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Eight Lesser-Known Places to Visit in China

You can climb the Great Wall, wander through the chambers of Beijing’s Forbidden City, and marvel at the stately colonial buildings along Shanghai’s Bund.

  21/02/2017 16:22
But, well, everyone does that, and you’ll likely be sharing those attractions with a few thousand other visitors. You’ll get a lot more out of a visit to China if you get off the tourist track. Here’s how:


A big draw for visitors to predominantly Muslim Xinjiang is that the northwestern province doesn’t feel much like the rest of China. But while the capital, Urumqi, has begun to resemble your average Chinese city, a trip to nearby Turpan, a searing hot desert oasis, will leave you feeling like you’ve landed in Central Asia.
Home to Uighurs as well as several other minority groups, Turpan has beautiful old architecture, especially the Emin Minaret. Wander through the bustling market for spices, raisins, nuts, handmade knives, and gorgeous fabric.


Each year, this coastal city opens up its Xinghai Square for the summertime China International Beer Festival, an event that attracts far fewer international tourists than the similar festival in Qingdao.
While most of the brews are domestic, internationals like Russia’s Baltika and Germany’s Paulaner have their own pavilions, complete with entertainment ranging from Chinese acrobats and drinking contests to German bands. Most stalls feature Dalian’s delicious grilled seafood, everything from oysters and squid to whole fish. In 2016, the festival runs from July 21 to August 1.


Near the Russian border, this northeastern Chinese city has annual ice and snow sculpture festivals, with massive creations that stay frozen till spring. With temperatures dipping down below zero Fahrenheit (that’s about -20 Celsius), you’ll want to bundle up as you explore the fantastical frozen creations and try out the ice slides.
Hotel Ibis (92 Zhaolin Jie; +86 451-8750-9999) is a warm and affordable place to stay while you’re there. You’ll also stay warm by sampling the Russian fare at the gilded Hua Mei restaurant on Zhongyang Dajie or up the street at Tatos Restaurant—and washing your meal down with lots of vodka or Harbin beer.


This gritty industrial town in Henan Province is close to two great attractions: the Shaolin Temple, with daily demonstrations where visitors can learn about kungfu, and the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Although very, very touristy, the shows at Shaolin are a lot of fun—and it’s even more entertaining to watch the kids practicing out in the fields. Wander through the Pagoda Forest where hundreds of small pagodas house the ashes of  important monks. Stunning and much less crowded, the Longmen Grottoes have thousands of Buddhist sculptures—ranging from several stories high to just inches— that were carved into cliffs between 473 and 775 AD.


To drum up tourism, the government renamed the city of Zhongdian, in the far northwest corner of Yunnan, Shangri-la after the fictional Utopia in James Hilton’s novel Lost Horizon. Way up in the mountains—the elevation is about 10,000 feet—you’ll find a bastion of Tibetan culture and jaw-dropping scenery. The central Old Town serves as a base for exploring the surrounding mountains, lakes, and temples—and you’ll be able to sample countless yak dishes, from yak-milk cheese to yak hot pot to yak jerky.

Gulang Yu

Visit the Huaijiu Gulang Yu Museum to gaze at housewares and other relics from the early-1900s foreigner settlements. Up on a hilltop, the red-domed Gulang Yu Organ Museum is visible from all over the island and features hundreds of organs from around the world. Stay at Xiamen Gulangyu International Youth Hostel (18 Luqiao Lu, up the hill from the main road; +86-592-206-6066), and while you’re on the island, sample the pumpkin and green tea mini cakes at Baby Cat’s Café.


While nearby—and more famous—Suzhou has scenic spots, it’s a sprawling city that’s at times lacking in charm. Less than a two-hour drive from Shanghai, Zhuozhuang, one of several so-called “water towns,” has tiny cobblestone streets lined with souvenir shops – be sure to bargain and you can pick up nice embroidery, cloth shoes, and ink paintings for a song—and restaurants filling many of the old homes, some of which date back to the 1300s.
Canals topped by 14 arched bridges cut through the town. Take a 20-minute gondola ride; if you offer a few RMB as a tip, your guide will sing traditional songs for you while you watch the world go by and spot locals washing their clothes (or occasionally vegetables) in the canals.


A couple of hours—and a couple of centuries—removed from the center of Beijing, this village is comprised of a collection of restored Ming- and Qing-dynasty courtyard homes. Tucked into the mountains, the village offers a glimpse into traditional rural life—the perfect day trip for those who find the gleaming skyscrapers and eight-lane Ring Roads of Beijing too modern.

Source Bootsnall
Tag: travel , China

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