China, the most populous country in the world and geographically one of the largest, has a history as sweeping as its territories and a culture as varied as its landscape. This is the country of emperors and revolutionaries, farmers, and explorers, where man-made wonders like the Great Wall and Grand Canal are exceeded in magnificence only by the gifts of nature: the mighty Yangtze River and the Himalayan mountains spanning the far west of Tibet, where Mount Everest rears its peerless peak. And the country's contrasts enshrine almost limitless opportunity for the traveler. Whether you're looking for a beach holiday or a whirl through a mega-city, a cultural bliss-out amidst centuries-old art and architecture or a hike through hills and valleys so beautiful you'll half doubt that they're real, China will offer you, not just each option, but a spectrum of choice within it! You could spend your whole life in this vast country and not get enough of it: domestic travelers actually make up the biggest sector of China's booming tourism industry, and with so much variety and wonder for Chinese people to see within their own borders, we're not surprised.
Revel in the legacy of the Ming Emperors, builders of the Great Wall of China, in their capital Beijing, as you wander through vast portals of history like the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, and the magnificent tombs fashioned for the emperors and members of their households. Visit the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an, 8000 ceramic soldiers guarding the body of China's first emperor, and the sacred temples of Lhasa, the heartland of Tibetan Buddhism – then swing through the pendulum to the other end of history as you look out across the super-modern skylines of Hong Kong and Shanghai. Then there are the natural glories of China to enjoy: West Lake in Hangzhou, the muse for a thousand Chinese poets; the Jiuzhai Valley, whose weird beauty has earned it the soubriquet “fairyland on earth”; and the pristine beach paradises of Hainan Island. Oh, and did we mention the food? Lamb-stuffed pita in Xi'an's Muslim quarter; Beijing's world-famous roast duck; Kung Pao chicken in Chengdu and fresh coconuts in Asian Dragon Bay; Shanghai's Gaoqiao shortcake or Suzhou's sticky rice sweets...we'll stop there before we make ourselves hungry, but one thing's for sure: China's cuisine, like its scenery and history, has to be experienced before you'll believe just how good it can be.