China. Legendary setting for the adventures of Marco Polo, Genghis Khan, and other larger-than-life historical figures. This “Far East” country, at press time the most populous in the world, is the starting point for the Silk Road, watercourse for the Yangtze River, site of the Great Wall and of vertiginous karst hills that doubled as Wookiee land in the Star Wars films, and location of what is currently the largest city in the world (Shanghai).
China features more points of touristic interest than perhaps any other place on earth. Most travelers make it to Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, and Hong Kong. Fewer, though, make it to Shanxi Province. Datong, an industrial city of 3.3 million people, is the gateway to Inner Mongolia. It is an overnight train ride (or one-hour flight) from Beijing. The city’s western outskirts are home to one of the country’s most remarkable sites: the Yunggang Caves.