As the country that invented paper, gunpowder and the compass, the middle kingdom is one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations.  It is home to architectural feats such as the Great Wall, a 2,000 year old structure that stretches 4,163 miles (6,700 kilometres) long and is visible from space.  The Grand Canal in Suzhou, dating back to the 5th century, which at 1,764 kilometres is the longest man-made waterway in the world.  The Forbidden City is the largest palace complex in the world.  Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the highest altitude railway in the world connecting Xining to Lhasa, Tibet. China is also home to the Qin Terracotta Army in Xi’an, a collection of 8,099 life-size Chinese Terracotta figures of warriors and horses, as well as large portions of the historic Silk Road. The scenery in China is equally impressive, from the striking Three Gorges and namesake Dam, the Yangtze River to the watercolor-perfect hills of Guilin, to the lofty Mount Taishan. From its rich long history, its colourful culture to its splendid landscapes, China is a world in itself for you to discover.

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Questions answered about visiting China
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I'm heading to Shanghai in May. thinking of hitting Beijing, the great wall, perhaps Xi'an, and maybe some hiking in the yellow mountains. I think this is a lot for two weeks, but I'm not sure if I should plan more. Also, I'm really looking forward to the food. Any suggestions?
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Travel Tips from people who've been to China

When most Australians go to live abroad for the first time, they usually take the "safe" option and go to the UK.  If they are feeling extra adventurous, maybe they'll go to America or Canada.  My best friend and I decided to go to Dalian, China, and I have no doubt in my mind that it was the best experience of my life.

When Chinese people refer to Dalian, they allude to one catch-phrase - "Dalian is a beautiful city," or "the pearl of the orient."  While the beaches don't have the pristine sands of Western Australia, or the magnificent skyline of Melbourne, Dalian is undoubtedly one of the nicer cities of China.

Dalian is one of the smaller Chinese cities with only a population of about 6.2 million(yes this is small), but only has and urban population of about 3 million including a developmental zone. 

Dalian governs the entire Liaodong Peninsula of North-East China, while mountains surround the northern end of the city, which makes for many-a lovely hiking trip through the mountains and surrounding townships.  As Dalian is a seaside city, there are also plently of opportunities for strolls along the coast when weather permits.  

As with most of China, there is also plenty to do and costs were minimal.  As an English teacher, I was able to live on about 500RMB per week(about $70US) and this included eatling out every night, and having an active social life.  Having travelled in most provicences of China, Dalian definitely had the best food, as unlike the rest of China, it food was niether sweet or laden with MSG.  For $1 US, you could enjoy a tasty Chinese BBQ with lamb sticks and Corn bread, before heading out for an evening of drinking and playing Jenga or connect 4 at Noahs Ark or Dave's Bar.

In the summer, Dalian comes alive in it's many paks and squares where you can join in with the locals and play Hacky Sack(with a feathered ball thing), or a version of Duck Duck Goose they play where someone walks around everyone who are standing in a circle and drops the hankey behind you before being chased (sadly I got caught and ended up having to stand in the middle with the other losers singing "We Will Rock You".  In Zhongshan Square, in the city, they also do dancing.  In our mis-guided attempts however to learn the steps, we ended up leading the locals in dancing the "Nutbush" to their music!

Don't get me wrong, Dalian had it's drawbacks.  Hygiene in retaurants, a hole in the ground for a toilet, the beaches had pebbles instead of sand, and communicating and accepting the beuracracy of their customs was often frustrating -as you would expect, but overall, Dalian was a fabulous experience, and I highly recommend it.

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The West Lake came from a shallow bay in ancient times where Qiantang River ran into the sea. It was formerly named as Wulin Water Golden Buffalo Lake, Qiantang Lake and Xizi Lake. As it lies in the west of Hangzhou, it was later named the West Lake. It covers an area of 6.6KM2, the average depth being 2.27M and the deepest being 5M. It has mountain on three sides and the city on the remaining one side.The Lake and mountain are magnificent. Centered on the West Lake Scenic Area is a national scenic area with a total area of 59KM2.
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You gotta see the Forbidden City and venture out to see the Great Wall. It might be better now, but when I was there 5 years ago nobody spoke any English and everyone wanted to take pictures of us cause we looked so different. It can be a bit off putting at the start but you find out that the locals are really friendly. I recoomend finding an English speaking local tour guide and get them to introduce you to people. After that it's great!
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