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DESTINATIONS IN CHINA

 

When it comes to touring in China, there is no end of available options. From the cultural sites of Beijing including the iconic Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China and the new masterpieces that include the Birds Nest Stadium and the enormity of the restaurant and shopping options.

 

Further south is the futuristic city of Shanghai that has a blend of ancient China, Colonial Heritage form the French and British and the rapidly developing modern Pudong, which did not exist a decade ago, buts is now home to some of the tallest structures in the world. Surprisingly, water villages such as Zhujiajiao and Suzhou still exists on the outskirts of the city and further afield is the beautiful lake city of Hangzhou.

 

Then there is Xian and the ancient Terra Cotta Warriors that date back to the days of the Emperors and Imperial Rule. Journey further into the country and discover the stunning countryside of Guilin, the Li River and the Lime Stone Cliffs of Yangshou. It is a stunning contrast to see the modern cities of Beijing and Shanghai, then travel a mere few hours and find yourself thrown back in time where the real China exists.

 

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The mighty Yangtze River is a draw card for thousands of tourist wanting to see the Three Gorges Dam project and close by in Chengdu is where China’s Panda Bears call home.

 

An area of great interest to many is the highlands of Tibet and the stunning natural beauty of the famed Shangri-La.

 

With all of these options available in China, you can visit for 5 days or 5 months. Please contact Global Travel & Tours China for further details on what overland tour is suitable for you.

 

MAJOR TOURIST DESTINATIONS

 

Beijing 

No other city in China is so filled with grandeur and dignity. Cloaked in mystery and wonder, this huge and flourishing metropolis offers a brilliant cultural and historical perspective of the country. It boasts over cultural relics and many scenic spots of national importance, as well as precious artifacts and world-famous architectural wonders the names of which are on everyone's lips: the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, Tian An Men square and many others. This huge and spread out city is a magnificent gateway to China and Chinese history, so a minimum of three nights should be spent there. The recent years have seen the emergence of many international chain hotels as well as the opening of old residences turned into hotels. The choice of type of accommodation is wider than before and can match any type of guests. Beijing has become an international city where shops, hotels and way of life become more and more similar to the ones in a lot of the Asian metropolis. This trend will intensify as the city as been chosen last year to host the 2008 Olympic Games. Yet, despite and in parallel to the demolitions of huge parts of the old town to make way to modernization, the old Beijing style is still there, intact or recreated, also a new trend, blending old and new China.

 

Xian 

This extremely famous city, the capital of 11 dynasties, is filled with historical significance. Two-thousand years ago, Chinese and foreign merchants transported silk to Persia and Rome via Xian, Persia and Rome via Xian, thereby opening a long route, called the Silk Road, linking the East to the West. Today, it is one of the most important cradles of ancient Chinese civilization. Widely acclaimed as the eighth wonder of the world, the Army of Terracotta Warriors is a guard that comprises 6,000 life-size pottery soldiers and horses buried with the dead emperor Qin Shihuang. Standing row after row in battle formation, some of the terra cotta warriors all vividly sculpted, are standing, while some are on horseback and others are carrying bows and arrows. Continuous archeological discoveries testify almost every day the historical and cultural importance of Xian area.

 

Silk Road   

Originally a caravan route served to convey goods between China and the East of the Mediterranean Basin as far as 100 BC, the Silk Road soon became one of the most important means of cultural exchanges the world has ever seen. Within China, it is common to make it start from Xian and go through the Gansu province corridor to Xinjiang either towards Central Asia's oasis of Samarkand and Boukhara or beyond the high ranges of Pamir through Kashgar to Pakistan and the Hunza Valley. Cultural influences were brought in trough its paths. The most striking one is the introduction of Buddhism. The Silk Road is dotted with tremendous sites like the ones of Maijishan, Mati, Yulin or Mogao were images of Buddha were sculpted in grottoes or on cliffs, developing the constitution of open air museums of Buddhist art, desert oasis like Turpan or Kashgar filled with Muslim faith. It became also the meeting point several different ethnic groups as Han Chinese, Central Asians, Tibetans, with their own habits and religions. Trips on this itinerary are rich in encounters and visits, highly rewarding, though at times difficult and unpredictable as to travel conditions.

