Eagerly assuming its place among the world's top travel destinations, even more so since Beijing took centre stage at the 2008 Olympics, China is an epic adventure. From the wide open and empty panoramas of Tibet to the push and shove of Shanghai, from the volcanic dishes of Sichuan to beer by the bag in seaside Qingdao, a journey through this colossus of a country is a mesmerising encounter with the most populous, perhaps most culturally idiosyncratic nation on earth. The sheer diversity of China's terrain takes you from noisy cities fizzing with energy to isolated mountain-top Ming-Dynasty villages where you can hear a pin drop. Curator of the world's oldest continuous civilisation, China will have you bumping into history at every turn. But it's not just a museum of imperial relics: the frisson of development that has left China's coastline glittering with some of the world's most up-to-the-minute cities propels the land on with a forward-thinking dynamism. And it's the people, unavoidable in their immense numbers, who provide the ceaseless drama and entertainment.
People's Republic of China
Han Chinese 91.5%. Other etnias are Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, and other nationalities 8.5% (2000 census).
Mandarin (official), Putonghua (Beijing Mandarin dialect) and Cantonese.
Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam (14 million), Christianity (7 million).
Hong Kong Skyscrapers
[Datong - Peace Temple
Aberdeen Port - Hong Kong