China is one of the world's oldest civilisations, where the heritage of an ancient world meets modern day living in a unique mix. The staging of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing focused world attention on a country that had previously been mysterious, even closed off. It has treasures such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors and some of the most advanced modern architecture and technology in booming cities. Centuries old markets compete with shopping malls and designer boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai and Hong Kong. There's a simpler more traditional way of life in the country and you can experience it on a cruise on the mighty Yangtze River or the waterways of the Yellow River.
Since the early 1990s China has transformed its living standards and prosperity. It is a country of immense size and variety. Its main cities have seen a building boom yet retain much that is traditional. A night at the Chinese Classical Opera, a performance of folk music, classical Chinese dance or traditional martial arts give you a taste of culture.
The natural landscape has been an inspiration for Chinese artists for centuries. The Three Gorges region on the Yangtze River is particularly impressive and the new dam upstream of Yichang is an awesome feat of modern construction creating the world's longest artificial lake.
Shanghai is China's most modern city and its financial center. Nanjing has a host of historical and cultural sites and some beautiful natural scenery including lakes and mountains. Wuhan sits at the intersection of the Yangtze and Han rivers, and is three towns in one, connected by bridges - the newest a railway bridge that replaced a ferry for transporting train carriages and freight wagons. The Three Gorges is the most scenic part of the Yangtze. Chongquing is China's biggest inland river port and a booming city - it benefits from the Three Gorges Dam as ocean-going ships have access to its port.