Our recommendation to visit China
Our recommendation to visit China and neighboring countries
Holidays to China
Exoticca Travel Stories
Creating unforgettable memories, one traveller at a time
I loved every minute of it!
Overall, my favourite moment of our China tour was visiting the Great Wall, but the whole trip together provided an unforgettable overview of the country and was great value for money. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about Chinese culture.
China Travel advice
Events and festivals in China
The variety of ethnic groups that inhabit China since antiquity has caused the country to enjoy many festivities, some of them ancestral. The most well-known of all is the celebrations organized for the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated in Chinese neighborhoods around the world.
Each year this festival is related to a different animal of the Chinese horoscope, hence its meaning varies each edition. China is governed by the lunar calendar, so most of its holidays are subject to the moon. Some of the common characteristics of many of its festivities are their colourful costumes, music and traditional dances and parades.
Food in China
Food plays a very important role in Chinese culture because it is closely linked to both traditional festivals and social events. Chinese food uses a variety of ingredients, sourced from different parts of the country. Chinese cuisine is also well-known for the richness of its dishes. Furthermore, some typical dishes are said to have therapeutic properties, so sometimes Chinese food is also used to alleviate ailments and diseases in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Although one of their most popular dishes is rice, Chinese cuisine also includes noodles, soups and an extensive variety of meats and vegetables. As for their sweets, the best known are fortune cookies, which entertain diners with their hidden proverbs.
The influence of Chinese cuisine on other Asian cuisines is more than evident. In addition, the emigration of many Chinese communities to America, Europe and Oceania has resulted in the popularity of Chinese food throughout the world.
Typical dishes of China
Chicken Gong Bao
This traditional dish is one of the spiciest in Chinese cuisine. It is made up of small pieces of chicken, served with stir-fried vegetables, peanuts or cashews, chilli peppers and Sichuan peppers. One of the most popular foods in China.
Chow Mein is a traditional Chinese noodle dish, with thick wheat noodles. It is usually served in a bowl and can be accompanied by a variety of ingredients. The most common variation is with beef or chicken, as well as cabbage and vegetables. However, there are also seafood and fish versions. There is a Cantonese version that includes different types of meat, crunchy noodles, peas, bamboo and prawns. They are often seasoned with soy sauce to intensify the flavour and it is a popular Chinese street food dish.
One of the most popular dishes in China, you will find Dim Sum everywhere, from street stalls to shops and restaurants. Depending on where you buy it, dim sum can be sweet and filled with fruits; or savoury and stuffed with vegetables, meat or seafood. Its texture is fluffy and the Chinese usually consume them as a snack before lunch or in the mid-afternoon. Dim Sum is certainly one of the more widely recognised traditional Chinese foods.
Fortune cookies are a global symbol of Chinese cuisine. They are characterized by their sweet and crunchy dough, with a paper message hidden inside. It is usually a proverb or a prophecy. The variety of phrases is enormous, so you might never receive the same message twice. In fact, Fortune Cookies are one of the most widely exported Chinese products!
Jiaozi are typical Chinese dumplings, made from soft dough and filled with minced meat and vegetables. They are usually boiled, although in some places they are fried so that the edge of the dough is somewhat crispy. Its horn shape symbolizes good luck in Chinese culture, so they are usually served on Chinese New Year. The jiaozi is accompanied by a bowl of soy sauce to give them a more intense flavour.
These pastries acquire their name as they are usually served at the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is determined by the phases of the moon! Usually round or rectangle in shape, they are usually consumed in the afternoon, as a snack, and accompanied by green tea. Ingredients used in traditional moon cakes are dried lotus seeds, vegetable oil, duck egg yolks and caramelized sugar.
This dish is consumed throughout China and is considered a national dish, one of the most famous traditional Chinese foods. Containing crispy duck meat, its dark colour is due to the rich plum sauce which covers the duck and gives it its characteristic flavour. The duck is cooked in the oven so that its exterior is crunchy and served cut into thin slices. Due to its popularity, this dish can be found in most Chinese restaurants.
This dish is not exclusive to China but is consumed throughout Asia, especially in the Southeast. White rice, when boiled, acquires a sticky texture. It is usually accompanied by different types of vegetables, bamboo shoots, meat and eggs. Flavourings are also added. A Chinese breakfast dish, sticky rice is also given to sick people, since the ginger in the recipe is said to improve indigestion.
Won Ton Soup
Won Ton is pieces of white dough made from wheat flour that are usually stuffed with minced meat, onion, prawns, ginger and soy. The name, which means to ‘swallow the clouds’, refers to the strange shape. They are consumed accompanied by broth, fine noodles, onions and prawns. Won Ton soup can be found throughout the country, in both restaurants and Chinese street food stalls.
Zongzi is one of the most traditional dishes in China and is usually served during the Dragon Boat Festival. It consists of a bamboo leaf roll filled with sticky rice, small pieces of meat and sweet beans. The parcels are usually steamed or boiled. Zongzi are usually cylindrical shaped. Zongzi is a popular food in China and can be found throughout the country.
Shopping in China
China is a shopping paradise. The country has large avenues, shopping centers and endless markets where you can find clothes, electronics, crafts and other products, both imitation and originals. Its main characteristic is that, in addition to having the opportunity to find very cheap products, the country invites haggling, so the price in many occasions will be really low.
