Backpacking Through China – Key Places to Visit

The beautiful country of China attracts millions of tourists each year and it’s little wonder why. With a country diverse in its natural beauty and culturally, China offers visitors a wealth of experience. Welcome to a land of peach blossoms, chopsticks, temples, tea shops and an endless supply of incense wafting in the breeze.

In the north of the country you will discover endless blue skies and the lush grasslands but in the winter the north is a land of endless snow and ice; to the south paddy fields and rolling hills are the home to vibrant cities and exotic minority villages; to the east the coastline presents many historical attractions and bustling cities; whilst to the west is the legendary Silk Road and a land that is so different to the rest of the country.

Backpacking through China allows you to experience a country unlike no other. Flights are easily affordable. Economical airline tickets can be brought from a variety of websites, even on very short notice. You will need to obtain a visa for Tibet but independent travel throughout the rest of the country is easy.

The Forbidden City, Beijing

The Forbidden City in Beijing

Visitors flock to the Forbidden City like moths to an open flame. Also known as the Imperial Palace was the home to 24 reigning emperors from the Ming and Qing Dynasties and a host of eunuchs, concubines, their families, servants and slaves. The palace was created in a way which corresponds to the principals of yin and yang and certainly conforms to the Chinese idea of beauty. This attraction is so vast that you definitely need a full day to get around and see everything here.

Great Wall of China, Mutianyu Section

The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is perhaps the most iconic tourist attraction in China. Stretching thousands of miles across the country in varying degrees of repair, there are hundreds of sections in and around dozens of cities and towns so no matter where you are travelling to, there is always a part that you could visit. Most head to the Beijing sections of the Great Wall, but for an authentic, realistic experience of this amazing human achievement, visit the Jiayuguan section, where the last fort of the Great Wall was finished in 1372. This part of the wall allows you a taste of the desolation and sheer loneliness many of the soliders faced being so far from home and their families.

The Xilamuren Grasslands near Hohhot, Inner Mongolia

For a taste of the nomadic lifestyle, head to the Xilamuren Grasslands located around 80km north of Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. Backpacking independently across this region is much cheaper than joining a tour and offers you a true taste of northern, nomadic standard of living. As you travel around this area, you will be met by the various ethnicities who call this place home and often be invited back to their yurts.

Li River, mountain tops in the fog

Cruise the Li River in Guilin

The opportunity to cruise down the Li River in Guilin is a chance to experience the beauty and serenity of this land. The southern province of Guizhou is home to some of the most stunning natural beauty and there is no better way of experiencing it than on the water. As you glide on these amazingly clear serene waters alongside traditional bamboo rafts you will learn how to let go of the rat race and experience peace and tranquillity.

Travel the Silk Road in the Northwest

Head to the far-flung provinces of Gansu and Qinghai and you will come across a land completely different to that of Beijing and the eastern region. This is where you get a taste of Central Asia, especially in cities such as Kashgar and Urumqi. The exoticness and history of the legendary Silk Road draws visitors to this remote region, especially the Mogao Caves where hundreds of early Buddhist temples were carved into the rocks centuries ago. Several caves are open to the public and are a fascinating place of religious and historical artworks that are truly wonderful to behold.

Backpacking through China is a magical place to visit and easily accessible no matter where you start. With a melting pot of fascinating cultures, great historical attractions and diverse regional cuisines, there is no better place to visit.