My journey around China was a hectic but thrilling experience. In a short 3 weeks I managed to visit a several places in this truly fascinating and diverse country. I began with Beijing, a city full of character and history. I saw the incredible Forbidden City—once completely inaccessible to the public—as well as the beautiful Summer Palace and (probably my favorite place in Beijing) the Temple of Heaven. The Temple of Heaven offers you a chance to watch locals going about their everyday life. Men crowd round to watch and play Mahjong, women sew together, groups sing, practice Tai Chi, and take part in water calligraphy. It is truly fascinating.

Dragon Statue in Beijing
Chinese Lantern
Dragon Boat in Beijing
Hutong in Beijing
Tiananmen Square Beijing
The Long Corridor Summer Palace Beijing
Long Corridor at Summer Palace Beijing

Of course, whilst in Beijing, I went to visit the vast, impressive and truly incredible Great Wall of China. Walking along the wall absolutely takes your breath away – it is stunning!

Path on Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China

I journeyed next to Xi’an, a lovely city where the recently unearthed Terracotta Army stand, a sight not to be missed in China. While in Xi’an, I explored the bustling Muslim Quarters. Though the rain was pouring down, it was bright and full of people, street food, and activity–I loved it!

Terracotta Warriors
Terracotta Warriors in Xian
Xian Muslim Quarter
Muslim Quarter in Xian

Chengdu has the most wonderful Panda Research Base and Breeding Center, where you can watch the morning feeding of adult pandas and then be knocked down by the cuteness of the baby pandas!

Panda Breeding Center Chengdu
Giant Buddha Leshan

A little off the beaten track, I next made my way to Yunnan Province, where I explored the Songzanlin Monastery in Shangri-La (home to over 900 monks), walked around the impressive Tiger Leaping Gorge and explored the winding, narrow streets of the Old Town of Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Songzanlin Monastery
Songzanlin Monastery Shangri La
Songzanlin Monastery Incense
Chinese Tea

My favorite part of the journey was visiting Yangshuo and Longji. This area of China is absolutely beautiful. Rugged mountains surround the picturesque Li River. There are relaxing bamboo rafts on the Yulong River. And you can visit the absolutely stunning rice terraces in Longsheng known as The Dragon’s Backbone. This area of China is a great place to hike and explore small villages. I stayed in Ping’an Village which was quiet, rural and absolutely idyllic—but did involve a pretty long hike to get there!

Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge Jinsha River
Jinsha River Tiger Leaping Gorge
Lijiang Old Town
Bamboo Rafts Yangshuo
Li River
West Street Yangshuo
Bamboo Rafts in Yangshuo
PingAn Village Longji Sign
Ping An Village Longji

I then traveled to a famous tea plantation near Hangzhou, where, supposedly, the best green tea in China comes from, and visited the West Lake, inspiration for many Chinese poems and paintings. Next was Suzhou, known for its beautiful gardens and Zhujiajiao, a pretty little water town known as “The Venice of China”.

Snow Beer

Finally, my trip came to an end in Shanghai. A busy, fast paced metropolis with an absolutely stunning skyline and the beautiful Bund to admire it from. I just loved Shanghai! I would jump at the chance to return and get lost in its many neighborhoods, try all the food I didn’t, and go to all the galleries I missed. It is a great city! I was lucky enough to stay on the Bund in a boutique hotel, Les Suites Orient, which I highly recommend. I could take a bubble bath with a view of the Pudong Skyline—a great end to my trip to the Far East!


Les Suites Orient
1 East Jinling Road, Shanghai 200002
86 21 6320 0088
[email protected]

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Fiona Caroline is a fine art film photographer based in London, England. She loves to travel, especially throughout the Indian Subcontinent, and is a collector of old film cameras. She also loves to capture weddings, portraits and the city of London through her lens.


  1. India Tour Packages Avatar

    Wonderful journey to enjoy with family in Shanghai. I really like this place. It is very popular place in China. Thanks to provide the blog post.

  2. Greg Kennon Avatar

    What an incredible looking trip! We have never been to any country in Asia. Any tips for when we do??

    1. Fiona Avatar

      Thanks Greg! If you still need Asia advice let me know! I recommend Cambodia, I adore it. But China is incredible too (but huge!)

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