After a long life spent working hard and traveling whenever you have had the time to do so, you have checked off most of your travel bucket list goals, except for one glaring exception: China. Whether the excuse had been political turmoil, a lack of money or time, or whatever else in the past, you need to stop making them.
Having arrived in the promised land of retirement, an open schedule is now yours, the worst of China’s civil unrest ended decades ago, and you aren’t getting any younger. Now is the time to plan that long postponed trip to the Middle Kingdom before something irreversible with your health or your finances legitimately stop you from going.
While China is a massive country, with its land area almost as large as the lower 48 states, there are three relics from its ancient past that if they are the only major attractions that you see during your time here, you could consider this journey a resounding success.
The relics of Imperial China await … don’t delay another day!
1) The Terracotta Warriors, X’ian
Designed as a mausoleum of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty, the Terracotta Warriors are a form of funerary art designed to symbolize a massive army that would protect its deceased monrach in the afterlife.
Unimaginably huge in its scale, the are three separate pits containing 8,000 different soldiers, as well as hundreds of rock-hewn horses and chariots. The detail on each of these life-size statues verges on the insane, as each varies from the other in terms of their facial features, weapons they held and armor that they wore.
2) The Forbidden City, Beijing
No longer closed off to commoners and foreigners as it was in the days of the Chinese empires, the Forbidden City grants a glimpse into the lives of the political elite in those days. From the 15th century through to the 20th century, it was home to the emperors of the Ming through to the end of the Qing dynasties, as well as countless valuable artifacts from China’s distant past.
Gorgeous ceramics, bronzeware, statues and jade jewelry will have you fantasizing about being a ruler within this realm, and the amazing architecture will forever change your opinion of inspiring design when you get home.
3) Great Wall of China, various locations
With raging Mongol hordes threatening the viability of entire Chinese state through much of its history, a push to ensure its safety was made as far back as the 3rd century BCE, with the Wall being rebuilt and expanded countless times over the ensuing centuries.
Many of the most popular sections of the Wall are located within close range of Beijing, though less touristed parts can be reaches within a few hours drive of the capital. This includes Shanhaiguan, where the Old Dragon’s Head represents the end of the Great Wall where it juts into the sea.