The Li River
China has much more to offer the traveler than silk bags and tasty foods, it has wonderful natural beauty, exotic architecture and a diverse wildlife. Our first destination is the Li River that flows into Guilin and where it may be considered its most picturesque location. The mountains and hills that surround the Li River have been eroded to tall round pillar like shapes, that emerge from the landscape to create a surreal and unique landscape. It’s magnificent features include reed-flute rock, a limestone cave with a large number of stalactites, stalacto-stalagmites, rocky curtains, and cave corals. The mountain of splendid hues consisting of many layers of colored rocks and elephant-trunk hill, a riverside cliff that looks like a giant elephant drinking water with its trunk. Guilin is a pictorial town and one of the best-known tourist destinations in China with its many scenic places in short traveling distance of Guilin. Destinations include Longsheng with its famous Longji rice terraces; the Li River itself that is printed on the back of the ¥20 bank note and Yangshuo, a small county downstream from Guilin plus so much more. A luxury Li River cruise can also be a wonderful way to experience this iconic destination, as the traveler can enjoy the fantastic visions with a panoramic view.
Snow Mountains of Tibet
Traveling to Tibet will make one feel as though they’ve entered an ancient tribal world. With over 1,500 lakes, eight peaks over 21,000 feet and a rich cultural heritage, there are countless things to experience in Tibet. The land offers intense sunshine, crystal-clear blue rivers and sapphire lakes with terraced fields of gold barley and where the Tibetan people are extremely religious, viewing their daily lives and environment as challenges along the path of life. Aside from the endless human cultural experience are the iconic site of Lhasa including the Ganden Monastery that consist of eight major buildings the most impressive structure being the Gold Tomb of Tsongkhapa in the center of the complex, recognized by the recently built white small shrine and standing before the red building. A path circulates the monastery and starts from the parking area, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Lhasa River Valley and only takes about an hour to complete.
The Great Wall of China
Touring The Great Wall of China is considered a-must destination for many people from all around the world. It can be visited at many places along its length of several thousand miles. The condition of the wall ranges from excellent to ruined and access can be easy or difficult depending on where you try to view it. There are many ways to visit the wall and some visitors admire the views from popular tourist sections and take advantage of the amenities offered such as restaurants and shops. Others choose to explore the more rugged sections of the wall with extended hikes of the wild sections. Another great reason for traveling to the Great Wall is the diverse Chinese wildlife around it. You may be able to spot the rare Siberian tiger in the northeast to the protected and rare Giant Panda in southern Gansu. Other types of wild mammals include the manchurian weasel, brown and black bear, northern pika and deer include the sitka deer, roe deer and the long-sought-after spotted deer. The birds of the region include various pheasants, black grouse, pine grosbeak, various woodpeckers, the colorful mandarin duck and the fairy pitta with its somewhat tail-less shape, colorful body and green luminescent wings that catch the sun and seem to glow.
Although not a place but an animal, Pandas are one of the world’s most recognizable and loved animal. Traveling to The Bifengxia Panda Reserve Center will give the you a chance to interact with pandas on a personal level. The reserve is situated in 5 miles from Ya‘an City. The reserve is the first effort in creating a scenic destination into a natural eco-zoo in China that includes sightseeing and entertainment. The Ecological Wild Animal zoo was built in 1999 in the Bifeng Gorges. with more than 20 locations designated for panda-related activities and scientific research. There are dedicated grazing grounds, “kindergartens” for young pandas and a panda hospital alongside a research institute. Several different varieties of bamboo have been planted in the base either by the water or on the slopes to allow the pandas to graze naturally. Visitors can spend the day volunteering with pandas at Bifengxia with opportunities to take pictures with pandas. The male panda Tai Shan, born at the National Zoo in Washington DC, now makes his home in Bifengxia.
First and Last European Colony of Macau
As the first European and the last European colony in Asia Macau has more colonial history and architecture than Hong Kong. The Portuguese and Macanese population continues to maintain a presence, but most of the population and culture is Chinese and although Macau is best known for gambling the city has lots of historical and cultural attractions that have both European and Chinese influences. An interesting sight to see is the statue of the Bodhisatta Avalokitesvara located next to the Sands Casino and MGM Grand. Besides the statue being a Chinese deity its design is very slick and European with minimal adornment. Travelers can also enjoy a day in Fisherman’s Wharf where you can experience theme-park activities and shopping or admire the Ruins Of Saint Paul’s Cathedral that consist of the southern stone façade intricately carved in the 1620s by local craftsmen. From colonial church ruins and grand temples to the iconic Portuguese custard tarts famous throughout the island, traveling to Macau provides a true blend of European west and Exotic east.