You're in China, have some fun. Shop 'til you drop, party all night, or catch a live show.
Replicas of Qing Dynasty mansions line Jinli Old Street (Jǐnlǐ Gǔjiē, 锦里古街) selling local souvenirs as well as tea, books, musical instruments and caricatures. While several large restaurants can be found here, the real charm lies in the small snack alley between Wuhou Temple and Jinli. Here the overpowering odor of stinky tofu is softened by sweet caramel, spicy beef, rice cakes, noodles and sesame buns—made to order amidst the din of hawkers and touts shouting their products. Locals fill the street nightly—especially on..
The Yu Gardens (Yù Yuán, 豫园) are a classical oasis—albeit a generally crowded one—in Shanghai's relentlessly modernizing cityscape. The gardens, completed in 1577 by the aristocratic Ming Dynasty Pan family, retain their original grace and elegance even in the face of throngs of tourists and the commercial hubbub of Yuyuan Market just on the other side of the garden walls. Situated in the midst of the Old City near the Temple of the City God, the gardens make an excellent and restful stop in a walking tour of..
For many, the image of a panda is intrinsically linked with that of China. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base (Chéngdū Dà Xióngmāo Fányù Yánjiū Jīdì, 成都大熊猫繁育研究基地) is hard at work keeping that image alive, by doing all they can to keep the outrageously cute species reproducing. 10 km (6 mi) from downtown Chengdu, the base is the best way to see and learn about these gentle and endangered creatures. Almost 100 pandas live there, with some red pandas sharing accomdations with the more famous..
Any trip to Lhasa will warrant a few visits to Barkhor (Bākuò Jiē, 八廓街; "Barkhor Street")—the religious heart and market center of the capital surrounding Jokhang Temple. The plaza itself was created and paved not too long ago by the Chinese, but its been an important site for Tibetans for far longer, with the circuit around the temple going back to the 7th century. In recent decades, the square has been a popular place for protests and demonstrations (though these are becoming rare and small due to strict surveillance), so..
The Beijing Zoo (Běijīng Dòngwù Yuán, 北京动物园) can be hard on animal lovers. The zoo dates back to the last years of the Qing Dynasty, having opened its gates to the public in 1908 as Wansheng Yuan (Garden of 10,000 Animals), and a number of the cages don't appear to have been upgraded much, if at all, since then. The exception: the Giant Panda House (Dàxióngmāo Guǎn, 大熊猫馆), where everybody's favorite endangered bamboo-eating cutie-pies live in relative luxury. Of course, the sight of bored pandas can be a disappointment, especially for..
The Shijingshan Amusement Park, known by some as "Beijing Disneyland," features over 50 rides and attractions, almost all of which would be in serious copyright violation if located almost anywhere other than the People's Republic. Disney isn't the only source of the park designers' dubious inspiration; many characters and rides are uncannily similar to Looney Toons, Pokemon, Doraemon and a number of other internationally known cartoons. All told, don't go if you're deeply offended by intellectual property theft. Do go if you get a..
Located in Túnxī (屯溪), the central district of Huangshan City, Tunxi Old Street (屯溪老街 Túnxī Lǎo Jiē) is a stone pedestrian street lined with old shops and restaurants in restored buildings, some originally dating back to the Song Dynasty, done in the traditional style of the region's Huizhou culture. Among those, Tóngdérén (同德仁) is a traditional Chinese medicine shop opened in the 1860s. Starting from the Zhenhai Bridge (镇海桥 Zhènhǎi Qiáo) in the west and ending in the east at the Memorial..
Beidaihe is one of Qinhuangdao's scenic seaside resorts, situated around 300 km (186 mi.) east of Beijing on the Bohai Gulf. The resort was originally popularized by European diplomats, missionaries and businessmen around the turn of the century. Around half a century later, Chairman Mao had a visit and liked the place so much that he acquired a residence there. In subsequent years Beidaihe became very popular as a summer getaway location for Party fat cats who would often choose it as a destination for meetings and conferences. Hu..
Hangzhou is famous for three things: its water, its fertile and picturesque countryside, and ancient tradition. All three combine in a perfectly brewed cup of Longjing tea (Lóngjǐng chá, 龙井茶). Ideally made with water straight from the Dragon Well (Lóngjǐng, 龙井) and leaves picked from the terraces of the Longjing Tea Plantation (Lóngjǐng Wèn Chá, 龙井问茶), a cup of this delicate green tea connects you with some two thousand years of history, going back to the second century AD when Dragon Well water was discovered and combined with green tea..
Beihai Submarine World (Beihai Haiyang zhi Chuang) is a large museum with two parts. One area houses the former Aquatic Products Museum which, next to Qingdao, is the earliest and largest aquatic products museum in China. The second area has a large submarine to explore and a collection of reef fish from both the Pacific and Indian Oceans. One of the highlights of a visit is watching divers "dance" with the sharks. And like all other tourist destination, there are the obiligatory kitsch elements, such as..
The former site of the Qing Dynasty Royal Hunting Grounds, Yabuli Ski Resort (Yàbùlì Yángguāng Dùjiàcūn, 亚布力阳光度假村) is China's largest ski resort, boasting 23 sq km (14 sq mi) of mountainous terrain. With temperatures averaging around -10°C (-23°F), a visit can be quite uncomfortable if you don't bring the appropriate clothing. The mountain offers skiers the most challenging runs in the country, alongside easier routes for the less experienced. In 1996, the resort was chosen to host the..
Situated on the northern bank of the Songhua River, the Siberian Tiger Park (Dōngběi Yǔlín Yuán, 东北虎林园) is the largest natural refuge for Siberian Tigers in the world. The park is home to about 70 tigers that are monitored and taken care of by the park tenants. For a fee, guests may purchase live animals and feed the Siberian tigers. One of the park's highlights is watching them feed, but beware: it can be a gruesome affair. Visitors to the park can get frighteningly close to the animals, perhaps even closer than..