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Must see locations, events and places to travel and enjoy in China.

Qingdao – China’s Fountain Of Life

Blue skies prevail in Qingdao, a seaside metropolis that keeps topping livability lists in China, with its inviting boardwalks, shaded streets and parks, and German colonial architecture. Just to the east beckon the hiking trails of the Lao Shan Scenic Area, where chains of sapphire pools bubble with springwater and natural mist shrouds granite peaks. In ancient times, Taoist priests deemed this the home of immortal beings and the water sacred.

Drink the water – Tap the longevity well on Taiqing Gong’s grounds, a sprawling complex of temples and cypress trees. Or try the city’s famed beer, Tsingtao, made with water from the same source.

Liquid courage – At Huangdao Lu’s street market in Old Town, order Tsingtao by the pitcher or bag, or green tea grown on the slopes of Lao Shan.

Sand and smiles on a Qingdao beach

Sand and smiles on a Qingdao beach

Written in stone – Look for the ode to Qingdao carved into a rock in Lao Shan by celebrated poet Yu Dafu.

Harvest time – On the full moon around the fall equinox, families gather and share moon cakes. Join the crowds hiking up Zhongshan Park’s peak for the best view of the clear night sky.

In the 1950s, Tsingtao beer marketed itself as a health drink: “Not only is it harmless, it strengthens the body!”

A Guide To China’s Unique, Wide Land

A comprehensive guide to the best of China is impossible. It’s a vast land, encompassing mountains, deserts, forest and enormous cities; it’s one of the world’s great civilisations, with 5,000 years of history; and, as the nation swaggers its way to the front of the world stage, the contemporary landscape is changing faster than anywhere else in the world. I still remember when buying a train ticket meant queuing for hours at the station, and foreigners had to use a special currency – hard to imagine now as you book a bullet train ticket online, or check into the latest achingly-cool boutique hotel. Some famous sights have gone downhill through over-exploitation, and many urban landscapes that were once ramshackle-but-interesting have been blandly homogenised.

But for the most part, China’s headlong plunge into modernity has made things better – the country is open as never before, new road and rail links make travel smooth and easy, English is more widely spoken and, as the populace embraces a consumer society, food and nightlife have vastly improved. It would be easy to simply list China’s headline acts, but it’s the country’s smaller, quirkier destinations – with their haphazard charm and air of the unpredictable – that are often the more rewarding. It is more exciting to hike along a crumbling section of the Great Wall than to take the cablecar to a reconstructed length; a cute little temple thronging with devotees lighting incense is more atmospheric than one full of snap-happy tourists. All the itineraries below try to mix such smaller sights with the grand big-hitters, to offer a tastier bite of this indigestible nation.

YUNNAN – Yunnan is China’s coolest province, a traveller’s favourite. It offers a wide variety of scenery and peoples: half the population belongs to one of around 27 minorities, each with its own culture. Such diversity means you can pack a lot into a short trip. Start in Kunming, the clement provincial I capital, then head south to view the spectacular rice terraces of Yuanyang, before heading into steamy Xishuangbanna, which borders Laos. Base yourself in sleepy Jinghong, and arrange a three-day trek to the fascinating villages nearby, many of I which nestle in deep jungle. Fly north to Dali for a complete change of scene. This is the capital of the Bai people and a popular tourist spot. Escape the crowds by hiring a bike and explore the lovely Erhai Lake – all the quiet villages here have small accommodation options.

Yunnan is home to spectacular landscape as well as a range of minority peoples, including the Naxi

Yunnan is home to spectacular landscape as well as a range of minority peoples, including the Naxi

A few hours north by bus, nestling at the base of Jade Dragon Mountain, is Lijiang, homeland of the Naxi people. It’s a charming town of cobbled streets and wooden houses; though something of a tourist theme park, the local culture is fascinating. Head into the countryside for gorgeous scenery – at its best at Tiger Leaping Gorge, which can be hiked in two days; there are homestays en route. The road north winds uphill, to the edge of the Tibetan plateau, and another minority homeland, the Tibetan town of Zhongdian. The old town isn’t very authentic, but Ganden monastery, on the outskirts, is lovely, and the rugged terrain offers good hiking. You can continue from here into Tibet, though (due to restrictions) only as part of a pricey organised tour.