Clothing is one of the most sought-after items on a trip to China, as well as the fact that the country has factories where items for international brands are made, it is also known to have some of the best replicas. The same applies to watches or electronics, although in the latter it is important to ask for a guarantee.
Undoubtedly, the most valuable products have to be their crafts, because China is known worldwide for its ceramics, especially its porcelain. Also for its embroidery, chopsticks and for its great variety of teas. Most of these products can be found in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong.
China tourist attractions
More information about China
The ‘Giant of Asia’, China is a global power known for its unique culture, amazing bucket-list sights and ancient history, alive in its numerous monuments scattered throughout the vast country, from the Terracotta Warriors to the Great Wall of China.
As the most populous country on the planet and home to 1.4 billion people, China holiday packages will put you in amongst the locals and introduce to you their warm hospitality. China is home to plenty of natural wonders, from the deserts of Inner Mongolia to the ‘Lake District’ of Jiangsu, the endangered Giant Pandas of Chengdu and the soul-stirring landscapes of the Yangtze River.
Add mouth-watering cuisine and you’ve got a country that captivates the imaginations of all intrepid travellers! There are no avoiding the big cities, icons of the country, but why should you when they have a charm all of their own, from ancient capitals such as Xi’an and Beijing to the flashy ultra-modern financial hub of Shanghai. Everything you’ve ever wanted to see, buy, experience or feel is a possibility in China. A tour of China is the perfect travel experience due to the sheer diversity of the country; whatever your travel style, there’s something for you.
History of China
As one of the world’s oldest civilisations, China’s history is as long as it is fascinating! Known for its strong dynasties, China’s first dynasty was the Xia, which emerged from the region of the Yellow River Plains in the 21st-century BC.
As different dynasties ruled China across the centuries, each left their own legacy: the Han, with their advanced technology such as compasses, the Zhou, masters of Chinese philosophy and Confuscism, the Tang, the dynasty of the Golden Era who developed the lucrative Silk Road routes, the Ming, famous for their white and blue porcelain crafts and for restoring the Great Wall and finally, the Qing, the longest-ruling and last dynasty, who ruled from 1644 to 1912.
The relics of these dynasties are some of the most spectacular sights to visit on a holiday to China such as the Forbidden City, a former imperial palace of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the ancient capital of Xi’an and the Dunhuang Cave Temples of the Tang dynasty. The Republic replaced the dynasty and civil war and rebellion ensued. The Communist Party of China established the People’s Republic of China, a one-party-state in 1949.
Nature in China
A land of vast and diverse landscapes, highlights of China’s ethereal natural beauty include the winding Li River and its limestone karsts, the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts in the north of the country, the Tian Shan mountains and the subtropical forests of the south. Its coastline is unimaginably long, stretching for an amazing 14,500 kilometres. A number of national parks protect some of the most precious natural wonders such as the Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve in Sichuan Province, an unmissable stop on a package tour of China.
This paradise of natural springs, autumn coloured trees and crystal clear lakes guard China’s best-loved icon, the Giant Panda, although catching sight of them in the wild is extremely rare. If seeing Giant Pandas is top of your agenda, a visit to the Panda Base Sanctuary in Chengdu will give you the best chance of spotting one of these loveable bears.
Among the many well-known and hidden natural attractions in China, nature lovers should never miss the opportunity to experience the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, a series of amazing rock gorges set in the mythical landscape of Asia’s longest river. It’s a popular sight for Yangtze River Cruises.
The limestone karsts and rivers that wind through the regions of Guilin and Hangzhou are equally as atmospheric. If you want to get in touch with your spiritual side, there’s certainly something otherworldly about the mystical mist-covered Yellow Mountains, whilst the hot springs of Tengchong offer some laid back relaxation after a hard days sightseeing. Even amidst the urban sprawls of the country’s biggest cities, nature at its finest is never far away on China tours.
Culture in China
With such a long and complex history, it’s unsurpirsing that China has one of the most intricate, fascinating and sophisticated cultural landscapes in the world. Today, a mix of old world values and westernised lifestyles mix together to create a brilliant atmosphere of new-meets-old, something which captivates all travellers who take a tour of China. Confucianism, arts and sciences are three important pillars of Chinese culture and have been for thousands of years.
Education is highly valued in China and the country has a long history of examinations, with the prestigious Imperial Examinations dating back to the Han dynasty. You could say that there is a culture of merit in China; people work hard to achieve their academic goals. Hierarchy also plays a big role in everyday life both within families and in the workplace. Mandarin is the most widely spoken language, although Cantonese is also frequently used.
Among the cultural traditions, calligraphy, pottery, dance and opera are icons of the country; you cannot take a trip to China without watching the prestigious Peking Opera or taking home a beautiful piece of blue and white pottery as a souvenir. Although many traditional ways of life and arts loss their momentum after the Republic was established, in recent years there has been a resurgence in Chinese tradition and it is widely celebrated.
The Kingdom of Cathay, the Giant of Asia and the Middle Kingdom; there are many names for China. The only way to understand the complexity, beauty and diversity of the country is to travel to China for yourself and see the relics of dynasties sit side-by-side with ultra-modernity.
Passport with a minimum of six months validity.
A visa is required to enter China. Issued by the embassy or consulate. Price approximately £200.
UTC + 08:00.
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Different signs, numbers and symbols.
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