China Key Facts
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International Calling Codes
56.2% Chinese ancestral worship
12.9% Folk religions/Taoism
12.6% Non religious
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In China they drive on the right side of the road
When is the best time to visit?
The main seasons for travel in China are the May Labor Day vacation, October National Day vacation, and the main holidays between June-September and January-February. During this time, a lot of people are travelling and prices are generally higher. It is best to avoid this peak tourist season!
Airports (44 international, 159 domestic), trains (various types raining from commuter trains to long-haul, high-speed trains), buses, highways, ports and harbors, river boats, trams, rickshaw, subway.
World Heritage Sites
- Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains showcases the architectural and artistic achievements of the Yuan, Ming and Quing dynasties
- Ancient City of Ping Yao, a great example of a traditional Han Chinese city that was founded in the 14th century
- Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui - Xidi and Hongcun, both are traditional examples of non-urban settlements with unique street plans, architecture and decoration
- Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom, an archaeological site of three cities and 40 tombs dating back to the reign of the Koguryo dynasty between 277 BC and 668 AD
- Classical Gardens of Suzhou, an outstanding example of the classical Chinese garden that aims to recreate natural landscapes in a smaller setting
- Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, covering 16,603ha these spectacular cascading terraces have been developed over the last 1,300 years by the Hani people together with many idiosyncratic farming methods
- Dazu Rock Carvings, containing rock carvings dating back to the 9th century
- Fujian Tulou, a unique example of human settlement in the form of earthen houses that housed up to 800 people each
- Historic Centre of Macao, the place where East and West met and also home to the oldest fortress and lighthouse in China
- Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa, the famed winter palace of the Dalai Lama
- Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in "The Centre of Heaven and Earth", home to some of the best examples of ancient Chinese buildings devoted to education, science, technology and religious rituals
- Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Quing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang, which was the seat of supreme power in China for over 5 centuries and contains nearly 10,000 rooms filled with works of art and furniture
- Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Quing Dynasties, built following traditional Chinese geomancy and fengshui theory
- Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, which are an interesting mix between Chinese and Western forms and decorations build as defensive village houses
- Longmen Grottoes, a collection of Chinese art dated between 316-907AD and definitely the peak of Chinese stone carving
- Lushan National Park, an important spiritual center of China with Buddhist and Taoist temples as well as Confucian landmarks
- Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, home to the world famous terracotta warriors first discovered in 1974
- Mogao Caves, famous for its 492 cells and the Buddhist art they contain
- Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System. The former is the birthplace of Taoism, and construction for the latter began in the 3rd century B.C. and to this day this system distributes the water around the Chengdu plain
- Mount Wutai, a sacred Buddhist mountain with 41 distinct monasteries
- Mountain Resort and its Outlying Temples, Chengde, which acted as the Qing dynasty's summer palace
- Old Town of Lijang, an ancient town that managed to combine different cultural traditions into an outstanding urban landscape
- Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, containing the remains of prehistorical human societies of the Asian continent
- Silk Roads: the Routes network of Chang'an-Tianshan Corridor, which is shared between China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, along this 5,000km stretch you will find capital cities, Buddhist cave temples, ancient paths, sections of the Great Wall, beacon towers and more
- Site of Xanadu, the remains of Kublai Khan's legendary capital city
- Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing, which combines natural landscapes and open water with features such as pavilions and pagodas to form one masterpiece of Chinese landscape garden design
- Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qfu, which is over 2,000 years old and shows the great importance of the philosopher Confucius as well as containing his tomb
- Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing is a visual representation of the relationship between heaven and earth as well as the role of the emperor within that system
- The Grand Canal is in many ways an important backbone to Chinese economy and has been an important means of communication for centuries
- The Great Wall, which is the world's largest military structure spanning more than 20,000 mms
- West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, the source of inspiration to many poets, artists and scholars as well as an important influence on garden design in Japan and Korea
- Yin Xu, the archaeological site of an ancient capital city of the late Shand Dynasty that reigned from 1300-1046 BC
- Yungang Grottoes, a site consisting of 252 caves and 51,000 statues representing Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th an 6hth centuries
- Chengjian Fossil Site, which acts as one of the most complete records of the establishment of a complex marine ecosystem dating back 530 million years
