Win Your Dream Vacation in China with Ctrip! Unusual China trip inspirations

by China Travel
Posted: August 17th, 2011 | Updated: August 24th, 2011 | Comments

And now, a word from our sponsor...

The Win Your China Dream Vacation contest is open for business! From now until September 9, Ctrippers from around the world can submit an itinerary of their own design for a chance to win a custom trip to China- for free!

To help get you thinking about your own itinerary here are some hidden gems; places off the beaten path that embody the unique and diverse spirit of China. There's so much more to see then just the Great Wall!

The Russian Art Museum

The pastel blue Russian Art Museum seems like it would be more at home next to the Kremlin then in grassy planes of Inner Mongolia. Located in Manzhouli, a town with a long and rich history, it's a perfect example of the Mongolian, Chinese and Russian cultural mix that plays such a dominant role in the city's makeup, especially its architecture. Like so many things in this rural corner of the world, art and culture have blended together in a way only a border town can achieve.

Fengdu Ghost City

Fengdu Ghost City is a mysterious place where Confucian, Taoist and Buddhist traditions combine and thrive. Visitors can reenact ancient traditions, which are the heart and soul of Fengdu, by walking across The Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge and visiting sites like the Ghost Torturing Pass as well as the Tianzi (Son of Heaven) Palace. If ghosts and ancient practices aren't your cup of tea, there is still plenty to see in the scenic Three Gorges area where the town is located.

Harbin Siberian Tiger Preserve

While many flock to the well known Panda Reserves of Chengdu, the Harbin Siberian Tiger Preserve remains relatively hidden from the average tourist, but is still worth a visit. It offers a once in a life time chance to see these critically endangered animals in a natural setting. A word of caution for vegetarian visitors, the preserve also allows you to view a live tiger feeding and anything from a chicken to a cow could be on the menu.

Tsingtao Brewery Museum

What better place to visit in Qingdao (Tsingtao) then the brewery that gave the town its name... or maybe the other way around? Tsingtao is a popular beer in China and the city's most famous export. Created by German colonists, both the beer and its brewery have a rich history. The latter started churning out Tsingtao in 1903 and was only recently converted into the Tsingtao Brewery Museum. Patrons will be able to walk through and see its exhibits while enjoying a bottomless, complementary cup of beer. more after the jump...

Tengchong Hot Springs

Hot springs are nature's spas, and needless to say, a great place to relax on a trip. The western town of Tengchong is home to the largest group of hot springs in Yunnan, as well as a unique volcanic terrain. It was once a vital trading town, and still maintains its mixture of Burmese and Chinese culture. After you've bathed in its iconic springs there's still plenty left to see; waterfalls, volcanic lakes, and the plentiful jade stores the town is known for.

Heaven Lake

Like urban legends? Believe in the Loch Ness monster? Then a visit to China's own 'Nessie' in Heaven Lake just might be in order. Unfortunately, sightings are not guaranteed but visitors won't be left empty handed; the breathtaking scenery is worth a visit in and of itself. Snow-capped mountains dotted by lush forests surround the volcanic lake which rests on the border between China's Jilin Province and North Korea.

Kashgar (Kashi) Sunday Market

This attraction isn't exactly hidden; in fact its one of Kashgar's most well known. However, the town itself doesn't make it on every itinerary, possibly because of its relatively remote location. Travelers wiling to go a few extra miles will be well rewarded for breaking out of their comfort zone. The bustling Kashgar Sunday Market offers everything from rugs to clothes and fresh vegetables. Wander through the town's ancient streets and see a place that has revolved around trade since its time on the Silk Road.

Moganshan Hills

Once a popular destination for wealthy ex-patriots in the early 19th century, Monganshan has experience a revival in recent years. More tourists are now rediscovering this hillside town and its many charms. Visitors can wander down hidden paths nestled in bamboo forests, see ancient pagodas and enjoy the rural atmosphere. The fact that it's close to Shanghai only adds to its appeal.

Tibetan Towers of Western Sichuan

Scattered across the rugged mountains of western Sichuan are hundreds of Tibetan towers whose origins and function still remain a mystery. The oldest of these stone towers is reported to be at least 1,200 years old, and the highest, somewhere around 50 meters. Various theories about them have come and gone throughout the years. Some historians speculate that they were part of a larger defense structure; others say that they could have simply been storage spaces. Whatever their original purpose, they still remain a spectacular sight. Cuandixia Village Most tourists do not realize that there are many hidden gems not far from the bustling capital of Beijing. Cuandixia village is one such place, home to fantastic and well preserved Ming Dynasty architecture. The town has posed as an ancient Chinese city for many films and TV shows. A simple walk through its streets may give visitors the best view of this little known place. So, what will it be; mysterious temples, unique museums, breweries or breathtaking natural wonders? It's up to you. Submit your itinerary to the Win Your Dream Vacation contest page – we're excited to see what you come up with!
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