QINGHAI & XINJIANG – China’s wild west is a rugged wilderness of mountains, desert and grassland. Though making up almost a third of China’s area, it contains less than 5% of the population. And much of that population is made up of minorities, who have distinct cultures of their own – most notably Tibetans, whose Buddhist traditions link them to Nepal and Mongolia, and Muslim Uyghurs, whose language is closer to Turkish than Chinese. Add Kazakhs and Kyrgyz, among others, and you have an area that feels very different from the rest of China. Start in dusty Lanzhou, roughly in the middle of China, and take a day to see the Buddhist carvings at Bingling.

Then bus to Xiahe, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau. This laidback friendly town is home to one of the most important holy sites of Tibetan Buddhism, the Labrang Monastery. Though the town is Tibetan, thronging with pilgrims and monks, you’re technically outside Tibet, so there are none of the travel restrictions that apply in that territory. From here, head west to charming Tongren, then on to Xining, a base to visit scenic Qinghai Lake. It’s the biggest in China, and home to rare birds, including the migratory black-necked cranes that stop here in spring. Continuing west by train into the Uyghur heartlands, you reach Jiayuguan, the last lonely outpost at the end of the Great Wall.

Find Tibetan culture around Qinghal Lake, up on the Qinghal Plateau

Find Tibetan culture around Qinghal Lake, up on the Qinghal Plateau

Then it’s the welcoming tourist town of Dunhuang, base for visiting the spectacular Buddhist cave paintings at nearby Mogao. Continue west by train from here, along the route of the old Silk Road, to mellow Turpan, an oasis town dotted with archaeological curiosities and famed for grapes; vines provide shade all over town. It’s a short hop from here to Urumqi, the capital of the region, and as such rather more Chinese in feel than the surrounding towns. The last long leg of the journey is a ten-hour train ride, skirting the Taklamakan Desert, to Kashgar, a city right at the edge of the Chinese world – it’s over 4,000km from Beijing. The Central Asian influence is everywhere in evidence. Make sure you’re here on a Sunday, to see the huge and colourful bazaar.

THE GREAT WALL – What better landmark on which to hang a trip around China? Admittedly, you won’t see all that much of the wall itself, but tracing its route, across the north of the country, allows you to see a snapshot of modern China as well as a host of spectacular historical monuments. Starting in Beijing, you can visit the Great Wall itself as a day trip, easily arranged with a tour agency. Avoid over-touristed Badaling and do the walk from Gubeikou to Jinshanling; if you’re intrepid (and fit), hike the ‘wild wall’ at remote, beautiful Jiankou. Then, a four-hour train ride to the coast takes you to sleepy Shanhaiguan, where the wall meets the sea. Turn inland, and take trains west to Datong, a gritty coal town.

Cycle the rebuilt ramparts then take a day tour out to the gravity defying Hanging Temple and the spectacular Buddhist cave carvings at Yungang. Further west, stop at Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, and use the town as a base to investigate the vast grasslands to the north -preferably on horseback. You’ll meet the descendants of the people the wall was built to keep out: organise a yurt stay with a local agency. A natural next break in the long ride west is at the curious resort town of Shapotou, where you can watch the Huang He (Yellow River) flowing between sandy dunes. A day south takes you to Lanzhou, a former garrison town with a big Muslim population – a great introduction to the people and cuisine of the far west. Finally, head to the town of Jiayuguan, where the wall terminates in memorable style, with a lonely desert fort looking out at formidable mountains.

THE CLASSIC HONG KONG TO BEIJING – This grand tour ticks all the boxes – a little of everything, and all the big sites. It should take three weeks, two if you rush it. Hong Kong is China’s easiest entry point: it’s a thriving, ultra-modem city with one of the world’s greatest skylines as well as fantastic food and some areas of great natural beauty close to the centre (take a ferry to Lamina if you have time). Yangshuo, is very different: a traveller’s oasis on the Li River, nestled amid dramatic limestone peaks. Chengdu, in Sichuan Province, follows – sample fiery cuisine, take in some opera and sup at a teahouse; you could also coo over pandas at the rehabilitation centre.

