China is a country of immense cultural and geographical variety where East meets West and old collides with new. A real treat for the curious traveller this fascinating country offers a unique blend of traditional customs, history and outstanding natural beauty.

Perhaps most well known for it’s ancient civilisation, world famous cuisine and historic, treasured landmarks China has always drawn in visitors from around the world.

It is however, in recent years that that China has undergone an enormous social and economic change and remerged as an economic superpower and a hub for technological advances. This mix of the globalised, cosmopolitan world and traditional, historic customs makes China a fascinating and surprising land to discover.

Quick Facts

Name

People's Republic of China

Location

Asia

Bordering Countries

Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan

Capital City

Beijing

Government

Communist State

Population

1.3 billion

Language

Mandarin

Currency

Yuan Renminbi (CNY)

Poverty

13.4% live below the poverty line

Main Exports

Office machines, Data processing equipment, Electrical machinery, Telecommunications equipment, Clothing

Climate

China's climate varies from region to region. In the northeast the summers are hot and dry and the winters are freezing cold. The north and central regions have frequent bouts of rain coupled with hot summers and cold winters. In the southeast there is plenty of rainfall, semi-tropical summers and cool winters.

Time Zone

GMT +8

Flag

Fun Facts

  • An astonishing one in five people in the world lives in China.
  • According to myth and legend, tea was discovered by Shennong, a Chinese emperor when a tea leaf fell into his boiling water in 2737 B.C.
  • The tallest man in the world is Chinese, Bao Xishun who is listed as being 2.47m (8 ft 1 in) tall!

Travel Highlights

  • Take in the hugely impressive Giant Buddha of Leshan, a marvelous sculpture carved out of the cliff face and standing at 73m high in Sichaun, Western China.
  • Check out the Forbidden City in Beijing, the worlds largest palace.
  • Marvel at China’s wonder of the world, The Great Wall of China.
  • Cruise down the breathtaking Li River and soak up the breathtaking scenery.
  • Discover one of the world’s most endangered creatures, the Giant Panda, at the amazing panda centre in Chengdu, central China

Where is China?

China is located in the East of Asia and is the second largest country by land area. Due to it’s large size China is bordered by 14 countries including, Mongolia, Russia, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Japan and the Philippines. It is also bordered by the Pacific Ocean on it’s East Coast. With a population of over 1.3 billion China consists of twenty-two provinces, four municipalities, five autonomous regions, and two specially administered regions.

Climate of China

Due to the vast amount of land the climate varies significantly between different regions in China and tends to be split into four different temperature and rainfall zones: North, Northeast and Northwest, central, South and Tibet. In the North, Northeast and Northwest summer falls roughly between May and August and can get extremely hot and dry, while the winter, which falls between November to December and March to April can sometimes drop to -40C. In Central China the summer tends to be extremely hot and humid and the winter a lot shorter than in the North. The South is significantly warmer than the rest of the country with temperatures often reaching 40C between April and September. Tibets weather can vary dramatically throughout the day with temperatures below zero during the early morning and evening and up to a scorching 40 C at midday.

Language in China

The language of China is internally diverse and comprises of seven main dialects, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Wu, Min, Xiang, and Gan. Mandarin is however, the official language of the People’s Republic of China and is the most widely spoken, recently becoming the most widely spoken language in the world after English with about 800 million speakers. This is followed by the language Wu, which has about 90 million speakers, and Cantonese with about 80 million in China.

Due to tourism English is now widely spoken throughout the larger cities and tourist destinations and has recently become a key subject in the school curriculum. Nowadays many Chinese people can speak basic English, especially the youth, students, and staff of service trades like hotels, restaurants, airlines, banks and post offices.

People of China

China’s population currently exceeds 1.3 billion people, which is by far the most populated country in the world so as you can imagine customs, traditions and general way of life vary dramatically from place to place. This only adds to China’s charm and you are bound to experience a diverse mix of interesting and unique communities wherever you travel. It is inevitable that with such a long history, spanning 5000 years, that China has developed some unique and traditional customs and traditions many of which are still prevalent in their modern society. Much of these are apparent through colourful festivals, street parties and traditional sports much of which are accompanied by singing, dancing and instrumental performances.

Present day China is an amalgamation of old world traditions and westernized lifestyles with much of the larger cities at the centre of a globalised world. Over recent years China has become the world’s fastest growing economy, it’s easy to see why when you realise the hard working and determined work ethic of many of the Chinese.

Travelling in China

The sheer size of China may be daunting to navigate your way around however there are some real gems in this fascinating country so it’s worth doing a bit of planning! Make sure to add to your list the famous Great Wall of China, one of the greatest wonders in the world which are steeped in history and has been incorporated into much Chinese mythology and symbolism.

For another insight into China’s history make sure to check out the Terracotta Army or “Terracotta Warriors and Horses”, which is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

For the more adventure inclined, there is plenty to keep your heart pumping as you climb into the clouds on Huang Shan, trek the Tiger Leaping Gorge or trek your way to the beautiful Tibet.

Gap Year and Career Breaks in China

Visit one of the most intriguing countries in the world on your gap year or career break and get a real taste of China’s traditional, cultural past in contrast with it’s cosmopolitan and thriving modern cities. This is the perfect destination for those wanting to immerse themselves in the Eastern world with the comforts of westernized living.

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