China

Beautiful chaos and ancient history

Contributors
Megan Eaves

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.

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Historic north east

Wall and warriors
Approx. 7 days
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China’s Golden Triangle

The big three
Approx. 10 days
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China overland

Metropolises, teahouses and ancient history
Approx. 14 days
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