After being a world power centuries ago then closing their doors to outside influences, China has opened itself up again and is taking its place preening on the world stage. Diverse, exotic and mysterious, China has a rich culture stretching back at least 4000 years. China is as unique as it is eclectic, from the hustle and bustle of huge cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, to the quiet introspection of the monasteries and temples. Even the cuisine varies dramatically from one province to another. While cities such as Beijing and Shanghai are certainly must-see destinations, you can only truly appreciate this huge nation if you explore the countryside and see the contrasts it has to offer. Chinas resurgence as an economic powerhouse has brought a new freedom and new opportunity for foreigners to explore this fascinating country.