CHINA

The great show that China put up during the 2008 Olympics announced to the world what everyone always suspected – China is a destination waiting to be discovered. Small Ming dynasty villages scattered around the countryside juxtapose against the towering skyscrapers of busy Shanghai make the diverseness of China apparent. From the Great wall of China to the Terracotta warriors of Xian, China symbolizes many things to may people. Kung fu, Ming vases, Silk, Tea, Classic cuisine, Confucius, Paper, Pagodas, Pandas, Paintings, Porcelain, China represents all that – and much, much more.

China has for a very long time played a pivotal role in the development of civilization – civilization may actually be said to have `dawned' (a grandiose term but singularly appropriate here) in China. And with its secrets finally beginning to open up to tourism, China itself is fast becoming an attractive destination. 

Travel to China and unravel the mystery!

Capital: Beijing

Best time to visit:

  1. The best time to visit China would be either in spring (March and April) or autumn (September and October), when, although nights can be quite chilly, the days are usually very pleasant.
  2. What with the extreme temperatures over most of China, it doesn’t really make sense to visit the country during the summer or the winter- in most parts of the country it’ll be sweltering, or miserably cold with temperatures dropping below freezing point in winter and hitting over 40 degree C in the summer months.
  3.  If you are looking for fun and festivities then plan your trip to coincide with the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, which normally takes place end January or February. It will be cold, no doubt, but the celebrations at this time are a wonderful sight to see.
  4. The best time to visit the Great Wall may be in spring.
  5. If Beijing is your destination then September and October are the ideal months to visit, as temperatures are cool and pleasant. The spring season sees the onset of sandstorms, the summer temps hit the 40 degree C mark and in winter the mercury can drop to -20 C. 
  6. The best time to visit Hong Kong would be in spring, that is March and April and the autumn months September, October and November. The weather is bracing, the city alive and generally a lovely time to enjoy Hong Kong!

Minimum days required: 5 days

Places of Interest:

  1. Beijing – Great wall of China, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square
  2. Shanghai – Shanghai Tower, Yu Garden, Oriental Pearl Tower
  3.  Shenzhen – Window of the World, Splendid China Folk village, Dafen Village
  4. Guangzhou – Pearl River, Canton Tower, Shamian Island
  5.  Macau – Macau Tower, Ruins of St Paul’s, Senado Square, Macau Fishermens Wharf
  6.  Xian – Terracotta Army, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Mosque of Xian, Famen Temple

Climate:

  1. China’s climate varies a lot, depending upon where you are and what time of the year it is.
  2. The northern and extreme southern parts of the country have hot, humid summers, with rain mainly during summer.
  3. Surprisingly enough, the north, although considerably hot during the summer, can get bitterly cold in the winter, with temperatures dropping as low as -40°C.
  4.  The northwest is much drier and hotter (the Turpan Depression touches 47° at the height of summer). 
  5. Central China, located in the Yangtse river basin, experiences hot summers and cold winters.

Currency: Renminbi

Things to carry:

  1. Unless you’re going to be staying in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Hong Kong, bring along most of what you would need in the way of medicines, cosmetics, toiletries and so on.
  2. And if you’re using something even slightly hard to find, bring it along even if you’re not planning to budge from Beijing.
  3. Much of China, especially rural areas, is low on items commonly found in Western markets. 
  4. As far as clothing is concerned, keep in mind where you’re going and at what time of the year.
  5.  Most parts of China- particularly Central, Southern and Northern China- have very hot, humid summers, for which light cottons are best.
  6. Winter, almost throughout the country, is severe and you should go well armed with woollens enough to face sub-arctic temperatures well below zero. 

How to get there:

Air

1) The main international gateways to mainland China are Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Almost every sizable city will have an international airport, but options are usually limited to flights from Hong Kong, neighboring countries such as South Korea and Japan, and sometimes Southeast Asia.