China is a huge country spanning 9.5 million square kilometres and is home to 1.4 billion people, making it the country with the largest population in the world. From the mountains and deserts in the west, to the rolling hills, rivers and cities in the east, China is hugely diverse.
There are many cultural possibilities to immerse yourself in - from exploring Chinese historical sites, wandering through busy bustling cities to sampling authentic cuisine in traditional markets, China is one of the world’s fastest growing economies and offers exciting possibilities to all travellers.
The Great Wall of China
No visit to China is complete without visiting the Great Wall. At 13,170 miles long and taking 2,000 years to construct, it is a true feat of engineering. The wall can be visited from various points across the country, the most popular spot being Badaling. It is located just 43 miles from Beijing, so it can easily be visited in a day. Here visitors can trek for up to 2.3 miles along the wall taking in various viewpoints, watch towers and also ride a cable car to view the Great Wall from the air.
The Terracotta Army consists of around 8,000 life size terracotta figures that were discovered in a pit in the city of Xian. It is thought that the Terracotta Army were placed there to guard the tomb of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang Di, who lived over 2,000 years ago. Each figure is intricately carved and they have been well preserved with some sections going under reconstruction. The scale of the site is astounding! The Terracotta Army is located about one-hour’s drive from Xian and you can easily book a tour from the city centre.
The best part of China to visit for panda-watching is Chengdu, in the south of the country. In the city itself, there is a panda breeding centre that you can visit for a day if you are pushed for time. If you have more time then it is worth taking part in a volunteer program outside of the city and volunteer in panda research and conservation.
The Yangtze river
The Yangtze river located in the south is the third longest river in the world. Take a cruise along it and witness some of China’s most impressive scenery; steep mountainsides that are dotted with temples and local fishermen using traditional fishing methods in the waters. You can also explore White Emperor City, a large temple complex where you can view stunning ancient architecture, painting and calligraphy. Additionally, It is also worth viewing the Three Gorges dam, the world’s largest hydropower project which is an amazing example of modern engineering.
The most important vaccination for China is Hepatitis A which is a disease transmitted via contaminated food and water. You should ideally get the vaccination at least 10 days before travel to ensure it is fully effective, however, late is better than never. If you are visiting rural areas where access to clean water may be limited then Typhoid would also be recommended. It is a good idea to ensure your Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio vaccinations are up to date. China also has a high risk of Rabies so you may want to consider the Rabies vaccination course. This would be highly recommended if you are working with animals or travelling to remote and rural locations. Moreover, there is a risk of Hepatitis B throughout China. You can contract Hepatitis B through blood and bodily fluids, so anyone who is undertaking adventurous activities, staying for long periods and/or working in hospitals should consider the vaccination course. Travellers to rural locations, including swamps and rice fields may wish to be vaccinated against Japanese Encephalitis, a disease transmitted via mosquito bites. The vaccination is a course of 2 which can be done 1 week apart.
There is a high risk of Malaria in Yunnan province in the south and malaria tablets are advised for this region. Elsewhere the risk is low and tablets are not required. A good DEET based mosquito repellent should be used throughout the country.
Some of the vaccinations require numerous doses so try your best to come in at least one month before travel, to ensure you have time to complete the course. Book an appointment with one of our specialist travel nurses now!