China – Nicholas Mackenzie’s Personal Top 5 Holiday Destinations

When people think of China there are a few iconic spots that people instantly think of such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Terracotta Warriors.  However visiting these tourist destinations only begins to scratch the surface of what this magnificent country has to offer.  Below is a guide to my top five personal favorite spots in China that will take you beyond some of the more well-known tourist traps.

Le Shan Buddha (乐山大佛):

If you want to see literally the biggest and finest example of a beautifully carved rock Buddha then you must get to Le Shan.  The 71 meter high giant statue is the biggest Buddha and the tallest pre-modern statue in the world.  The average person is said to be only the size of one of the Buddha’s toes!

Jiu Zhai Gou (九寨沟):

Located in the heart of the Sichuan province this amazing natural reserve could be the one of the least well known natural wonders that China has to offer.  The Jiu Zhai Valley Park is full of amazing waterfalls, towering peaks and ancient forests.  It is renowned for its multicolored pools which have preserved trees that have fallen into its lakes centuries ago.

Harbin Ice Festival (哈尔滨国际冰雪节):

During the cold months of the year the Harbin puts on its annual ice festival and the city turns into a spectacle of sculptures, statues and other exhibits which are all made of ice.  The festival is beautiful when viewed in the evening as the ice-city is lit up by multicolored lights glowing from within the blocks of ice.

Popular Hotels in Harbin

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Wanda Realm Harbin Hotel




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Songbei Shangri-La Hotel Harbin




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Hua Shan (华山):

Located at about 120 kilometers from the city of Xi’an, this mountain has been said to be one of the most stunning yet terrifying walks in the world.  Those looking for a thrill can to scale some parts of the mountain by side stepping on wooden planks nailed into the side of cliff faces!


Suzhou (苏州):

Suzhou is best known as being the “Venice of the East” because of its many wonderfully preserved canals which are hundreds of years old.  Boat trips often pass by Suzhou’s maze of old alleys and markets which travelers are encouraged to walk through and explore.

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