Things not to miss in China
#02 Jiayuguan Fort, Gansu
Famously lonely desert outpost, guarding the remote western tail end of the Great Wall.
#03 Central’s skyline, Hong Kong
Indulge in afternoon tea while admiring one of the world’s most spectacular cityscapes.
#04 Dim sum
The classic Cantonese breakfast; there’s no better place to try it than in Gaungzhou.
#05 The Yellow River at Shapotou
Witness how “China’s Sorrow”, the mighty Yellow River, is being used to re-vegetate desert dunes.
#06 Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan
One of China’s great hikes, along a steep-sided canyon, with attractive homestays along the way.
#07 Hanging Temple, Heng Shan
Rickety wooden shrines to China’s three main faiths, suspended on a cliff-face by flimsy-looking scaffolding.
#08 The Jokhang, Lhasa
Stuffed with gorgeous statuary and wreathed in juniper smoke, this is Tibet’s holiest temple.
#09 Taking tea, Sichuan
Offering unlimited refills, Sichuanese teahouses make relaxed places to drink, socialize, read or gossip.
#10 Cruise ships, Yangzi River
Enjoy awesome scenery and intriguing history in a journey through China’s dramatic Three Gorges.
#11 Camel Train, Xinjiang
The ghost of the legendary Silk Road is still dotted with oasis towns and abandoned cities.
#12 Minority villages, Yunnan
Bordering Laos, Burma and Vietnam, Yunnan’s 28 recognized ethnic groups enjoy distinct cultures and lifestyles.
The former imperial retreat from the heat of summer holds a string of pretty temples.
#14 Mount Everest, Tibet
The sight of the world’s highest peak towering overhead rewards the arduous trip to Base Camp.
A taxing ascent up endless stone staircases is rewarded with some immaculate temples and pavilions.
#16 Sisters’ Meal festival
Join thousands of locals at Taijiang, Guizhou, during a wild three-day showcase of ethnic Miao culture.
#17 Black-necked cranes, Caohai
Spend a relaxing day being punted around this shallow lake in search of rare birdlife.
#18 Mogao Caves, Gansu
Roam millennia-old grottoes, packed with beautiful Buddhist sculptures, at this former Silk Road pilgrimage site.
#19 Confucius Temple, Qufu
This lavish complex at Confucius’s home town shows the esteem in which China’s great sage was held.
#20 The Great Wall
Hike along unrestored sections of this monumental barrier, which once protected China from the outside world.
#21 Harbin Ice Festival
Enjoy a fantastical array of hand-carved tableaux – including full-sized castles – all luridly illuminated from within.
© Andy Poole/Shutterstock
#22 Changbai Shan Nature Reserve
Remote wilderness whose stunning highlight is the view over Tian Chi, “Heaven’s Lake”, into North Korea.
Attractive ancient town, now a lively tourist fairground of cobbled lanes and rustic wooden houses.
Yunnan Lijiang ancient town © HelloRF Zcool/Shutterstock
#24 Kashgar’s Sunday market
Watch Central Asian crowds trading in livestock, carpets and knives at Xinjiang’s premier frontier bazaar.
#25 Forbidden City, Beijing
Once the sole preserves of emperors, the centre of the Chinese imperial universe is now open to all.
#26 Peking duck
Tuck into this delicious northern Chinese speciality – all crispy skin and juicy meat, eaten in a pancake.
#27 Meili Xue Shan
A wilderness area in northwestern Yunnan, holy to Tibetans, which offers superlative hiking and staggering scenery.
#28 Li River scenery
Ride a boat or a bamboo raft through the heart of this weird, poetical landscape, past a host of contorted limestone pinnacles.
#29 Labrang Monastery, Xiahe
Rub shoulders with pilgrims and red-robed clergy at this enormous complex, one of the pivots of Tibetan Lamaism.
Watch Chinese holidaymakers queuing up to have their photos taken against Shanghai’s luminous, futuristic skyline.
#31 Giant Buddha, Leshan
Marvel at the world’s largest carved Buddha, hewn into a riverside cliff way back during the Tang dynasty.
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