One of the world's earliest great civilisations, China is a nation on the rise. The world's fastest growing major economy, with the world’s largest population, has seen the influx of so many investments, and its urban and tourist infrastructure is constantly evolving. Today, its main cities are emerging as cosmopolitan global centres, with modern marvels of architecture and engineering. And yet this country also has countless remnants of thousands of years of glorious history. China has over 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City in Beijing, aside from diverse cultures, cuisine and scenery in its mega-cities and in the countryside. Truly, a must-visit for anyone who considers himself a world traveller.
The political, educational and cultural capital of The People's Republic of China, Beijing (also known as Peking) has been the seat of power in China since the days of Kublai Khan. The 2nd largest city in China, Beijing is renowned for its opulent palaces, temples, and huge stone walls and gates. Its art treasures and universities have long made the city a centre of culture and art in China.
- The Great Wall of China, built as early as the 5th century BC, spans up to 5,500 miles. Beijing is one of your gateways to the Great Wall, aside from other World Heritage sites.
- The Forbidden City, the enormous palace compound with 9,999 rooms that was home to emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Palace Museum here contains imperial collections of Chinese art.
- Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest central city square and the site of many historical events. It’s flanked by significant edifices including the Chinese Revolution History Museum, Mao’s Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People, Tiananmen (Heavenly Peace Gate) Tower and the Qianmen, and Front Gate. Try to catch the exceptional daily sunrise and sunset flag ceremonies.
- Beijing's Beihai Park, reputedly built by the Great Khan, has architecturally distinctive walkways and pavilions, a 27-metre Nine Dragon Screen that supposedly wards off evil spirits, and a lake so large it has its own island.
This thrilling city with its endless shopping and towering skyscrapers is a striking mix of old and new, a study of contrasts that always surprises: ramshackle buildings beside ultramodern highrises, rickety trams above the state-of-the-art subway, etc. With its fascinating brew of Asian and Western cultures, neon signs galore, dim sum, and amazing temples - it’s a place you'll never get tired of.
- Victoria Peak, the Aberdeen Fishing Village, the Man Mo Temple and the Sheung Wan Dried Food and Herbal Market.
- Hiking in Lantau Island and the MacLehose Trail in the New Territories; golf in some of the world’s finest public facilities; or biking at Tolo Harbour or in the city's vast circuit of bike paths.
- Hong Kong cuisine!
- Retail therapy! Besides boasting a magnitude of choices, Hong Kong is a duty-free port and charges no sales tax. Reserve luggage space for bargains you’re bound to discover.
You won’t go to China for beaches, but you'll find them - spectacular ones - in the shoreside city of Sanya. Its dazzling white sand shoreline, bright blue surf and colourful underwater world make Sanya a popular dive site.
- The all-natural silvery beach at Tianyá Haijiao, best known for the engraved rocks along its coast that are said to form "the edge of the sky and the end of the sea”
- Watersports of all kinds: scuba diving, windsurfing and kayaking. Wear sunscreen, the sun can be very intense here.
- Pearls and coral jewelry, the best things to take home from Sanya.
Post-Mao era Shanghai is light years away from its restrained past. Today's Shanghai is a bustling metropolis with a revitalised port and a sizzling art/shopping/restaurant scene that rivals even the most cosmopolitan Western cities. Attractions - “The Bund,” Shanghai’s colonial-era street, which forms the city’s waterfront, and the “French Concession,” a goldmine of art deco architecture. - The beautiful Yu Gardens, in the Old City, a classic example of Ming garden design. - Authentic Chinese souvenirs at the Old City God’s Temple Market. - The dazzling performances of an authentic Chinese Acrobatic Show.
The "Diamond of the Bohai Gulf," Tianjin is China's largest northern seaport, a dazzling blend of downtown sophistication and ancient history.
- The dragon-like Huangyaguan "Yellow Cliff" Pass of the Great Wall.
- Gu Wehua Jie for a glimpse of Qing Dynasty architecture.
Xiamen, also known as Amoy, is a seaside village turned international port city in the Fujian Province of China. Sure, it has the skyscrapers and the hustle-and-bustle of many larger Chinese cities, but it's also known as China's cleanest and most relaxed city. With its charming old quarter, scenic countryside, tree-lined beaches and vehicle-free getaway island, Xiamen offers a pleasant respite with all the modern amenities.