I was fortunate enough to have had an ancient wall within walking distance of my apartment during my first year in China. There were also numerous temples, museums, and ancient structures close by. Because the area was once a major part of the ancient Three Kingdoms, walking around was like traveling through ancient history.
While you may not be fortunate enough to live in a city with such historical value, you should definitely research the area and do some exploring. And don’t trust the Chinese locals to tell you where the scenic or historical spots are located. It never ceases to amaze me how little people know about their own city.
You should also realize that some of the most delightful places to visit in China are well hidden from the eyes of foreigners. If you want to locate the hotspots in your city, here are some helpful tips:
- Do a search on Google or Yahoo! and read what other tourists are saying about places to see or visit.
- Spend some time on your days off riding around the city on a bicycle or on a local bus (usually very cheap).
- Ask the staff at your school if they know of any interesting places to visit in the area.
- Find out where the oldest place in town is located.
- Find a local tourist agency and pick up some brochures about local attractions.
I have spent hours walking around cities throughout the world. I have always stumbled upon places of interests such as markets, temples, ancient towers, and fascinating archaeological sites. Some of these sites were nowhere to be found on the internet or in China guide books. So don’t just sit around on your days off; get out there and do some exploring. You never know what cultural gems you might find hidden nearby!