Women travelers to China generally have no more difficult a time of it than their male counterparts. You should, however, be prepared for the inevitable questions, whenever casual communication has been established (and especially if you're traveling solo), of whether you are married and have children.

In general, there is very little discrimination against women travelers. If anything, women (who "hold up half the sky" as Mao Zedong proclaimed) are expected to pull their own weight. Don't expect any help in lugging that heavy bag up and down trains, or for doors to be opened for you.

In response to the greater numbers of women business travelers, several top hotels in Shanghai like the St. Regis have started to offer secure "women only" floors, complete with added perks like fine toiletries, women's magazines, and spa services.

Check out the award-winning website Journeywoman (www.journeywoman.com), a "real life" women's travel-information network where you can sign up for a free e-mail newsletter and get advice on everything from etiquette and dress to safety.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.