Being one of the biggest countries in the world, The People’s Republic of China, has an immense variety to offer to travellers. There is a wide range of terrain to be found, with several mountain ranges, high plateaus and the Takla-Makan and Gobi deserts in central and western China, plains, deltas, and hills in the east, vast grasslands in the north, and of course the Himalayas, with Earth’s highest point, Mount Everest, while the south boasts subtropical forest valleys.
The Pearl River Delta region around Guangzhou and Hong Kong and the Yangtze delta around Shanghai are major economic powerhouses, as is the North China plain around Beijing and the Yellow River.
China’s is one of the 17 most biodiverse countries in the world. The country supports an astounding 146,000 species of flora, while unique species like the famous Giant Panda and the Leopard Cat are only two examples of the extraordinary wildlife to be found here.
With nearly more than 5,000 years of recorded history, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. For centuries the country stood one of the most advanced societies, outpacing the rest of the world in the arts and sciences. Paper, gunpowder, the compass and printing, for example, are Chinese inventions. Chinese developments in astronomy, engineering, medicine, mathematics and other fields were extensive. Chinese philosophers, writers and poets were highly respected and played key roles in preserving and promoting the culture of the empire.
Since the Cultural Revolution ended, various forms of traditional Chinese art, literature, music, film, fashion and architecture have seen a vigorous revival, and folk and variety art in particular have gained a new found respectability and sparked interest nationally and worldwide.
The cultural landscape is unsurprisingly very diverse given the sheer size of the country. China has 56 officially recognized ethnic groups, each with their own languages and with drastic regional variations in cultural expression and customs. It’s no surprise that ‘Chinese’ cuisine is as diverse as its people. Every region has its own particular dishes and cooking styles. The country is a true feast for the gourmand visitor.