Reasons to Visit
With some of the most recognisable buildings and monuments in the world, from the ancient Forbidden City to the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Shanghai and Pudong, a trip to China is must for anyone interested in city and rural architecture.
China is awash with enormous cities, arguably the three most famous being Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. All three cities are excellent places to watch the world bustle along around you, whilst of course being some of the top cities to shop and dine.
The portrait of Chairman Mao that stands proud on the front of the Forbidden City is just one of the countless examples of the influence that the Communists have had on this country.
Surely one of the top worldwide cuisines, each region of China is famous for different delicacies. Sichuan hot pot, Hong Kong dim sum, and of course Peking duck, all dishes to get the taste buds going.
In some of the more rural parts of the country ethnic minority groups can be found in large numbers. Many of the same tribes that are found in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand have also settled in Yunnan province and also in Guizhou and Guangxi. Many still wear there traditional dress and so a visit to these regions is often a colourful one!
The different regions of China boast a myriad of different fascinating and beautiful landscapes, the limestone karst mountains in the Guilin area and the high plains crossing over into Tibet to name a couple.
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China, Russia & Central Asia
Our country specialists have travelled the length and breadth of China - here are a few of their favourite things to do
China: the Middle Kingdom. For centuries the world’s richest and most advanced civilisation and now perhaps on its way to reclaiming that title.
This is a land of a billion people and myriad landscapes, of ancient wonders and an intricate modern society stretched across an area larger than Europe.
Journey through lands where the ancient past has been rediscovered, through mountainous realms and rural landscapes whose sublime beauty has captivated artists and travellers for centuries, and visit cities where the architectural marvels of the past vie for attention with the 21st century’s grandest extravagances. Here the frenetic modern world coexists with the timeless rural rhythms of the emerald rice paddies and ancient sacred mountains.
There are Taoist and Buddhist temples, classic tea-houses, labyrinthine canals and majestic palaces to explore, providing harbours of calm in the midst of the bustling modern world.
Belying its image as a homogeneous nation, China's hinterland, and in particular its southern and western regions, is home to numerous vibrant minority cultures that add colour to any classic itinerary. China is truly a country of thrilling contrasts, bursting with energy and magic.
Beijing, China’s modern capital, is a microcosm of the country’s fascinating contradictions and an excellent place to begin your exploration of China’s wealth of history, scenery and sights.
Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan Province and like most other major Chinese cities, boasts a lengthy history of 2500 years, mostly associated with the arts and craft trade. the city’s streets are lined with teahouses where people will spend their afternoons playing mahjong.
The sheer limestone peaks rearing from the flat plain around the city of Guilin form a strikingly beautiful landscape that has, since classical times, formed a key motif of Chinese art and literature.
Since the colonial era Hong Kong has been Asia’s commercial and cultural hub, making it one of the world’s most cosmopolitan, spectacular and thrilling cities. The wonder of Hong Kong lies in its unique blend of influences.
The great Silk Route city of Kashgar, a base for commerce and cultural exchange for countless centuries, is perhaps the most interesting and exciting city in western China. Its celebrated Sunday Market is a chaotic mix of people and animals.
Nestled beneath the snowy peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the narrow cobbled streets of Old Lijiang make up a World Heritage Town. This region is the stronghold of the Naxi people.
The cosmopolitan atmosphere of Shanghai seems far removed from many of the country’s other cities. Contrasting images fuse to form the city, the showcase of a self-confident, 21st-century China.
Rushing from the cold mountains of Qinghai across China’s vast hinterland to the East China Sea, the Yangtze river gives life to some of China’s most fertile land, and has carved out scenery that has inspired poets and painters for millennia.
One of the natural wonders of the world, Tiger Leaping Gorge was formed by the Jinsha River forcing its way between the towering Yulong and Haba Mountains.
The biggest draw of Xian by far remains the Terracotta Army of the First Emperor Qin Shihuang. The figures are complemented by a display of equally stunning bronze craftsmanship discovered nearby.
9 3/4 hours (Beijing)
British Airways, Cathay Pacific & Virgin Atlantic
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
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Further reading:Tours in ChinaWhen to GoItinerary IdeasPlaces to GoThings to DoAccommodationAbout ChinaCountry Guides
Other countries in North Asia & Russia:JapanKyrgyzstanMongoliaRussiaTibetUkraineUzbekistan
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