A traveller might wonder where to begin in a foreign country, that
is slightly smaller than the size of the United States, with over 5,000 years of recorded
The wonderful advantage to travelling China is that there is no
right or wrong place to start.
China's fascinating past is written all over its 23 provinces*, 5
autonomous regions and 4 municipalities.
The Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau are also part of China's
government under a 'one country, two systems' law.
Greater Than the Great Wall: Travel to China's Many Wonders
China is a Mecca for human-made and natural wonders. The southern
Tibetan border is home to the world's tallest peak, Mt. Everest. Take in the inspiring
Himalayan view then head north and travel through the majestic Three Gorges, a 120-mile
stretch of plummeting cliffs along the Yangtze River.
Stand in the middle of the largest plaza in the world, Tiananmen
Square, at the heart of the capital city, Beijing. While in Beijing, visit the Imperial
Palace and find out why it is known as the Forbidden City. Then, venture south to discover
a true artistic Qin Dynasty treasure in Xian, where over six thousand Terracotta Warriors
are arranged in battle formation on 14,000 square meters of land.
Hong Kong and Macau: Another Way to Experience China
These two regions are governed with a significant degree of political
and commercial autonomy and are China's most prominent examples of the fusion of cultures
brought about by colonialism.
While travel to these provinces provides a very different experience
from the rest of China, they are by no means lacking in worldly wonders or the authentic
Hong Kong came under British rule in 1841, after centuries of British
involvement in the silk and tea trade. The expansion and modernisation of this global port
city attracted commercial and cultural influences from all corners of the world.
China regained sovereignty over the British colony in 1997 but agreed
to leave the democratic government structure intact. What has resulted is an unparalleled
bastion of progressive ideas, pioneering technology and architectural phenomena like the
world's three longest bridges.
Thirty-five miles west of Hong Kong, across the Pear River delta, the
enclave of Macau is perched on a peninsula surrounded by small islands.
Portugal had established sovereignty over Macau in 1887, after a
history of heavy trade and navigation in the region. The Portuguese finally ceded all
authority back to China in 1999.
The sophisticated blend of Chinese and Portuguese art, architecture
and cuisine define Macau's truly enchanting character.
In Macau it is commonplace to enjoy an espresso and pastry for lunch
and Dim Sum for dinner; accompanied by a fine Portuguese wine.
Be sure to set aside ample time to explore Hong Kong and Macau as part
of your itinerary to travel China!
It should be noted that China considers Taiwan to be its 23rd
province; however Taiwan
essentially functions as an independent nation and is not easily accessible from mainland
By Frank Johnson.
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