You’ve seen the Forbidden City, walked along Shanghai’s Bund at night, stared those famous Terracotta Warriors straight in the face – and now you’ve caught the China bug. So what’s next? Here are some ways to take your China exploration to the next level.
1. Ethnic China
The Han Chinese constitute over 90% of China’s population, but dig deeper and you’ll find that China has the ethnic diversity of Europe in one country. There are 56 different ethnicities living in China, each with their unique identity attributes, from language to food to clothing to religion.
Our favorite region to visit for ethnic immersion is Yunnan. Located in the South-West, Yunnan is bordered by Tibet, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. There are 25 different ethnicities found in Yunnan and they make up 38% of the population. There are a number of village homestay opportunities in Yunnan where visitors can get an inside view of the lifestyle of local minority cultures.
The rich cultural traditions and warm hospitality of southern China’s minority villages await on our Hidden Guizhou tour.
2. Culinary exploration
Spring rolls, sweet & sour pork and kungpao chicken are delicious, but they’re only representative of Cantonese cuisine – 1 of the 8 culinary styles of China. Regional Chinese cuisine has evolved over the years due to a number of different factors. The most obvious factor is of course climate and availability of ingredients. Staples in northern cuisine is wheat-based, so they consume more noodles, pancakes, and bread; while staples in southern cuisine is rice-based so they consume more rice, rice noodles, and rice cakes. Even more fascinating however, is the influence of culture and lifestyle, and Chinese medicine principles. Explore a little further and you’ll discover how and why cuisine is different across China.
Join award-winning author Fuchsia Dunlop for a mouthwatering culinary tour across China.
China has no official state religion, but religion has played a big part in shaping Chinese history, philosophy and culture. From Stupas in Tibet to Minarets in Xinjiang, Buddhist temples in Henan to Taoist Temples in Sichuan, exploring the footprints of religion throughout different areas of China is fascinating and enlightening.
Discover China’s Tibetan Buddhist tradition on a stay in the Xiahe countryside.
4. THE Silk Road
This historic cross-roads where East meets West harbors many rich stories and relics to explore. Follow the road from Xi’an in the heart of China all the way to Kashgar, China’s westernmost city. Visit the ancient ruins of Jiaohe, a vital node along the Silk Road during its heyday. Experience the buzz of Kashgar’s Sunday bazaar where trade is still thriving today, as it has in centuries past. Explore the singing sand dunes of the Gobi desert on camelback. Sip on wine in China’s emerging viticultural region of Xinjiang.
Join a small group of like-minded travelers on a Silk Road adventure.
5. ANCIENT Artisan China
The gardens and watertowns around the Zhejiang region of Hangzhou and Suzhou are classic remnants of artisan architecture and culture from the Tang and Song dynasties – the height of China’s economic and artistic golden age. The beauty of Hangzhou’s West Lake has been inspiration for countless paintings and poems, as well as Marco Polo’s vision of heaven on Earth. Today, Hangzhou and Suzhou are well-developed tourist havens and definitely worth exploring for those with a taste for classic Chinese gardens and Longjing green tea.
Revive your creative side on our Suzhou and Hangzhou tour.