I may have mentioned in my Thailand article that when I went to Asia it opened my eyes to the similarities we hold in common with their own culture. I realized that Africa and Asia both seem to look to the West, but never to each other yet we are almost the same: from warm greetings to welcoming homes and hearts, to hosting with genuine kindness, Africa and Asia both share a full love for people. Kenya and China are not exempt from this cultural bond.
China boasts a large number of wonderful tour destinations including antique sites and relics, imposing imperial palaces, delicate water towns, amazing natural wonders, splendid cultural heritage, and diversified folk customs. It will take years to visit all of these attractions, but it is fairly easy to tour the top attractions.
In the eyes of most travellers, you haven’t been to China if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall.
One of the iconic symbols of China, the Great Wall is the longest wall in the world, an awe-inspiring feat of ancient defensive architecture. Its winding path over the rugged country and steep mountains take in some great scenery. It deserves its place among “the New Seven Wonders of the World” and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China. The wall spans from China’s western frontier to the east coast, totalling around 5,000 km (3,100 miles), but the most integrated and best-preserved sections are close to Beijing. So this is what people usually mean when mentioning the Great Wall of China.
The Terracotta Army has laid underground for more than 2,000 years. However, in 1974, farmers digging a well uncovered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. In 1987 it became World Cultural Heritage. It is significant because the hundreds of detailed life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese armies in the Warring States Period (475–221 BC), and who were the decisive factor in forming a united China. It raises interesting questions about why it was made, which await your consideration when you come face-to-face with soldiers of the past.
Chengdu is the capital of the Sichuan province in southwest China. It has an international airport, a large railway station, and serves as a business hub for many large companies. One of the most iconic sites in Chengdu has to do with some of its most cuddly residents: China’s Giant Pandas. With a population of less than 1,000 in the wild (and only found in the Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces of China), these pandas are protected by China’s laws to help maintain and grow the panda population. Visitors to the Base, which is just 6 miles from downtown Chengdu, can see the pandas – as well as other animals including lesser pandas, swans, birds, and butterflies – in 92 acres of simulated natural habitats. Based on availability and at an extra donation, guests can also book the opportunity to hold a baby panda.
The karst landscape along the Li River has captured the heart of artists. Generations of Chinese painters and poets have been inspired by the beauty of nature there, using their pens and brushes to capture the breathtaking natural scenery. Nowadays it’s a popular photography destination. When Chinese travellers seek a place of natural beauty, they first think of Li River and Yangshuo.
The 83-kilometre-long section of the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo is the most beautiful. The river landscape is decorated with startling hills, steep cliffs, and farming villages, and is lined with bamboo groves. The Li River was listed as one of the “World’s Top Ten Watery Wonders” by America’s National Geographic Magazine.
Several world-famous figures have visited the Li River, including former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush (senior), and Bill Gates.
National Park and the Yellow Mountains
In East China, close to Shanghai and Hangzhou, Yellow Mountain Scenic Area woos travellers with its five wonders: the sun rises, seas of clouds, oddly-shaped rocks, twisted pine trees, and hot springs. The Yellow Mountains are the most famous peaks in China, and one of China’s three best national parks — the other two being Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Jiuzhaigou National Forest Park. Compared to the two other national parks, Yellow Mountain National Park is easier to access, and, naturally, more popular and busy. Jiuzhaigou in west China’s Sichuan Province is famous for its multi-coloured lakes and fall foliage; Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is well-known for its grotesque rock pillars. If you are looking for world-class scenery, consider going to all of them.
As mentioned earlier there are countless other locations and attractions to enjoy when choosing China as a destination and if you want to find even more detailed information read on China’s Highlights. From traditional Festivals to Spring Festivals and so many others, China is known in its culture for unique events that you couldn’t quite find anywhere else in the world. Two, in particular, seem to be of most interest personally.
Falling on the 15th day of the first lunar month, Lantern Festival is the first significant feast after Spring Festival and is so-called because the most important activity that night is watching beautifully lit Chinese lanterns float into the sky. During the festival, every household eats yuan xiao (rice balls stuffed with different fillings), so it is also called the Yuan Xiao Festival. For its rich, colourful activities, it is regarded as the most recreational of all the Chinese festivals and a day for appreciating the bright full moon and family reunion. This creative event is filled with fun activities for nearly any age, including watching lanterns and fireworks, guessing lantern riddles, performing folk dances, and eating yuan xiao: a dumpling ball made out of sticky rice flour stuffed with assorted fillings.
Falling on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, the Double Seventh Festival in China is almost equivalent to Valentine’s Day in Western countries. As it’s a day of great importance to girls, the event is also called Young Girls’ Festival. Because of the beautiful legend about Niu Lang and Zhi Nu (the Chinese Romeo and Juliet), the festival has come to symbolize great romance. In rural areas, people usually perceive the meeting of Niu Lang and Zhi Nu as two stars in the sky. At the same time, older people tell the young about this old as time, love legend.
Chinese cuisine and drink play a major role in its culture and China has made great contributions to the world in regard to food resource exploration, dietary treatment, nutrition and healthcare, dishware design, and cuisine aesthetics. Intellectuals in China have created countless dishes with engaging names, aromas, flavours and colours – all of which have enhanced the dining experience. During these four or five thousand years of development, Chinese cuisine absorbed various features from different time periods and regions. One of the most famous aspects of Chinese cuisine is Chinese Tea.
With a profound history of over 4,000 years, Chinese tea is regarded as an exquisite art form. Now it has become the national drink and one of the three most popular drinks in the world, the others are coffee and cocoa). Everything from planting tea, to processing and drinking originated in China – along with the famous tea ceremony.
Another art form when it comes to China’s expression through food and drink is Chinese alcohol. I know that may be a highlight in almost any country you visit, but I love that throughout Chinese history, alcohol is used not only as an objective existence but also as a cultural symbol. China was one of the earliest countries in the world to make alcohol and its history can be traced back to prehistoric times.
Alcohol is more than a drink in China; it is endowed with spiritual and cultural value. It touches every aspect of life – including literature, aesthetic ideals, and society itself. From this point of view, drinking alcohol allows one to actually taste a culture.
• Kenyans need a visa to travel to China, though there is a 24-hour visa exemption period for transit fliers.
• The distance from Nairobi to Beijing is 9,224.59 kilometres.
• Kenya Airways has the most direct flights between Nairobi, Kenya and Guangzhou, China
• Bangkok, Thailand – Bangkok International Airport is the most popular connection for one-stop flights between Nairobi, Kenya and Guangzhou, China
• There are 3 weekly flights from Nairobi, Kenya to Guangzhou, China
• Every day there is 1 non-stop flight operating from Nairobi, Kenya to Guangzhou, China
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.