Chongqing is China’s fourth municipality after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. It is a cultural and historical city of many unique traits. Apart from being blessed with water on three sides, its buildings have also been constructed against the mountains on the last side. This generates different layers to the city's appearance that has become a hallmark of Chongqing, giving it the nickname “Mountain city”.
Known formerly as Canton, Guangzhou is the third biggest city in China and due to its position, on the Pearl River, it has long been one of China´s main commercial and trading centres. This giant metropolis is today a famous cultural city with a history of more than 2,200 years and is home to old temples and gleaming steel towers. As one of the fastest growing cities in Asia, Guangzhou has also seen a quick growth on tourism, attracting visitors with its cosmopolitan atmosphere, Cantonese cuisine and with its vibrant nightlife. The vast array of shopping options and the close proximity to other major Asian cities are also some of the major reasons why visitors are attracted to this dynamic city.
Guilin has been a favourite for a long time amongst travellers to China. This compact city is most famous for the green mountains, crystal clear waters, unique caves and the beautiful cliffs around it. The karst peaks and the surrounding area is world renowned for its beautiful scenery. Yet it is not only this stunning landscape that draws visitors to Guilin, its unique folk customs are also unforgettable experiences in themselves.
Like Yin and Yang, Hangzhou, the capital city of the Zhejiang Province, has two sides that complete each other. This historic city is a showcase for traditional medicine, religion and art as well as a shining example of China’s rapid economic development. Combining idyllic natural beauty, a grand heritage through the ages and an air of affluence, Hangzhou is one of the country’s most liveable and pleasant cities to linger in.
The provincial capital of Jiangsu, Nanjing, has served as the country’s capital for six dynasties and has long occupied a prominent place in Chinese history and culture. The overwhelming neon lights along Qinhuai River, the abundance of greenery in Zhongshan Mountain Tourist Resort and the remnant architecture from the time of the fledgling republic are all facets of the richness of various stages in Nanjing’s development.
One of the oldest cities in China, Ningbo is the birthplace of the Hemudu culture, which dates back over seven thousand years. Translated from Mandarin as “the serene waves”, Ningbo is located at the shores of Hangzhou Bay and is a long-established international port and trading post. With the Hangzhou Bridge, the longest trans-oceanic link in the world, Ningbo is now directly connected to Shanghai and has emerged as an important international hub in its own right.
Shanghai is the shiniest gem in modern China’s jewel box. It’s a hip, contemporary city that’s charging into the future with all the energy of its famous Maglev train. Yet if you veer away from the sleek highways and glitzy shopping streets you can still stumble upon a more traditional Shanghai, with all its character and flavour. In the tiny back streets, wet-market vendors peddle their wares - buckets of bright green vegetables, fish flapping in shallow plastic bowls and heaps of crayfish crawling over each other. In the parks at dawn, hordes of locals practice tai chi, sword movements and ballroom dancing.
Xi’an, once called Chang’an, the City of Long-lasting Peace, tops the list of China's six ancient cities. The world-renowned ancient Silk Road starts here. To stand on this land is to be on the very soil where merchants from empires long relegated to the annals of history once moved, and many facets of its past as a trading post still live on in various forms. The variety of folk handicrafts that greets the visitor is bewildering. Just outside the city is the steepest mountain in the world, Hua Mountain. Here is where the pre-historic Lantian man was found, proving that human existence here dates back 500,000 years. With all this heritage behind it, Xi’an stands proud even in the face of its modernization, a spectacular testament of the magnificent legacy the Chinese are so proud of.