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The Great Wall, courtesy Shutterstock

China, Asia

The sheer breadth and diversity of culture, landscapes and experiences ensures China's place as one of the world’s greatest travel destinations. The dramatic contrast of ancient, storied tradition with its supersonic trajectory into the future is set to the backdrop of epic landscapes as varied as dust-dry desert, soaring mountains and high-tech glittering cities. Many of the riches of the country need very little introduction; from the Great Wall, to the Terracotta Army to Tiananmen Square. Even the cities vie for attention in diverse ways, from Shanghai’s skyscrapers to Beijing’s historical riches and the metropolis of Hong Kong and its colonial ‘East meets West’ unique vibe.

Obviously, a landscape so vast offers plenty of exciting adventures for the visitor making China an exciting contender as a family holiday destination. Little ones can build their own terracotta warriors whilst older or more intrepid children race to the finish treasure-hunting in the Forbidden City. Biking, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing are easily accessible, and teens will love the military jeep or side-car tours as an alternative to schlepping around temples. Itineraries can be as short as a weekend hop in the middle of your annual holiday (in some cities no visa is required) to a multi-stop smorgasbord of adventure as long as you please. Ancient stories or shimmering cities? The choice is yours.

The Great Wall, courtesy Shutterstock

when to go

China experiences wide variation in weather depending on season and location. To avoid extremes of temperature, head there during autumn (September through November) or spring (March through May). However, every season here has its highlights and it's worth considering at any time of year.


travel essentials

Flights: Direct flights from Britain to China take approximately 12 hours. Air China Flies to Bejing while British Airways will get you to Bejing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Chengdu. There are also options via the Middle East. It also makes a great add-on to other destinations in south-east Asia as the flights are relatively short and you can usually fly into one city and out of another for no extra cost.

Time Zone: GMT + 8 hours

Health: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china/health

FCO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

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