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Vast, varied and constantly changing, China is a heaving mix of the past and future. Trying to describe China as one thing would be impossible; after all, for centuries it was ruled variously by the Mongols, the Manchus and the Han, and it is made of up a multitude of ethnic minority groups, languages, cuisines and landscapes — which all come together to create the China of today.

Most visit for the iconic experiences: walking on a world wonder, the Great Wall; strolling the glittery Shanghai Bund and seeing the Terracotta Warrior Army, a vast collection of lifesize clay warriors that China’s first emperor had made to accompany him safely into the afterlife.

But China really comes into its own once you arrive and begin to unpack its huge array of experiences. Sweat it out over a steaming cauldron of spicy hotpot, admire some of the world’s most celebrated contemporary architecture in hypermodern Shenzhen, hike a Himalayan valley or marvel at romantic Silk Road landscapes in the northwestern deserts, and zip between them all on China’s shiny, hypermodern high-speed rail system. You could visit a thousand times and never get bored.

7 days

Historic north east

Wall and warriors
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10 days

China’s Golden Triangle

The big three
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14 days

China overland

Metropolises, teahouses and ancient history
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  • Beijing

    Beijing

    With a history dating back over three millennia, China’s mammoth capital is a proud celebration of old and new — showcasing shiny modern skyscrapers alongside the imposing Ming and Qing-era Forbidden Palace...
  • Xi'an

    Xi'an

    The eastern end of the ancient Silk Road and one of China’s historical capitals, Xi’an is a fascinating fusion of culture, food, archaeology and history...
  • Shanghai

    Shanghai

    Shanghai is China’s biggest city and a rising financial powerhouse...
  • Chengdu

    Chengdu

    The charming city of Chengdu, with its beautiful traditional teahouses, is the perfect place to experience China’s famed tea-drinking culture...
  • Great Wall of China

    Great Wall of China

    Mutianyu is easy to reach from downtown Beijing and home to one of the best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China, with densely distributed watchtowers and breathtaking woodland views...
  • Yangshuo

    Yangshuo

    In recent years Yangshuo has transformed from a quiet rural settlement into one of China’s most popular tourist destinations...
  • Hangzhou

    Hangzhou

    There aren’t many images of China more iconic than Hangzhou’s West Lake...
  • Pingyao

    Pingyao

    Considered China’ best-preserved ancient walled city, Pingyao Ancient City (its appropriate official name) is famous for its largely intact Ming and Qing-dynasty infrastructure and architecture...

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