If North is for history, culture and economic growth, the South is all about natural beauty. The area around Kunming-Yangshuo-Guilin is simply stunning.
Every big city has a major attraction, the modern skyline in Shanghai, the Wall in Beijing or the Terracotta Army in Xi’an. In Chengdu there are the pandas.
I don’t know how many tourists would have ended up here if it wasn’t for some pottery figurines discovered by mistake by three peasants digging a water well in 1974. Those figurines turned out to be the Great Terracotta Army, the most important historical discovery of modern China and one of the most significant archaeological excavations and cultural discoveries of the twentieth century.
A must while in Beijing is the Peking duck. It’s one of the eight most popular Chinese dishes and it’s famous for the crispy skin. Not much meat and quite greasy, but definitely a try. The cooking process is very elaborate and involves multiple stages. They are all important but probably what gives the duck the final flavor is the roasting (upright position using fruitwood), followed by a quick immerse into boiling water, coating with syrup and finally left to dry for 24 hours.
The first clue that you are in Shanghai, the most modern city in China, is being revealed as soon as you step out of the Pudong International Airport and of course you want to get to the city. There is no other mean of transportation but the high-speed magnetic levitation train, Maglev. And when I say high-speed, I mean 431 km/h, even though only for a couple of minutes. Given the very short distance, the whole trip lasts about 8 minutes.
Our next stop from Shanghai was Beijing. You can get from Shanghai to Beijing by G (bullet) train taking around 5 hours, or by plane which is half that time. However, a train journey requires around half an hour to get in/out of (much less than an airport) and there is no need to wait for the luggage. Plus the transport to/from is a lot cheaper, especially by taxi. Continue Reading…