China is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing countries in the world, and you can take that in a good way or a bad way. Both methods 'fit the bill' quite well so to speak, and both are ideologies that we can get on board with. However, regardless of what your opinion may be of the nation, there's absolutely no denying that they do certain things in a manner that would baffle even the most imaginative of us.
Over here in the West, where the majority of you are probably reading this, it's not exactly groundbreaking to suggest that we do things differently. Sure, technology has come a long way and countries like South Korea, Japan and China have played a big part in that, but it still feels like the majority of cultural hubs are located in top US and European cities.
Never fear, though, because through the wonder of the internet, we're still able to uncover the biggest ins and outs of a place that many of you should strive to visit one day. We aren't saying it's going to blow you away and we aren't saying you're going to enjoy exploring it, but - wait, no, that's exactly what we're saying.
Without sounding too cheesy we only get one life and it's all about making the most of it, which a visit to China would certainly fall under. Either way, we're confident in stating that the majority of entries on this list are going to leave you saying "hang on a minute, is this real?".
25 Major Ghost Cities
Around China there are dozens upon dozens of brand new cities that have been built over the course of the last few decades, and yet, they’re pretty much deserted. It is believed that there are around 50-65 million uninhabited homes around the country, with the explanation being that there is often a gap in the time frame between buildings being built and locals making the city their home.
When you actually examine the evidence, though, it’s a little bit confronting. It feels like the kind of place where they should be filming The Walking Dead, because it genuinely comes across as a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
24 The Watermelon Museum
It’s a Watermelon Museum located in Beijing. I mean honestly, do you ever need any more information than that?
We just love the idea, to be honest, that someone thought that a watermelon would be the best possible fruit to base a shop around. We aren’t suggesting that it’s a bad thing but more that it’s just incredibly random, which is the kind of territory that we’re about to go down with some of the other entries.
If you’re a big lover of watermelons then we would obviously recommend that you go here, and if you do, make sure you bring us a present back.
23 Police Geese
In China, geese are considered to be very vigilant animals with a sharp sense of when danger is near. The same could be said of geese all around the world, but in Xinjiang’s Shawan county, they’ve actually decided to ‘employee’ these geese in the same kind of manner as they would dogs.
In fact, geese are said to actually be replacing dogs in some regions of China as they’re believed to be even more useful. That’ sounds like a far cry from the kind of geese we get in Britain, mainly because a lot of them just tend to chase families around parks in the hope of getting their sandwiches.
22 Unbelievably Crowded Water Park
Water parks are great fun regardless of where you live, because you can enjoy them in a multitude of different ways. You could go on your own, you could go with your family, your friends, or perhaps even your partner. Alas, in this instance, it would appear as if most people in China select the ‘go with everyone I know’ option.
The majority of water parks in the nation are so unbelievably busy that you’re often left unable to move. Given that over a billion people live there it probably shouldn’t be all too surprising, but come on now, think of the personal hygiene.
21 Tiger Photo Opportunities
We aren’t exaggerating here and we’re so glad that’s the case.
In both rescue homes and sometimes out in public as part of some kind of performance, you’re able to take a selfie (or a general photo) with an actual tiger. Yes, those big, beautiful, intimidating cats.
They’re often under the control of someone else which means there’s a minimal chance that you’re going to end up on the wrong side of their evening meal, but it’s still quite a scary proposition.
Then again, if you’re a big fan of your animals and what not, then you probably think this is the coolest thing in the world.
20 Tianmen Skywalk
Case in point: this is weird in a totally scary kind of way.
With an elevation of nearly 5,000 feet the Tianmen Mountain feels like the kind of place you’d go to in order to defeat a final boss. Obviously there’s much more to it than that, but all we can bring ourselves to focus our attention on is the skywalk that was introduced back in 2016.
It’s known as the Coiling Dragon Cliff, and we truly do want to commend you if you look at this and feel the urge to try it out.
There are so many thoughts that would go through our mind when crossing, and perhaps that’s the point.
19 Ducks on Leashes
Yup. Ducks on a leash.
A few places have done this, but not quite to the same extent as the Chinese. It seems like quite an amusing idea but we’re not entirely convinced that amusing is the word we’d use, mainly because it just looks and feels so unnatural.
It’s like putting a cat on a lead and while we know that also happens, it doesn’t mean we’re okay with it or that we understand it. When it comes to dogs we can completely understand the logic, but we’d need someone to explain this to us a bit more to be honest.