Hong Kong is one of the easiest access points for a China adventure

Hong Kong is one of the easiest access points for a China adventure

You can get a boat down the mighty Yangtze River from near Chengdu – a three-day cruise through lush landscapes ends at the vast Three Gorges Dam. Next, tick off another must-see in Xi’an, where the 2,000-strong, life size Terracotta Army guards the tomb of the first Emperor, Qin Shi Huang. Pingyao, to the north, provides a refreshing change of scale. It’s one of the best preserved ancient towns in China, offering the chance to stay in a Ming Dynasty courtyard. The last stop is Beijing, which is full of monuments – as well as the Temple of Heaven and the Forbidden City, don’t miss the Summer Palace. Take the chance to explore the nightlife scene – head to Houhai. Also, browse the galleries at the huge 798 Art District and be sure to take a day trip to the Great Wall.

CENTRAL CHINA, THE YELLOW RIVER – The Yellow River Valley is the cradle of Chinese civilisation, where remains of vanished dynasties scatter a landscape of loess terraces. Start in Xi’an, the most spectacular of the historic capitals, where the Terracotta Army stands guard at Qin Shi Huang’s tomb. It’s a short trip east to Hua Shan, the holy mountain, which offers some of the best mountain scenery in China – though it’s hardly a wilderness experience, as the trails are busy with pilgrims.

Luoyang, a couple of hours east by train, has a fantastic museum of dynastic artefacts; just outside town are the Longmen Caves, a beautiful parade of Buddhist figurines and reliefs. A little further east, Song Shan is a holy mountain, and hosts the legendary Shaolin Temple, home of Chinese kung fu. To the east, Kaifeng – another ancient capital – offers architectural treasures and an intimate, human scale that’s missing in the large cities. Similar attractions are on offer at Qufu, birthplace of Confucius. Finish the trip with a hike up Tai Shan, a holy mountain whose steep trails are lined with grand imperial monuments.

The Great Wall Of China

Get orientated – Formerly said to be around 6,000km long, the Great Wall of China is now thought to stretch over 21,000km, thanks to a re-measuring in 2012. But regardless of its proportions, the wall has long been an iconic symbol of China. It adorns postcards and brochures, and attracts travellers from all corners of the globe. The wall runs from Shanhaiguan (Hebei province) in the east to Jiayuguan (Gansu province) in the west; en route it snakes across lush mountains, ominous desert and vast swathes of rural China. Dotted along some sections of the wall are watchtowers.

Previously used as military lookouts, signalling posts and even living quarters, they now serve a more scenic purpose, providing platforms from which to appreciate the views. Built over the course of 13 dynasties, this impressive feat of engineering is more than 2,000 years old in parts, though modern restoration has been carried out at certain points to restore it to its former splendour.

Badaling, 70km north-west of Beijing, is one of the most popular, accessible and comprehensively reconstructed parts. Untouched sections, such as the majestically crumbling wall at Simatai, appeal to more adventurous explorers searching for history and greater authenticity. To add a stiffer challenge to your Great Wall journey, climb the steep hillside ruins that circle around the large reservoir at Huanghua Cheng, 60km from Beijing.

Getting there – Emirates flies London Gatwick-Beijing via Dubai from around £530 return. To get to Badaling from Beijing, take Subway Line 2 from Beijing Railway Station, get off at Jishuitan Station and take Bus 919 to the rear hill at Badaling; this is where the cable car ticket office is located.

The visit – Several sections of wall are visitable from Beijing. The stretch of Ming-era wall at Badaling has been renovated and restored to make it accessible for tourists and to give an impression of its former greatness. Admission costs from CNY45 (£4.50) in high season (April-October); a return ticket for the cable car costs CNY100 (£10.20). Arriving early and on a weekday is recommended to avoid the crowds, especially if you plan on hiking along the wall. For fewer tourists visit scenic Mutianyu, 60km from Beijing, where you can walk a 2.5km stretch dotted with 22 watchtowers. The partially restored sections of wall at Simatai (120km from Beijing) and Huangha (65km) are well worth a trip. For the best, clearest weather, visit in spring (April/May); summer can be hot and humid, winters cold.

