Geography of China
Extending 5,500 kilometers from North to South and 5,000 kilometers from East to West, China is a vast country with widely deviating landscapes. The country’s territory includes high plateaus, mountains, dense forests, and sandy deserts.
About one-third of the country’s land area is composed of mountains. Mount Everest, the largest mountain on Earth, sits on the border between China and Nepal.
China boasts thousands of rivers. The most important ones are the Yellow Rivers and the Yangtze. At 6,300 kilometers long, the Yangtze is the third largest river in the world.
China’s People and Culture
With a 1.3 billion population, China contains more people as compared to any other country on Earth. Around a third of the total population lives in cities, while the rest in the country.
China has a long history of arts and crafts. Many years ago, the Chinese were some of the very first people to use bronze, jade, silk, wood, and paper to create art. The artistic writing known as calligraphy was invented in China.
Much of the philosophies and modern beliefs of China are based on the teachings of a government official, Kongfuzi, who lived about 3,000 years ago. Also famous as Confucius, he taught the values of morality, education, and kindness to the people.
History of China
China is home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, however, it has recently become a ‘modern nation’. The country has changed rapidly as compared to any other country in the world.
The history of China is divided into dynasties - each signifies the period when a line of emperors ruled. Qin dynasty was the first empire which began in 221 B.C. The last emperor was diffused in 1912 and China came out to be a republic nation. Following a civil war with the Chinese Nationalists, the communist government began its rule in the year 1949.
Ancient China has been a land of invention. For many centuries, China was quite ahead of most of the countries when it comes to astronomy, math, and science and technology. Paper, printing, the magnetic compass, silk, gunpowder, and porcelain, among many other things, are all invented by Chinese. Having over 4,000 years of noted history, China is one of the few countries that bloomed culturally as well as economically in the earliest stages of world civilization.
In spite of the political as well as social turbulence that has raged the country frequently, China is quite unique among countries in terms of its longevity as well as resilience as a distinct politico-cultural unit. Much of the cultural development in China has been achieved with fairly little influence from outside, with a major exception being the introduction of Buddhism from India. Even when the country was invaded by ‘barbarian’ people as the Manchu, such groups soon became hugely absorbed into the structure of Han Chinese culture.
The diverse habitat of China is home to hundreds of animal as well as plant species. Over 3,800 species of fish and hundreds of amphibians and reptile species live in the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters.
The forest wildlife of China is terrorized by clear-cutting and logging for farmland. Inflating deserts in the north also shrivel animal habitats. The government of China has produced more than 1,200 reserves so as to preserve plant and animal species.
The huge panda lives in the hazy mountains of southwest China. They eat bamboo and generally live near stands of the woody evergreen plant. Since pandas have been hunted, only about 1,600 remain in the wild.
Government and Economy of China
China is an autocratic state which is ruled by a very strong central government. A massive workforce and plenty of natural resources have steered economic change. This has propelled the communist government to grant more economic as well as personal freedoms, however, it has come at a big cost to the environment.
A number of experts have predicted that the 21st century is going to be the ‘Chinese century’. Whether or not it proves to be real, undoubtedly what happens in China will surely affect many other countries.
Perhaps the most distinguishable attribute of China to the rest of the world is the size of its population. About one-fifth of humanity has Chinese nationality. The substantial majority of the population is Chinese (Han), and thus often China is identified as an ethnically homogeneous nation, although only a few nations possess as wide a variety of indigenous people as does China. There are linguistic and cultural differences between various regions, even among the Han. For instance, the only point of linguistic commonality between individuals from various parts of China may be the written Chinese language.
Because the population of China is so vast, its population density is often thought to be uniformly high, however huge areas of the country are either sparsely populated or uninhabited.
China, generally, is a safe country for touring and the majority of people you meet are warm, trustworthy, honest and friendly. Although China is quite far when it comes to crimes, the weather of China can affect your travel plans, and accidents do take place.
The most likely root of harm to you during your China tour arise from more usual causes such as poor hygiene, road accidents, not keeping cool/warm enough, tourists activities accidents and not keeping well-hydrated.
For the majority of locations, the tap water in China is not fit for drinking. One can purchase bottled water at most stores and restaurants at cheaper prices.
Pharmacies in China offer both eastern as well as western medicine at quite reasonable prices. One can purchase prescription medication by simply providing your identification to the pharmacist.
Hospitals in China can be daunting and crowded, however, most of the main cities possess specialized hospitals that cater to foreigners working and living in the country.
The major risks to your health in China are typical things such as inadequate clothing according to weather conditions, eating something inadequate, exposure to some kind of infection, and over-exertion.
Throughout the ages, China has long been famous for its etiquette and ceremonies. Although, when it comes to the differences between the social niceties of the country with the western world, it can come out to be something of a culture shock. Here is an introduction to everyday manners and civility of social life in China:
Chinese people refrain from using tissues and handkerchiefs. Though this might seem like a challenge on your first China visit, you will surely get used to it soon.
