From its pagoda-topped mountains to gleaming skyscrapers and ancient temples, China is a heady mix of imperial splendour, natural beauty and rapid development. Sip cocktails on Shanghai's postmodern Bund, uncover the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an or hike the mountains and valleys of Yunnan Province. Or just sit back and explore China through its many delicious and vastly different regional cuisines.
The culture of modern China is a complicated blend of fervent capitalism and ancient tradition. Fast-paced and cosmopolitan Shanghai is the country's financial centre, while skyscrapers loom above imperial temples and parks filled with locals doing tai chi in Beijing and former capital Nanjing. Muslim Xinjiang and Buddhist Tibet, like many of China's vast regions, have their own unique cultures and flavours which beg to be discovered.
Feel the imposing grandeur of Beijing landmarks like the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, or head south for the ultra-modern skyscrapers, glamorous bars and tree-lined avenues of Shanghai. Explore the bamboo gardens and backstreet restaurants of easygoing Chengdu, get lost in Xi'an's labyrinthine Muslim Quarter, or wander the atmospheric Old Town in Lijiang, surrounded by towering white peaks.
Put your climbing shoes on to scale Hunan Province's sacred Hengshan Mountain, dotted with temples built into the cliffs, or hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge in Yunnan Province, where the river thunders through the world's deepest gorge. Camp beneath the mystical towers of the Great Wall, cycle in the shadow of the limestone peaks around Yangshuo, or sail the mighty Yangtze from Chongqing. Get close to rare giant pandas at the Wolong National Nature Reserve outside Chengdu.
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