Chinese food might look a bit different in China than the take out you’re used to back home. It’s easy to get intimidated and often times it’s hard to ask questions if you don’t speak Mandarin. I know some brave souls who just point to something and hope for the best. Sometimes it’s good to find places with pictures on the menu instead-but however you strategize don’t be afraid to dive in – that’s why you came here after all, right? China has a ton of different cuisines across regions and Beijing is the perfect place to find a wide variety.
Take a cooking class! I had a blast and learned (and ate) a ton at mine. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be operating anymore but here is a list of somet he top rated cooking classes in Shanghai. I would also suggest taking a look at AirBnb Experiences as they usually have very high quality and unique offerings.
There are a few initial repeats but keep reading because overall these 3 lists have different suggestions
Even for those who are not remotely interested in archeology (me) the Terracotta Army is still incredibly impressive and without question one of those Must-Do’s in China. Make sure one way or another you have a guide or are getting information about it because the more you learn the even more impressive it all becomes.
It’s true. You can visit the Avatar Mountains in real life. The world created in Avatar was based on this National Forest Park and it is every bit as magical as you could ever hope. Come explore the true awesomeness of nature!
Translating to mean Heaven’s Gate Mountain there is no confusion as to where the name comes from when you lay eyes on it. To get there, take what is advertised as the “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world”. Take a stroll along the walkways hanging off the side of the mountain and if you dare, you can even go on a glass walkway, allowing you to see all the way down as you take each step. On your way back down the mountain, opt to go by road to take 99 bends all the way down and don’t miss the Tianmen Cave along the way. There are no great pictures of the actual gate because I had a foggy day so you couldn’t even see the mountain until you were RIGHT underneath it! But it made it all the more heavenly to ascend into the clouds on the 999 step climb to the gate.
Bamboo rafting is a major tourist trap and consequently costs more money than it should. You will get the exact same view from hiking or riding along the shoreline for less money and no lines. In my opinion, it’s just not worth it.
White water raft down a man-made river with a bunch of Chinese tourists. The instructions and safety guides will be entirely in Mandarin. You will have no idea what is going on (unless you speak Mandarin) from beginning until end. You will have a blast. It wasn’t what I was expecting but I had an amazing time! We paid money for the photos but they come in a format that I have yet to figure out how to open, 5 years later. Oh well, I have the memories with me.
From the food to the pandas this region is so quintessentially Chinese. The work being done here with pandas has quite literally saved the species.