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One of the planet’s biggest countries, China has a history stretching back at least 5,000 years. After emerging from decades of isolation following the Communist takeover in 1949, China’s economy is booming and major cities such as Beijing, Xian, Shanghai and Guangzhou are on the mainstream tourism trail. Most of the major Chinese airports are less than five hours flying time from Bangkok.Don’t Miss
Southern China, especially Hainan Island, has warm weather and is good to visit at almost any time of the year. The north is colder and at its best from May to September. The Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) is in January or February and also a good time to visit. Beijing is the capital city and famed for attractions including the Forbidden City and easy access to the Great Wall of China. The Terracotta Army in Xian and the Yu Garden in Shanghai are other unmissable Chinese attractions.Restaurants and Bars
As China is so large there is a wide variety of food to choose from. In Beijing, Peking roast duck was the food of emperors and is still the top dish to try when here. Vendors on Beijing’s Wang Fu Jing Street offer snacks from all parts of China. Cantonese food is one of the nation’s most famous exports and a good reason to visit Guangzhou or Hong Kong. Specialities include roast suckling pig, dim sum dumplings and chicken. Those with a liking for spicy food will find Szechuan province’s dishes very tasty.Activities
In addition to sightseeing and foodie tours, there are a few other activities to enjoy on China holidays. The top viewing level at the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai is 468 m above ground and gives wonderful city vistas. Multi-day cruises on the Yangtze River or shorter ones on the Pearl River in Guangzhou are popular. Sanya in the south of Hainan Island is the nation’s preferred beach destination.Shopping
Calligraphy paintings, bags of green tea, Chinese silk clothing and bags, and ornate chopsticks are the top souvenirs from China. Prices are generally equal to Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, but this obviously depends on the buyers’ bargaining skills and the sales outlet. Top shopping zones include Wangfujing Street in Beijing, Shanghai’s Nanjing Road and the historic Shangxiajiu Street in Guangzhou.