The name alone makes you want to get packing. It’s going places, so jump aboard, go along for the ride and see where it’s headed. China is vast. Off-the-scale massive. A riveting jumble of wildly differing dialects and climatic and topographical extremes, it’s like several different countries rolled into one. Take your pick from the tossed-salad ethnic mix of the southwest, the yak-butter-illuminated temples of Xiàhé, or a journey along the dusty Silk Road. Few countries do the Big Outdoors like the Middle Kingdom. China’s landscapes span the range from alpha to omega.

The Chinese live to eat and with 1.4 billion food-loving people to feed, coupled with vast geographic and cultural variations in a huge land, expect your tastebuds to be tantalised, tested and treated.

Interesting facts about China:

  • East China Sea parts every year and exposes a narrow 2.9km long strip of land allowing thousands of people to cross from Jindo island to Modo island of Korea.
  • After making an emergency landing in China in 2001, the crew of a US Spy Plane were asked by their Chinese captors to recite the lyrics to “Hotel California” to prove their nationality.
  • China has banned time travel in TV, saying that it “disrespects history”.