Highlights of China
The capital of the People's Republic of China, Beijing has been the heart and soul of the country throughout its long and illustrious history. In addition to being the nation's political centre, it is also the cultural, scientific and educational heart, a key transportation hub and the centre of international trade and communications. The city's role in the life and growth of the nation translates to an unequalled wealth of experience for travellers. The rich and ancient tapestry that is Beijing's past is gracefully combined with the exciting 21st century metropolis that it is today. This ancient city has truly seen it all and continues to tell its story with beauty and eloquence. Highlights of Beijing include the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace.
There is no setting in China that compares to Guilin's - a region of rugged mountains, crystalline rivers and verdant forests. It was once part of a shallow inland sea rich in marine life, the calcified remains of which, over millions of years, created the foundations for the limestone deposits. Wind, rain and plate tectonic movements over tens of millions of years worked to create the magnificent setting which has been celebrated throughout China since ancient times. Highlights of Guilin include Li River, Reed Flute Cave, Tunnel Cave and Fuboshan Mountain.
Billed as 'Asia's world city', Hong Kong is cosmopolitan with a glittering skyline, the world's most elite fashion houses, Japanese-owned department stores, cricket and horse racing, a shimmering nightlife, European string quartets and high tea. Despite the cosmopolitan veneer and 150 years of British colonial rule, the city is, and always has been, Chinese. The locals live a life that many from the mainland would recognize: hard work, confined housing, teeming fresh market food stalls, a polytheistic religion, smoky temples, spirited festivals and ancestor worship. Hong Kong is the best place to experience how east meets west. Highlights of Hong Kong include Victoria Peak, Man Mo Temple and Lantau Island.
Lijiang is home to the best-preserved ancient town in China which was World Heritage listed in 1997. Walking in Lijiang, meeting local people and discovering their culture can be a gateway to another China. Around Lijiang, there are a number of wonderful natural beauty spots. Lijiang does not have a direct rail link, the only way to get there is by air or by coach. Highlights of Lijiang include the Old Town, as well as Baisha and Longquan Villages.
A bustling metropolis, Shanghai has always captured the imagination of travellers, adventurers and tycoons alike. The city once beguiled foreigners with its seductive mix of tradition and sophistication, seamlessly merged with a cosmopolitan air. Always a city of jostling juxtapositions, Shanghai epitomises modern urban China while its history remains one of its biggest draws. Highlights of Shanghai include The Bund, Old Town, Yu Garden, French Concession and Pudong.
With an average elevation of 4,900 metres, Tibet is the highest region on Earth locked in its Himalayan fortress, and for decades, has been labelled the "Roof of the World". The landscape is one of gently rolling hillocks bordering vast stretches of plain. Breaking the pattern of east to west mountains on the tiered plateau is the eastern sector of Tibet which is distinguished by steep north to south mountains with deep, verdant valleys. The rich valleys support nomadic herdsmen who raise flocks of sheep and yak. Lhasa's highlights include Potala Palace, Sera and Drepung Monasteries, and Jokhang Temple.
There are few cities that can claim a history as rich or ancient as that of Xian. The capital of China's Shaanxi Province, Xian is located in north central China. Due to its incredible past, Xian is a treasure trove of historic wonders and more than 4,000 historical sites and tombs have been excavated. The Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum is one of the major landmarks of Xian because it is the most magnificent archaeological discovery in this century. Another highlight is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
The Yangzi River is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, at approximately 6,300 kilometres in length. With its numerous tributaries and feeders, the Yangzi provides a great transportation network through the heart of some of the most densely populated and economically important areas in China. Almost all of the boating traffic in China is on the Yangzi River as it winds through some of the most beautiful and exciting landforms in the world. Once it reaches the edge of the Tibetan plateau, the river plunges off the "roof of the world," through huge gorges whose walls can reach as high as 3,000 feet. The Three Gorges are famous for their steepness, beautiful wonders and tourist sites.