One of the world’s oldest and richest cultures, Chinese civilization stretches back more than 12,000 years. For centuries it was dominated by royal dynasties that constructed global landmarks like the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Terracotta Warriors of Xian.
But the nation’s economic revolution has created a whole different nation for visitors to experience, a modern China personified by the glass-and-steel skyscrapers and shopping malls of Shanghai and Hong Kong, the flashy casino hotels of Macau, and the tropical beach resorts of Hainan Island in the deep south.
With so many distinct regional cuisines — Cantonese, Sichuan, Shandong, Jiangsu, etc — China is also a foodie paradise. And there’s plenty of outdoor activities: visiting giant pandas in the bamboo forests of Sichuan; riding horses across the plains of Inner Mongolia; gawking at the fabulous frozen creations of Harbin’s annual Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival; or cruising the scenic Yangtze River.