China conjures up images of the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, of glittering cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong, of the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Potala Palace in Lhasa, of forgotten oases of the Silk Road and of a cruise down the gorges of the Yangtze. China is so diverse it's like several different countries rolled into one and this is reflected in its many cultural minorities and its food. Come and sample this marvellous country with us.
best time to travel
The best months to travel to China are March, April, September and October. A journey along the Silk Road and Trans-Mongolian Railway or to Tibet is best done between April and October.
places to go
Linked to its imperial past by the Forbidden City and Summer Palace, Beijing is a city with a vision of the future. Old hutongs and mega-malls, throngs of bicycles and traffic jams, serene temples and thriving markets - Beijing is a city not to be missed.
Built to keep foreigners out of the Celestial Kingdom, the Great Wall is now one of the major drawcards of China. Walk its ramparts for a few hours or a few days, this monument to engineering will impress you.
Xi'an & Terracotta Warriors
Capital of ancient China, cultural melting pot and start of the Silk Road, Xi'an is famous for its Terracotta Warriors. But stay for a while and discover its Muslim Quarter, its city walls and hidden temples and courtyards.
Chengdu & Pandas
Chengdu has a relaxed teahouse culture and laid-back people. But it is the pandas in the nearby research center that draws travellers here.
One of the world's great rivers and lifeline of China, the cliffs, gorges, towns and villages along the Yangtze are best explored by boat.
Forever hurtling towards the future the city of Shanghai conjures up images of a mysterious, intriguing past of excess and glamour. Discover its fascinating architecture, its galleries and shops and enjoy some spectacular food.
Suzhou & water towns
The water towns near Shanghai are famous for its tranquil canals and humpbacked bridges. Nearby, the gardens of Suzhou are a harmonic combination of water, rocks, trees and pavilions.
The towering limestone cliffs along the Li River near Yangshuo form a truly iconic Chinese landscape. Explore the area by boat or bicycle and understand why so many poems were written here.
Spectacularly located along its harbour, Hong Kong is a city of finance and commerce which also boasts a surprisingly vibrant cultural scene, plenty of markets and an excellent mixture of cuisines. After you are done with your shopping, explore the tranquil outer islands by boat or on foot.
You will never forget your first view of the Potala Palace as it rises up above what once was the capital of an ancient empire. From the boulevards of the modern Chinese city to the winding alleyways of the Tibetan quarter, this is one city you do not want to miss.
Locked in time, Lijiang's maze of cobbled streets lined by wooden houses and bisected by gushing canals, is worth a visit.
Explore the Forbidden City
Stay a while and explore beyond the central axis of the abode of the emperors of China and discover a maze of pavilions, gardens, courtyards and theaters.
Walk the Great Wall
Follow this ancient monument on foot across steep mountains and rugged farm fields, exploring ancient battlements and watchtowers.
Get lost in a hutong
Few of these ancient low-rise Beijing neighbourhoods still exist, but explore them on foot or by bicycle and you will get lost in their charm.
Be awed by Terracotta Warriors
Rows and rows of warriors, staring into the distance as if primed for battle, guard the tomb of a Chinese emperor of old.
Journey down the Silk Road
Discover hidden oases, forgotten trading posts and the market town of Kashgar along an ancient merchant's route that once connected Imperial China and the Roman Empire.
Walk the Bund & French concession
China's best-known street, Shanghai's Bund is lined with gorgeous colonial buildings, once the banks, hotels, trading firms, and private clubs of colonial powers. The nearby French concession offers up gorgeous villas and Art Deco gems.
With so many different cultural groups, it is no wonder that China has such a varied cuisine. Dumplings, Peking Duck, Sichuan and Mongolian hotpot or Xi'an kebabs - try them all.
Bike like a local
Saddle up and explore the hutongs of Beijing, the karst landscapes of Yangshuo or the old city walls of Xi'an.
Discover Hong Kong's harbour
Whether you see the harbour lit up at night from the top of Victoria Peak, or from the Star Ferry as you cross it during the day, Hong Kong's harbour is a sight to behold.
Tea for two
Enter a tea house, order a steaming pot of tea and relax. Watch people play mahjong or listen to the songs of birds in their cages.
Cruise the rivers
From the commercial lifeline of the Yangtze and its tributary gorges with their splendid scenery and calming silence, to a boat ride along the captivating Li River with its landscape of serrated hills like dragon's scales, river cruises are a unique way of exploring China.
Travel the rails
Whether you whisk in under five hours by high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing, or travel by overnight train from the capital to Xi'an, or along the Trans-Mongolian railroad, Chinese trains are a great way to see the countryside and meet the locals.