One of the world's oldest civilisations, China has in recent
times emerged as a global superpower, and although some aspects of
the country are still shrouded in mystery, it has now opened up to
become a major tourist destination.
Old Shanghai is disappearing fast - apparently a new A to Z is
issued on an almost annual basis - but the city retains historical
landmarks such as The Bund, while Beijing, the capital, is home to
the Forbidden City, the Imperial Palace from the Ming Dynasty to
the end of the Qing Dynasty. And of course, no trip to China is
complete without a visit to the Great Wall of China, which
stretches for approximately 5,500 miles.
Japan is an archipelago of an astonishing 6,852 islands, the
four largest of which - Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku -
account for over 95% of Japan's land area. Due to the huge number
of islands and the expense of travelling in Japan, an all-inclusive
cruise can overcome some of the logistical problems and financial
strains associated with visiting the country.
Tokyo, Japan's futuristic capital, is best known for its
electric avenues of skyscrapers, neon lights and fantastic shopping
malls. Another highlight is the Bullet Train from Yokohama to
Kyoto, speeding past the iconic Mount Fuji.
It's best to avoid the cold winters and oppressive summers by
travelling in the spring and if possible Japan's cheery blossom
season from March to April.