Eagerly assuming its place among the
world's top travel destinations - even more so since Beijing took
centre stage at the 2008 Olympics - China is an epic adventure.
From the wide open and empty panoramas
of Tibet, to the push and shove of Shanghi, from the volcanic
dishes of Sìchuan, to beer by the bag in seaside Qingdao, a journey
through this colossus of a country is a mesmerising encounter with
the most populous, and perhaps most culturally idiosyncratic,
nation on earth.
The sheer diversity of China's terrain
takes you from noisy cities fizzing with energy, to isolated
mountain-top Ming-Dynasty villages where you can hear a pin drop.
Pudong's ambitious skyline is a triumphant statement, but it
couldn't be further from the worldly renunciation acted out in
Tibet's distant monasteries.
Hong Kong is a wonderful destination in its own right, a
repository of traditional Chinese culture with recent echoes of a
colonial British past. The city has a glut of outstanding
restaurants, tourist attractions and sublime shopping
Flying time:Shanghai -
11 hours 20 minutes.
Hong Kong - 11 hours 40 minutes.
Beijing 9 hours 55 minutes.
Time difference:GMT +8
Getting there:Direct services operate to
Shanghai and Hong Kong with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air
New Zealand and Cathay Pacific and to Beijing with British
Vaccinations:Precautions for tetanus,
diphtheria, rabies, typhoid and hepatitis A are recommended, with
some regions under risk of malaria - please contact your doctor for
holders require a visa. All other nationals please check visa
requirements with the embassy.
Best time to visit:China has a great diversity
of climates. The northeast experiences hot and dry summers and
bitterly cold winters.
The north and central region has almost
continual rainfall, hot summers and cold winters. The southeast
region has substantial rainfall, with semi-tropical summers and
Central, southern and western China are
also susceptible to flooding. China is also periodically subject to