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Ancient China

The most populous country in the world, published 2014 updated June 2018.

China is one of the worlds oldest civilizations with a history extending back over 5000 years. Over this period, China has gone from feudal states to a modern progressive country, yet some people still live almost as they did thousands of years ago.

As a visitor you will find everything imaginable from the most dire poverty to the greatest riches, but the major highlights for most travellers are the bright lights and cosmopolitan cities of Hong Kong, Guangdong (formerly Canton) and Shanghai.

While Beijing is the capital and is the closest city to the ‘Great Wall’, it’s not the most popular

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The Dragon Stirs

China on the move

China recently unveiled this god of war statue symbolising its new direction. A Tumblr image.

Western interest in China began in the 1620s and this country that was content within it’s own borders and economy had no interest in the rest of the world. There were of course Chinese sailors who ventured far from home but these travels were very limited and the most significant Chinese-Western relations occurred as the British East India company imposed itself on China causing the opium Wars and a consequent subjugation of China which some say it has not been forgiven.

In recent times we have seen China emerge as a economic and military superpower able to take on

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A region in distress

Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of India and denotes an area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir (subdivided into Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh). It also includes the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan as well as the Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

Historically during the ancient and medieval periods, Kashmir was been an important centre for the development of a Hindu-Buddhist syncretism, in which Madhyamaka and Yogacara were blended with Saivism and Advaita Vedanta. The Buddhist Mauryan emperor Ashoka is often credited with having founded the old capital of Kashmir, Shrinagari, now ruins on the outskirts of modern Srinagar. Kashmir was long to be a stronghold of Buddhism.

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Currently a war zone

Sandwiched between India, China, Afghanistan and Iran, and on the shore of the Indian Ocean, Pakistan is a modern nuclear country, but it also has its troubles including bomb attacks by religious extremists. Before travelling you should check with your embassy about off-limits areas, the latest political & military developments and keep an close eye on current issues with independent news sources.

Pakistan’s North-West Frontier is remote, inaccessible and home to a revitalised and increasingly brutal Taliban. The nearby city of Peshawar is under constant terrorist attack. If the government had changed their policy we would not have attacked Peshawar says Hakimullah Mehsud, the new face of the Taliban. He is clear that Pakistan will pay

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Hong Kong

Chinese but not quite China

This corner of China was once an impoverished area of paddy fields and a harbour for pirate junks. In 1841 following the Opium Wars the British took control and the area blossomed to become the major city and trading centre we know as Hong Kong.

Hong Kong consists of Kowloon, Hong Kong Island and the New Territories and some outer islands. Kowloon and the New Territories are on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland, to the north of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island is on the south side of the harbour facing Kowloon. Hong Kong is an all-year-round destination with a mild climate from the mid September to the end of February while May

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Qinghai-Tibet Railway

A feat of modern engineering

On July 1, 2006 the 1956 kilometre long Qinghai-Tibet Railway was opened allowing a free flow of visitors into the Tibetan region. It stretches from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa in Tibet with connecting passenger trains from Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xining and Lanzhou.


Acclaimed as a miracle of engineering and environmental protection as 960 km of the track sits 4000 meters above the sea level and the highest point at 5072 meters. Considerable effort has gone toward nature conservancy as five nature reserves lie along its route like the Hohxil Reserve, the largest habitat of the endangered Tibetan antelope. From and engineering perspective construction had many challenges like building the

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A home of revolution

The historical revolutionary city of Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, has been serving as the political, economic and cultural centre of central and eastern China of over 2200 years. Nanchang has a sub-tropical monsoon climate bringing mild and pleasant weather for almost all year round. Gan River, the mother river of local people, traverses through this beautiful city, while scattered lakes and rivers in or around bring a special kind of charm.

Long and splendid history endows Nanchang with many cultural relics, among which the Prince Teng’s Pavilion is the most namable. It is no exaggeration to say that Prince Teng’s Pavilion is the pride of all the locals in Nanchang. Many literates in

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The Chinese neighbourhood

“Jobs tears seed, almond and lotus seed congee!” “Rose chip and white sugared rice cake!” “Fragrantly spiced egg boiled in tea leaf!” These were the hawking of snacks in longtangs around Zhabei District that Lu Xun, the great writer, recalled in his essay “Business in Longtangs of the Past and Present”, at the time of his first arrival at Shanghai in the 1920s. The writer remarked that this kind of hawking was both attractive and artistic, which made people’s mouths water while hearing it.

Longtang is the local term used by Shanghai people for lilong. As “long” means a lane and “tang” means an important building or the front room of a house, “longtang” either means a

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Gateway to a big open country

The ancient Lijiang, which is also known as Dayan Town, is located in the Li jiang County, in the northwest of the Yunnan province of China. This area has been bountifully blessed with magnificent and beautiful mountains, rivers and a long history with a rich national-cultural atmosphere. It is an ancient, but intact city, inhabited mostly by Naxi ethnic groups and covers an area of 1.5 square kilometres.

The Ancient Lijiang City, which has a history of 800 or 900 years, began to take shape in the Southern Song Dynasty and in 1253, Kublai (the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty) was stationed here during his march towards the south. The Ancient Lijiang City

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Lantern Festivals

A festival of light and colour

Dragon lantern

The Chinese Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, usually in February or March in the Gregorian calendar. This is the day on which the festival activities reach a climax.

The Lantern Festival is also known as the “Shangyuan Festival”, because it is the first full moon night. Due to the custom of watching bright lights, it is also called the Festival of Lights. According to folk legend, this festival has been significant since as early as the Western Han Dynasty when Liu Che, the Western Han Emperor, worshipped the god in the Ganquan Palace on that night. However, it became a real folk festival

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