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As extensive as America, as various as Europe, as ancient as Egypt, and as epicurean as France, China amply rewards the cultural traveler. Here one finds Buddhist pagodas, Confucian temples, martial arts monasteries, and the sacred peaks of Taoist hermits. From Beijing to Xi'an there are imperial palaces, royal tombs, and terra-cotta armies, not to mention city walls dating from the Ming Dynasty and the one Great Wall itself. Tea plantations, silk factories, rice terraces, water villages, and splendid classical gardens line the Yangtze River, China's world-class cruise destination. The museums of Shanghai and other modernizing cities are ...

As extensive as America, as various as Europe, as ancient as Egypt, and as epicurean as France, China amply rewards the cultural traveler. Here one finds Buddhist pagodas, Confucian temples, martial arts monasteries, and the sacred peaks of Taoist hermits. From Beijing to Xi'an there are imperial palaces, royal tombs, and terra-cotta armies, not to mention city walls dating from the Ming Dynasty and the one Great Wall itself. Tea plantations, silk factories, rice terraces, water villages, and splendid classical gardens line the Yangtze River, China's world-class cruise destination. The museums of Shanghai and other modernizing cities are filled with scrolls and ceramics, calligraphy and jades, and the thrones of emperors. Despite China's rapid Westernization and lengthening economic boom, these antiquities remain the cardinal points on a vast compass of sights, flavors, and spells. As the 2008 Olympics showed, China has upgraded its infrastructure and tourist facilities, making ancient and modern sites alike more accessible than ever before.

J.D. Brown
About the Expert

J.D. Brown is a contributor to Frommer's China and Frommer's Beijing, coauthor of Frommer's China: The 50 Most Memorable Trips, Berlitz Shanghai, Berlitz Singapore, and other books.

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