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Is a trip to China worth it?

You may ask your self over and over again, "Is a trip to China worth it?" Well, I have the answers for you. China is a big country with a long history and unique culture; it is one of the most beautiful countries endowed with wonderful and natural sceneries which attract tourists every time of the year. A tour to China can be an educational tour, recreational tour, adventure tour, cultural tour or a religious tour. This depends on your preference and your length of stay, however whichever tour you decide to take, the trip is always worth it.

In order to enjoy your tour around China, it is advisable to engage in the services of a reliable tour operator based in China. Their agents have local guides who are willing to show tourists and visitors the sightseeing and attractions of the beautiful cities.
Since 24 popular scenic spots were listed in the World Heritage List by UNESCO, China has become a world renowned tourism destination. These places are well preserved relics which date back to some hundreds years with a historical and cultural theme. The attractions make for an interesting place to visit on your China tour. The sites as listed by UNESCO include:

1. The Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains: located in Hubei Province, these buildings represent the highest standards of Chinese art and architecture for over one thousand years.

2. The Ancient City of Ping Yao: this is a well preserved city which presents the way a typical Chinese Han city looks like.

3. Old Town of Xidi and Hongcun: these two traditional cities is a representation of the appearance of the rural settlements transformed during the last century. The styles and architectural designs of the houses in this region symbolize their survival mechanism of the locals.

4. Capital Cities and Tombs of Old Koguryo Kingdom: this site has archaeological remains of the 40 tombs and the three cities – Guonei City, Wandu Mountain City and Wunu Mountain City.

5. The Classical Gardens of Suzhou: the nine gardens in Suzhou showcase the natural landscape of a small historical city. Dating from the 11th to 19th century, the metaphysical significance of the beauty of Chinese culture is seen in the design of this garden.

6. Dazu Rock Carvings: these are magnificent and exceptional rock carvings which date back from the 9th to 13th century. These carvings contribute to the beauty of the landscape of Dazu. They signify the friendly combination of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.

7. Potala Palace, Lhasa: The Potala Palace was the winter palace of the Dalai Lama. This Palace symbolized Tibetan Buddhism and how it influenced the administration of Tibet. The architectural design and beauty of the Potala Palace is what adds to its historical and religious interest.

8. The Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: These palaces are located in Beijing and Shenyang. The palace in Shenyang consists of 114 buildings which were constructed in the late 17th century. It has a library which contains important articles which testify to the foundation of the last dynasty of China.

9. Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties: These tombs feature rich decorations of stone carvings, statutes and tiles with dragon motifs all of which illustrate the development of the architecture during the Qing Dynasty.

10. The Longmen Grottoes: These grottoes contain the largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art from the late Wei and Tang Dynasties. The Longmen grottoes showcase an outstanding manifestation of manmade artistic creativity.

11. Mount Lushan in Jiangxi province is one of the spiritual centers of China'scivilization. The strikingly beautiful landscape has inspired many artists to visit this place where severaBuddhist and Taoist temples are found.

12. Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor: This is located in Xian surrounded by the famous terracotta warriors. These statues remain to be unearthed with the small different figures. The horses, weapons and chariots are masterpieces of great historical interest.

13. The Mogao Caves: These caves are situated along strategic points on the Silk route. This point was an important trade zone during the ancient times. The 492 caves and cells have also contributed to cultural, religious and intellectual influences which are known for their statues and paintings of rich Buddhist arts.

14. Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan Irrigation System: The construction of this irrigation system began in the 3rd century. It controls the waters of the Minjiang River and distributes it to the farmlands located in Chengdu plains. Mount Qingcheng was the birthplace of Taoism which boasts of many sacred temples.

15. The Mountain Resorts and its Outlying Temples: This is a vast complex of ceremonial palaces and administrative buildings built into a landscape of pastureland, lakes and lush green forests. The Mountain Resort was the Qing Dynasty's summer palace built in 1703 and 1792.

16. Lijiang Old Town: This old town has retained its reputation for its historic landscape and commercial center. The old town is set in a dramatic landscape representing the blend of different ethnic cultures to produce a sophisticated landscape of ancient architectures.

17. Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian: This site lies 42km away from Beijing; still under scientific research, this site led to the discovery of the remains of Sinanthropus pekinensis. This site is an exceptional reminder of the prehistoric human societies who lived in the Asian continent. It makes for an interesting destination for adventure and archaeological scientists.

18. The Summer Palace in Beijing: This site is an imperial garden which was first built in 1750, destroyed by the war in 1860 and then later rebuilt in 1886. The Summer Palace has a natural landscape of hills and open waters and built among man made pavilions and halls which all together make the site a place of value. It is a representation of Chinese landscape garden design.

