#01 Terracotta Army, Xi’an

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

Things not to miss: terra-cotta warriors, China.© Ke Wang/Shutterstock

#02 Jiayuguan Fort, Gansu

Famously lonely desert outpost, guarding the remote western tail end of the Great Wall.

Things not to miss: Jiayuguan pass, China.© Sutthi Chuvichit/Shutterstock 

#03 Central’s skyline, Hong Kong

Indulge in afternoon tea while admiring one of the world’s most spectacular cityscapes.

#03 Central’s skyline, Hong Kong

#04 Dim sum

The classic Cantonese breakfast; there’s no better place to try it than in Gaungzhou.

#04 Dim sum

#05 The Yellow River at Shapotou

Witness how “China’s Sorrow”, the mighty Yellow River, is being used to re-vegetate desert dunes.

Things not to miss in China: Yellow River (Huang He) - amazing landscape in Shapotou scenic area, Ningxia province of China.© Katoosha/Shutterstock

#06 Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan

One of China’s great hikes, along a steep-sided canyon, with attractive homestays along the way.

Things not to miss: Tiger Leaping Gorge, China.© aphotostory/Shutterstock 

#07 Hanging Temple, Heng Shan

Rickety wooden shrines to China’s three main faiths, suspended on a cliff-face by flimsy-looking scaffolding.

#07 Hanging Temple, Heng Shan

#08 The Jokhang, Lhasa

Stuffed with gorgeous statuary and wreathed in juniper smoke, this is Tibet’s holiest temple.

Things not to miss: Jokhang temple in Lhasa.© dibrova/Shutterstock 

#09 Taking tea, Sichuan

Offering unlimited refills, Sichuanese teahouses make relaxed places to drink, socialize, read or gossip.

#09 Taking tea, Sichuan

#10 Cruise ships, Yangzi River

Enjoy awesome scenery and intriguing history in a journey through China’s dramatic Three Gorges.

Things not to miss: Entering in Three Rivers Gorges on the Yangtze River China.© mark stephens photography/Shutterstock 

#11 Camel Train, Xinjiang

The ghost of the legendary Silk Road is still dotted with oasis towns and abandoned cities.

Things not to miss: camel caravan is traveling in the desert, Dunhuang, China.© Xianghong Garrison/Shutterstock 

#12 Minority villages, Yunnan

Bordering Laos, Burma and Vietnam, Yunnan’s 28 recognized ethnic groups enjoy distinct cultures and lifestyles.

Things not to miss: Yuanyang rice terrace from Duo Yi Shu village, Yunnan province, China.© Tawatchaiwanasri/Shutterstock

#13 Chengde

The former imperial retreat from the heat of summer holds a string of pretty temples.

Things not to miss: Putuo Zongcheng Temple, Chengde City, Heibei Province, China.Putuo Zongcheng temple © aphotostory/Shutterstock

#14 Mount Everest, Tibet

The sight of the world’s highest peak towering overhead rewards the arduous trip to Base Camp.

Things not to miss: Everest Base Camp.© NOWAK LUKASZ/Shutterstock

#15 Tai Shan, Shandong

A taxing ascent up endless stone staircases is rewarded with some immaculate temples and pavilions.

Things not to miss: City scenery and red Buddhist temple overlooking from Taishan, China.© Coca coco/Shutterstock 

#16 Sisters’ Meal festival

Join thousands of locals at Taijiang, Guizhou, during a wild three-day showcase of ethnic Miao culture.

Things not to miss: Women in blue traditional festival clothes at Miao village in Guizhou, China.© hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

#17 Black-necked cranes, Caohai

Spend a relaxing day being punted around this shallow lake in search of rare birdlife.

Things not to miss: Black-necked Crane.© Perry chang/Shutterstock 

#18 Mogao Caves, Gansu

Roam millennia-old grottoes, packed with beautiful Buddhist sculptures, at this former Silk Road pilgrimage site.

Things not to miss: Gansu Dunhuang Mogao, China.© JingAiping/Shutterstock 

#19 Confucius Temple, Qufu

This lavish complex at Confucius’s home town shows the esteem in which China’s great sage was held.

Things not to miss: The Confucian temples in Qufu, China.© Dashu Xinganling/Shutterstock

#20 The Great Wall

Hike along unrestored sections of this monumental barrier, which once protected China from the outside world.

Things not to miss: Great Wall, Beijing, China.© Songquan Deng/Shutterstock

#21 Harbin Ice Festival

Enjoy a fantastical array of hand-carved tableaux – including full-sized castles – all luridly illuminated from within.

Things not to miss in China: Sculpture at the Harbin Ice festival in China.© 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.

#22 Changbai Shan Nature Reserve

#23 Lijiang, Yunnan

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

Yunnan Lijiang ancient townYunnan 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.

#24 Kashgar’s Sunday market

#25 Forbidden City, Beijing

Once the sole preserves of emperors, the centre of the Chinese imperial universe is now open to all.

Things not to miss: The Forbidden City, Beijing, China.© testing/Shutterstock 

#26 Peking duck

Tuck into this delicious northern Chinese speciality – all crispy skin and juicy meat, eaten in a pancake.

Things not to miss: Peking Roast Duck.© Gecko Studio/Shutterstock


#27 Meili Xue Shan

A wilderness area in northwestern Yunnan, holy to Tibetans, which offers superlative hiking and staggering scenery.

#27 Meili Xue Shan

#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.

Things not to miss: Cormorant fisherman throws a net with ancient bamboo boats at sunrise, China.© Sirisak_baokaew/Shutterstock 

#29 Labrang Monastery, Xiahe

Rub shoulders with pilgrims and red-robed clergy at this enormous complex, one of the pivots of Tibetan Lamaism.

Things not to miss: Prayer wheel around Labrang Monastery, Xiahe, Gannan, Gansu, China.© Daniel Prudek/Shutterstock 

#30 The Bund, Shanghai

Watch Chinese holidaymakers queuing up to have their photos taken against Shanghai’s luminous, futuristic skyline.

#30 The Bund, Shanghai

#31 Giant Buddha, Leshan

Marvel at the world’s largest carved Buddha, hewn into a riverside cliff way back during the Tang dynasty.


Things not to miss: Giant Buddha Statue at Leshan, China.© grass-lifeisgood/Shutterstock 

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