The Macao Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, commonly known as Macau or Macao, is a small territory on the southern coast of China. Administered by Portugal from the 1557, it was the oldest European colony in China until sovereignty was returned to the People’s Republic of China in 1999, at which point it joined Hong Kong as the two Special Administrative Regions of the PRC. Macau has played a unique and influential role in relations between China and the West, especially between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Though most residents of Macau speak Cantonese natively,
those on a tour of Macau are likely to hear Portuguese,
Mandarin, English, Fujianese, Pilipino, Thai and even the
Macanese language, Patua. This distinct creole is still spoken
by some Macanese, an ethnic group of mixed Asian and
Portuguese ancestry that accounts for about two per cent of
Macau's population. Macanese is sometimes also used in the
broader sense to describe any permanent resident of Macau.
Besides historical colonial relics, Macau's biggest attraction is its casinos. Though many forms of gambling are legal here, the most popular game is Pai Gow, which is played with Chinese dominoes. Macau is a very popular day-trip destination for gamblers from Hong Kong; service by hydrofoil to and from Hong Kong is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, sits on the south bank
of the Yangtze River. Though it’s a modern city, its city centre
has preserved its Ming street plan and old city wall. Nanjing has
been the capital in six dynasties over the past 2,000 years, and
today boasts a balance of revolutionary and imperial China set
in a gorgeous countryside.
One of the main city attractions is the Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum,
in which the founder of Republican China, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, is
laid to rest. There are also two museums in that China tour packages to Nanjing often visit: The Taiping Museum and The Provincial Museum. The Taiping Museum exhibits maps, coins, weapons, documents and other artifacts of the Taiping movement. The Provincial Museum is noted for its full-size Han-era jade burial armour suit. It also displays ceramics and bronzes that date from prehistoric times to the Qing dynasty. Tourists in Nanjing should be sure to visit the Temple of Confucius, Linggu Temple, and enjoy the remarkable scenery of the Qinhuai River.
Yichang is an ancient city with a history of 1,000 years. It is
considered the dividing line between the upper and mid-lower
reaches of the Yangtze River. Here, China tours can stop by
more than 340 scenic spots and 42 priority places. From here
visitors can set out to see beautiful natural scenery of Yangtze
in the Three Gorges and the man made Three Gorges Project.
Historically minded travellers can also see well-preserved
ancient battlegrounds from the Three Kingdoms Period,
Sanyou Cave and the local customs and folkways of the Ba
Tibet is revered as the "Roof of the World." Here, the immense
Himalayas hold the region in isolation from the rest of the world.
Tibet's long history is filled with takeovers and turmoil; however,
through the ages, it has remained determined to exclude and limit
outside influence. As a result, the unique Tibetan lifestyle,
culture and architecture has remained in this region. It’s also one
of the most strikingly beautiful places on earth.
Located at the foot of the snow-capped Tianshan Mountain
Range, Urumqi is the capital of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous
Region in the northwest of China. The place became well known
to foreign visitors as the last stopover along the Silk Road.
Though Urumqi is located in the temperate zone and has a mild
continental climate, there is a great difference in temperature
between day and night: a coat or sweater is needed during the
night even in the hot summer.
The best time to travel the region is from May to October. Urumqi is a diverse multinational city, home to 43 ethnic groups: Han, Uyghur, Hui, Kazak, Manchu, Sala and Mongolian people are well represented here, and have been for hundreds of years. During the Han Dynasty, Urumqi was a heavily guarded fort; during the time of the Silk Road, Urumqi became an important stopover. Now, Urumqi hosts many China tours with its exciting cultural attractions, including the Red Hill, South Pasture, the Heavenly Lake and the Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum.
Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum
The Xinjiang Autonomous Region Museum presents a wonderful collection of items from the local area as well as items from other areas along the Silk Road. The museum has a large collection of silk items from many periods of history. It highlights brocades from the Eastern Han Dynasty and specialized silk products from the Tang Dynasty.
The Xinjiang area has long been China's melting pot. Many ethnic groups live in this vast area. The diversity of their scripts and cultures is exhibited in this museum through archaeological material, including documents in twelve different writing styles, with a particularly large number from the Han Dynasty finds from Turpan. Pieces give a good idea of what life was like thousands of years ago by documenting military, economic, cultural and political affairs.
The museum also displays clay and terra cotta sculptures. Among
these are single-humped Asian camels, Yuan Dynasty
horses, female figurines in all postures and fierce soldiers. Other
items in the collections include microliths, silver works, stone
stelae, ancient coins, pottery and wooden articles.
The museum also features food from the Tang dynasty that has
been preserved for more than one thousand years in the arid local
climate. Xinjiang has very dry weather that provides protection for human mummies found in this area. Some of these bodies are housed in the museum.