When most foreigners hear the word “China” and “tourism” together, they instantly start imagining Shanghai, Beijing, The Great Wall, streets bustling with pedestrians and bicycles, huge traffic jams and of course air pollution. As someone who’s lived in China for more than 4 years, I believe that there’s so much more to it than that. It’s gargantuan in so many ways, not just the size and population but also in its beauty, diversity, culture and lifestyle. Even after 4 years I learn something new every day. China is much more than the clichés our mind conjures up every time we hear the word. If someone asked me how I would describe it, I’d say it’s an enigma. It’s beauty far exceeds imagination. China has one of the most diverse landscapes and natural beauty on this planet. Radiant sandy beaches, lush green forests, roaring rivers, scorching deserts, treacherous mountains, crystal clear lakes, snowy hills, and magnificent ancient architecture and cultural relics. Before coming to China, I had a bucket list of places I would travel to in China during my time here. The list comprised of 40 places which, according to CNN, were “must see”. After arriving here and 4 years of travelling my list has increased far beyond 100 places that I’m yearning to visit. Regardless of where it is there’s one city that I like to call my home, Xi’an.
The English word "China" is a transliteration of the Chinese ideogram meaning "Qin". Those who live in and around Xi'an are direct descendants of the Qin people. Emperors chose Xi'an as their capital partly because of its fertile land and sufficient water supply and partly because it was militarily formidable, because of the mountains that skirted it. It is precisely because of its somewhat isolated location that Xi'an was able to preserve so much of its history and culture to this day. So it's no wonder that some say Xi'an is the historical center of China today. An ancient philosopher once mused that all those seeking the truth should go to China; and a contemporary philosopher consolidated it with that no visit to China is complete without a journey to Xi'an.