A place of superlatives – one of the largest countries in the world, the most populous, one of the most powerful, one of the most beautiful, yet one of the most unknown. A place of huge deserts, vast plains, magical forests and some of the highest mountains and the longest rivers. A place where time has stood still in parts while in other areas things are changing daily, such as in the ever-exciting cities of Shanghai and Beijing.
China offers the traveller a range of experiences, from some of the most ancient temples and artifacts to a fascinating culture spread from north to south and east to west. Explore ancient engineering feats at the Great Wall and Terracotta Army and then head to the modern sky-scrapers of Beijing and Shanghai - all equally impressive. The culture is colourful and vibrant with lots to see and do. Whether you're relaxing on a trip down the Yangtze River or marvelling at the Giant Pandas - China is simply a place you'll never forget.
- Marvel at the world famous Great Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Rub shoulders with the Terracotta Army in X’ian
- Watch the Giant Pandas play in Chengdu
- Enjoy a cruise down the stunning Yangtze River
- Experience the celebrations of Chinese New Year
- Visit The Bund, the famous waterfront which has been regarded as the symbol of Shanghai for hundreds of years.
- Explore the Forbidden City in Beijing
- Learn kung-fu from Shaolin monks
- Find adventure in Yangshuo county
- Make your own Chinese speciality at a cookery school
China is a vast country with a range of conditions including altitude and latitude influencing the local climate. The country includes desert in the north-west, mountains in the south-west toward Tibet, grasslands toward its border with Mongolia and tropical islands in the south-east. In general, the climate becomes cooler and drier further north with similar seasons to the UK.
Summers are hot throughout the country. Winters are cold, with snowfall in the northern parts and areas of high altitude.
Late March to early June as well as September and October (Spring and Autumn) are generally considered the best overall time to travel to the main tourist attractions, June-August being the hotter summer season.
- April-May: Comfortable weather for travel
- June-August: Summer with nice sunny weather but is wetter than Spring and Autumn
- September and October: Comfortable weather for travel
- November-March: the low season over winter where temperatures can be very cold, especially in the north (Beijing, Xi’an, Harbin) where blizzards and snowfall are common. The southern regions (Shanghai, Guilin, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Hong Kong) have milder winters
Best time to go
Generally speaking, the best months to visit China are in the spring or autumn months of April, May, September and October as temperatures are warm and it is fairly dry.
- Capital – Beijing
- Currency – Yuan Renminbi
- Point of Entry – Shanghai and Beijing
- Airlines – British Airways and Virgin Atlantic
- Flying Time – 9 hrs 50 mins
- Time Zone – GMT + 7 hrs
- Visa – Required, must be obtained in advance
- National Dish - In Beijing: Peking duck.
- Restaurant the Locals Love - In Shanghai, you don’t go to Jesse Restaurant for the ambience; you go for the Shanghainese food—like hongshao rou, the most succulent version of this red-braised pork belly dish that you’ll find in the city.
- Meal Worth the Splurge - Made in China is a great small Chinese restaurant in the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Beijing. Its Beijing duck and beggar’s chicken are the best in Beijing.
- Don’t Forget to Pack - China Taxi-Book is a talking English Chinese dictionary and phrasebook.
- Don’t Miss - Xi’an. It’s got more than the army of terracotta warriors. Xi’an was modern China’s first capital city and the end of the mighty Silk Road. So there’s tons to see, like the vibrant Islamic Quarter and the Shaanxi History Museum.
- Hidden Gem - The Tibetan-influenced region that includes Yunnan, Sichuan, and Gansu provinces. Most people don’t know that there is a huge strip of Tibetan culture in these western provinces.
- Things to do to see Local Life - In Shanghai or Beijing: Get up early and watch the locals exercise.
- Perfect Souvenir - In Shanghai: Silks and fabrics from Shiliupu Fabric Market in the city centre.
- Be aware of any local festivals or National holidays. Whilst these can be a great insight into Chinese tradition and culture, hotel rooms, train tickets or air tickets will definitely be in great demand and huge crowds can gather at major attractions.
12 Day Golden Triangle and Yangtze Cruise
From £2,779 per person based on two adults sharing a room
Duration: 12 days
China is a vast country offering a wide range of exciting experiences. The ancient temples and artifacts link to a fascinating culture spanning over many dynasties with a colourful and rich history. Explore the ancient temples, walls and fortresses and discover how they were able to build such stron...
12 Day Highlights of China
From £2,915 per person based on two people sharing
Duration: 12 days
Travelling by air and by China’s super-efficient rail network, this superb itinerary combines the cosmopolitan city of Shanghai, the history of Beijing and Xi’an and the lesser known gems of Suzhou and Hangzhou to create a wonderful tour.
12 Day Snapshot of China
From £2,875 per person based on two people sharing
Duration: 12 days
This tour is perfect for the first time visitor to China who wants a varied itinerary encompassing some of the country’s greatest sights. In addition to the jewels of Beijing, Xi’an & Shanghai, the highlight of this itinerary has to be the three night cruise on the Yangtze River, whe...
13 Day China Wonders & Pandas
From £3,695 per person based on two adults sharing a room
Duration: 13 days
A vast country with a vast ancient history. China has so many great highlights to explore - from north to south and east to west. The ancient engineering feats of the Great Wall, fortresses and Terracotta Army are equalled by the modern sky-scrapers of Beijing and Shanghai. Explore the colourful cul...
13 Day Essential China & Hong Kong
From £3,999 per person based on 2 people sharing
Duration: 12 days
From the Great Wall to the Terracotta Warriors, and from the natural beauty of Guilin to the man-made magnificence of Shanghai and Hong Kong, this tour is an excellent introduction to China, where the old sits comfortably alongside the new.
