BEIJING

          

Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China, is the nation’s political, economic, cultural, educational and international trade and communication center. Located in northern China, close to the port city of Tianjin and partially surrounded by Hebei Province. Beijing also serves as the most important port of entry and transportation hub with dozens of railways, roads and motorways passing through the city. 


     

Beijing is amongst the most developed cities in China, it was the first post industrial city in mainland China. Beijing is home to 41 Fortune Global 500 companies, the second most in the world behind Tokyo, and over 100 of the largest companies in China.

In 1403, the new (and third) Ming emperor – the Yongle Emperor – renamed this city Beijing. From 1421 onwards, Beijing, also known as Jingshi, was the “official” capital of the Ming Dynasty.


          

Beijing, one of the six ancient cities in China, has been the heart and soul of politics and society throughout its long history and consequently there is an unparalleled wealth of discovery to delight and intrigue travelers as they explore the city’s ancient past and exciting modern development. Now it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with about 140 million Chinese tourists and 4.4 million international visitors in a year. It is also the destination of many international flights arriving in China. Beijing is regarded as the political, educational, and cultural center of China.


          

As the saying goes, one who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a true hero. Without visiting the Great Wall, no trip to Beijing or the country is complete. The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built, rebuilt and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders from Xiongnu attacks during various successive dynasties.


          

At the heart of Beijing is the Forbidden City, home to the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties, the largest palace complex of the nation and the world. The Forbidden City also hosts the Palace Museum with imperial collections of Chinese art. The Forbidden City is, by any measure, a must-see site in Beijing.



               

Siheyuan (Courtyard houses) and hutong (alleys) only grow in charm as they decrease in size. Courtyard houses are typical of houses of northern China, a full embodiment of the Chinese philosophy of “the unity of man and nature.” Courtyards visitors can see today were mainly built from the Qing Dynasty to 1930s. Hutong is the most typical type of old lanes. More than 7,000 alleys are scattered throughout the city, each has a story to tell. Those narrow lanes twist through older sections and form an open-air museum where you can happily wander aimlessly for hours. To experience the old Beijing, a Hutong tour is a must.


          

Old Beijing is wonderful and amazing while New Beijing is fantastic and exciting. Economic reform and the organization of the 29t Olympic Games in 2008 have accelerated the pace and scale of change and outfitted the city with a sense of modernity. Present-day Beijing offers an endless mixture of theatres, discos, bars, business centers, all kinds of restaurants and shopping malls that delight visitors.

XI’AN

          

Xi’an is the capital of Shaanxi province, located in the southern part of the Guanzhong Plain.


          

The cultural and historical significance of the area, as well as the abundant relics and sites, help Xi’an enjoy the laudatory title of ‘Natural History Museum’. The Museum of Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses is praised as ‘the eighth major miracle of the world’.

CHONGQING

          

Chongqing is the largest municipality located in southwest China. It is a port city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing Rivers.


          

Chongqing is famous for its hot Sichuan cuisine and world-famous hotpot dishes. Street vendors as well as restaurants feature exciting spicy delicacies for the adventurers.


Today, Chongqing is a modern city, China’s fourth municipality after Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin. Chongqing attracts visitors from home and abroad for its cultural heritage and other tourist attractions. The city is the starting point for the Yangtze River Cruise, which explores the stunning scenery of the Three Gorges. 

SHANGHAI

          

The two Chinese characters in the city’s name are ‘上’ (“above”) and ‘海’ (“sea”), together meaning “Upon-the-Sea”.

Shanghai is the largest city by population of China. It is one of the four province-level municipalities of the China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010. It is a global city, with influence in commerce, culture, finance, media, fashion, technology, and transport. It is a major financial center  and the busiest container port in the world.

Located in the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China, Shanghai sits at the mouth of the Yangtze River in the middle portion of the Chinese coast. The municipality borders Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces to the west, and is bounded to the east by the East China Sea.


          

Once a fishing and textiles town, Shanghai grew in importance in the 19th century due to European recognition of its favorable port location and economic potential. The city was one of several opened to foreign trade following the British victory over China in the first opium war and the subsequent 1842 Treaty of Nanking which allowed the establishment of the Shanghai International Settlement.

The city then flourished as a center of commerce between east and west, and became the undisputed financial hub of the Asia Pacific in the 1930s. However, with the Communist Party takeover of the mainland in 1949, the city’s international influence declined. In the 1990s, the economic reforms introduced by Deng Xiaoping resulted in an intense re-development of the city, aiding the return of finance and foreign investment to the city.


Shanghai is a popular tourist destination renowned for its historical landmarks such as The Bund, City God Temple and Yuyuan Garden, as well as the extensive and growing Pudong skyline. It has been described as the “showpiece” of the booming economy of mainland China.

During the Qing Dynasty, Shanghai became one of the most important sea ports in the Yangtze Delta region as a result of two important central government policy changes: First, Emperor Kangxi (1662–1723) in 1684 reversed the previous Ming Dynasty prohibition on ocean going vessels – a ban that had been in force since 1525. Second, in 1732 Emperor Yongzheng moved the customs office for Jiangsu province from the prefectural capital of Songjiang city to Shanghai, and gave Shanghai exclusive control over customs collections for Jiangsu Province’s foreign trade. As a result of these two critical decisions, Professor Linda Cooke Johnson has concluded that by 1735 Shanghai had become the major trade port for all of the lower Yangtze River region, despite still being at the lowest administrative level in the political hierarchy.