People in China love taking photographs, and so do not get surprised in case a local try to click your photo or even asks you for a picture. Just like other countries, it is always nice to seek permission before clicking a government building or a person.
You may not find waiters and waitresses in China much proactive, and thus do not be afraid to raise hands and call in case you need any service.
Be aware of the fact that traditional western service is difficult to come by. Do not get surprised in case your starter, main as well as a dessert all appear once while the other person with you is still waiting for their very first dish.
Your China tour agent will introduce these customs and etiquettes to you well before the trip so as to make you well aware of them all.
We at Leisure.com brings a wide array of tailored China tours so as to offer you an ideal and hassle-free vacation. The plans are customized keeping into consideration your requirements and interests. Whatever you choose, a luxury vacation, a romantic vacation, a family vacation, or an adventurous one, we are more than ready with the perfect tour for you. Our team respect your privacy and value your safety, and the experts plan your trip accordingly, either an independent tour or a packaged group tour. In any case, we ensure a smooth experience with splendid accommodations, authentic guides, and unmatched excursions. So, fill out the Trip Request Form today and let us know your tour requirements and priorities. We’ll match the requirements with various luxury China tour agents and will finalize the best one for you. Other than China, you can also check out our other Asia tours such as Bhutan Tours, Cambodia Tours, China Tours, Bali Tours, India Tours and many more.
When it comes to population and territory, China is definitely one of the largest nations in the world. The country houses modern cities with massive skyscrapers and conserves history that dates back to unknown empires. It offers its tourists with a wide array of landscapes, other civilizations’ influence and climates which is revealed in a culture rich in traditions, colors, and textures.
For the past few years, tourism in China has bloomed that makes the nation proud to show the brilliance of its ancient culture, the splendor of its cities, the beauty of its territory that still holds many of its exotic and colorful traditions and its ancient temples. There are a number of good luxury China tour agents that customize China tours as per the interest of tourists. When planning a China tour, tourists often envision bustling cities, lovely panda sightings and trek up to The Great Wall. However, there is much more to the country than just the known classic highlights. Here we have rounded up some of the unique and eccentric excursions of this exciting and diverse country.
Adventure enthusiasts will be able to check into one of the Seven Wonders of the World as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site - The Great Wall of China. Apart from this, other things which can be enjoyed here include camping and spending a night here, either under the twinkling stars on the same wall or in the courtyards of the watchtower. Additionally, one can enjoy a unique lunch the other day in the splendid views offered by this magical place.
Visit the Summer Palace, which is a royal garden originally used to evade the hot seasons in the Forbidden City. This expansive place of 290 hectares is worth a few hours of travel to praise as it integrates with Lake Kunming, which mediate a sense of calmness to its impressive palaces, temples, and gardens, such as the Garden of Virtue and Harmony, the Great Gallery or the Tower of the Fragrance of Buddha, among many others.
Enjoy night tours of China’s biggest cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. These tours after sunset takes you into fascinating and unique scenes through the hues of the lights of the traditional plazas, cinemas, bars and even the cruise rides along the bays.
Another way to know more about this region is through various helicopter tours and aerial balloon tours that will show you the grandeur of the construction, while also bringing you close to a number of traditional points including the Guilin mountains, canals and the ancient Xi’an civilization.
Have one of the most rejuvenating and unforgettable experiences of the entire tour by becoming a private audience to a monk. This is especially for the ones who love calm and tranquility. This form of mystical culture allows one to harmonize well in their stay in China, which grows as they continue to travel more.
Visit the Temple of Heaven, Tian Tan, which is considered to be one of the sacred shrines of Chinese culture and perform Tai Chi. It is one of the most well-known regions of China, since it is located within a 270 hectare park and is enclosed by a wall. The northern section of this wall is rounded and stimulates the sky, while the square southern half represents Earth.
Participate in Chinese cooking sessions, traditional culinary skills and techniques which is a blend of philosophy and Chinese medicine. This gastronomy wonderfully harmonizes the flavors and balances the hot and the cold, the food’s consistency and the colors to prepare a diet which is unique yet healthy.
If you wish to have a relaxing time, approach a traditional Chinese medicine using massages. Have an experience of these ancient practices in body, feet and head at various temperatures so as to balance your body’s energy and arouse your circulation to calm down your muscles as well as your mind.
You can also take part in calligraphy classes to enter more into Chinese culture in the Temple of Confucius. This is the place where ancient reliefs and stone stelae are preserved, which are precious materials to study ancient culture, art and writing in China. Studying about this technique of writing allows one to learn the way in which the Chinese civilization flows and understands the outside world.
China is a country which has open doors and the best configuration to show you its magnificent culture. So, enjoy this voyage where you will be able to step into the Chinese traditions and to traverse to one of the most striking places on the planet. Undoubtedly, having a tour of this vast Asian nation, which is also one of the world’s oldest cultures and witnessing its deepest traditions is going to be an incredible experience.
China happens to be a year-round destination for travel. No matter which time of the year you go, there is always going to be a place worth visiting. If we talk in terms of weather, the best time to plan your China tour are spring, i.e. April-May and autumn, i.e. September-October. This is the time when most of the famous places enjoy their most tourism-friendly atmosphere.
