China is the world’s largest country by population, and the third largest by area. It is home to an ancient civilisation whose roots stretch back 5000 years. You’ll find teeming, and increasingly modern cities, rural villages in the hills where time seems to have stood still, and everything in between.
If you travel into China overland by road, you may find you follow in the footsteps of the old Silk Road travellers, who came to the country via the Middle East, through what is now Pakistan. You’ll find yourself in western China, an area many travellers fail to see. It is worth lingering: it is a truly authentic and diverse region. The city of Turpan, once a major Silk Road stop, is a great base for visiting some of the region’s many ancient ruins.
A journey down the huge Yellow River Valley will take you through what is known as ‘The Cradle of Chinese Civilisation’. The river rises in the Tibetan Plateau, and makes its way south towards Mongolia and then back into China to the city of Xi’an – the home of the famous Terracotta Army, as well as some beautiful palaces. While in the North be sure to pay a visit to the Great Wall and walk some of its length.
On the east coast, Shanghai will grab your attention from all sides. Take in the smells, sights and sounds of this incessantly busy city, where east meets west, and old meets new. Nearby Suzhou is nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’, for network of canals and ancient buildings. A little way south is Hangzhou, lying slightly inland on the shores of a lake. It is surrounded by mountains and tea-growing villages.
There are many, many other places to see in China. Wherever you choose to go on your China overland tour, you’ll find yourself drawn in by this exciting, enticing country.