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A country this big needs a clearly plotted itinerary to make the most of the time available. There is one thing to remember, unless you are on a sabbatical there will almost inevitably be bits of China you will have to miss on, so be prepared to return for a second dose. The ultimately unmissable places are the venerable capital Beijing; Xian and its extraordinary Terracotta Army; and the vibrancy of Shanghai and/or Hong Kong, but anyone with more time on their hands should add Yunnan Province for its mystical cities and possibly the peaked limestone landscapes of Guilin and Yangshuo. And then there's Tibet: