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China Made Easy

BANYAN TREE HOTELS AND RESORTS On the grounds of the Banyan Tree Lijiang, in the southern Yunnan province.

Photo: BANYAN TREE HOTELS AND RESORTS

Orientation

China can seem as impenetrable as it is imposing. Consider the numbers: it’s the world’s most populous nation (1.3 billion), where more than 100 cities have populations over a million. Fifty-six ethnic groups are spread across 22 wildly distinct provinces and five autonomous regions, in a landmass slightly larger than the U.S. Its history seems limitless and its traditions just as deep. But here and now, change is the only real constant—and it is accelerating at a dizzying pace. (One thousand new cars hit the streets of Beijing every day.)

How do you begin to fathom a country of such extremes? The futuristic cities glittering above timeworn villages; the great rivers and vast empty deserts; the radical new architecture juxtaposed with millennia-old monuments; the ceaseless push-and-pull between Confucianism, Communism, and commerce. Where do you even begin? Have no fear. Start here.

China’s Highlights

Tips for Flying to China

Chinese Taxi Tips

China’s Hotel Boom: Where to Stay Now

Must-Try Chinese Food

China Shopping Tips and Strategies

Six Great New Books on China

Where the Top Guides Go in China

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