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Guides / Itineraries

A China tour guided by Chinese Yuan banknotes

By Minjun Xu

September 22

If you come to China, make sure to follow the money.

If you come to China, make sure to follow the money.

For those who transcend the monetary value of banknotes and discover the beauty they depict, great things await. Like the Great Wall. Or hills in Guilin.

1 Yuan Note, 4th Edition: Badaling Great Wall 八达岭长城

Badaling Great Wall [Image Credit: Suping]
Badaling Great Wall [Image Credit: Suping]
Built in 1505 during the Ming Dynasty, the Badaling Great Wall was once a military barrier of high strategic importance that protected Juyongguan Pass (居庸关) and Beijing. As the best preserved section of the Great Wall, Badaling has seen tourists from all over the world and many world leaders, including Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan.

Entry: 35 yuan/person (November to March); 40 yuan/person (April to October)

Opening hours: 07:00 a.m. – 06:00 p.m. (November to March);

06:30 a.m. – 07:00 p.m. (April to October)

1 Yuan Note, 5th Edition: Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon 西湖三潭印月

Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon [Image Credit: VCG]
Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon [Image Credit: VCG]
As a masterpiece water garden in southern China, Three Ponds Mirroring the Moon, or Xiao Yingzhou, consists of three mini pagodas first erected by Su Shi, the famous Song Dynasty poet. Every year during the Mid-Autumn Festival, locals light candles in the pagodas, reflecting beams of light onto the water.

Entry: 55 yuan/person

Opening hours: 07:30 a.m. – 04:30 p.m. (spring & summer); 08:00 a.m. – 04:00 p.m. (autumn & winter)

5 Yuan Note, 5th Edition: Mount Tai 山东泰山

Mount Tai [Image Credit: Zuping]
Mount Tai [Image Credit: Zuping]
In the middle of Shandong, Mount Tai is the most sacred of China’s five Taoist mountains. A place of worship for over 3,000 years, Mount Tai witnessed numerous important imperial rites in ancient China and was listed as a UNESCO Cultural and Natural World Heritage Site. It is a good place to learn about ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs.

Entry: 130 yuan/person (February to November); 100 yuan/person (December to Janurary)

Opening hours: 08:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.

10 Yuan Note, 5th Edition: Kuimen Gate 三峡夔门

Kuimen Gate [Image Credit: Haiquan]
Kuimen Gate [Image Credit: Haiquan]
Kuimen Gate, also called Qutang Pass, is the western entrance to the Qutang Gorge on the Yangtze River. Kuimen gets its name from the precipitous, 300m-high door-shaped escarpments standing on both banks. They form a passage less than 100 meters wide.

Entry: free

10 Yuan Note, 4th Edition: Mount Everest 珠穆朗玛峰

Mount Everest [Image Credit: Yan]
Mount Everest [Image Credit: Yan]
On the Sino-Nepalese border, Mount Everest, or Mount Qomolangma in Tibetan, is the highest mountain in the world, with its peak of 8,848m above sea level. Over the past decades, it has been a spot of deadly charm, attracting those determined to conquer it at any cost. See it from base camp, or saunter up to the top for a great view if you’re feeling limber.

Entry: 180 yuan/person

20 Yuan Note, 5th Edition: Guilin Scenery 桂林山水

Guilin Sceneries [Image Credit: Zuping]
Guilin Sceneries [Image Credit: Zuping]
Surrounded by karst landscapes, the Li River in Guilin winds past green mountains and spectacular caves. Take a cruise on the river from Guilin to Yangshuo and see the best of Guilin.

Entry: 216 yuan/person

50 Yuan Note, 5th Edition: Potala Palace 布达拉宫

Potala Palace [Image Credit: Shaomin]
Potala Palace [Image Credit: Shaomin]
The Potala Palace, named after Mount Potalaka, is a grand palace complex on Marpori Hill in the northwest of Lhasa. It was first built by Songtsen Gampo, the founder of the Tibetan Empire, to welcome his Nepali and Chinese wives. As one of the most important symbols of Tibet, the Potala Palace boasts numerous historic treasures, which makes it a world-famous museum of Tibetan art and history.

Entry: 200 yuan/person (May.1st to Oct.31st); 100 yuan/person (Nov.1st to April.30th)

Opening hours: 09:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.; 03:30 p.m. – 04:30 p.m.

100 Yuan Note, 1st Edition. Summer Palace & Longevity Hill 颐和园万寿山

Longevity Hill [Image Credit: Xiaodong]
Longevity Hill [Image Credit: Xiaodong]
The Summer Palace in the northwest of Beijing was once a royal garden during the Qing Dynasty. Crowned “a masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design” by UNESCO, the Summer Palace includes Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake, and exquisite temples, pagodas, and pavilions. It has become a popular recreational park for both locals and tourists.

Entry: 50 yuan/person (Nov.1st to March.31st); 60 yuan/person (April.1st to Oct.31st)

Opening hours: 07:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m. (Nov.1st to March.31st); 06:30 a.m. – 06:00 p.m. (April.1st to Oct.31st)

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