Introduction to China
Vast in size and mind-boggling in scope, China is the third-largest country with the world's largest population of 1.35 billion. With a powerhouse economy and centuries-old culture, this socialist country has its foot on the accelerator with seemingly neverending expansion and construction as it surges forward as a major global player.
With international cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou that invite comparisons with global hotspots, heady experiences are yours for the taking. Real Chinese cuisine is an assault on the senses from traditional meals to experimental fusions and satisfying street hawker nosh. Centuries of dynastic and feudal rule have created intricate art forms and exquisite cultural and historic artifacts that are celebrated in galleries, museums, festivals and ancient ruins. And, nowhere parties like modern China where sky-scraping bars and hidden clubs get down nightly with karaoke, drinks by the bottle and big-name DJs.
Unlike your local Chinese takeaway, China is not a one-size-fits-all destination. The massive country borders 14 different nations and offers terrain as varied as coastal areas, thrilling river gorges, vast forests, windswept deserts and plains, snowy mountains, farming regions and hyper-urban metropolises. The national language is Mandarin, but there’s almost as many regional dialects as there are ethnic Chinese groups. And, while the cities may be home to the super-rich billionaire ‘Red Aristocracy’, tracts of rural China are underdeveloped creating an uneasy divide at odds with the country’s communist ideals.
While China has embraces its modern metamorphosis, this full-throttle approach is balanced with religious and cultural beliefs from the delicate movements of tai chi to adherence to feng shui principles, and from ancestor worship to lucky superstitions for an unique fusion of the old and the new. At times intriguing and infuriating, there’s never been a better time to head to the Far East.
For ideas on what to see and do in China, head to our things to do page and start planning your China holiday!