As one of the world’s first civilizations, China is a country which is dotted with reminders of its rich history, from crumbling ruins to decadent imperial palaces. Visitors flock year on year to the famous Great Wall and the Forbidden City, however there are also lesser-known treasures to explore such as the Wenshu Monastery in Chengdu or the Cuandixia village outside Beijing.
The country boasts landscapes of breathtaking natural beauty including alpine lakes, spectacular rock formations and fertile rice terraces, which appear to stretch for miles. In the peaceful west of the country, you would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a bygone era when farming was China’s primary activity, making this a perfect place for relaxation and outdoor activities.
On the other side of the coin, China’s major cities including Beijing and Shanghai are the epicentres of China’s overwhelming economic growth; dazzling metropolises buzzing with energy. These gateway cities retain their traditional roots through colonial architecture and ancient temples, while the gleaming skyscrapers and wide boulevards epitomise China’s global ascension.
Visitors seeking a taste of urban China will appreciate the elegance of The Peninsula Shanghai , located directly on the Bund – a famous waterfront along which diverse and dazzling architecture can be seen.
For a tranquil holiday, Banyan Tree Lijiang offers peace and seclusion within lush gardens, where guests can partake in guided treks across the mountainous terrain or simply relax at the Banyan Tree Spa.
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Sources of information include: www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
Visas are required prior to arrival (but not for Hong Kong or Macao) and can be obtained from your nearest Chinese Embassy http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk
Alternatively, you can apply through CIBT online at www.uk.cibt.com or telephone 0844 800 4650.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
In Beijing and Xi’an the climate is continental, with hot summers and cool, dry winters. Shanghai and Hong Kong tend to be warmer, but have more rainfall year-round. We recommend the best time to visit China is in March or May, or from September to October.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for China.
When visiting Beijing there are several must-see attractions, including the Forbidden City – the former Chinese imperial palace and centre of the Chinese government and the beautifully landscaped gardens of the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven. Aman at Summer Palace offers sumptuous accommodation directly adjacent to the Summer Palace; an oasis of calm amidst the hustle and bustle of the city.
A day trip to the north of the city will take travellers to the Great Wall of China, an undeniably iconic landmark which cascades across grasslands and mountains for over 13,000 miles. Here visitors can hike across large sections of the wall or even paraglide from the Simatai section of the wall into the valley.
Despite being heavily westernised Hong Kong retains many cultural gems including the Nan Lian Garden – a tranquil paradise displaying ancient Chinese architecture alongside a Nunnery and a tea house.
For stunning aerial views of Hong Kong, take the tram to Victoria Peak and stroll along the scenic path. This is particularly impressive at sunset and spectacular during Chinese celebrations when fireworks can be seen across the city. If you want to be in the heart of it all, stay at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong , which boasts magnificent views of Victoria Harbour and the city skyline.
China is a country famous for its mouth-watering and sometimes bizarre cuisine; however there is huge geographical variation in key ingredients and cooking style. This is largely due to varying climatic conditions – in the colder North wheat is the staple crop so noodle and dumpling dishes dominate, whereas in the warmer south there is greater abundance of fruit, vegetables and rice, which is reflected in the spicier and often sweeter flavours.
Visitors to China will find their culinary experience unforgettable, whether it be enjoying the oriental glamour of the Yan Ting restaurant at the St. Regis Chengdu , or sampling local delicacies at the Donghuamen Night Market in Beijing – including scorpions, silk worm larvae and sea snakes for the more adventurous!
The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is a must-visit attraction for animal lovers. It provides a natural habitat for giant pandas and other rare species and visitors can meet adorable baby pandas and learn about their conservation.
British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Shanghai and Hong Kong; British Airways from London Heathrow to Beijing with connecting flights to Sanya and Xi’an. Flights with Emirates (via Dubai) from London Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle and Glasgow are also available.
9 hours 45 mins From London Heathrow to Beijing
British Airways upgrades start from as little as £1,280 per person, each way.