 

Chongqing 

The largest city in Southwest China. It is a hub of water and land communications and an important industrial center. It is also the starting point for a cruise on the Yangtze River to visit the scenic spots and historical sites along its banks. West of the city lies the well - known Stone Carvings of Dazu. In the city proper it has Beiwenquan (North Hot Spring), Nanwenquan (South Hot Spring), the Longevity Lake and other places of beauty. The view of Chongqing, a mountainous city, is most attractive at night.

 

Three Gorges on The Yangtze River    

Coursing over a distance of 3,965 miles, the mighty Yangtze is the longest river in China, and the third longest in the world after the Amazon in South America and the Nile in Africa. It is also a cradle of ancient Chinese civilization. The completion of the Gezhouba Dam in the next few years threatens this natural balance and the famous Three Gorges as we know them now will no longer offer the same aspect once the level of the water grows up by tens of meters. This year is still one of the last chances to enjoy this endangered scenery. The most impressive section of the river is the three Yangtze River gorges: Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling which extend 189 kilometers long. The cruise on Yangtze River is the purpose to discover some very impressive landscapes. Cruise companies operate a wide variety of ships most of them offering excursions to entertain their guests.

 

Shanghai    

This city of 12 million people combines the legacy of the past with the creative energy of the 21st century. Emerging from the sea thousands of years ago, Shanghai literally means "up from the sea". The city, China's largest urban center, is not only the country's main port but also the nation's major industrial center, producing a wide variety of consumer goods for both the international and domestic markets.  A new part of town has been emerging since a few years on the opposite bank of the Huang Pu River and is therefore named Pudong (east of the Huang Pu). This new area concentrates trading and financial activities. Its growing skyline of futuristic buildings makes one think of the most modern capitals of Asia. This heritage along with the imaginative force of creation of its people makes Shanghai a unique place in China.

 

Suzhou  

Located on the shore of Taihu Lake in southeast Jiangsu Province, Suzhou, a" paradise on earth," is a renowned historical and cultural city with a history of more than 2,500 years. The gardens of Suzhou are famous in and outside of China. Canglang (Surging Wave) Pavilion, Shizi (Lion) Grove, Wangshi Garden, Zhuozheng (Humble Administrator's) Garden, Liuyuan Garden, and the Huanxiu Mountain Villa are treasures of garden architecture from the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties in southern China. In recent years, new scenic spots, such as Zhouzhuang, Luzhi, and Tongli, have appeared in the vicinities. In short, the city of Suzhou features enchanting landscapes, and it has since ancient times been known as a place with a gathering of the talents and plenty of products. It is a wellknown tourist city.

 

Hangzhou (Zhejiang Province)

Located on the northern bank of the Qiantang River on its lower reaches and the southern end of the Grand Canal, it is the capital and the political, economic, and cultural, and communications center of Zhejiang Province. It is also a well-known tourist, historical and cultural city and one of the six ancient capitals in China as well. The enchanting West Lake, a time-honored culture, the Grand Canal, and the colorful folk customs and habits south of the Yangtze River make Hangzhou a unique tourist center.

 

Guilin (Guangxi Province)    

Guilin is one of China's best known cities, famed for its beautiful landscape of Limestone Mountains, clear waters, caves and rocks. Standing lofty and firm, the hills in Guilin have risen up from ground, straight and high. It is enchanting to take a boat cruise on the river passing picturesque scenery punctuated with bizarrely - shaped pinnacles, sprays of bamboo lining up the riverbanks, fishers with their cormorants and buffaloes bathing in the sun. At the end of the cruise on Li River, the small city of Yangshuo is bustling of commercial activity, just to fall back to its sleepy pace after the ships have gone. One can then stay behind en appreciates the beauty of the landscape all around.

 

Guang Zhou

Guangzhou (Canton - the old spelling) is the capital of Guangdong Province. With a history of over 2800 years, Guangzhou has always been a port for foreign exchanges and trade, and is still one of the largest ports in China. Here the China Export Commodities Fair is held every spring and autumn, which attracts business people from the world over. The tourist attractions include the Zhenhai Tower, the Wuxian Taoist Temple, Tomb of the Nanyue King, the Chen Family Temple, the Six-Banyan Monastery, Sun Yat-sen's Memorial Hall, Mt. Baiyun, and Yuexiu Park.