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The enchanting Great Wall is often cloacked in fog, particularly at scenic Mutianyu

The Great Wall is a symbol of China’s historic detachment and sense of vulnerability. Originally a series of disparate earthen ramparts built by Individual states, the Great Wall was created only after the unification of China under Oln Shi Huangdl (221-210BC). The wall ultimately proved Ineffective; It was breached In the 13th century by the Mongols and, In the 17th century, by the Manchu.

Watchtowers – A Ming addition, these served as signal towers, forts, living quarters and storerooms for provisions. They were spaced two arrow shots apart to leave no part unprotected.

Carriageway – This is, on average, 8m high and 7m wide.

Ramparts – These enabled defending soldiers to fire down on their attackers with impunity.

Reconstruction – This shows a section of the wall as built by the most prolific wall builders, the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The section at Badallng, built around 1505, is similar to this and was restored in the 1950s and 1980s.

Panoramic views – Because the wall took advantage of the natural terrain for defensive purposes, following the highest points and dinging to ridges, it now offers superb panoramic views.

Signal beacons – These were used to warn of attack-the fire was created by burning dried wolf dung.

Cannons – Another Ming addition, cannons were used to defend the wall and summon help.

Crumbling ruins – Most of the wall is still unrestored and has crumbled away, leaving only the core remaining.

Composition of wall – Under a surface of stone slabs and bricks Is a layer of tampered earth and rubble, then a layer of bigger rocks and stones, then large, locally quarried rocks. The outer wall Is made of kiln-fired bricks, cemented with a mortar of lime and glutinous rice.

Macau – China

Macau has grown into a mélange of new world glamour and old world grit.

Essential information:

Population: 607,500

Foreign visitors per year: 3.94 million

Languages: official Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese; unofficial Cantonese, Patua

Major industries: gaming, tourism

Unit of currency: Macau pataca (MOP$), Hong Kong dollar (HK$)

Cost index: hotel per night MOP$1500 (US$188), Portuguese dinner for two incl. wine MOP$800 (US$100), taxi from Macau Peninsula to Cotai Strip MOP$150 (US$18.80), ticket to a show MOP$1000 (US$125).

Why go ASAP?

Macau has grown out of its rep as a Las Vegas knock-off and into a mélange of new world glamour and old world grit. With six times more revenue from gaming than Las Vegas, Macau has seen a huge boom in recent years. Nouveau riche mainland Chinese have begun to flock here to enjoy the buzz of China’s gambling hub.

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Casino Lights in Macau

But the casino culture belies Macau’s true charms. Its Portuguese heritage has created a fusion cuisine that combines European, African, Indian and Chinese elements. And where else in the world can you make an incense offering at an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple in the morning, take the world’s highest bungee jump in the afternoon, have a Michelin-starred meal in the evening topped off with a bottle of Portuguese vino, don your finest for a glitzy show and then pull up a plastic stool for some Chinese street food as a midnight snack?

With a spiffy new light rail system connecting the peninsula and islands in the works, as well as major hotel brands like Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott arriving and a slew of new glam casinos under construction, gambling in Macau will become even more tempting. And the completion of the world’s longest sea bridge between Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China means it’ll be easier than ever to get here.

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JW Marriot Hotel – Macau, China

Festivals & Events:

During the A-Ma Festival, celebrate the Taoist goddess who gave Macau its name (`A-Ma gao’ means A-Ma Bay) on 11 May with offerings at her namesake temple and performances of Chinese opera.

As its name would suggest, Macau’s rowdiest to-do is the Drunken Dragon Festival on 20 June, when inebriated fishermen parade through the streets waving wooden dragons.

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Drunken Dragon Festival – Macau, China

Stretching for an unbelievable five weeks throughout September and October, teams from around the world descend on Macau for the World Cup of pyrotechnic arts, the Macau International Fireworks Competition.

fireworks-at-macau international fireworks display contest 2015

Fireworks at Macau International Fireworks Display Contest 2015

In November, the Macau Grand Prix sees champion motorcycle and race-car drivers take to the peninsula’s Guia Circuit, culminating in the Formula 3 Grand Prix race.

