The People's Republic of China is the largest country in Asia. It is the keeper of the most ancient Eastern culture, the proud owner of the unique natural beauties, and a successful player in the world business industry. China captivates with the featheriness of the bells on pagodas and the rustle of bamboo parks, shrill of cicadas, and the roar of the high-speed monorails, wind's whispers under the skyscrapers' roofs and monks' prayers. They practice kung fu and throw tea ceremonies, live their lives following feng shui, and celebrate Chinese New Year in style. They invented paper, the compass, porcelain, gunpowder, typography, and thousands of other notions in the Celestial Empire that the world should be grateful for.
|Beijing||1 404 328 611||Standard Chinese||Renminbi||9 598 962 km²|
The length of the Chinese coastline is 14 500 km. It spreads from the borders with North Korea to Vietnam. The territory of the country is washed by the seas of the Pacific Ocean: the Yellow, South China, and East China Seas, and the West Korea Bay of the Yellow Sea. There are thousands of islands in the seas. The most renowned and largest of them are Taiwan and Hainan.
In the south, the People's Republic of China borders on Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam; in the southwest - Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bhutan; in the west - Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. In the north, China borders on Mongolia, in the northeast - with Russia and North Korea, in the northwest - with Kazakhstan. The total length of the borders with all 14 countries is 22117 kilometers.
As far as the administrative division is concerned, China is divided into 23 provinces, two special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau), five autonomous regions, and four self-controlled municipalities.
Where to go and what to see
Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China and the most important political, educational, and cultural center of the country. The past, present, and future are closely intertangled here. The futuristic building of the National Centre for the Performing Arts, the glass tower of China World Trade Center, bankings of the road interchanges, the technological Planetarium, and fuss of the business world - this technological modernity changes for traditional Chinese pagodas literally right around the corner. The majesty of the largest Imperial Palace complex in the world, the Forbidden City, the terracotta vaults of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, Zen of the Temple of Heaven complex of religious buildings stand in stark contrast to the typical communistic constructions. Beijing, as a model capital, broadcasts the diversity of the Celestial Empire. You will need more than one day to get to know it closer.
Shanghai is the city of sins and Chinese New York. Standing at the mouth of the Yangtze River, at the coast of the Pacific Ocean, it rules the country's financial flow and conducts multimillion international deals. You can't mix up the image of Shanghai with any other city: spherical buildings, skyscrapers of the Pudong district, multi-leveled road interchanges, avenues filled with luminescent light. It keeps its Chinese charm within the walls of the Jade Buddha Temple and houses of old Nanshi District. Still, Shanghai gets a peep of the west and tries to take the best of it. There is almost no communistic spirit here, and there are more bars and nightclubs here than temples in Beijing.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region in the south of China. Surrounded by the mountains and the ocean, it includes not only the same-name island, but also Lantau Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, New Territories, and around 260 smaller islands. It had been developing under the influence of Great Britain for such a long time, that it considers itself to be the Chinese-non-China. The region has a separate currency, writing system, electoral system, and economy. The built-up density in Hong Kong is so high that you don't understand where one skyscraper ends and another begins. But everything changes when you ascend to Victoria Peak. Myriads of sparkling lights of the big city look incredible at a set of sun, against the picturesque harbor, drown in the damp haze.
When the color of your skin turns grey and dims from the concrete landscapes of megalopolises, leave everything and come to the island of Hainan. This is a real paradise with its snow-white sands of the Dragon Bay, transparent waters of the Dadong Sea, fluffy palms of Sanya Bay. It's a genuine eastern version of Hawaii. Perfect ecological environment, a scenic coral reef, "Typhoon Corridor" that creates ideal waves for surfing, and the sun all year round make this island a perfect resort.
Have you found yourself among multilayered landscapes, peace, a mystical atmosphere, and Buddhist sacred songs? It seems that you have come to Tibet. The richness of this autonomous region hides in the snow cap of the holy Mount Kailash, white-stone walls of the Potala Palace, glass waters of Yamdrok Lake, high-mountain temples, and palaces of Dalai Lamas. Tibet does not look like the rest of China. And this is another proof of how one country can be so diverse and unpredictable.
- Religions and philosophies, Confucianism in particular, had a considerable impact on the formation of the Chinese character. Family plays a primary role in the set of values. People here treat all the relatives with deep respect, especially older generations. When the Chinese reach a particular age, they take full responsibility for taking care of their parents. And if they have a complicated life situation or troubles, they often appeal to the spirits of the deceased relatives.
- The second characteristic feature is their desire to serve for the benefit of society. Chinese are known for their discipline, togetherness, and commitment to their responsibilities.
- By virtue of their superstitiousness, the Chinese don't have turtles as pets at home. It is believed that these animals give bad luck in their careers. They don't sleep all night on the Chinese New Year. They don't get married to a person who is three or six years older than the other partner. This marriage is believed to end with tears. The Chinese don't construct the fourth floor in buildings as this figure is fraught with death.
- It's worth mentioning that the social and cultural environment has changed in China, in megalopolises in particular, within the last decades. Personal interests have started to dominate over the social ones. Local citizens have begun to pursue the luxury symbols and developed a so-called "thingism" and materialism. Society strains after equal rights. Your polite gesture to yield a seat to a woman in public transport or open a door can be considered as an abuse.
- One thing remains unchanged. The Chinese love food. Up until recently, they have even asked "nǐ chī le ma?" which stands for "have you eaten yet?" instead of the traditional greeting "nǐ hǎo". You can't skip eating under no pretext. And traveling to another province for the sake of tasting the local cuisine is a common situation.
- It is fair to say that food in China is really delicious and diverse: noodles, rice, meat pockets, meat in sweet and sour sauce, soups, and various deep-fried insects and creatures. Tourists should only keep away from Sichuan cuisine. It is so spicy as it has been just served from hell.
Cities in China
What should you know before visiting China?
- Have you taken a beautiful picture in front of the Great Wall of China and want to publish it on Instagram? It's not that simple! The common services like Google, Wikipedia, Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social networks and messengers are blocked in China. If you want to keep in touch during your trip, consider downloading and installing a VPN on your cellphone.
- Even though the Chinese love tourists and travel a lot themselves, they almost don't know English. We highly recommend you to have a card with the title of your hotel written in hieroglyphs and an electronic translator.
- And what about socket outlets? There is no single standard in China. In Taiwan, they use the American outlets in Hong Kong - the British variant. In Macau, you can find both options within the walls of one building. Therefore, better clarify this situation with the administration of the hotel and learn what kind of adapter you need.
- They have an ongoing fight with corruption in China. If you don't want to get behind the bars, don't risk bribing and pay official bills in banks.
- The traffic way is the most dangerous place in China. Be extremely careful while crossing the road, even at the pedestrian crossing and the green signal of the traffic light. The best option is to move together with a crowd of people.
China is the cultural cradle of East Asia. Throughout 3000 years of its existence, the jewel-box has been filled up to the brim. You start writing the vacation request letter, and we will help you to find the best spots to begin your acquaintance with the Celestial Empire.