#01 Terracotta Army, Xi’an

These 2200-year-old, life-sized warriors protect the tomb of China’s first emperor.

#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.

#13 Chengde

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.

#15 Tai Shan, Shandong

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.

#22 Changbai Shan Nature Reserve

Remote wilderness whose stunning highlight is the view over Tian Chi, “Heaven’s Lake”, into North Korea.

#23 Lijiang, Yunnan

Attractive ancient town, now a lively tourist fairground of cobbled lanes and rustic wooden houses.

#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.

#30 The Bund, Shanghai

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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