China is the third biggest country in the world, almost as large as the whole of Europe. It contains the highest and lowest places on Earth and has the biggest contrast in temperature between its northern and southern borders of any country on the planet.

One in five people in the world are Chinese, making it the most populous country anywhere. Despite this, large parts of the country are wilderness and largely uninhabited, so getting around China is not always easy. 

Beijing however, is the centre of the national rail network with major lines providing good connections to Shenyang, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Baotou and Taiyuan.

There is also a high-speed train to Xian, to see the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. This extraordinary army of 8,000 life-size warriors, horses and chariots was constructed to accompany the tomb of China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, as an afterlife guard more than 2,000 years ago. It is considered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century.

Highlights

The Yangtze is the world’s third longest river stretching nearly 4,000 miles into China’s heartland. Tourists can book a river trip along the 100-mile stretch known as the Three River Gorges that winds its way through spectacular gorges and includes the stunning Twelve Peaks – the most famous being Goddess Peak.

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