- China Danxia, and area comprised of dramatic red cliffs and landforms including natural pillars towers, ravines, waterfalls and valleys
- Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area, a highly diverse area offering snow-capped mountain scenes and hot springs
- Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area, this area contains several diverse forest eco systems and is known for karst forms and spectacular waterfalls
- Mount Sanqingshan National Park, known for its scenic qualities and its granite pillars and peaks, many of which shaped like humans or animals
- Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries - Wolong, Mt Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains, home to 30% of the world's panda population as well as red panda, snow leopard and clouded leopard
- South China Karst, a beautiful example of a humid tropical to subtropical karst landscape
- Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas, a stunning site where the three main rivers china run parallel to each other in gorges that are up to 3,000m deep and bordered by mountains 6,000m high
- Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, this area covers more than 26,000ha and is home to more than 3,000 iconic sandstone pillars, some 200m in height
- Xingjiang Tianshan, a mountain range of outstanding beauty and home to many endemic flora species
- Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area, is one of Buddhism's holiest sites, home to the first Buddhist temples built in China as well as 71m high Buddha statue
- Mount Huangshan, known as the loveliest mountain in China and immortalized in many poems and works of art
- Mount Taishan, a sacred mountain that symbolizes ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs
- Mount Wuyi, a highly bio diverse area home to ancient, relict species as well as the ruins of many temples and monasteries that helped spread neo-Confucianism
Average Annual Temperature
Average Annual Rainfall
Due to its large geographic spread, China is home to wide-ranging climatic conditions. Generally autumn (September to early October) is a very comfortable season with limited rainfall and temperatures averaging 15 degrees. September is also the only month to see the paintings in the Beijing Palace Museum. Spring is similar to autumn in temperature, but more unpredictable in terms of rainfall and it can be a bit chilly at times. Summer offers hot temperatures, with some regions getting extremely hot and unpleasant. As this is also the rainy season, make sure to bring an umbrella and raincoat. Winter is quiet, and the further north you go the colder it will get!
- January 1-3 - New Year's Day and weekend
- February 18 - Spring Festival Eve
- February 19 - Chinese New Year
- February 20-24 - Spring Festival Golden Week holiday
- April 4,5 &6 - Quing Ming Jie
- May 1,2 &3 - Labor Day
- June 20, 21 & 22 - Dragon Boat Festival
- September 27 - Mid-Autumn Festival
- October 1 - National Day
- October 2-7 - National Day Golden Week
Why Visit China?
China offers an amazing cultural and architectural heritage. More than that, China is home to stunning and iconic landscapes made famous through various movies, poems, and works of art. The real draw card though is that you can travel on anything from $1 a day upwards and have an amazing experience.
Things To Do In China
- Try the street food.
- See the Great Wall.
- Stroll around the Forbidden City.
- See the city of Honkong.
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Experience iconic landscapes.
- Sing Karaoke.
Travel Tips For China
- Chopsticks come with their own etiquette: don’t use them as drumsticks and don’t stick them vertically into a bowl. Spoons are generally used for soups and watery dishes, and can also be used should something prove too slippery for your chopstick skills.
- The single best way to try as many different Chinese cuisines as possible is by eating at food carts!
- Make sure to have travel insurance for China before starting you journey.
- Tipping is not practiced anywhere in China.
- Bargaining is a way of life.
Chinese food differs from region to region and draws on 8 main culinary traditions, shaped by thousands of years of heritage. The single best way to explore them is to try as many different foods as you can. The main four traditions are Huaiyang cuisine, which is sweet and not spicy, Cantonese cooking, with its focus on fresh ingredients and seafood, Shadong cuisine, rooted in ancient tradition with a focus on seafood, and Sichuan cooking, which is famously hot and spicy. Generally speaking, the staple foods of the north are wheat based breads and noodles, whereas in the south the staple is rice. Pork is by far the most popular meat, and if you see 'meat' on a menu it usually means pork unless otherwise specified. Do make sure to try your way through the food carts. Street food is usually freshly made and definitely a much safer bet than eating in a hotel or a buffet! Street food is also a great way to explore the different traditions, and don't worry about travellers tales of dog and snake being served. They are in fact only served in specialty restaurants! Make sure to try the various Baozi (steamed buns stuffed with savory or sweet fillings), Jiaozi (boiled or steamed dumplings with various fillings), and Mantou (steamed bread).
China Travel Safety and Warnings
- The major cities tend to be very safe, with the biggest problems being scam artists and beggars around major tourist attractions. Avoid giving any money to children, as the may very well be the victims of child trafficking.
- There are several Chinese 'mafia' groups operating around Guangdong and Fujian, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Stay out of their way and you will have no issues.