18 The Hanging Temple
It’s a temple built into the side of a cliff. Yes, we agree, it is unbelievably dangerous and we’re kind of struggling to believe that it exists – but it does.
Located around 40 miles away from the nearest city, the Hanging Temple is the definition of a secluded adventure spot.
It was believed to have been built over 1,500 years ago, and we just can’t really even begin to figure out how it’s still standing. We can only really say fair play to Buddhists who are so unbelievably dedicated and committed to their religion that they’re willing to risk their health for it.
17 The Green Village
Just, wow, really. Houtouwan is an abandoned fishing village that once played host to 2,000 or more fishermen, and ever since it was abandoned, it has been transformed into this incredible tourist attraction. Why?
Because greenery has taken over to the point where that’s all you can really see. It’s as if you’re looking at a lost city that should be located underground when in reality, it’s right there. Like, literally.
We can’t decide whether it’s tragic or amazing, so we’ll settle for the middle ground of it being just a little bit weird. Either way, you should try and see it at some point.
16 Dragon Escalator
The Dragon Escalator, found an hour or so outside of Beijing, is actually the longest outdoor escalator in the world. It brings you to the top of the largest dam in the country, but more importantly than that, it’s shaped like a dragon and that’s just great.
Some may see it as a cheap trick or a little bit tacky, but we’d suggest that would be true if it was in literally any other country on Earth. Because it’s in China, though, there’s a certain charm to it that we just can’t seem to avoid.
That may not be a universally shared feeling, but still.
15 Tai Chi In A Park
Tai Chi is a phenomenal art form, and it’s something that often creates a peaceful atmosphere in a more effective manner than the majority of ‘meditation’ techniques out there.
So then, don’t be all too surprised when you go to China and see a whole group of people performing it in the park. Of course there are a few other countries where people are looked at as if they’re crazy for doing it, but you won’t get any of that with the Chinese.
It’s no wonder that they’re so unbelievably relaxed. We might have to take this up, to be perfectly honest. Or we’ll just move there.
14 Play With A Panda
Around the country there are breeding centers for pandas, which makes sense, as they are a species under threat. The number of giant pandas currently in existence is believed to be around 1,800 and while that may be up from 1,000 a few decades ago, there’s still work to be done in order to ensure that growth continues.
But they aren’t just going to be hidden away, which we think is great. Pandas can be really friendly and you’ll actually get the opportunity to play with one at many different facilities.
If you do this, by the way, we’d be incredibly jealous.
13 Great Wall of China
I mean it’s just kind of staggering, isn’t it?
While it may be a World Heritage Site, that title doesn’t even begin to describe just how incredible the Great Wall of China really is. In truth, it’s probably one of the more intimidating man-made structures that can be found throughout the world, and that’s no exaggeration.
It goes on for miles and miles, and there are so many different sides and stories to be told. At 13,000 miles long we’d be baffled if anyone here has even experienced a quarter of that, and it really is a testament to how remarkable the Chinese are at, well, creating things.
Have you ever looked at a picture of a destination and thought that’s exactly where you need to be?
That’s the emotion we get when we gaze upon Lexiaguo. It’s located in Kunming which is the capital city of the Yunnan Province, and it’s highly regarded as one of the most naturally stunning ‘colourful’ places on the planet.
In November the patterns of the crops make for something that, in truth, really is quite emotional. The rich colours will leave you feeling like you’re looking at a painting as opposed to something that is right before your very eyes, and that’s powerful.
11 The Red Beach
Sticking with amazing, colourful visuals: we’ve arrived at Red Beach. It can be found in Dawa County over in Panjin, and to get the biggest question of all out of the way, it looks like this because it heavily features the Suaeda salsa plant. With the sea in the background it’s quite the scene, even if it can be a bit daunting to look at depending on your perspective.
The water is fairly shallow but, to be honest, that doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that this place actually exists and while some may have expected us to list some unlikeable entries courtesy of the word ‘weird’ in the title, that term can mean many different things.
10 Ice and Snow Festival
The Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is bound to leave you realising that your arts and crafts skills maybe aren’t that great after all.
It’s the largest festival of its kind in the world, with around 18 million visitors coming to check it out. The freezing cold temperatures allow for the sculptures to remain standing for quite some time, mainly because of the winter winds from Siberia.
Sun Island and Ice and Snow World are the two main sections, and to be perfectly honest, we can’t think of a place that we’d rather go for Christmas than here.
