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CHINA

Return to Asia
Tiananmen Square, Beijing
Tiananmen Square, Beijing

China is officially known as the People's Republic of China. It is the world's most populated country, with more than 1.3 billion people. The main language is Mandarin.  China was ruled by Dynasties for more than 2,000 years. The most well known is likely the Ming Dynasty in the 1300s.  Imperial rule ended with the Qing Dynasty in 1911 when the Republic was formed. The country is ruled today by a single party - the Communist Party of China. The country includes the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. China has borders with 14 nations: Vietnam, Laos, Burma, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia and North Korea.  As one of the largest countries in the world, China has great geological diversity. The Gobi and Taklmakan deserts are in the north. The southeast is tropical forest. The Yangtze and Yellow Rivers are among the longest in the world. The Himalayas form its southern border.

The communist era began in 1949 under Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung).  Since the late 1970s, when it shifted to a market economy, China has been growing as a world power and is currently second only to the United States in economic productivity. The world was focused on China with the occupation of Tibet in 1950 and with the Tiananmen Square deadly protests of 1989. Criticism of the extent of Communist Party control continues in the 21st century.

China has invested heavily in transportation infrastructure since the 1900s. The high speed rail lines are the longest in the world and inter-connect with modern subway systems in major cities.  China is a great choice for tourists for price, history and modern infrastructure.

VISAS:

A tourist visa is required to visit China for most nations.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.   For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.

Hong Kong is an execption based on its British heritage.  Visit our Hong Kong web page for further information.

Currency:

The currency of China is the Chinese Yuan Renminbi:

Water:

Don't drink tap water in China.  Bottled water is readily available and, with the popularity of tea, there is frequently an option to boil water in hotel rooms too.

Busy Holidays

China celebrates National Day on October 1st and many Chinese take a full week vacation to visit locations in their country.  Foreign tour operators and travelers can experience great difficulty with interruption in itineraries in the first week of October each year.  Another busy period is the Spring Festival, aslo known as the Chinese New Year.   The Chinese new year is set by the cycle of the moon and can occur any time between January 21st and February 20th.  Festivities start a week before the new year and end with the Lantern Festival on the 15th of the first month of the Chinese year.  During Spring Festival many Chinese visit relatives.

Best Time to Visit China:

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Beijing

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 Guilin

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 Hong Kong

 X  X                  X  X

 Lhasa

         X  X  X  X  X      

 Shanghai

                   X  X  

 Xian

           X            


View China map