China is forging ahead, booming cities, stunning infrastructure, but people still waltz under the fly-overs or practise taichi on Shanghai Bund. The Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Terracotta Army remain major attractions for domestic and foreign tourists but this vast diverse country has far more to offer than anyone could explore on a single, be it lengthy, visit. Cruise along the Yangtze or the river Li, ramble through hills and paddies, head for Tibet on the world’s highest railway, discover colourful ethnic minorities or come face to face with pandas in Chengdu, but be warned. This is only a start.
Tips For Traveling China
Destinations In China
Map Of China
Things You Need to Know Before Visiting China
- Where is China? / Where is China Located in The World: China is located in Southeast Asia along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
- China/Official language is: Chinese.
- The national flag of China:
- What’s the capital of China? Beijing.
- The current population of China is: 1,388,026,265 as of Monday, June 19, 2017.
- China/Area is: 3,700,000 square miles.
- Phone Code for China is: 86.
- China/Electricity is: 230V, 50 Hz.
- China/Currency is: 1 China Yuan Renminbi = $0.15 US.
- Do I need a visa to go to China? How much is the visa fee for China? China requires visas for citizens of the United States. Visas cost $50, take at least four business days to process, and may require a personal interview. Go to www.china-embassy.org for more information.
Books and Movies about China
Chinese society can be a bewildering beast to the unprepared, and it’s pretty tough to be prepared for a country of 1.3 billion with 5,000 years of history. Skim through William Theodore De Bary’s Sources of Chinese Tradition to understand the ancient philosophies and voluminous history that shape Chinese society still, and Jonathan Spence’s The Search for Modern China for a current pulse.
To experience the feeling of China, though, books aren’t enough. Luckily, the country has developed one of the world’s largest film industries, going way beyond Jackie Chan’s kung fu comedy. The Communist regime keeps a tight lid of contemporary social commentary, but directors such as Wong Kar Wai and Zhang Yimou use fantastic or historic settings while uncovering current themes.
China food: What to expect from cuisine in China
Cuisine American inventions like General Tso’s Chicken and Pork Chow Mein give short shrift to the epic array of delights served in what many consider the world’s greatest culinary nation. Dishes range from savory noodles in Beijing to delicate preparations in Canton, to roasted meat in Shanghai, to the exotic fire of Szechuan. Dive in with a hearty appetite, because the greatest delicacies would be avoided in the United States. Swallow’s nest soup, duck feet, and shark fin are treasured. The masses can’t all be wrong. If you’re confused, just point to something on the menu that’s moderately priced. If you hate it, relax in the knowledge that it only cost three dollars anyway. But whatever you do, only drink bottled water or the ever-popular local beer.
What To Buy in China
With immense wealth disparities in the larger cities, shopping runs the gamut from a steal to wildly unaffordable. Major designers won’t be a bargain here, unless they’re reproductions, so check the workmanship on any Western-branded wares you happen upon. Many consumer prices are still set by the government, so bargaining isn’t possible in larger shops and department stores, although in small outdoor markets, everything’s negotiable. Here you can find beautiful work in jade, ceramic, and silk. Be careful though—anything over 100 years old is considered an antique and requires approval to export.
Money and costs in China
China can be a dream destination for the wallet. Prices are low, tax is always included in the price, and tipping is officially forbidden, though tacitly accepted. But the tourist price is often not as low as the local price. If a sign or menu is in English, expect to pay at least double (still cheap), though at hotels this price may be many times the local rate. Unless you have a guide or know the language, this situation probably cannot be avoided.
Culture in China
The Chinese people’s light-speed journey to affluence has produced a culture that can sometimes shock a foreign visitor. If you are traveling in smaller towns, it is still common to be stared at and followed by the locals. But don’t worry, petty crime is rare and begging rarer. Spitting is surprisingly common, in the street, in restaurants, and even in hospitals. Lastly, make sure not to casually refer to Taiwan as an independent nation—a formerly friendly conversation could quickly turn hostile even if you don’t mean any offense.
List of national public holidays of China
- January: 1, New Year’s Day
- May: 1, Labor Day; 4, Youth Day
- July: 1, Communist Party Founding Day
- August: 1, Army Day
- October: 1, National Day
- Spring: Chinese New Year/Spring Festival; Lantern Festival; Tomb Sweeping Day
- Summer: Dragon Boat Festival; Double Seven Festival; Spirit Festival
- Autumn: Moon Festival; Double Ninth Festival
2 Reasons To Go To China Right Now
- Beijing’s ancient architectural marvels (the Great Wall).
- Shanghai’s 21st-century skyline.