Ten Places You Must Visit In Mainland China

Zhuhai Opera House

1. Zhuhai Opera House

Inspired by the Sydney Opera House, but looks like two UFOs have crashed into the earth. Or two very large macaroons, or more to the point of reality, two massive clam shells – which makes sense as just like Sydney’s iconic trendsetter, the Zhuhai Opera House is located next to a beautiful expanse of water. It is endowed with world-advanced acousto-optic and stage technical effects. The Concert Hall has 1,600 seats, a lobby, auditorium, and stage for broad-scale musical drama, musicals, ballet, stage drama, symphonies, chamber music, opera and other large-scale performances and variety shows. With floor space of nearly 50,000 square metres, the opera house cost 1.08 billion yuan ($158 million). Some say it’s shaped as scallops to represent the brilliant sun and entrancing moon, the landmark opera house is the first on-island theater in the Chinese mainland.

2. Guangzhou

Guangzhou is at the heart of the most-populous built-up metropolitan area in mainland China that extends into the neighbouring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen, forming one of the largest urban agglomerations on the planet. In 2015, the city’s administrative area was estimated to have a population of 13,501,100. Guangzhou is ranked as an Alpha global city. There is a rapidly increasing number of foreign temporary residents and immigrants from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa. This has led to it being dubbed the “Capital of the Third World”.

3. The Temple of Heaven

Beijing’s 25 million inhabitants have some great cultural treasures, most of which are over-run by tourists, but simply have to be seen anyway. But the Temple of Heaven is one of my ultimate favourites. It’s on a par with Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, being not the highest publicity icon, but something that has mystique, power, and which evokes a spiritual response.

4. Tiananmen Square, Beijing

Named after the Tiananmen (“Gate of Heavenly Peace”) located to its north, separating it from the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square contains the Monument to the People’s Heroes, the Great Hall of the People, the National Museum of China, and the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic of China in the square on October 1, 1949; the anniversary of this event is still observed there.

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5. The Friendship Bridge Between Dandong & North Korea

Glimpsing North Korea from across the two-part Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge is simply exciting. North Korea looks extremely beautiful from across the Yalu River, and yet there’s this captivating undercurrent of fear. The spectre of Kim Jong Un casts a nuclear shadow across the landscape, where every factory on the edge of the river feels like it’s probably a chemical weapons factory. Walking to the end of the original bridge, halfway across the river, is so poignant – it was bombed by the Americans during the Korean War and has stayed bombed. What a remarkable artefact.

6. Shanghai

The whole city is just awesome! Shanghai has been described as the “showpiece” of the booming economy of mainland China, renowned for its Lujiazui skyline, and museums and historic buildings, such as those along The Bund, as well as the City God Temple and the Yu Garden.

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7. Shuiwan Road, Zhuhai

A street full of bars. It seems that each one is dedicated to making the loudest music possible to drown out their competition next door. Not a place for quiet conversation. A lively place especially at weekends.

8. Shenzhen Airport

A modern wonder, with the most dazzling ceiling which seems to go on forever. If this is what contemporary Chinese architecture can produce, I’m a fan. This airport get the award for best transition to modern times and very rightfully too. What a design – simply fantastic. This is beautiful architecture, an ultra modern design that is light and airy. Services and facilities are first rate. It’s probably the nicest airport in China. Good signage and easy to navigate without a translator. Strongly recommended to go through this Airport to see what the Chinese can do to an airport. Simply brilliant.

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9.Wangfujing Snack Street, Beijing

Located south to the Haoyou Shijie Shopping Mall on the Wangfujing Shopping Street, the Wangfujing Snack Street is easy to spot with its ancient Chinese style gateway. The street covers over 2,000 square meters and offers some 500 snacks from all over China. You can also find the time-honoured brands of traditional Beijing snacks, like Baodu Feng (quick-fried tripe) and Doufunao Bai (jellied bean curd). Even if only in Beijing for five days, you can easily find yourself here almost by accident at least three times – your stomach will draw you towards it.

10. The Great Wall of China

Seen from anywhere, from any angle, whether below it, on it, or above it, the scale of the Great Wall of China can never be forgotten. An astounding 21,196 kilometres long, the Great Wall has been rebuilt, maintained, and enhanced over various dynasties; the majority of the existing wall is from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, and the fact that the path of the Great Wall also served as a transportation corridor. The Great Wall is generally regarded as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history.