Macau Grand Prix-f1-circuit

Macau’s Grand Prix F1 circuit – Macau, China

Life-changing experiences :

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Macau’s Old Town – China

Exploring the back streets of Macau’s Unesco World Heritage old town  – a mix of Portuguese and Chinese architecture found nowhere else on earth. Sampling the delights of Macanese cuisine, which mixes elements of Portuguese, African and Chinese food – think prawn, chorizo and olive-laden ‘Portuguese fried rice’. Thrill-seekers shouldn’t leave without a leap off the world’s highest commercial bungee platform or a cool stroll around the 233-metre-high Skywalk at Macau Tower.

Trending topic:

Space-limited Macau is expanding at an incredible rate, with the Cotai Strip landfill having closed the formerly aquatic gap between Taipa and Coloane and more reclaimed land surfacing by the day. Real-estate prices are soaring, but pressure remains on local businesses to maintain Macau’s historic (read: low-rise) architecture. Added to that are ongoing discussions about the democratic process in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the region’s handover from Portuguese to Chinese sovereignty.

Random facts:

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Venetian Macau is the world’s largest casino – Macau

  • Macau is the world’s most densely populated territory, with more than 21,000 people per square kilometre.

  • At 980,000m2, the Venetian Macau is the world’s largest casino.

  • According to the CIA, Macau has the second highest life expectancy in the world at 84.41 years.

Local lingo:

Code-switching is a common fact of life in Macau. On any visit, you’re likely to hear a local changing seamlessly from Cantonese to Portuguese, English and Mandarin, though you’ll be lucky to hear the local creole, an endangered language known as Pattuá .

Regional flavours:

With such a mix of influences on its cuisine, the food itself is a reason to visit Macau. Portuguese fried rice, African chicken and charcoal roasted seafood are staple dishes. Another local speciality is the Macanese egg tart – not unlike a Portuguese pastel de nata, but made with less sugar to suit local Chinese tastes. Cantonese cooking is also excellent here, from gourmet dim sum to late night chetomian from street stalls. And the sweet lack of import tax also means a gorgeous bottle of Douro wine is a no-brainer at most meals.

Most bizarre sight:

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Grand Lisaboa Casino at night – Macau

The golden facade of the Grand Lisboa casino, with its surreal pointed leaves designed to look like a lotus flower, dominates Macau’s skyline. And these days, dozens of cranes surround Macau, dredging sand and soil in the middle of the sea to form reclaimed land plots.

Two Sides of Hong Kong – China

Mainland

STAY: Sign up for a slice of Asian kitsch (fake antiques and gold, topped off with friendly service) by booking into central The Luxe Manor.

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A bedroom at the Luxe Manor – Hong Kong

DO: While away an afternoon at Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Flower Market. Here, locals take their caged birds for a walk, stopping to feed them crickets with chopsticks.

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The locals caged birdies are the big attraction for tourists at Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

EAT: For unbeatable Chinese food, such as chilli lobster and grilled pork ribs with fennel seed, matched only by unbeatable views of the HK skyline, head straight to Hutong.

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Chinese food served at Hutong Restaurant

DRINK: On the 118th floor of the Ritz-Carlton, Ozone declares itself the highest bar in the world. Enjoy the views at sunset, with inventive cocktails such as Dragontini, combining vodka, raspberry, yuzu and basil.

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Ozone Bar – The highest bar in the world

Island

STAY: Marble bathrooms, high-gloss interiors and floor-to-ceiling windows are the hallmarks of swish The Jervois in Sheung Wan.

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A bedroom at the Jervois Hotel – Hong Kong

DO: A Wednesday night at the races at Happy Valley Racecourse is a quintessential HK experience, as much about drinking, eating and enjoying the crowds as it is about the gee-gees.

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Watching a horse race at Happy Valley Racecourse

EAT: Lin Heung is a dim-sum house of the old order, with food, such as lotus paste buns, wheeled around on carts by tunicked waiters.

