Head west to discover China’s wild and unspoilt regions, with glacial lakes, evergreen forests, mysterious caves and arid deserts like the Taklamakan, which is flanked by imposing mountain ranges. It is home to many fascinating ethnic groups including the Turkic Uyghurs living in Xinjiang (a melting pot of Chinese, Middle Eastern and Turkish cultures where you can sample delicacies such as the spaghetti-like Ban Mian noodles, served with chunky vegetables and mutton).
The old Silk Road network was once used by merchants and traders to trade goods like dates, spices and the most sought-after item – silk (as well as exchanging scientific and cultural ideas). It still makes for an incredible journey today, with visitors going down the routes that connect east and south Asia to Mediterranean Europe. This series of paths encompasses some of the most picturesque parts of China, including magnificent sand dunes, the Great Wall of China and the Jiayuguan fort, and the province of Gansu on the outskirts, home to the otherworldly Zhangye rainbow mountains and Mogao Caves (or Thousand Buddha Grottoes).