China's attractions are so many and its landscapes so vast,
you'll need a lifetime to explore this fascinating and impossibly
diverse country. That said, the must-see sights are fairly obvious
and highly accessible, and, as previously restricted areas open up,
the list of world-class attractions keeps growing. In addition to
big draw cards like the Great Wall, the Xi'an Terracotta Army and
the Forbidden City, you get to choose from a huge range of cultural
treasures, traditional temples, incredible landscapes, wonderful
national parks and fascinating festivals.
One of the most amazing sights, however, is the one you can see
in every Chinese city every day: the incredible pace of
modernisation reflected in the energy of the people, frenetic urban
development and relentless embrace of capitalism, with all its
virtues and vices. These are probably the impressions that leave
the deepest mark on visitors to China.
China is a year-round destination although you might want to
plan around Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in late January and
early February when much of the country shuts down for a week and
public transport is completely booked up.