          

Shanghai is one of the main industrial centers of China, playing a key role in China’s heavy industries. A large number of industrial zones, including Shanghai Hongqiao Economic and Technological Development Zone, Jinqiao Export Economic Processing Zone, Minhang Economic and Technological Development Zone, and Shanghai Caohejing High-Tech Development Zone, are backbones of Shanghai’s secondary industry. Heavy industries accounted for 78% of the gross industrial output in 2009. China’s largest steelmaker Baosteel Group and Jiangnan Shipyard, one of China’s oldest shipbuilders are both located in Shanghai. Auto manufacture is another important industry. The Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is one of the three largest automotive corporations in China, and has strategic partnerships with Volkswagen and General Motors.


     

Shanghai is one of the leading air transport gateways in Asia. The city has two commercial airports: Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. Pudong Airport is the main international airport, while Hongqiao Airport mainly operates domestic flights with limited short-haul international flights. In 2010 the two airports served 71.7 million passengers (Pudong 40.4 million, Hongqiao 31.3 million), and handled 3.7 million tons of cargo (Pudong 3.22 million tons, Hongqiao 480 thousand tons).

GUILING

          

Located in the northeast of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China, Guilin is considered to be the pearl of China’s thriving tourist industry on account of the natural beauty and historic treasures. Guilin is China’s most picturesque region and has long been one of the world’s most famous travel destinations. Its breathtaking scenery has attracted many famous poets and artists for thousands of years. Artists are able to find inspiration from the Karst Mountains and the unsurpassed beauty of the Li River.


          

The strangely shaped hills or karsts, with the verdant vegetation ranging from bamboos to conifers together with crystal clear waters and wonderful caves make the city such an appealing destination. It is also an important cultural city with a history of more than 2,000 years. 

Guilin is a multi-ethnic city with Zhuang, Bai, Miao, Yao, Dong and other minorities. They maintain their own customs, including clothing, food, festivals, religious, and language.

 

YANGSHUO

          

Yangshuo County is a county in Guilin, Guangxi Province, China. It’s seat is located in Yangshuo Town. Surrounded by karst peaks and bordered on one side by the Li River,it is easily accessible by bus or by boat from nearby Guilin. Over the years, it has become popular with foreign backpackers.


     

The famous Li River traverses the county and brings it the most beautiful scenery. Along the extremely pure river, thousands of hills stand in different poses and with different expressions.


Streets in Yangshuo are well kept in the original style, presenting the simple and primitive atmosphere of the ancient town.

GUANGZHOU

          

Guangzhou, known as Canton, is a modern, vigorous metropolis. It is the third largest city in China and is the political, economic, sic-tech, educational and cultural hub of southern China. The city is located in south-central Guangdong Province, north of the Pearl River Delta. It lies close to the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Macau. Pearl River (Zhujiang), the third longest river in China runs through Guangzhou and is navigable to the South China Sea.


          

The climate of Guangzhou is sub-tropical. The average year-round temperature is 22℃ (71.6℉). The rainy season falls between April and August. The best time to visit Guangzhou is between October and December. Pleasant weather, abundant rain and sunlight provide ideal conditions for agriculture.


          

     

Another Guangzhou alias is the “City of Flowers” with evergreen plants and flowers blooming all year round.


          

          

Guangzhou has a worldwide reputation for good food. It has more restaurants and teahouses than any other city in China. Cantonese cuisine (Yuecai), one of the eight famous cuisines of China, is redolent with color, fragrance, taste and presentation. Yuecai is an absolute “must do” when dining in Guangzhou.

HANGZHOU

               

Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang province and its political, economic and cultural center. With enchanting natural beauty and abundant cultural heritages, Hangzhou is known as ‘Heaven on Earth’ and one of China’s most important tourist venues.


               

The West Lake is undoubtedly the most renowned feature of Hangzhou, noted for the scenic beauty that blends naturally with many famous historical and cultural sites. In this scenic area, Solitary Hill, the Tomb of General Yue Fei, the Six Harmonies Pagoda and the Ling Yin Temple are probably the most frequently visited attractions. The “Ten West Lake Prospects” have been specially selected to give the visitor outstanding views of the lake, mountains and monuments.

SUZHOU

          

Suzhou is located in the center of the Yangtze Delta, Suzhou is praised as the ‘Oriental Venice’. Taihu Lake, four fifths of which is in the territory of Suzhou, is one of the four largest fresh lakes in China.


          

     

As the saying goes – ‘Gardens to the south of Yangtze River are the best in the world, and Suzhou gardens are the best among them’. These gardens attain their high reputation not only for their vast numbers, but also for their charming natural beauty and harmonious construction.

Suzhou is praised as the ‘Oriental Venice’. Taihu Lake, four fifths of which is in the territory of Suzhou, is one of the four largest fresh lakes in China


               

Pingtan, Kun Opera and Suzhou Opera are praised as ‘three flowers’ in the cultural history of the city. Furthermore, embroidery, fans and brocade produced in Suzhou.

Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港, Cantonese: [hœ́ːŋ.kɔ̌ːŋ]), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the eastern side of the Pearl River estuary in East Asia, south of the mainland Chinese province of Guangdong, and east of the special administrative region of Macau. With over 7.4 million Hongkongers of various nationality  in a territory of 1,104 square kilometers (426 sq. mi), Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region in the world.