image class="left" url="http://media4.picsearch.com/is?-Oojv_7RuduCLPERbG3Q3TEsrmWdjXD8eTytF9yn5OQ&height=195"Few destinations encompass as much tradition, history, culture, and natural scenery as China. While its language barrier, undulating energy, humongous population and apparent lack of space, a journey to China often ends up feeling tiring and stressful, the simplest way to ensure that you enjoy this fascinating country for all of its beauty and millennia-old culture is to focus on specific areas and don't try to add too many things into your itinerary.
Scott Dunn (020 8682 5060) offers a 13-night ‘Rural china holiday package deals' trip from £5,400 per person, which includes stays in the Peninsula Shanghai, Banyan Tree Lijiang, Shangri-La Guilin and Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, taking in the scenery of the rice terraces in Longsheng, the cobbled streets of Lijiang, the largest Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Yunnan and the charts scenery of Guillin.
Most travelers are keenly aware of the iconic sights that lie within this amazing kingdom of historic proportions - the magnificent Great Wall, the imposing Forbidden City, the awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors, and so on. But unbeknownst to many, China's expansive topography, diverse culture and state-of-the art amenities mean there is much, much more than meets the eye.
Explore the winding alleys, or 'hutongs', of the local Beijing neighbourhoods from the back of a traditional rickshaw, join a relaxing Tai Chi class, learn all about the history of China's most celebrated stone, jade, from a local merchant, experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, and, after all your exploring, indulge in a complimentary one-hour foot massage.
The better foreign tour operators design their own itineraries and have instituted strict contractual controls to keep these stops to a minimum, but they are often unable to do away with them altogether, and tour guides will introduce extra stops whenever they think they can get away with it. Other companies, particularly those that do not specialize in China, just take the package from the Chinese ground handler, put it together with flights, and pass it on uncritically.