China’s 5,000 years of civilization collide with a 21st-century powerhouse vibe, making the huge country an immensely captivating place to visit. Its innate sense of culture is evident in much loved proverbs; ‘a book is like a garden carried in the pocket’ reads one that neatly evokes China’s widespread characteristics of natural beauty, creativity and no-nonsense practicality. In Beijing, enjoy the splendours of the Forbidden City and take in cutting-edge art at Dashanzi Art District, then head out to the Great Wall; visit Shanghai for urban pizzazz and eye-popping sky-rise architecture; marvel at the misty beauty of the Guilin limestone landscape; cruise the Yangtze to see ancient wonders and (controversial) engineering innovation; sample spicy Sichuan cuisine in Chengdu, also renowned for its giant pandas.
And that’s just for starters. Wherever you go, daily life also delights – from kite flyers to vibrant markets and time-honoured tai chi sessions in public parks.