With a huge land mass and a history dating back thousands of years, China is one of the most diverse and intriguing nations on the planet. In China you will see the blend of the old and the new, with slow-paced rural towns contrasting with bustling, skyscraper-filled cities. China's culture and art are just as interesting as its politics and society, and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing showed the world all that this unique country has to offer.
As one of the world's largest and most populous countries (or the most populous we should say), China has a large number of airports and flights to various destinations around the world. Flights to China from the UK are run by several airlines such as British Airways, KLM, Emirates and Lufthansa and depart from UK airports such as London Gatwick, Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow. If you're after a cheap flight to China, see what's available to Beijing and Shanghai, the country's two largest cities and home of the main airports. The duration of your flight really depends on whereabouts in China you are travelling to, given its massive size. A direct flight from London to Beijing will take approximately 10-11 hours. Bear in mind that you may need to take a connecting flight once you reach China if you are travelling to a less-chartered destination.
If you are spending time in a number of wide-spread locations, you are best off booking domestic flights in China. These are offered by three major airlines: Air China, China Southern and China Eastern. However, if you don't mind long distance journeys and are trying to save money, China has an extensive network of train routes. The most comfortable and still affordable class of train travel is the soft sleeper, with each room containing four bunk beds. Be prepared for train staff not speaking English as well as a lack of signs in English and to save money, try to bring food with you, as opposed to dining in the restaurant carriage. For shorter distance routes or transport within cities, make use of the bus services and save yourself even further pennies. Just to be sure to hold on tight, as driving in Chinese cities can be a little hairy! Although renting a car may seem like the easiest way to travel at your own pace and convenience, newcomers to China are more than likely to be overwhelmed by the standard of driving not to mention the fact that you will be required to get a temporary driver's license. Probably best to leave the driving to the locals!
A comprehensive list of the sights to see and things to do in China would have us here all day. So here are just some of the main attractions of China: Great Wall of China - Completed during the Ming dynasty, the Great Wall of China was built to defend China's borders from invaders and is both the world's longest wall and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is simply a must-see for any visitor to China. Terracotta Army - The army of Terracotta Warriors was discovered underground by a farmer in 1974 in the city of Xi'an. The famous statues portray the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. Visitors will marvel at the detail of the warriors and horses, as well as learn about some of China's earliest history. The Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an are an example of the ancient artefacts that can still inspire awe on holidays to China. The Forbidden City - Located in the heart of capital city Beijing, the Forbidden City was an imperial palace home to many Chinese emperors over the years. It now houses the Palace Museum, which has an extensive collection of artwork and historical artefacts. For a quintessentially Chinese experience, a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must, as you will see classic Chinese architecture as well as get a sense of China's long and rich history. Huangshan Mountain (Yellow Mountains) - For the nature lovers or those wanting to see what China has to offer in the way of natural beauty, a trip to the Huangshan mountain range, also known as the Yellow Mountains in Eastern China will not disappoint. The area features giant rock formations of all shapes and sizes, hotsprings, waterfalls, lakes and if you're lucky to be there at the right time, impressive sunset views. Considered to be an example of classic Chinese scenery, the mountain area was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 and has inspired Chinese artists and writers since the 16th century.