- Make sure to check out any news reports before heading to smaller cities - some of them are reminiscent of the lawless wild west and not a place to visit at all.
|'Beautiful China' is home to 1.3 billion people and represents the world’s oldest and earliest civilizations. With its many diverse cultures, customs and languages there is an amazing amount to do and experience for visitors.|
Sprawling countrysides, ancient religious temples, and bustling international hubs are just a few things that attract millions of travellers each year to visit China. So pack your suitcase, arrange travel insurance for China and go explore the People's Republic!
Things to do in China:
Just to put things in perspective, China is about the size of the US, only with a lot more history and culture thrown into the mix. Wherever you look in this massive country, there is something to see, learn, taste and explore. Whether you want to spend a weekend shopping in Hong Kong, visit the majestic spiritual Kingdom of Tibet, or just want to explore ancient cultures and their architecture, China is the place to be.
Beijing is the second largest city in the country and is also the main cultural hub. Beijing is known for many things, chief among them are noise and pollution. With 21 million people, most transportation is rather crowded!
However, Beijing is also home to the stunning Forbidden City, which was the Imperial Court of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The symbol of Beijing is the Temple of Heaven, and you may have seen its parks on TV, famous for people practicing tai chi.
There are lots and lots of places to explore in Beijing, even though the sheer size can be a little intimidating at first. Make sure to eat at the ubiquitous food carts, which offer some of the freshest and tastiest food you can get, and also a great way to explore the many different cuisines of China. Make sure to have China travel insurance and to pick busy vendors!
Just outside of Beijing you can visit the famous Great Wall. This defensive structure stretches over several thousand kilometers and passes through many of China's regions. Different sections of the Wall belong to different municipalities, so should you decide to walk the whole length of it, be prepared to cough up admission fees more than once!
You’ll also find the famous Shanxi province, just train ride from Beijing, as well as its neighbor, Shaanxi. Both are of enormous historical and cultural importance, with many world heritage sites, museums, and temples located in the area.
Here you’ll find the world famous Terracotta Warriors, one end of the Silk Road, the undisputed home of Chinese civilization, as well as several famous mountain sites. If you’re after ancient Chinese culture, this area between North and Northwest China is the place to come to.
Heading south from Beijing along the coast, you eventually hit Zhejiang province. While many travellers choose to head straight to Shanghai, China's biggest city, the place to go to is actually Hangzhou.
Hangzhou offers stunning nature views with many famous scenic walks that have inspired countless poets and artists to immortalize them in their work.
It is also one of the most important tourist cities in China, so best to avoid the peak travelling times!
As you enter Southeast China you can choose to explore the cities of Macao and Hong Kong. Macao is a unique blend between East and West, and also serves as the local gambling mecca. Hong Kong with its many cultural influences is also worth a visit, and is quickly becoming an important tourism destination for Chinese travellers. For travellers on a budget though it may not be the best destination.
South-central China is mostly composed of open space and an important agricultural province. There are a few cultural sites in the region, most notable of which is Wudang mountain - the birthplace of Tai Chi and popularized in many a movie. The food here also makes it worth visiting, as this region is home to one of the four major cooking traditions in China: Sichuan.
However, most travellers use this region as a springboard to neighboring Tibet. While the political situation is far from ideal, Tibet is worth visiting.
The ruggedness of the terrain, the sheer size of the mountains, and the unique disposition of the people give it a special energy that draws you in and makes you feel at home. If you are going to explore Tibet, ensure you have China travel insurance.
China is also the birthplace of tea and it is well worth trying a couple of different ones, not just the green one!
For more information on China, visit the China Tourism Website.
City Profile: Hong Kong
This city is compact. It’s busy, it’s bustling and it’s full of traffic! But luckily for all the people who live there and who visit the city, it’s well organised. There are cross walks, traffic lights and wide pedestrian sidewalks, which make life in Hong Kong easier than you think! Hong Kong also has a fantastic public transport system, so if you’re tired of being jostled along the sidewalks, just catch the bus, ferry or subway. You can get it all here – bright neon signed shops, restaurants, temples and markets. And if you need to get out of the city altogether, but not the island itself, in less than an hour from the city (you can take the tram) follow the Dragon’s Back Trail (pictured) - named because the ridge is thought to resemble the spine of a dragon. The trail is part of the 50km Hong Kong hiking trail – which will give you fresh air, bamboo groves, lush woodland, spectacular views and a visit to old seaside towns.