9 Insane Local Martial Arts
From Karate to Sanshou to Qigong and beyond, there are so many Chinese martial arts to list here and it’ll take us two months just to do so. The beauty of mixed martial arts, of course, is that it’s the kind of sport in which a contest could end at any given moment – but specific Chinese martial arts are a little bit different.
Things are a little bit more ‘methodical’, and every art has a purpose behind it. Some are defensive whereas some provide you with an attacking edge, but whatever the case may be they should all give you a brand new outlook on life.
8 798 Art Zone
The 798 Art zone, which is also known simply as the Dashanzi Art District, is an area in which an old military factory has been transformed into a hub of art and culture in Beijing. The Design Week held annually in the city often ends up there, and it’s not hard to see why.
This is a place for people to go to when they want to have more of a creative outlet. We always hear about how things are quite strict and put into a ‘regime’ of sorts in countries like China, but this takes away that idea and serves as evidence that these locals have many bustling ideas coming in from left, right and centre.
Teabucks is a rip off of Starbucks and, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
We can kind of understand the logic behind this one because it allows you to focus on the tea more so than the coffee, which would certainly go down a treat in a lot of European countries.
We aren’t sure what the tea here would taste like but you’d better believe that we’re downright intrigued to test it out, if only to compare it to Starbucks (or the tea that we drink back home).
The Chinese have many high-level companies and buildings, but we’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that this isn’t one of them. Sorry.
6 The Stone Forest
The Stone Forest, in short, is amazing, but when it comes to an actual definition, it is a set of limestone formations that can be found in the Yunnan Province of China. They’re around 56 miles away from Kunming, and to be honest, they make Stonehenge look a little bit silly.
Many of the rocks resemble petrified trees according to popular culture and because of how many formations there are, it does indeed give off the impression of a stone forest. Arguably the best part about it all is that it’s legitimately surrounded by many other forests, leaving you able to compare and contrast.
5 Dinosaurs Fairyland
In what is potentially the most obscure tourist destination on the planet, there is a Dinosaurs Fairyland located on the border of Mongolia and China – and on the actual border itself, there are two dinosaurs kissing. No, we aren’t making this up.
In what would appear to be a wasteland there are many sculptures of dinosaurs located around the ‘park’ if you will, and there aren’t really all too many folks there at any given time. It is, in truth, a phenomenon, and we mean that in the most natural sense of the word.
It’s not quite Jurassic Park, though.
4 Foreigner Obsession
We aren’t exaggerating here.
If you’re a foreigner and you’ve never been to China before, then you’d better prepare yourself for a culture shock – and not just in the many ways that we’ve already listed.
The locals are fascinated by those in the West and because you’ll stand out like a sore thumb, many of them will come up to you and ask to take a photo with you. They’re either under the assumption that you’re some kind of celebrity, or they’re just really intrigued.
It can be a little bit rude if they actually take a photo of you without your permission, but that’s just how they seem to function over there.
3 The Standard Squatting
We aren’t entirely sure whether or not this is just built into their DNA, but either way, we’re utterly intrigued by the motion of the ‘standing squat’ that the majority of people in China are able to do.
It almost looks as if they’ve been frozen in time or they’re playing some kind of practical joke, when in reality, they just find it comfortable. We can’t imagine that it’d be all too good on their knees, but hey, what do we know?
With that being said, we’re probably going to stick to sitting down or standing up in the typical western manner for now.
2 Pyjamas Are Worn Everywhere
We absolutely adore wearing our pyjamas, because more often than not it signifies that our working day has come to an end. Of course, that isn’t always the case, and in China they find their PJs so comfortable that a lot of locals actually go out and about with them on.
We aren’t just talking about popping downstairs to get the morning paper, because they’ll legitimately go to the shop like that, and some will even go to work in them!
It sounds utterly ridiculous but if you ever go for yourself, you’ll get an idea of what we’re talking about.
1 Fake Apple Stores
Fake Apple stores pop up all over China, taking the term ‘high street rip-off’ to a whole new level. The employees will legitimately pretend to be Apple geniuses in order to try and sell you these false products, and a variety of researchers and YouTubers have tested out this theory themselves and have posted the results online for all to see.
You’d think that this would lead to more and more people cracking down on the idea to make sure it doesn’t continue to happen, but there are still a whole bunch of the shops around.
Sometimes, even the staff themselves are led to believe that it’s real.
Sources: News.com.au, TwentyTwoWords.com, Visit China, AtlasObscura