Tea. The Great Wall. The Ming Dynasty. Forget what you think you know about China and experience nature, culture and adventures in the most populous country in the world.
Discover China: Land of Surprises
Despite China’s rapid emergence as a global superpower, the essence of the country still lies in its history and heritage. Covering nearly 10 million square kilometres and home to 1.4 billion people, its traditions and terrain are vast and diverse. Here are three of our favourite spots for discovering China in a whole new way.
The majesty of nature and the value of heritage peak in Sichuan, western China’s most expansive province. Enclosed to the north, west and south by awe-inspiring mountain ranges, Sichuan’s mystique has been presented to the outside world for centuries through the ancient art of shanshui hua (mountain water painting).
Perhaps the most painted landmark in Sichuan province is the towering, 3,099-metre Emei Shan, one of the Middle Kingdom’s four famous Buddhist mountains. Here you’ll find second century Taoist temples, lush mountain scenery and a sunrise so spectacular you’re considered blessed to have seen it.
When to go: Scenery is stunning all year round, but Sichuan’s winter is coldest from December to February, when temperatures drop to around 3° C, and summer is hottest from June to August, around 29° C.
Where to stay: Club Escape at Anantara Emei Resort & Spa
An island province off China’s southeast coast, Hainan is sometimes referred to as ‘Coconut City’ because of the abundance of coconut palms. Its carefree ambiance coupled with picture-perfect beaches and an emerging surf scene is attracting a growing number of global travellers.
Local cuisine includes the famous Hainan chicken rice, locally referred to as Wenchang chicken, a dish that has migrated to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Free-range chickens from Wenchang, halfway between Sanya and Haikoum, are fed coconut and peanut bran then cooked in chicken stock and served with rice and a dipping sauce made of chili, pounded ginger and garlic.
When to go: Hainan’s peak season is from November to early March, when temperatures average a pleasant 21° C.
Where to stay: Anantara Vacation Club Sanya
Located in the southern part of Yunnan province, Xishuangbanna is both geographically and culturally part of the northern rim of Southeast Asia. Rolling hills carpeted in tropical rainforests, great Dai cuisine and a laidback feel make this one of the most interesting regions of Yunnan province.
One of the very few tropical zones in China, Xishuangbanna is home to more than 5,000 species of trees and hundreds of kinds of plants and flowers, many of which are found nowhere else in the country. The Dai people, closely related to the Thai, Lao and Shan of Southeast Asia, occupy the plains and valleys and constitute more than one-third of the local population. The cities have modernised, but even new buildings often include Dai architectural motifs, giving urban areas an ethnic look.
When to go: Yunnan has a climate diverse as its terrain, and Xishuangbanna, weather varies with the seasons: Temperatures rise to 33° C from June to August and drop to 4° in December.
Where to stay: Club Escape at Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa
- It’s difficult to communicate with locals in languages other than Chinese, but Anantara can assist in hiring informative guides.
- The renminbi (RMB) is the official currency of China. The yuan is the basic unit of the renminbi, but it is also used as a synonym for the currency.
- Always present things to people with both hands, showing that what you are offering is the fullest extent of yourself.
- When meeting a Chinese family, always greet the eldest first as a mark of respect.
- If someone gives you a gift, it is more polite to put it aside and open it later, in private.
Discover a whole new side of China at our Anantara Vacation Club Escapes.