Friendly Planet Blog

Chinese city spotlight: A traveler’s take on Shanghai, Beijing, and Xi’an

I’m not the only person at Friendly Planet Travel with a love for international adventures. In fact, many of us here at Friendly Planet have been drawn to our work by our love of exotic destinations, and we travel regularly to stay abreast of great new tour opportunities for our customers.

Kate Katubi, a member of Friendly Planet Travel’s reservations team, recently returned from our 10-day A Taste of China tour. As all exotic travel should be, Katie’s trip was life changing, and she wanted to share insights about her tour with us on the Friendly Planet blog. View the slideshow to see China from her eyes and read on to hear what she had to say about three of her favorite Chinese cities.

Exploring the “Paris of the East”

Shanghai, China’s largest city, boasts an array of cultural delights. During my time in the city, I explored timeless silk shops, dined on decadent pork dumplings, and gazed at bronze sculptures at the Shanghai Museum of ancient Chinese art. Within a city renowned for its skyscrapers, I still stumbled upon beautiful ancient gardens and quaint meandering canals. At night, I joined the hordes of tourists and locals at Nanjing road and the historical Bund, and admired the brightly lit streets and Shanghai skyline. This city is a perfect example of China’s growth in the last 20 years.

Experiencing modern Beijing

The backdrop of Beijing might be modern, but the capital’s rich history overpowers the shimmering skyline and crowded boulevards. I drank in the ancient history by glimpsing buildings adorned with traditional architecture, wandering among the city’s twisting alleyways, and viewing ancient temples positioned at the feet of looming skyscrapers. While I could have spent countless days exploring Beijing, I also traveled outside of the city to hike the Great Wall. Climbing the ancient stone steps and trekking along the massive fortification was the highlight of my trip and a true privilege. Beijing is one of the world’s most visited cities, and after experiencing the capital, I now understand why.

Viewing the city of soldiers

While the city of Xi’an might be small, don’t be fooled, there is much to see! I toured the city center and tasted the local specialty of pita bread in lamb stew, haggled with vendors for delicate paper cuttings, and people watched in one of the city’s many parks. I also visited the 2,200-year-old Terracotta Army, and viewed the more than 8,000 life-size ceramic soldiers, chariots, and horses that were built to protect the tomb of the first emperor of China. I suggest grabbing a ticket to the Tang Dynasty Music and Dance Show, and watching Xi’an’s history come to life. Finally, you must visit the City Wall, Drum Tower, and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda!

Thanks for sharing your trip with us Katie! You had some great insights, and beautiful pictures. Have you visited China? Let us know about any other cities you’d like us to highlight.

1 Comment

  1. Rosa Leimann Goodrich

    I had the great pleasure of traveling with Katie on this tour! She is a lovely young lady with a great personality. She is a true asset to Friendly Planet! Will hope to see her again on some other FP adventure!

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About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

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