iconic china in a two week holiday

forbidden city beijing chinaFrom the historic Bund in Shanghai to the incredible Terracotta Warriors and of course the amazing Great Wall of China, seeing China’s iconic sights is obviously a great thrill for tourists and locals alike. Frank Lee is based in Intrepid’s Beijing office and even though he’s Chinese born and bred, whenever he gets time off he jumps at the chance to join one of our trips…

“I recently travelled on Iconic China and the experience was fantastic. It’s only 13 days, but the trip can show you the max of China from a variety of perspectives within a limited time.

Hong Kong, or ‘fragrant harbour’ when the name is translated word by word into English, really displays the joint culture between the western world and traditional China. It is so modern, colorful and busy, but you can also find senior people drinking morning tea, eating dim sim from traditional bamboo steamers and playing with their birds. The subway uses 3 languages, introducing the stops in Cantonese, English and Mandarin. This is the language order of preference for Hong Kong locals, with Mandarin being spoken the least.

Yangshuo is the most naturally beautiful little town on this trip. It is also recognized as the paradise of rock-climbers. They have the unique karst rock hills that were formed a long, long time ago. Bamboo rafting, hot air ballooning, cycling around in the mountains, breathing in the fresh air… it doesn’t get better than this for adventure travellers!

The Terracottta Warriors are incredible to see up close. There are more archaeology digs being organized by the local government, although these sites are not yet open to the public. And the near-by city of Xi’an is an iconic city in its own right. The Wild Goose Pagoda, Muslim Quarter, the starting point of Silk Road, great local food (I highly recommend the Chinese pork burger) and the very artistic handicrafts all make for a memorable visit. I heard that the local government are trying to develop Xi’an into a city-of-the-world. And they are busy constructing the subway and restructuring the old town into some modern buildings. NO: Please keep the old Xi’an city and allow families who have lived here for generations to still be community.

Beijing, a city that has collected nearly 40 million residents from all around the world. Only here can you really feel that China has a huge population. The metropolis is crowded with endless traffic jams. Despite a reported 90% of people commuting daily on public transport, all the roads are just like parking lots. Luckily, the government was wise enough to have kept the old shape of Beijing as an Imperial City. Many of the Hutongs and local residents still remain as it was 100 year ago.

I love Beijing and its real life experiences, just as I love getting out of the city to discover the many wonders of China. To see the great icons up close is a remarkable experience, even for a local like me, and I love sitting at my desk and flashing back to the memories of my travels (only when I’m not really busy of course!).

China Holidays with Intrepid are an adventure to remember:
Explore China – 13 days
China Adventure – 26 days

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About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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