19. The Temple of Heaven: This is an imperial sacrificial altar in Beijing founded in the mid 15th century. It represents a complex of fine buildings surrounded by pine woods and gardens. According to Chinese cosmology, the overall layout of this temple and its individual buildings symbolizes the relationship between heaven and earth.

20. The Great Wall of China: The construction of this wall was built as a defense system to prevent the invasions from the north. This construction continued till the Ming Dynasty and has remained the largest military structure in the world with rich historical background.

21. Temple and Cememtery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu.

22. Yin Xu in Hennan Province

23. The Yugang Grottoes in Datung city has about 252 caves and 51,000 statues.

24. Historic Center of Macao

Other natural and mixed sites listed in the World heritage List worth visiting include the Huanglong Scenic and historic area, Jiuzhaigou Valley and Scenic spot, Sichuan Giant Panda sanctuaries, the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan protected areas, Wulingyuan Scenic spot, Mt Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Spot, Mt. Huangshan, Mt. Taishan and Mt. Wuyi.
With this list showing the beautiful and majestic attractions of China, you are rest assured that your trip to China would be worth it after all.

For comments and inquiries about this article, visit Passport to China- loves to write about adventure travels and tours in China. She writes forChina Tour and Travelsa foreign inbound tour operator in China.

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Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (Canon 550D)

Frequently Asked Questions...

How many days do you need to see San Francisco?

Limited vacation time from work. I want to see SF in the fall (Nov). I am interested in an intense trip from early morning to late night.

Best Answer...


You can see the highlights in three full days. But it will require an extremely tight sightseeing schedule. Not a very relaxing way to spend your vacation. I have suggested an itinerary below. But I recommend that you modify it to suit your tastes. Allow for some down time and just walk around. Like New York, San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods.


Go ahead and get your cable car ride out of the way early. The California Street line is far less crowded than the ones going to Fisherman's Wharf. And it passes by more interesting landmarks too. You'll see the Main Ferry Terminal, Tadich Grill (opened in 1849), Montgomery Street (Wall Street West), Chinatown, the Fairmont, the Mark Hopkins, the Pacific Union Club, Grace Cathedral, and the infamously seedy Polk Gulch.


Return to Downtown San Francisco. Aside from the $5,000 shirts and handbags around Union Square, there are also some stellar cultural sites nearby. Among these are the San Francisco branch of the venerable Museum of Modern Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Asian Art Museum, War Memorial Opera House, and City Hall (tours at 10 AM, Noon, and 2 PM). The Opera House was where the treaty ending World War II and creating the United Nations was signed. City Hall is home to the California Supreme Court and boasts the world's fifth largest dome.


Downtown San Francisco is lively at night. Go to the nightclubs in SoMa or the Tenderloin. See a show or play in the Theatre District. For listings, pick up a copy of the Bay Guardian or SF Weekly. On Union Square is a ticket booth for shows that hasn't sold out. But don't count on getting into Wicked or November this way. For the headline shows, you'll need to buy tickets before you leave.



Book an early (from 6 AM to 9 AM) "half-day" tour to either Muir Woods or Wine Country. The entire tour should take no longer than 4 or 5 hours. Usually included in the tours is a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. You should return to the city by midday. Most tours leave from and return to the Fisherman's Wharf area.


Don't bother with the Wharf's kitschy carnival "attractions." They aren't worth it. Instead, devote the afternoon to an island excursion. Angel Island is far more scenic. But Alcatraz, of course, is famous for other reasons. The Angel Island ferry departs at 1:05 PM (weekdays) and 1:50 PM (weekends) from Pier 41. And Alcatraz ferries leave from Pier 33 roughly every 30 minutes. Reservations are a good idea.


A short distance from the waterfront is North Beach (Little Italy). Although the sleazy strip clubs and tourist restaurants dominate, there's plenty of legitimate nightlife here as well. Among them are Vesuvio, Tosca Cafe, Bimbo's 365, Cobb's Comedy, and Jazz at Pearls.



Explore the 1,000 acre Golden Gate Park. In addition to the many gardens, trails, and sports facilities, there are two major cultural institutions here. The DeYoung Museum focuses on the art of the Americas. While the California Academy of Sciences is one of the nation's top natural history museums.


Drive, bus, or bike along the "Great Highway" from Golden Gate Park to Lincoln Park. The highway follows the Pacific Coast line. At Lincoln Park is a coastal trail, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and a golf course. The palace is a pretty convincing replica of an 18th century French chateau. It is well worth a visit.


Head up to Twin Peaks - the mountain in the middle of the city - by car or taxi. This is the "money shot" of night time San Francisco you've seen a million times in postcards. With millions of lights and the city skyline laid out before you, it is not hard to imagine why.

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