Regent Holidays were one of the first UK operators to arrange China holidays. Back in 1976, the People's Republic of China was still closed off to tourism but our former intrepid owner, Bradt guide author Neil Taylor took one of the first groups of UK tourists to the country. "Those early trips to China were quite different from those taken today. We would travel for three weeks with almost no contact with the outside world. Most Chinese wore Mao-style suits and rode bicycles. We never knew exactly when or where we would be taken: we just had to take what we got. There were many statistics illustrating success thanks to following Mao Tse-Tung thought."
For centuries, China has appealed to travellers with a taste for adventure and this certainly still applies today. From sailing down the mighty Yangtze River and traversing the iconic Great Wall to sampling the culinary curiosities of Beijing’s night markets, China offers epic, full-flavoured travel experiences in every one of its huge provinces.
Bicycles in Beijing
Experience the frenetic energy of the nation’s capital as most of the locals do - by bicycle. Despite its vastness, many of Beijing’s main sights such as the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and Beihai Park are within a short distance of each other, and cycling between them will give you a unique perspective of the city. Most hotels either offer or can recommend bicycle rental services.
The Great Walk of China
Walk the well-preserved Badaling section of the Great Wall and marvel at the spectacular views of this magnificent structure snaking along the verdant landscape. For the more active traveller, the soon to be opened Simatai section is a strenuous yet more authentic stretch with fewer tourists.
Happy New Year!
If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in China during its New Year celebrations – which in 2014 will fall on 31st January – then expect a colourful cacophony of shimmering decorations, temple fairs, fireworks and calls of “Congratulations, make money!” as locals exchange cash-filled red envelopes. This is a truly magical time of year to visit.
There’s more to Xian than just the Terracotta Warriors. Make sure to wander the ancient city walls – the largest remaining structure of its kind in the world – before trying some delicious street food in the Muslim quarter. Visit the imposing Bell Tower and ancient Big Wild Goose Pagoda for an intriguing glimpse into China’s fascinating imperial history.
Make some time to enjoy three nights on a relaxing Yangtze River cruise, sailing through its famous gorges and numerous ancient sites and towns on the way. Stop at the breathtaking Three Gorges Dam and learn how it affected life on the Yangtze.