Luxury Holidays in CHINA

Secretive and reclusive for much of the 20th century, China is cutting an even bigger figure on the world on the world stage, as you might expect from a nation that is home to one in seven human beings on the planet. The guiding light of modern China is not Chairman Mao but the yuan – consuerism is the new religion and vast swathes of the country are being concreted over to provide space for new shopping centres and apartment buildings. Nevertheless, China’s captivating culture and history still manage to shine through. For every new skyscraper there is a thousand-year-old pagoda, and for every fast-food franchise, there is a teahouse serving hand-pullednoodles and steamed buns.

Best time to visit in China

March to May and September to November

Places to visit in China

  • The Great Wall – you can’t actually see it from space, but it’s just as impressive close up.
  • Lavish places in the Forbidden City and tiny courtyard homes in Beijings hutongs (narrow alleways).
  • The 6000 sculpted faces of Xi’an’s terracotta warriors.
  • Silk Road relics and sifting sands in the empty wilds of Xinjiang.
  • T’ai chi practitioners moving silently in unison in parks across China.

Top things to do in China

  • Take a ‘hard class’ train journey across China to grasp the scale of this enormous country.
  • Climb a karst mountain in the scenic traveller angout of Yangshuo.
  • Eat a banquet fit for an emperor or one of Beijing’s ‘food streets’.
  • Stroll past the kite flyers and colonial office buildings on Shanghai’s Bund.

Discover China

  • Read Wild Swans by Jung Chang and The Search for Modern China by Jonathan Spence for insights into China’s tumultuous last century.
  • Listen to the dissonant melodies of Chinese opera – skip the touristy shows in Beijing for real deal in Chengdu.
  • Watch Zhang Zimou’s Raise the Red Lantern or Fei Mu’s Spring in a Small town and marvel at the wistful beauty of Chinese film-making.
  • Eat the fiery cuisine of Sichuan – flavoured with ‘flower pepper’, an incendiary spice unrelated to chillies or black pepper
  • Drink cha (tea) at a traditional teahouse – leaves are rolled, brewed and roasted to create an astonishing variety of brews.

China Highlights

Chopsticks, calligraphy, the Cultural Revolution, t’ai chi, green tea, acupuncture, state censors, the olympic Games, unchecked development, the ghosts of Tiananmen and Tibet

One word for China Tourism

Chi fanle ma? (Have you eaten yet?)

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