace would be next. Originally built during the Tang Dynasty as a hot spring escapade for royals during winter, this picturesque landscape comprising of a majestic garden has much to tell about the royals of China, its history and culture.
Stay on at Huaqing palace for a spectacular historical drama entitled The Song of Everlasting Sorrow. It is a 60-minute historical drama adapted from the poem of the famous Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi about the romance between Emperor Xuanzong and his favourite imperial concubine Yang Yuhuan. Shows are only available from April to October annually.
Top 3 Must-Try Foods in Xi’an
Muslim Quarters Street Food – This renown food street features an array of Chinese Muslim food like mouth-water grilled lamb skewers, stews, biang biang noodles, dumplings, sour plum and lots more.
Flatbread in Mutton Soup – A local favourite or otherwise known as ‘yangrou paomo’ which is an aromatic and spicy bowl of shredded flatbread soaked in mutton broth. It screams comfort food and is best found at Tongshengxiang Restaurant, which is over 90+ years old!
Xi’an Meat Burger – The hamburger with a history. Baked leavened bread and shredded braised meat in a traditional furnace, that’s what roujiamo is known for. Usually stuffed with a combination of lean and fat pork that’s been braised for hours. Non-pork options are available at Muslim Quarters for Muslims. Available at Wang Kui La Zhi Roujiamo.
Xi’an Pro TRAVEL tips:
- Be aware of Fake Tourism Bus No. 5 (306) to the Terracotta Army, they take tourists to overpriced souvenir shops. Take the ones on the east square of Xi’an Railway Station.
- Hailing taxis aren’t as easy, drivers may reject your rides especially during peak hours 7:00-9:00 and 17:00-19:00 on weekdays.
- Most toilets are squat toilets except for hotel toilets which are mostly the sit-down kind.
- Free Wi-Fi is a non-issue here, most restaurants, café, hotels, shopping malls and attraction sites have them.
The estimated budget of 246 RMB (51.12 AUD) which can be broken down to the following:
Top 3 Must-See Places in Shanghai
One of the first things to do when visiting Shanghai is heading to The Bund. It’s Shanghai’s waterfront that brings both the colonial and metropolis at a gathering point. You can see seniors doing qi gong, young ones dating, businessman and women bustling. It’s an extraordinary sight.
The Propaganda Poster Art Centre (PPAC) is an art and history museum for (interestingly) people who don’t care for art or don’t enjoy history. This nameless apartment building’s basement is home to this unique establishment. It offers an eye-opening experience to the chaos that is China in the 20th century.
For some strolling, light bites and shopping, we recommend swinging by Tianzifang. Its narrow lane-house neighbourhood charm is the main reason why its always packed. Shop for souvenirs or try out a new bar or restaurant. It’s something for the whole family.
Top 3 Must-Try Foods in Shanghai
Xiaolongbao or Soup Dumplings – These are classic to Shanghainese cuisine, stuffed with shrimp, crab, pork or vegetables and cooked in a hot flavourful broth, they will have you brimming with love. We recommend Din Tai Fung as a good choice for first-timers.
Steamed crab – A special type of crab is used for this dish, ones found in the river. The crabs are tied with string or rope, placed in bamboo containers and steamed to perfection. This dish is usually served in late autumn and winter, try Jia Jia Tang Bao for a great take on this dish.
Beggar’s Chicken – This dish has come a long way as it originated in the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) and has strong folklore. The chicken is stuffed and marinated, sealed with layers of lotus leaves and wrapped in wax paper and mud. It takes up to 6 hours to bake. Taste this dish at Xindalu China Kitchen for a flavourful meal.
SHANGHAI Pro TRAVEL Tips:
- Use the Didi app for transportation, super convenient and quick. It’s like Uber.
- Take note of the hospitals that are likely to have English-speaking staff such as Shanghai International SOS and Shanghai United Family Hospital.
- Currency exchange services are available at hotels, look out for large backs too such as China Merchants Bank, ICBC and ABC (Agricultural Bank of China)
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