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Dim-sun at Lin Heung – Hong Kong

DRINK: It’s all about the cocktails at moodily-lit Quinary. The Six-Months Barrel-Aged Manhattan and Earl Grey Caviar Martini are the stuff of legend.

the-earl-grey-caviar-martini-cocktail

The Earl Grey Caviar Martini cocktail

THE PENINSULA – HONG KONG, CHINA

Whether you land on the rooftop helipad or glide up in one of the hotel’s Rolls-Royce Phantoms, any arrival here will always involve a delicious sense of theatre. Opened in 1928, and transmogrified in 1994 with the addition of a 30-storey tower, this grandest of Asian dames is a triumphant marriage of old and new.

The 300 rooms and suites were given a vigorous makeover in 2013, shifting the interiors to pared-down Oriental chic while upping the technology. But glorious as the nail dryer, free international-call phone and bedside tablet fluent in 11 languages may be, The Pen’s killer appeal is traditional service. Chief concierge Echo Zhu is a Beijing-born, 21st-century, female Jeeves; sommelier Dheeraj Bhatia is on first-name terms with the cellar’s 1,000-plus labels.

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A room at The Peninsula – Hong Kong – China

And who could be left unmoved by the pillar-box-hatted pages’ cheery salutations as they swing open the main doors? Otherwise, the spa and Roman-themed pool are inspirational, and the restaurants remain unchanged and as popular as ever – in particular Gaddi’s, where the roasted pigeon breast sets the benchmark for fine French food in this city. A tried and trusted institution? Yes, and thank goodness for that.

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A spa zone at The Peninsula – Hong Kong

8 Reasons Why You Will Love Yunnan

1.WHATEVER TIME OF YEAR YOU GO, THE WEATHER WILL BE GREAT – As you’d expect from a geographic gateway leading into South and Southeast Asia, Yunnan Province benefits from a pleasant climate all year round. Even in winter, it averages 20°C. A typical altitude of 2,000m shields it from the climatic influences of the Pacific and Indian oceans, and the further south you journey the more you’ll be able to enjoy the reliable sunshine that enables an abundance of flora and fauna to thrive.

2. YUNNAN HAS AN EXCEPTIONAL HISTORY FOR YOU TO UNCOVER – For millennia, Yunnan has played an important part in the development of Chinese culture. In 279 BC, as the Western world was preparing for the rise of the Roman Empire, Yunnan’s oldest recorded civilisation – the Dian Kingdom – was established beside the grand Dianchi Lake. The sophistication of the tribes there meant that during the era of the Dali Kingdom, founded in 937 AD, the province was able to establish diplomatic relations with the Song Dynasty. It was also a significant stop-off point on the Silk Road – the ancient trading route that spanned from China to the Mediterranean.

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3. THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE LANDSCAPES IS UNSURPASSED – Mountains account for 94% of Yunnan’s surface, making it one of the most visually arresting provinces in China. The scenery is split by the grandeur of the Lancang River, which flows continuously through Yunnan on its journey to the South China Sea. Crystal-clear lakes also provide a contrast to craggy views, with expanses of water such as Erhai, Lugu and Fuxian lakes offsetting the untamed landscape. There’s no shortage of vistas for keen photographers to capture.

4. IT’S THE PROVINCE WITH THE MOST BIODIVERSITY IN CHINA – With a terrain that ranges from 76 to 6,740m above sea level, Yunnan is able support a wide range of plants and animals. Alpine meadows and pine trees give way to palm-fringed pastures and large root trees, while snow-capped mountain peaks lead all the way down to the troughs of hot and humid valleys. You’ll also spot an array of wildlife including the elegant black-necked crane, the full-lipped Yunnan golden monkey, the majestic Asian elephant and the showy peacock. During migration season, the sky is filled with further exotic birdlife.

