Since Marco Polo's voyages of discoveries, China has always been perceived in the West, as a mystical land of contrasts which has never ceased to fascinate even the most blasé of travellers. China is part of a continent where a culture shock (or two) is unavoidable and is home to uncountable mysteries which are to be uncovered in several installments. In Beijing,the capital, one cannot help but stare up in amazement at the mysterious Forbidden City as well as the famous square, Tian An Men. Never far away, the Great Wall of China calls for a mandatory visit! There are also 7,000 clay soldiers and horses from Xi'an which make for an impressive sight. From the megalopolis of Shanghai, to the ethnic minorities of Yunnan, south China has proved to be nothing short of multifaceted. North China is a significant part of the world-famous 'Silk Road' trade route. Along this route there are hundreds of sites not to miss; temples, ruins of ancient cities and oases strewn all over the desert and mountains. The traveller could also choose to head higher up into the Himalayas to Tibet, the world's highest city, to explore its monasteries: the 'roof of the world' is ideal for thrill seeking hikers with its arid mindscape and snow-capped mountain tops.