The Great Wall, Xian's Terracotta Army, the Forbidden Palace and Tiananmen Square: the very names reverberate with history and legend. China's paradoxes are many: Shanghai's skyscrapers contrast with Beijing's historical treasures, while in rural provinces mechanisation has not yet reached many traditional farming villages. China is a vast country perfectly balancing the high-tech, forward thinking cities with many cultural, historical and natural wonders, 23 of which have already been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Handed back to the Chinese in 1997, Hong Kong maintains many of its British influences, seamlessly blending East and West cultures. A past punctuated by prosperity, colonial influences and war has made Hong Kong the amazing metropolis it is today, packed with sights and sounds. Shop for antiques in Stanley market, take the funicular to Victoria Peak for stunning views of the city, visit Hong Kong’s outlying islands for a spot of peace and quiet, and take a junk boat across the famous Victoria Harbour.