After years of hiding from western eyes, China has transformed itself into a true heavyweight on the global tourism scales. Welcoming nearly 56 million visitors each year, China is by a long way the most-visited country in Asia. According to statisticians, it might well eclipse France as the world’s most popular tourist destination by the year 2020.
China is also one of the most ancient civilisations on earth, the historical home of neolithic structures, the Silk Road, and more than 2,000 years of Dynastic reign. The country’s long and proud cultural heritage is reflected by the fact that it is home to no fewer than 41 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are more ‘must-see’ cultural attractions in China than you could ever hope to experience in a single visit, including fascinating sights like the Summer Palace, the Stone Forest and the Beijing National Stadium.
Tourists to China looking to explore some of its incredible natural bounty will be blown away by the Five Sacred Mountains, and the Jiuzhaigou Valley, which is an astonishing example of the varied nature of China’s landscape, a natural wonderland filled with snow-capped mountain peaks, crystal-blue lakes, cascading waterfalls and lush vegetation.
China is an enigmatic, mysterious country, where modernity and tradition, and progress and conservatism, co-exist in a seething morass. It is one of those countries that leads tourists to return home filled with a far greater sense of the inexhaustible variety of life, and a renewed appreciation for the many walks of life this planet has to offer.