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Chopsticks, tea, pandas, bamboo, red flags, teeming crowds – China is all this and so much more.

An endlessly fascinating destination, China is a collision of dizzying modernisation and ancient culture. With their dense population and striking skylines, the cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong are symbolic of this fast-changing country, where many historical treasures remain.

In Beijing you will see the Great Wall of China, which winds through the Northern Chinese hills; the infamous Tiananmen Square; and the Forbidden City, where the vast complex of palaces was home to successive emperors for more than 500 years.

Xi’an (the “City of Eternal Peace”) is home to the greatest archaeological discovery of the last century: the 2,200 year old Terracotta Warriors. In Shanghai, stroll down the famous Bund on the waterfront, with its dramatic skyline on one side and colonial buildings on the other.

The great outdoors offers up many interesting sights, such as the mountain lakes of Tibet, water towns, deserts of Inner Mongolia, rice terraces of the south, and dramatic river gorges. A cruise on the Li River, from Guilin in southern China, will take you past fields of water buffalo, cormorant fisherman on bamboo rafts, and hauntingly shaped karsts.

The Chengdu Giant Panda Conservation Centre, in the southwest province of Sichuan, has been created to imitate the pandas’ natural habitat to provide the best conditions for breeding and rearing these rare creatures.