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China is vast and friendly, and while a modern culture can be found in its major cities such as Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, you need not look too far to find customs and traditions that have existed for centuries in a society steeped in superstition.
Its historic capital city, Beijing, is one of the world’s largest, with a population exceeding 20 million people. Visitors are enticed to the metropolis by its spectacular sights: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tian An Men Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Ming Tombs, while the lure of Xian is the breathtaking Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shihuang. Cosmopolitan Shanghai leads to the quaint water town of Suzhou, and Guilin in the south is the gateway to the beautiful Li River with its unforgettable lime-karst scenery.
The mighty Yangtse, the world’s third longest river, cuts a swathe through the countryside and has created the spell-binding Three Gorges, as well as giving access to small towns where visitors can gain an insight into country life.
Weather & Climate
China’s extreme size means it has a great diversity of climates, but being located entirely in the northern hemisphere means its seasonal timings are broadly comparable to those in Europe.
When to go
Early autumn around September and October, when temperatures are pleasant and rainfall is low, is generally seen as an optimum time to visit. Spring is also popular, for similar reasons, and the many tourists visit in March or April.