There’s no easy way to categorise China, the fourth biggest landmass on our globe and a country whose inhabitants make up nearly one-fifth of the total world population. It’s not surprising that you can find almost everything here, from preserved artefacts of ancient civilisations to soaring contemporary skyscrapers, magnificent mountain ranges and tranquil villages to immense cities.
Fascinated by history? Make sure your itinerary includes the incredible Terracotta Army in Xi’an, Beijing’s Forbidden City,and the infamous Tiananmen Square. Hoping to lose – and find – yourself in wild expanses of stunning landscape? Head to Yunnan province in the southwest of the country, or out west to the great deserts of Xinjiang province, once crossed by great caravans of the Silk Road. Perhaps you want to see the best of modernity that the East has to offer, in which case book yourself in for a bustling city break in Beijing or cosmopolitan Shanghai and explore the many excellent restaurants, museums and shops. All this and, of course, the unmissable Great Wall.
China is, by turn, mesmerising, exhilarating and eye-opening, making it one of the most exciting countries to explore today. We can help you decide how best to discover it.
Need to Know
– Fly direct in about 11 hours to Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong. Most airlines will let you fly into one city and out of another, so you don’t need to backtrack. If you have time, travel across land. It’s even possible to take the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Manchurian Railway all the way from Europe.
– China has a good network of domestic flights connecting major cities. While the service is not always fantastic, the safety record is good and the fleet consists of modern Boeings or Airbuses. For the more out-of-the-way places we would provide a car and driver. Trains between certain destinations can also be a wonderful way to see the country – whether by China’s growing network of highspeed rail, or longer overnight journeys
– China occupies such a vast landmass that the climate varies greatly. In general though, the best time to travel is spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November); summer can be hot and rainy, but plenty of people visit at this time. Winter is very cold in the north around Beijing – though the Great Wall looks spectacular under a dusting of snow, and you’ll have it to yourself.
Visa/ entry requirements
– Tourist visas are necessary to get into China and we can help you with the application. You will need a valid passport and visas must be obtained in your country of origin before travelling. If you are employed in the media, give us a call to discuss how to make the application.
Events (festivals, wildlife migrations)
– China has a wealth of festivals. The most notable is Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival since it marks the end of the winter season. It falls on different dates of the Gregorian calendar each year, somewhere between January 21st and February 20th. The Dragon Boat festival falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in the lunar calendar and Dragon boat racing can be seen throughout the country. Elsewhere there are numerous festivals dotted throughout the year – such as the Harbin Ice festival, the world’s largest ice sculpture festival (December and January); and the Sister Meal festival – a kind of Valentine’s Day festival for the Miao minority in Southern China (varies, but usually in Spring time).
When to go:
Spring and autumn are the best months broadly speaking but there are huge regional variations.
From £3500 per person for a ten day trip.
Wild Swans by Jung Chang – a classic text and a real page turner telling the life stories of three generations of women from the same Chinese family.
If travelling off the beaten track it’s wise to pack loo roll and wet wipes!
Did you know?
In the south of China, people say "we will eat anything with wings except an airplane and we will eat anything with legs except a table."