 

YUNNAN

Located in the southwest part of China, covering an area of 394, 00 square kms, Yunnan Province is averagely 2000 meters above sea level and has a population of 40million. Three countries are its close neighbors: Myanmar to its west, Laos and Vietnam to its southwest. There are 17 prefectures and cities. Kunming is its capital city. For Westerners, Yunnan and Kunming are possibly better associated with the Flying Tigers daring pilots who flew "over the hump" from Bengal to help China during the Second World War. Yunnan actually has plenty of other claims to fame. As well as an important province sharing a large part in exporting to the ASEAN countries, Yunnan has been known for its well-developed tourism industry and infrastructure apart from its rich tourist resources.

 

Kunming (The City of Eternal Spring)

Is the capital city and the largest city of Yunnan Province. The city, owing to its altitude of 1,890 meters and its tropical situation, is also blessed with perennially pleasant climate and intriguing highland scenes and sights. With an average annual temperature ranging from 15? To 18? C, Kunming has earned the nickname "City of Eternal Spring". Major tourist attractions include the Stone Forest, Western Hills and Dragon Gate, Yuantong Temple, and the Bamboo and Golden Temples. Although greatly modernized for the hosting of World Horticultural Exhibition in 1999, the city has kept its slow pace and local flavor which makes it unique in China.

 

Dali

Capital of The Nanzhao Kingdom and the Bai minority. Dali lies just three kilometers from the shore of Erhai Lake, under the highest peak of the Cangshan Mountains, at an altitude of 2,300 meters above sea level, at the intersection of  the Yunnan-Myanmar Highway  (Myanmar Road)  and the Yunnan-Tibetan  Highway. It was the capital city of the fierce Nanzhao Kingdom which stood up to the Tang Dynasty's armies and enlarged its territory from the high plains of today's Myanmar to Southern Tibet, to the east to the actual Guizhou province and Guangxi region and to the north of was is now Vietnam as its southern boundaries.  The kingdom was only defeated by the Mongols on their way to destroy Pagan in old Myanmar. Dali is the main center of Bai minority culture, one of Yunnan's most numerous and prosperous ethnic groups with the cities of Zhoucheng and Xizhou.

 

Lijiang (UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site)    

Lijiang, located on a plateau at an elevation of 2,400 meters in the northwest part of Yunnan, has been enlisted as a World Monument by the UNESCO in 1997. It is the center of the Naxi minority, a relatively small minority group with a richly textured culture. The Naxi people migrated to Lijiang long ago from northeastern part of Tibet. The surroundings offer many fascinating scenic places, Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Grand canyon Tiger Leaping Gorge, Baoshan Stone Village where people live in houses made of stones, Yufeng temple with its ten-thousand-flower-Camellia, the frescoes of Baisha or just the little Naxi villages of the surroundings make of Lijiang a highlight destination not to be missed in Yunnan.

 

Shangri La  

Zhongdian is the center of the mythical Shangri La, le promised land of everlasting bliss. It is the capital of Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and lies at an elevation of 3,300 meters in the northwestern part of Yunnan. This land of snow-capped peaks, virgin forests of immense spruce and pine, meadow ablaze with fragrant wild flowers and pristine lakes inhabited by Tibetans, offers an introduction to Tibetan culture and numerous activities for trekking and trailing. The annual event of the Horse Festival held in June or July is highly rated for those who want to discover more of the Tibetan culture. Driving further North on the Tibetan Highway, passing the important Buddhist Dongzhulin temple, lies the little border city of Deqin, at the foot of the Sacred Meili Snow Mountain (7,640 meters above sea level), an important pilgrimage mountain for Tibetans. The unique landscapes of small and colorful Tibetan villages, the kindness of the people and the approach of the Glacier offer to the visitors a true feeling of Tibet.

 

SOUTHWEST OF CHINA - SICHUAN PROVINCE  

Sichuan, home of the red hot chili peppers and the pandas, is one of China's most populous, most diverse and beautiful provinces. It is also renowned as one of China's great cuisine, spicy Sichuan food.

 

Cheng Du    

The capital of Sichuan province has been known by two names: the "Hibiscus City" and the "Brocade City". Currently travelers use Chengdu as a gateway to Tibet, and to a lesser extent for those heading towards Chongqing and a cruise on the Yangtze River. Yet this vast city is also famous for four P's - pandas, peppers, poetry and people.

