China

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China is a vast country with endless activities on offer and sights to see. It is a heady mix of sprawling modern cities, sleepy rural areas, modern skyscrapers, ancient monuments, fascinating history and world famous cuisine. History buffs cannot miss some of the famous sights- the Forbidden City, Great Wall of China and Xi’an (terracotta army). The natural scenery of the West lake of Hangzhou, a leisurely cruise along the Li River and a visit to the Jiuzhaigou valley (home of the giant panda, stunning colourful lakes, waterfalls and snow-covered karst mountains) are treats to nature lovers.
 
The Chinese Yuan Renminbi is the currency of China. Major credit and debit cards are accepted in hotels and big departmental stores. Main languages spoken in China are Mandarin, Cantonese and Minnan. Locals who can understand a foreign language are rare. Travelling with a guide who speaks the local language is sometimes necessary. April to October is the ideal time to visit western China. June to August is a good time for hiking and trekking.