Located at one end of the Silk Road and home to the famous terracotta warriors and the country’s most adorable residents, giant pandas, Xi’an, Sichuan and central China have a lot to offer lovers of history, culture and wildlife.
Xi’an holds much of China’s amazing history. Ancient China was divided up into seven different states which were almost constantly at war and central China became the birthplace of a unified China, thanks to the first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who ordered the construction of the Great Wall of China to keep out nomadic tribes. One of the most significant archaeological discoveries was that of the thousands of life-size terracotta soldiers, now kept at the Terracotta Army Museum, standing sentinel by the first emperor’s tomb (along with bronze chariots and weapons), which is one of the region’s biggest attractions.
Sichuan’s capital Chengdu is the best place to go if you want to see giant pandas, with plenty of sanctuaries where you can go and meet these iconic bears. You’ll find not only amazing wildlife but picturesque landscapes including alpine valleys, small villages, cliffs with carved Buddhas and clear blue lakes to the north of the province. Go 80 miles south of Chengdu and you’ll find a 233-feet Buddha statue on the banks of the river in Leshan. This multifaceted district is close to Chongqing, famous for the Snow Jade Cave, which features beautiful stalactites as pure as jade. There, you’ll also find the Four Wonders cave, which has the largest coral tower in the world and a number of different stalactites in formations that resemble certain animals. The Three Gorges are a popular cruise route; stretching approximately 3915 miles across the Yangtze River, they showcase some of the most scenic views in the country.