China is still a mystery, an intangible idea so vast and beautiful, largely undiscovered by travelers, and for many only a snapshot seen on the nightly news. But, can you even imagine a history dating back as far as the 3rd millennia BC? A place and a people more advanced for their time, than any. This was and is China.

 

China,

 

The first of the Chinese dynasties appeared around 2205 BC beginning with the Xia Dynasty. Many more successive monarchs succeeded to the throne of the Middle Kingdom, of which the most well-known are the Qin Dynasty, during which the Great Wall was begun. And fast forward to the 20th Century.

 

China Now

 

China modern.The history of modern China begins at the dawn of the 20th century thanks to Sun Yat-Sen who proclaimed the Republic. Furthermore, China is marked by communism. Today, after it’s opening to the world, China became inevitably, one of the world’s leading economies, even surpassing all the countries of Old Europe.

 

China offers numerous touristic attractions in different cities, and it is worth noting that among hundreds of touristic sites in China, 29 are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage places, the Great Wall of China being the most noted. Beijing, the capital, is of great historical and cultural interest, as well. Places like the Forbidden City or the Temple of Heaven, remind us of the vast richness of Chinese culture, of a China we’ve only seen in the movies.

 

Some more modern touristic attractions include; the many trendy shopping districts like as Qianmen or Xidan, offering cutting edge as if this were New York City. Shanghai and Hong Kong are sprawling examples of modern China, and a burgeoning economy.

 

A Country for People

 

Shanghai.Despite the ballooning populations of the big cities in China, outside the cultural attractions tourists can take in via the cityscape, it’s China’s countryside that is most amazing. A little bit over 58% of the Chinese population lives in the rural regions. It’s along the Great Wall, at the roof of the Himalayas, in the deserts at the frontiers of Mongolia that you’ll see the real China.

 

The geography of China is relatively diverse because of the country’s vastness. Fertile soils, the mountains, valleys, semi-arid areas and large planes, represent a vast outdoor playground for the adventurous, and an vital farming and commercial potential for China’s people. A diverse climate, and myriad touristic destinations dot the countryside here too.

 

Nights Here are Like Everywhere

 

Nightlife in China, like the trendy shopping malls and sports venues popping up everywhere, has seen its own kind of boom. Shanghai to Beijing and far beyond, the locals and tourists mix to live it up in the new atmosphere of capitalistic fever.

 

Chic VIP clubs, piano bars, sidewalk cafes, even luxury resorts have sprung up where once such atmospheres were only in dreams. You’ll not only be amazed, but mightily entertained at places like; the House of Blues and Jazz (believe it or not), Shanghai’s Shiva Lounge, and Beijing’s Passion Club.

Night

 

Culinary wonder in China has not been left behind either. Nor has adventure touring, the segway way of seeing cities, Internet cafes, or thrill seeker’s amusement parks and themed resort destinations.

 

Whatever you can find in the US or Europe, there’s some of the same here, only Chinese style. China has a bit of a frontier spirit about it these days. The feeling that anything is possible. And usually it is, at least here.

 

Weekly budget: around 1,000 EUR per week

Taxes and tips: Tips given based on satisfaction or to help are common.

Local currency: Renmimbi Yuan

Spoken and/or official language: Chinese, de facto Mandarin

Area: 9,597,999km2

Population: 1,400,000,000

Capital: Beijing

Major cities: Beijing, Canton, Hong Kong, Shanghai, …

Visa: One must obtain a visa in order to travel to China. Make provision for at least 25 EUR per person, per visit.

Sanitary prescriptions: No vaccination is necessary except for an anti-malaria certificate for voyagers arriving from contaminated zones. Tap water is not potable.

 

Main images courtesy: © Patrick G. - Fotolia.com; © kalafoto - Fotolia.com; Wikipedia and Alvin Wong



Travel destinations in regions of China