Planning a journey to China can seem quite overwhelming. It is the world’s most populous country where more than 100 cities boast a population of over one million. It is home to the largest number of ethnic groups in any country, fifty-six altogether, and it is larger in size than the U.S. China is a vast country with a history that seems almost incomprehensible, much of it rooted in the scriptures of Confucius and one could spend a lifetime exploring this ancient land.

Today’s China is a country of contrasts, extremes and juxtapositions. One minute you will find yourself dining in a five star restaurant looking towards the blinking sky line of Shanghai’s magnificent Pudong area or shopping in an avant-garde gallery, while the next day you may stroll through a hidden alley in an ancient Muslim quarter where little has changed since the days of the great empire. You can explore the Forbidden City, walk on the Great Wall and see the famous Terracotta Warriors or you may choose to escape the crowds and float down a quiet river on a bamboo raft, enjoying a breathtaking backdrop of magnificent lime stone peaks. This scene has been depicted in Chinese landscape scroll paintings since Imperial times. The beauty of it all is that there will always be another surprise just around the corner!