So, hubby and I are planning our first trip within China! We have a few choices we are choosing between for our first trip.. and I'd love your help in deciding where our first trip should be to! Now its important to remember we will eventually see ALL of these places, its just a matter of "when." All of these choices are extremely different, too, so its a hard decision. They each offer a completely different experience.
Choice # 1: Pingyao (平遥）
Pingyao is one of China's many UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is located in Central Shanxi Province. The city is really unique because it is still surrounded by an ancient wall that was built in 1370 during the third year of the Hongwu Emperor (thank you Chinese class... and Wiki!) Its also really unique because its a blend of the ancient and modern. The city right outside the ancient city walls is extremely modern, whereas inside the walls is a completely preserved ancient city.
As you can tell, there would be a lot of great history to learn & amazing historical sites to see.
Choice # 2: Shanghai （上海）
Everyone has heard of Shanghai. Its China's most populated and most modern city. Its a very cosmopolitan city and much of the old has been replaced with the new. Its the hub of fashion in China! There are endless choices for shopping and amazing and unique culinary experiences, and countless opportunities to mingle with Shanghai's young & elite. Think of Shanghai as China's New York City, except more rapidly developing at this point.
The 2010 World Expo is taking place in Shanghai and will be going on when we visit. Over 190 countries are joining this year's World Expo, and there are a ton of amazing events & shows to see. If you don't know what the World Expo is, you can find information about it here. Its pretty amazing!
Choice # 3: Hainan （海南）
Hainan is a totally different experience because its an island in the South of China. Its known as "The Hawaii of China." It has gorgeous beaches & beautiful ocean! Great hotels! At a 5 star Sofitel you can expect to pay just $95 USD a night. There are also ethnic minorities exclusive to Hainan, so those who want a cultural experience can definitely still find one! The Li minority group compromise about 91% of Hainan Island.
In Hainan, you can enjoy the tropical beaches, read in the sun, relax, get a massage (my personal favorite!), visit the authentic Li minority villages, or hike in the tropical rain forests.
This trip will be taken around my husband's birthday, and he IS partial to history and anything old (we like to joke about the fact that while in Ireland, we stopped every single time there was "something old and stone and decrepit" along the side of the road... yeah, in Ireland, we were stopping quite often!)
So, what do you think? What are your first and second choices for my first trip within China? Thanks for the help!
Remember, even if we don't go right away, these places are on our short list of must-see places.
Thanks for the perspective!
P.S. ...when I type in Chinese characters, can you see them?
Disclaimer: the pictures in these posts are NOT mine & I am not claiming then as such! They are courtesy of "Google Image."