 

The Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Perfecture   

Situated in the west of Sichuan province, near the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region. The unusual geography and weather conditions along the transition zone between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau have given rise to a variety of landforms and conditions, such as mountains, glaciers, alpine lakes, and unique botany. Long an area dominated by Tibetan culture, the local customs is clearly reflected in the more than 500 Lamaism temples in the prefecture. Tourism resources are centered on Mount Gongga and include Mount Erlang, the Luding Bridge, Hailuo Gully, Mount Paoma, Muge Lake and the Tagong Grasslands. Combined, these attractions create a new hot spot for tourists interested in the customs and practices of the Tibetan people. With its highest peak touching the heavens at 7,556 meters above sea level, Mount Gongga straddles the three counties of Kangding, Luding and Jiulong. The surrounding land includes a wide range of topography, including virgin forests, snow-capped mountains, pastures, alpine lakes, hot springs, and waterfalls. The last frontier for humanity can be found at Yading, Daocheng. The primitive and mysterious surroundings, snow-capped peaks, wide valleys, and Tibetan villages and brilliance and beauty to every image.

 

TIBET REGION

Welcome to the mystical land of Tibet, a place that for years has been shroud in mystery, hidden and made unreachable by the highest mountain range in the world - the Himalayas! With panoramic views, the "Forbidden Land" of old is now offering a traveler the chance to explore either for cultural or religious interest. Tibet has the magnificent and wonderful natural scenery of the "third pole of the world” and the feature of the simple and unsophisticated Tibetan Buddhism.  Tibet also has a long history and beautiful landscape. Its brilliant and ancient monasteries and unique local customs attract flocks of tourists. Lhasa, Shigatse, Shannan, Nyingchi, Nagqu, Ngari and Qamdo have different land-forms and fantastic customs.

 

Lhasa

The name Lhasa means holy land in Tibetan. On the northern bank of Lhasa River, a tributary of Yarlung Zangbo River, it is 3,650 meters above sea level. It is famous for its long history. Lhasa is also famous as a city of sunshine, for its sunshine of more than 3,000 hours a year. It is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and is a political, economic and cultural center of the region. It boasts many historical sites and scenic spots both in its urban areas and outskirts. The Potala Palace and Jokhang, Sera, Gaindan monasteries and Drepung Temple are well known at home and abroad.

 

Shigatse

Situated in central - southern Tibet, Shigatse is the second largest city of Tibet and a political, economic and cultural center of the region. Known as "Nianqumai" in ancient times, it is more than 500 years old and served as the capital of Tibet in the first half of the 17th century. South of the city lies the Tashilhumpo (Zhaxi Lhunpo) Lamasery, one of the four lamaseries of the Galu sect of Lamaism and the residence of the Panchan Lama for long. Southeast of the city is situated the Xialu Lamasery, a cross between Han and Tibetan architecture, built during the Song and Yuan Dynasties.

 

Gyantse    

Presided over by the spectacular Gyantse Dzong, and once the third largest town in Tibet, Gyantse is the only substantial settlement in the Tibet to retain its vernacular architecture of sturdy two- and three-story farmhouses. Offering a rare and beautiful glimpse of Tibetan rural life, Gyantse should not be missed by any visitor to the Tibet. Historically, it was a trading town for goods from Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, and the closure of the border at Dromo has saved Gyantse from the ravages of development and Han colonization. Most members of Tibet's current generation of political leaders hail from Gyantse.

 

HONG KONG    

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is located at the outer east side of the Zhujiang River (Pearl River) mouth. It is made up of the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and 235 smaller isles. The total area is 1055.61 square kilometers. Hong Kong is a hub for air and ocean transportation in East Asia and a financial center in the Far East. With highly developed commerce, it is commonly acknowledged as "a Paradise for Purchasers." It would be hard to find a more exciting city than Hong Kong. Set among beautiful natural surroundings it has all the benefits of a thriving and vibrant commercial center. Here you can find the delights of modern living alongside an abundance of reminders of its historic past. Whether you visit the better known highlights like the stunning Ocean Park, the fantastic viewpoint of Victoria Peak or the beautiful Repulse Bay, Hong Kong is certain to exceed your expectations.