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It’s Chinese New Year! Celebrate by visiting China’s top five places

Friday 27th January 2012

Last Sunday saw in the New Year for China. Festivities are now continuing for the next two weeks. We help celebrate China by bringing you the top five places to visit in China.

Chinese old lady in Lijang, China

1) Eat culinary delights in Beijing’s hutongs

If you are a foodie, Beijing’s street food in the traditional (and fast-disappearing) hutongs are a must. Six different varieties of tofu on a stick, steamed buns packed full of pork or greens, freshly prepared mushroom and beef stir fry, and of course Peking roast duck. All washed down with a cup of green tea, or staple Tsingtao beer. Delicious. Just being in the hutongs is a treat in itself. Watch knarly old men smoke and ruthlessly play cards, children playing kickabout, and admire the beautiful ancient architecture.

2) Scale the Great Wall of China
There are plenty of entry points to visit the great wall but we recommend Leo Hostel’s “Secret Tour” which really does take you to an off the beaten track part of the wall for an active day traversing the wall’s heights. And no you can’t see it from space.

3) Visit the terracotta warriors of Xi’an
Xi’an sits in the middle of China, and is an easy (but long) train trip from Beijing. Go back in time and marvel at the many warriors and horses dating back to 210BC! Even more astoundingly, the warriors were only discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a water well.

4) Ooh and aah over pandas at Chengdu
Moving south to Chengdu, visit China’s emblem – the panda. Guaranteed cute factor. The Chengdu Panda Base aims to conserve China’s pandas by breeding them and trying to release them back into the wild. Though this is a notably tricky task, it’s a vital one and by visiting the pandas you’ll also be helping to protect them for the future.

5) Trek Tiger Leaping Gorge
Finally, further south, spend two days trekking the mighty 15km long Tiger Leaping Gorge. Breathtaking views, even more breathtaking steep hills, but oh-so-rewarding. Stop off overnight at one of the many cosy guesthouses, which is a highlight in itself. You will be greeted with a steaming cup of tea, and a basic but clean room overlooking the mountain valley.

You can easily build in a trip to China when travelling through South East Asia. Either fly from one of the major cities in South East Asia or travel overland.