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Hong Kong's a great city for an adventurous eater. Stop at a street vendor for fish balls on a stick or stinky tofu. Bakeries offer wife cake, pineapple buns and egg tarts. Or opt for as much dim sum as you can eat. If you're tired of local and regional Chinese specialties, check out upscale offerings from some of the world's top chefs, like Joel Robouchon and Alain Ducasse.
Move over, Haussmann and l'Enfant. Beijing's urban planner beat you by a couple of centuries. His name is Kublai Khan. Here, you'll find a wealth of history, both ancient (the Hall of Preserving Harmony, Summer Palace, Forbidden City) and more recent (Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, Tienanmen Square). For the best market experience, choose the Dirt Market over the touristy Silk Market.
Shanghai is the cool, confident face of modern China, and its energy is infectious. Go to the Bund to watch ships on the river and marvel at the huge variety of architectural styles on display, or watch the crowds go by in People’s Square. Shoppers should make a beeline for the Fabric Market, where you can have a suit or dress tailor-made for you at bargain prices. At night, explore all manner of fashionable restaurants, bars and nightclubs or just stroll through the city enjoying the spectacular neon lights.
Deep in the spectacular Himalayan Mountains, Lhasa is a jewel of a destination. Potala Palace, the former residence of the Dalai Lama, is a major attraction, but you’ll also find numerous important temples and even the world’s highest brewery.
Today the walls of the Ming dynasty and the Tang palace walls hint at the Xi’an’s glorious past. Stare in awe at the Terracotta Army, 7,000 terracotta statues of Qin Bingmayong Bowuguan warriors and soldiers. Dating from 210 BCE, they were discovered in 1974 and are still being excavated. Don't miss the Shaanxi History Museum or a chance to heat up at former imperial bathing spot, Huaqing Hot Springs.
Perched in a high mountain valley, Huanglong or Yellow Dragon National Park offers invigorating adventure options. The ambitious can trek to Lhasa, whitewater raft or embark on multi-day river journeys. Alternatively, a five-mile trot brings you to five terraced, temple pools glowing with stunning hues.
Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and one of the seven ancient capitals of China. It was described by Italian traveler Marco Polo as the finest and most luxurious city in the world. The West Lake scenic area contains over 60 cultural relic sites and several attractions of natural beauty, and a cruise on the lake is a good option to view several sites. Hangzhou is also a good place to visit a tea plantation.