Hotel Éclat Beijing: The Chinese Art Of Luxury

WHAT IS ITS AESTHETIC APPEAL? The tagline says it all – “Art of Luxury, Luxury of Art”. Hotel Eclat Beijing is as stunning on the inside as it is on the outside, its gleaming glass pyramid exterior housing an astounding collection of contemporary art, including works by Salvador Dali, Pierre Matter, and Andy Warhol, as well as more prominent local artists such as Zeng Fangzhi, Zhang Guolang, Chen Wen Ling, Gao Xiao Wu, Zou Liang and more. Painfully hip and fashionably chic with its modular-style furniture and futuristic lighting installations, the hotel’s 100 rooms are generously spacious, with many of them boasting private pools.

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BEYOND ITS BEAUTIFUL WALLS? The hotel is located within the landmark Parkview Green, a massive development in the heart of Beijing’s CBD that offers a plethora of shopping, dining, and entertainment options that will occupy you for hours. Famed local landmarks such as The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, and Temple of Heaven Park are within a 30-minute radius.

Bespoke Dinning By The Bay of Bengal

With an outstanding contemporary take on world cuisines, the Intercontinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort is fast becoming a dining destination for culinary enthusiasts

Dine al fresco under a starlit sky, sip wine by the beach or let their Culinary Ambassadors dazzle you with their curated menus.

TAO OF PENG

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Named after the legendary Chinese Tao master and chef extraordinaire Peng Zu, the newly-launched Contemporary Chinese restaurant Tao of Peng has been receiving rave reviews from guests and culinary experts alike. Chef-de-cuisine Avinash Naha brings Chinese traditions to life in his own signature style, with splashes of green ‘flying fish roe’ and magenta ‘beetroot emulsion’ to add drama to your meal. From crispy prawn cheung fan, to dan dan noodles, to green tea pannacotta, everything on this menu is expertly assembled and will deliver you to the China of Peng Zu! The Dim Sum Art Platter is a signature masterpiece, as the plate is painted with emulsions, foams, soil, garnishes, and finished with delicious dim sums. Dine here and you will be transported across the great divide and into a truly transcendent Chinese culinary experience.

THE MELTING POT: MARKET CAFÉ

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The Melting Pot – Market Cafe at InterContinental Chennai Mahabalipuram Resort – Leaf Spinach and Mushroom Burger

In a layout designed to suggest a travelling market, The Melting Pot: Market Café draws on European, Pan Asian and Peninsular Indian cuisines to deliver a cross-cultural dining experience like no other. From the Gulf of Kutch to the coasts of Orissa, through the South China seas and beyond, a wide range of authentic culinary samplings are delivered to you in an innovative and crafty menu. With a focus on tasting plates, their chefs draw on their travel experiences to inspire you with a melting pot of exquisite tastes, textures and temptations.

The highlight experience at this restaurant is the Sunday Brunch, lavish and memorable for family getaways.

DINE OR WINE BY DESIGN

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Spend a romantic evening under the star-spangled sky, let the waves and cool ocean breeze serenade you as you indulge in a cosy private dining experience in your own little marquee tent for two. With the signature “Wine By Design” experience you can select from the exclusive collection of fine wines, and settle down for the evening by a bonfire. Or choose to “Dine By Design”, and enjoy a delectable meal curated by your own personal chef. You can be sure the Bay of Bengal will not disappoint.

The China Kitchen: The Ultimate Culinary Experience At The Hyatt Regency Delhi

If you had 99 good reasons to visit The China Kitchen at the Hyatt Regency Delhi (authentic flavours, modern concoctions, and the Peking duck, of course!), here’s one more. The Chinese fine dining hotspot introduces a brand new menu handcrafted by Master Chef Zhang Hongsheng. You’re welcome!

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 WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW: This is the ultimate destination for authentic, contemporary Chinese food, created with the freshest ingredients, and adopting the most stylised interpretations of the cuisine. For years discerning diners have enjoyed its luxurious ambience that will transport you into the dining room of a Chinese home. It is divided into four distinctive components: a majestic open kitchen, five artistically designed private dining rooms, a wine wall and tea bar, and the dining area. Its kitchen is further allocated to the famous Peking duck station, a dumpling and noodle bar, the steamer, a wok and a dessert kitchen. Further extending the true-to-style experience, the private dining rooms have been named after and inspired by the provinces of China, which also point toward the chef’s origins – Sichuan, Hubei, Guangzhou, Anhui and Hunan.