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Featured Destination: China

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There are many man made splendours to be seen in China, one of which is the Great Wall of China which stretches from Beijing to the Gobi Desert. The Forbidden City in Beijing is a fascinating ancient complex of buildings - and is happily not forbidden to visitors! Another must - see are the 2000 year old Terracotta Soldiers, a major archaeological find of life sized warriors and horses found in 1974.

The beautiful peaks of Huang Shan mountains and the purity of the Tibetian natures reserves are a couple of natural destinations that are waiting to be explored, as is the great Yangzi River, down which a leisurely cruise can be taken. Visit the scenic province of Kunming or take a pilgrimage to the legendary Kathmandu.


Moving around

The best way to travel around China is by train. The buses are probably the best way to see as much of the countryside as possible but are only recommended for the most hardened of traveller. Trains are by far the safest and most reliable long distance mode of travel and if the journey is over 12 hours long there should be a dining car.

There are four types of seating, namely: hard seat, soft seat, hard sleeper or soft sleeper- the names speak for themselves. If travelling longer than a day try to reserve a soft seat / sleeper though this can be quite expensive. Purchase sleeper tickets in advance. Car hire is not an option in China unless you have a Chinese drivers license. Energetic tourists can hire a bicycle- there are around 300 million bikes in the country- but be cautious about where you ride, plan your route carefully so as not to enter in a closed area. For short or long trips with shared costs a taxi can be used, the cost should be negotiated before the journey.

There are some good boat and ferries for that sightseeing trip up the Yangzi or other major rivers. Tour buses are reasonably priced and do get to some of the more remote attractions, many are mini-bus operations and are usually contactable through the hotels.


Public Holidays -

New Years Day 1 January
Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) usually February for 3 days according to lunar calendar
International Women's Day 8 March
International Labour Day 1 May
Youth Day 4 May
International Childrens Day 1June
Birthday of the Chinese Communist Party 1 July
Anniversary of founding of the PLA 1 August
National Day 1 October

Festivals - Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st moon of the year (February) and Dragon Boat Festival which is usually in June according to lunar calendar