Things to do in China
The home of countless different cultures and a history that stretches back 5,000 years, coming up with an itinerary to cover such a country as complex as China can be daunting. Fortunately some of the highlights that every visitor to China will want to see provide a place to start.
Forbidden City. The Chinese imperial palace from the 15th century until the abdication of the last emperor in 1912, Beijing's Forbidden City includes 980 different buildings and is the largest collection of ancient wooden structures in the world.
The Great Wall. The earliest portions of the Great Wall along China's northern border date from the seventh-century BC. Counting all of its various branches, the Wall is estimated to stretch more than 13,000 miles in one of the world's most astounding built wonders.
Terracotta Army at Xi'an. Over 8,000 terracotta warriors and 130 chariots drawn by 520 horses were produced in the third century BC to accompany the then emperor into the afterlife upon his death. This fascinating army was buried and undiscovered until 1974, when a local farmer stumbled across them.
Pass a carved white stone wall and there, next to the bathrooms, is a vending machine with SIM cards from China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom ($22), usable in compatible phones. You can also buy prepaid phone cards in denominations of 50 and 100 yuan ($7–$15).
Located on a hilltop in southern China and opened in September 2009, this pint-size park is almost entirely staffed—from entertainers to janitors—by people less than four feet tall.
Fiona Kotur Marin—a former New Yorker—showcases her snakeskin, shell, and silk brocade clutches, which have earned a following by the likes of Renée Zellweger and Tory Burch.