Journey through China
Collected by Lindsey Tramuta, AFAR Contributor
It would take a lifetime to truly do this culture the justice it deserves but below you'll find fodder for a delicious and exciting first taste. Get your feet wet and then immediately begin planning your return trip!
399 Lujiabang Rd, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Shanghai tailors are the best in the world, says fashion designer Christy Holzer, whose label, Dowry Designs, was inspired by the city. She suggests visiting the South Bund fabric market to order custom garments. DRESS: STALL 308 “A fun style to...
24 Zhonglouwan Hutong, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100007
Explore the back streets near Andingmen Station for a glimpse of everyday life in the hutongs of Beijing. While in the area, stop for a drink at the unexpectedly hip Siif Cafe. As the sign out front says, they have good coffee, along with...
Zoo, Xicheng, China, 100037
Traveling to Beijing over the Christmas holiday wasn't exactly my wisest decision. Despite ultra-warm layers, thickly-lined boots, and a massive scarf large enough to protect most of my face, the biting cold stymied my ability to hit all the spots...
Pudong, Shanghai, China
Prince Edward, Hong Kong
Hong Kong cuisine matriarch Martha Sherpa instructs both culinary professionals and aspiring visitors how to prepare dim sum staples like traditional pork steamed buns and dumplings filled with homemade egg custard. Intimate classes of no more...
Jiuzhaigou, Aba, Sichuan, China, 623400
Jiuzhaigou Valley (or Jiuzhaigou National Park) is located in Sichuan, China. It is one of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This is the longest hiking experience I've ever had - it took me two days to finish every part of the park! However, I...
Xiacheng, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
The design of most Park Hyatt hotels is supermodern. But for its first resortin China, the brand looked back in time for inspiration. On the shores of the Dong Qian Lake in the province of Zhejiang, the Park Hyatt Ningbo Resort and Spa was...
18 Zhongshan East 1st Rd, WaiTan, Huangpu Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
When the sun goes down over Shanghai, the real spectacle begins. Make your way to the Bund, the city's historic waterfront, featuring early 20th century European style architecture. If you gaze across the Huangpu River at an area called Pudong,...
62 Hengshan Rd, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200031
The boat trip to the Yangtze delta is a great Shanghai excursion. The delta itself is not very interesting, as there's water everywhere and you can't decide whether you're on a river or the sea. But you pass the old harbor of Shanghai and you can...
3 Chongwenmen Outer St, ChongWenMen, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
One of my favorite moments in Beijing was sitting around the cozy circular bar at Noodle Bar for front-row action of the chef pulling our noodles by hand. The menu is simple and straightforward: all noodle soup with your choice of brisket, tendon...
15 Guozijian St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100007
Across the street from the Lama Temple is the Guozijian, or Kong Miao. However, as my philosophy teacher warned, the Confucian philosophy is not to be confused with religion—that is to say, this is not really a worshipping temple. Rather, it’s a...
3 Xinbi St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100031
This gleaming performing arts center, sometimes called the Giant Egg, was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and inaugurated in 2007. The ellipsoid dome, made of titanium and glass and surrounded by a man-made lake, looks a bit like a...
4 Jingshan Front St, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100006
Beijing's number one tourist attraction is a massive former imperial palace known as the Forbidden City. Between 1416 and 1911, it was home to 24 Ming and Qing dynasty emperors and their families and staff. In 1912, after the abdication of...
Jiading, Shanghai, China
With Shanghai’s sprawling metro system, this suburb is now a few short stops from downtown. Why would you want to make the trek out to Nanxiang? Well, among other reasons, it’s the home of xiaolongbao…those marvelous little soup filled pockets of...
Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Hangzhou is an easy day trip from Shanghai, just 45 minutes by bullet train from Hongqiao Station. Hangzhou is the home of China's prized Longjing green tea, which you can taste at the China National Tea Museum. The city is also known for its...
1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
This complex of Taoist religious buildings was constructed in the early 15th century under the Yongle Emperor, who also commissioned the Forbidden City, just to the north. The temple's central building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a...
100 Century Ave, LuJiaZui, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
Tucking into Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings), throwing back cocktails along The Bund, strolling with locals in Fuxing Park, trolling for antique treasures in the shops on Dongtai Road, and taking in the past and present at one of the many museums...
While at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, I decided that I had to see Chairman Mao. While I was checking out the line, one of the guards--off duty, I think, saw my friend and I. He walked us across the street to drop off our bags--cameras included. He...
The Great Wall of China runs more than 21,000 kilometers (over 13,000 miles), not as one continuous wall but rather as fortified wall sections. Some of the sections date back more than 2,500 years, though only 8.2 percent of the existing wall is...
Qian Hai Bei Yan, ShiChaHai, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China, 100009
One element of experiential travel is in the local transportation; in Beijing, the hutong pedicab tour is a great way to experience the city and learn how people lived, both past and present. Pedicabs wind through the narrow streets with open...
Huazhou Rd, Haizhu Qu, Guangzhou Shi, Guangdong Sheng, China
Another find within the picturesque Xiaozhou Village, this clothing and accessories shop is tucked into at an old village house. Many of the items for sale are traditional to China’s minority group; you'll find clothes, wallets, shoes, jewelry,...