China Tour in Spring, April-May: Weather is going to be warm and comfortable. Average temperature ranges between 10–23°C, with fresh air. Although, North China remains relatively dry, rain escalates toward summer in Southern China. Spring happens to be one of the best times to visit China, particularly for nature lovers. Temperatures range from cool to warm and flowers bloom.
China Tour in Summer, June-August: Daily temperature during summer in China ranges between 25–33°C. Rain tends to fall in most areas, particularly in South and East China. Summer is the time to do most things in China such as sunny mountain hiking, city sightseeing to minority festivals. The conditions tend to be optimum for mountain and highland destinations such as Yunnan, Tibet, Zhangjiajie, and Guilin. Book well in advance and be ready for heat in case you plan on visiting Xi’an, Shanghai, and Beijing. If you are visiting Southeast China, such as Hong Kong, be adaptable with your tour itinerary just in case of cancellations or flight delays due to typhoons. Summer is the peak travel time for families in China with students. In case, crowds and heat challenges you, there are many good luxury China tour agents who can make your trip comfortable and easier.
China Tour in Fall, September-October: Temperature ranges between 15–27°C with clearer days and lower rainfalls. Autumn in China possess the best weather conditions with lesser rain as compared to summer or spring. Many travelers, especially the ones who love outdoor activities choose autumn to plan their China trip. The shades of fall and variety of fresh fruits will intensify your trip.
China Tour in Winter, November-March: Daily high temperature average of 8°C. It usually drops to below zero in Northern China. The low travel season in China is from November to early March. In this season, though the weather remains colder, one can save money on flights, hotels, and entry tickets and can also get saved from the tourist crowds. Cities in Northern China including Pingyao, Harbin, and Beijing are beautiful under a blanket of snow. In case you happen to be someone who cannot handle the cold-chilly weather, there are warm places in South China for you like Hong Kong, Hainan, southern Yunnan and Macau.
No other country is constructing hotels at a pace compared to China. The country has witnessed a euphoria of construction in the past two decades, with a majority of international brands representing in the most populous country in the world.
For the independent traveler, it’s all good news that implies greater choice and an opportunity to stay in a brand new luxury five-star hotel at a reasonable price with some careful research. In the two major cities of the country, Beijing, the capital, and Shangai, the commercial hub, witnesses the opening of a new hotel almost every month. As the population becomes more transient and more affluent, the higher end of the market progressively caters to travelers and local executives rather than just overseas visitors.
Although the majority of hotels these days offer better services, the dynamic approach that is quite common in other Asian nations, especially in Japan, and Thailand, still need to be embedded in the hospitality of China. Training at a large-scale by eminent chains is leading to improvement, but tourists can still expect problems in communication.
Chinese cuisine is highly diverse, drawing on several millennia of culinary history and geographical variety, in which the most influential are known as the 'Eight Major Cuisines', including Sichuan, Cantonese, Jiangsu, Shandong, Fujian, Hunan, Anhui, and Zhejiang cuisines. All of them are featured by the precise skills of shaping, heating, colorway and flavoring. Chinese cuisine is also known for its width of cooking methods and ingredients, as well as food therapy that is emphasized by traditional Chinese medicine. Generally, China's staple food is rice in the south, wheat-based breads and noodles in the north. The diet of the common people in pre-modern times was largely grain and simple vegetables, with meat reserved for special occasions. And the bean products, such as tofu and soy milk, remain as a popular source of protein. Pork is now the most popular meat in China, accounting for about three-fourths of the country's total meat consumption. While pork dominates the meat market, there is also pork-free Buddhist cuisine and Chinese Islamic cuisine. Southern cuisine, due to the area's proximity to the ocean and milder climate, has a wide variety of seafood and vegetables; it differs in many respects from the wheat-based diets across dry northern China. Numerous offshoots of Chinese food, such as Hong Kong cuisine and American Chinese food, have emerged in the nations that play host to the Chinese diaspora.
The official currency of China is the yuan, otherwise known as RMB or colloquially as ‘Quai’.
Notes are available for 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB. There are also 1RMB coins available, as well as smaller fractions of known as ‘Mao’ for the Chinese leader who adorns them.
Chinese businesses do not accept any other currency, including the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar.
Visas for China
One of the most important things to know when traveling to China is that they do not offer visas on arrival. So before you travel to China you’ll need to arrange your visa well in advance!
When applying for a tourist visa, you’ll need to provide either a letter of invitation from a Chinese friend or relative, or provide a detailed itinerary of your intended trip. This includes return flights and confirmed reservations for your hotel bookings.
Visas can be applied for in person at the Chinese consulate or can be ordered via post.
Get a VPN for China
When you visit China keep in mind that their ‘Great Firewall’ blocks sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and most of the Google selection. If you want to access these while you’re visiting China, you’ll need to purchase a VPN.
When shopping for VPNs, check that they cover China – as many free options do not.