Lijiang is the best known and most touristy place in Yunnan and for good reasons: the enormous old town was once a stage on the Tea-Horse Road and is really well preserved. But is has become very touristy, so here is an anti-disappointment plan should you visit Lijiang!
It's not easy to be a responsible tourist in China! The environment here suffers like nowhere else; historic buildings are destroyed to make way for pale, concrete imitations; and the Chinese love the kind of guided tours that involve large groups of tourists being dragged from one point to another by a guide yelling into a microphone. Oh dear! Adopt a sensible approach, and make yourselves ambassadors for a different kind of tourism!
Near the Great Wall, everyone is expecting to see an imposing monument. And I promise you, you won't be disappointed. Created by successive Chinese dynasties, the Great Wall is one of the biggest works of military genius in the world. As soon as you see it from afar your heart starts to beat a little faster.
Even though the city of Suzhou is undergoing an economic boom, its central district has managed to retain its own authenticity. It is with a sense of wonderment that visitors discover China's most beautiful gardens, as well as the Northern Temple, Tiger Hill, and the silk museum. Known as the "Venice of the East" because of its many canals, life is good there, and you can relax on Pingjiang Lu or Shantang Jie between sightseeing visits.
Bejing, formally transliterated as Peking has been a topic of conversation for centuries: since the Han, Tang, and especially the Jin Dynasties, becoming China's principal city in 1153, until the Ming Dynasty transferred its seat of government there in 1421. That is how Beijing officially became the capital of China.
Shanghai won't leave you indifferent: the skyscrapers of The Bund, and the bustle of Nanking Road are evidence of how dynamic the city is. But you can also see its Chinese soul when you walk through the paved squares and Lilong - the narrow paved alleys that are typical of the city. And, of course, Shanghai is a city renowned for its food: a feast for the taste buds.