China is not so much another country as it is another world. The only foreigners it saw were visiting merchants from far-flung shores or uncivilized nomads from the wild steppe: peripheral, unimportant and unreal. Apart from a few ruling elites of Mongol and Manchu origin, who quickly became assimilated, China did not experience a significant influx of foreigners until the late nineteenth century, something which still colours the experience of today's visitors to China. It's a land of towering mountains and epic landscapes - background scenery to the fall of dynasties, the rise of emperors and the turning of the revolutionary wheel. From the exquisite palaces of Beijing to mysterious Tibet; from Xi'an's magnificent army of terracotta warriors to the epic landscapes along the legendary Silk Road; from the mighty Yangtse River to the modern cities on the East Coast, China is simply put irresistible. The swiftness of transformation is visible in every part of Chinese life; travellers who visited China as little as ten years ago are amazed to hear how much the country has opened up and how many more liberal trends have emerged as a result of a free market economy. For whatever reasons you are attracted to China - its history, art, culture, politics or simply its vastness - the speed at which things are changing will ensure that your trip is a unique one.