China is huge. As the largest country in Asia, the fourth largest in the world and the globe’s most populous, it is more than just a landmass. It is a superpower, an unstoppable economic force and a place of superlatives. It is also something of an enigma, especially to us in the west. The history, amazing land formations, cuisine and culture are all woven into the nation’s sacred, revered tapestry, and it’s all waiting for you to discover.
Topographically speaking, China has a vast range of superlative features. From low lying river deltas to the world’s highest mountain, Mt Everest (ignoring politics) to the fourth lowest land point on earth, Ayding Lake, it has every landscape imaginable within its land mass. It has beautiful mountains and gorges, Asia’s largest desert, the Gobi, and two of the world’s longest rivers, The Yellow River and the Yangtze. It also has one of the longest artificial waterways in the world, The Jinghang Canal, which is a staggering 1794 kilometres long. Not forgetting the Great Wall - a stupendous, snaking structure dating back over 2,300 years old.
Being the world’s most populous country, China also has some of the world’s most populated cities: Shanghai, a popular tourist destination, has over 20 million inhabitants, whilst Beijing, another tourist magnet, isn’t far behind. For such a huge country though, China has a relatively small coastline, so you might not think of it as a destination for cruising. However, river cruising, either on the Yangtze, with its towering gorges, or the Li, with its mountains and spectacular caves, is one of the most popular ways to see the country. Many visitors also choose to add land tours to visit other ancient must-sees, including the Great Wall and Forbidden City at Beijing, the Terracotta Army at Xi’an and, of course, the Giant Pandas in Chengdu.
Modern China proves just as fascinating - the hustle and bustle of their sprawling cities teeming with life and excitement. Shanghai is China’s, and indeed, the world’s largest city and it is a true metropolis that has embraced modernity to the fullest. Sample the wide variety of shopping outlets, taste the delicious local delicacies or simply sit and admire the pace that the world moves in Shanghai. It is filled with an infectious energy that will make you wish that you had even more time to explore this incredibly progressive and cosmopolitan city.
Of all the joys and new discoveries that you will find in China, many visitors say that the most enduring memory and true charm of the country lies with the Chinese people themselves. Always welcoming and helpful, you are sure to be bowled over by them.
Whichever element captures your imagination, you can bet that you’ll want to see more of China, but will cherish new lifelong memories.