China is a cultural region and ancient civilization in East Asia. It is one of the world's oldest civilizations, consisting of states and cultures dating back more than six millennia. The stalemate of the last Chinese Civil War has resulted in two political entities using the name China: the People's Republic of China (PRC), administering mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and the Republic of China (ROC), administering Taiwan and its surrounding islands.


China Travel GuideAbout China  |  About China Cities  |  Best Seasosn  |  Maps of Cities  |  Festivals & Events  

About China

Full country name : People's Republic of China
Area : 9,596,960 sq km (mainland)
Population : 1.25 billion (mainland) Yikes!
Capital city : Beijing (pop 13.8 million)
People : Han Chinese (93%), plus 55 ethnic minorities
Languages : Putonghua (Beijing Mandarin dialect), Cantonese
Religion : Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism (no stats available); Muslim (14 million), Christian (7 million)
Government : Communist republic
Head of State : Hu Jintao
Currency : Renminbi (RMB). The basic unit is the yuan
GDP : US$4.5 trillion
GDP per head : US$3600
Growth rate : 7.8%
Inflation : 2.8%
Major industries : Iron, steel, coal, machinery, automobiles, petrolium, chemicals, telecommunications, textiles
Major trading partners : USA, Japan, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan
Visas : Visas are required by all foreigners entering mainland China although, at this stage, visas are not required by Western nationals visiting Hong Kong and Macau. Travelers in transit can stay in China visa-free for up to 24 hours as long as they have an onward air ticket for a flight from China to another destination departing within that time period. Visas are available from Chinese embassies and consulates in most countries.
Health risks : Rabies, bilharzia, dengue fever, malaria and cholera are all present. Immunisation against cholera, Diptheria and Tetanus, hepatitis A and B, Japanese B Encephalitis, polio, rabies and typhoid is considered essential.
Time : GMT/UTC +8 (the whole of China is set to Beijing time).
Electricity : 220V, 50Hz; plugs can be three-pronged angled, three-pronged round, two flat pins or two narrow round pins.
Weights & measures: Metric

About China Cities

  • Beihai
  • Beijing
  • Changchun
  • Changsha
  • Changzhou
  • Chao Zhou
  • Chengdu
  • Chongqing
  • Dali
  • Dalian
  • Datong
  • Dongguan
  • Dunhuang
  • Foshan
  • Fuzhou
  • Guangzhou
  • Guilin
  • Guiyang
  • Haikou
  • Hangzhou
  • Harbin
  • Hefei
  • Heshan
  • Hua Du
  • Huangshan
  • Huizhou
  • Jiangmen
  • Jinan
  • Jiuzhaigou
  • Kunming
  • Lanzhou
  • Lhasa
  • Lijiang
  • Luoyang
  • Meizhou
  • Nanjing
  • Nanning
  • Ningbo
  • Panyu
  • Qingdao
  • Sanya
  • Shanghai
  • Shenyang
  • Shenzhen
  • Shigatse
  • Shunde
  • Suzhou
  • Taiyuan
  • Tangshan
  • Tianjin
  • Turpan
  • Urumqi
  • Wuhan
  • Wuxi
  • Xiamen
  • Xian
  • Xining
  • Yangzhou
  • Zengcheng
  • Zhaoqing
  • Zhengzhou
  • Zhuhai

  • Best Seasons

    Spring (March-April) and autumn (September-October) are the best times to visit China. Daytime temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C (68°F-86°F) in these seasons, but nights can be bitterly cold and it can be wet and miserable. Major public holidays, in particular Chinese New Year, are best avoided as it's difficult to get around and/or find accommodation.

    Maps of Cities

    Beijing Changsha Chengdu Dalian Guangzhou Guilin Kunming
    Lhasa Nanjing Shanghai Shenyang Xiamen Xian  

    Shanghai Metro
    | Beijing Metro |Guangzhou Metro

    Festivals and Events

    Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) starts on the first day of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in February. Although officially lasting only three days, many people take a week off. Ear plugs are handy at this time to dull the firecracker assaults, and prices of hotel rooms tend to go through the roof. The Lantern Festival isn't a public holiday, but it's big and it's colourful. It falls on the 15th day of the 1st moon (around mid-Feb to mid-March) and marks the end of the new-year celebrations. The famous lion dances occur throughout this period. Tomb Sweeping Day is in April, and sees Chinese families spend the day tending the graves of departed loved ones. Hong Kong hosts one of the liveliest annual Chinese celebrations - the Dragon Boat Festival. Usually held in June, the festival honours the poet Qu Yuan and features races between teams in long ornate canoes. Many Westerners take part in the races, but plenty of practice is needed to get all the paddles working as one.

    Special prayers are held at Buddhist and Taoist temples on full-moon and sliver-moon days. Temple and moon-based festivities include Guanyin's Birthday (late March to late April), Mazu's Birthday (May or June), Water-Splashing Festival (13-15 April), Ghost Month (late August to late September), Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (October) and the Birthday of Confucius (28 September). 


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