13 Day Gourmet Tour of China
From £4,539 per person based on 2 people sharing
Duration: 13 days
With it being so widely available and renowned for its excellent flavours, almost everyone will have tried a Chinese dish at some stage in their life. However, it is not until you have visited the country itself and sampled traditional Chinese cuisine that you can truly appreciate all that it has to...
16 Day China In Depth
From £3,895 per person based on two people sharing
Duration: 16 days
Embark on a comprehensive trip that encompasses some of China’s greatest historical and cultural sights alongside some of its most splendid natural wonders in the Yunnan province. This is a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the traditional villages & local ethnic people of rural C...
Raffles Beijing Hotel
Raffles Beijing Hotel epitomises elegance and exclusivity. Ideally situated at the crossroads of famous Chang An Avenue and the district of Wangfujing, Raffles Beijing Hotel is in the heart of the prestigious business and commercial districts. Resting a few minutes from the city's must-sees such...
The Opposite House
The Opposite House, as is suggested by its name, is a place of contrast- juxtaposing the influence of Chinese traditional culture with a flair for modern experimentalism. Constructed from shimmering panes of emerald glass and housing a contemporary art gallery throughout the extent of its ground flo...
Shangri-La Hotel Beijing
The Shangri-La Beijing is an elegant hotel with luxurious and tastefully decorated rooms providing a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of Beijing. The 3,000 square metre garden makes the hotel feel like a natural retreat among the urban confines of the bustling city. It is located in the west of Beiji...
Aman at Summer Palace
The Aman at Summer Palace is a serene retreat, with peaceful internal courtyards embracing traditional Chinese architecture, making it a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Beijing. The hotel is just steps away from the East Gate of one of Beijing's iconic sights - The Summer Palace. Hous...
For luxury in the heart of Chengdu there are few hotels that can compare to the Ritz-Carlton Chengdu. A truly opulent hotel, the Ritz-Carlton Chengdu offers guests the perfect combination of luxe accommodation, superb facilities, and of course faultless hospitality to ensure you have the most comfor...
Banyan Tree Hangzhou
Traditional Chinese architecture meets modern comfort in this 'water-village' resort set in the lush grounds of the Xixi National Wetlands Park - China's first wetlands reserve, and home to a wealth of flora and fauna. Accommodation is in a selection of villas and suites set on and aroun...
Set on 14 hectares of tea plantation, natural forest and groves of bamboo, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped back in time when entering this luxury boutique resort. Connected by stone pathways, the 47 courtyard dwellings have been restored and reconstructed using tradit...
Banyan Tree Lijiang
Banyan Tree Lijiang is located in Yunnan Province in a town known as the Venice of the Orient due to its array of canals and glorious bridges. Lijiang is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is just an hour's drive to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, a sacred sanctuary. Accommodation is in a sele...
Situated atop the Lion Hill with sweeping views of Lijiang and the distant mountain ranges, the Amandayan is set above the winding lanes of the Old Town of Lijiang. The resort is named for the Sansrit-derived word for ’peace’ and is designed in the Nakhi traditional style. The hotel is h...
Banyan Tree Sanya
A luxury resort on what is known as the Oriental Hawaii, Banyan Tree Sanya is cradled in the Bay of Sanya on one of the most tranquil beaches on the island of Hainan. Accommodation is in a selection of pool villas and suites, some with beach frontage, others overlooking the gardens, and the leisure ...
Mandarin Oriental Sanya
Hidden away amid lush tropical greenery on the southern tip of Hainan Island, the Mandarin Oriental provides true privacy in total luxury. Situated in the tropics and set beneath green hills, by a clear sea edged with coral reefs, Mandarin Oriental Sanya combines natural pleasures with blissful rela...
The Peninsula Shanghai
Where historic grandeur and architecture meet the modern world - from art deco interiors to plasma screens and iPod docking stations, the Peninsula Shanghai is located on the world-famous Bund. Overlooking Huangpu River and the glorious gardens of the former British Consulate, it offers a superb wor...
The Langham Shanghai
Striking architecture, sleek design, and prime location are what you can expect from The Langham, Shanghai. All the suites are extremely stylish, having been furnished to a very high standard, ensuring that you have a comfortable stay. The hotel has a range of facilities for guests to make use of, i...
Park Hyatt Shanghai
Park Hyatt Shanghai is one of the highest hotels in the world, this sleekly-modern hotel occupies the 79th to the 93rd floors of the Shanghai World Financial Centre. It is a home away from home for financial highfliers, entrepreneurs and intrepid tourists, where every wish and whim is catered for by...
Sofitel Legend Peoples Grand Hotel Xian
The Sofitel Xian stands proudly in the former capital of China throughout 13 dynasties with iconic architecture blending Sino-Russian style with traditional French lines. Picture lofty ceilings, elegant mouldings and art-deco features all in spacious rooms with all the luxurious trimmings. Its ideal...
Banyan Tree Yangshuo
With exquisite natural beauty that few know exists, Yangshuo is found in one of China’s most naturally beautiful areas. Framed by the karst limestone peaks and laying on the banks of the Li River, the Banyan Tree Yangshuo cannot be beaten on location. The boutique hotel comprises of 142 villas...
Sanctuary Yangtze Explorer Cruise Boat
A cruise on China’s formidable Yangtze River is a trip like no other. The journey will take you through the very heart of this fascinating country. The Sanctuary Yangtze is one of only two 5 star ships on the Yangtze and is the best way to see this legendary river in comfort. The ship is compr...