A few years ago I somehow convinced my parents to take me on a trip to China. It was only surprising because my Mom basically said she never, ever wanted to go to China (in case you are wondering, she ended up loving it). We took a cruise with Viking River Cruises, which took us to the following places: Beijing, Xian, Chongqing, Shibaozhai, The Three Gorges, Jingzhou and all the way to Shanghai. There were my top five must see spots in China (PS. there are about a million must see spots we didn't get too, but I know there will be another trip). 1. The Great Wall of China- 4,000 miles long, a world heritage site and an absolutely breathtaking experience. It was really foggy the day we went, hence the awful picture, but this was one of the most incredible sites I have ever seen.
2. Visiting Tiananmen Square (hi MOM!)- Palaces, gardens, courtyards, history, movements and another world heritage site. I loved Beijing (more than any other stop on the trip) mostly because of this experience.
3, Embracing the local culture- Everywhere we went I tried to find one hot spot to embrace the local culture. This was in Beijing at a local night-food market. I didn't try any of the delicacies (starfish or seahorse on a stick), but it was beyond fascinating to explore.
4. Xian Terracotta Warriors- Thousands of life sizes warriors, one of the most interesting museum-type environments I've ever been in. We spent almost the entire day exploring the warriors, horses and infantry there.
5. The Bund in Shanghai- This was a chance to explore the most incredible views of historic and modern buildings together I have ever seen.
Most people don't consider China in their travels and instead venture to Japan or SE Asia, but I absolutely loved my trip to China and would return again in a heartbeat. A unique historical, but modern country with so many must-see spots.