This feature marks the first post from new video contributor Kelley Ferro. Kelley’s five-part video series on China—the first of many series covering destinations across the globe. The second part is here, the third part is here, the fourth part is here, and the fifth part is here.
With just one week in China, I only had time to focus on the best of the best in each of the three cities that I visited: Shanghai, Xi’an and Beijing. Luckily, I wasn’t doing this all on my own; I had the help of tour operator Wendy Wu Tours, a member of the prestigious United States Tour Operators Association. Being on a tour helped me make the most of my time in each city, and it made those internal flights and transfers a whole lot easier! Plus, when you’re in China, you might have a lot of questions like I did, so it was helpful to have a knowledgeable guide nearby the whole time.
Watch the video above, and see below for more!
I used to live in New York City so I felt at home with the urban energy, sea of people and cloud-grazing buildings of Shanghai. The city felt like its own country of skyscrapers, fancy restaurants, crowded shopping streets, and streetside food stalls. However, there are pockets of tranquility, which I found in both its People’s Park and the Old Town. Don’t miss those two historical, serene spots—both prime for photo opps.
It’s not just the jumping-off point for the Terracotta Warriors; Xi’an has its own unique personality. This ancient, walled city surrounds a lively downtown with a university vibe and vibrant nightlife scene. The Muslin Quarter is worth the stroll back in time, but don’t miss some of the newer food halls—and take a dumpling-making class!
If I thought the other two cities were busy, but turns out that was just because I hadn’t yet been to Beijing. Yet in spite of the traffic and hoards of tourists, Beijing was just so fun. Sanlitun is a neighborhood with so much happening that it reminded me of New York City’s Fifth Avenue, with famous chef-owned restaurants, topline shopping, trendy coffeeshops, and well-heeled travelers. While it’s worth a night of shopping, dining and bar-hopping, my favorite spot has to be the hutongs. I was amazed to find a burgeoning hipster culture within these historical alleys, which showcase ancient life blending with today’s culture in an impressive way.
In Part 2: Exploring ancient China.