BEIJING & SHANGHAI
Pulsing with youthful energy, cosmopolitan Beijing and Shanghai are the nerve centers of modern China. While Beijing is rich in imperial and communist history, Shanghai has long held it’s own as a free-wheeling center of commerce. Both are well worth a visit.
A world away from the sway of the dominant Han culture, Yunnan is home to the lion’s share of China’s traditional tribal cultures—36 distinct tribes in all, including the Naxi, Bai, Miao, Lisu, Lahu, Yao, Manchu, Tibetan and Mongolian peoples. Often compared to the proverbial Shangri-la, this area’s natural beauty is on par with it’s stunning cultural wealth.
DUNHUANG, TURPAN, KASHGAR
The transcontinental Silk Road gave rise to civilization as we know it and also to diverse cities, smack in the middle of some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain. These fascinating oases along the Silk Road, offer the traveler an unparalleled opportunity to grasp the movement of ideas, technologies and religions throughout the past 4,000 years.
Second to the Great Wall, China’s most iconic site might not be a site at all, but the Giant Panda. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base near Chengdu is perhaps the best place in the country to get up close to these fascinating creatures. The research base is deeply devoted to the conservation of China’s most beloved animal and welcomes visitors.
GUILIN, PING AN, YANGSHUO
Like a traditional Chinese painting come to life, the landscape around these towns is as surreal as it is serene. Nearly vertical karsts soar from verdant rice paddies while the Yangzi River meanders through the misty hills.
One of China’s most compelling and evocative sights, the Terracotta Warriors must be seen to be believed. Discovered by a farmer digging a well, this stunning archaeological find has revealed over 8,000 uniquely-crafted warriors but archaeologists believe that they are merely one part of a vast army that surrounds the still unexcavated burial mound of the emperor.