China, Asia & Middle East
Browse Things to Do in China
China, officially known as the People's Republic of China (中华人民共和国 Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó) is a vast country in Eastern Asia (about the same size as the United States of America) with the world's largest population.
With coasts on the East China Sea, Korea Bay, Yellow Sea, and South China Sea, in total it borders 14 nations. It borders Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam to the south; Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to the west; Russia and Mongolia to the north and North Korea to the east. Only Russia has more land borders in Asia.
North-east (Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang) dōngběi, "rust belt" cities, vast forests, Russian, Korean, and Japanese influence, and long, snowy winters
North (Shandong, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Henan, Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin) The Yellow River Basin area, cradle of China's civilization and historic heartland
North-west (Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Xinjiang) Grasslands, deserts, mountains, nomadic people, and Islam
South-west (Tibet, Yunnan, Guangxi, Guizhou) The exotic part, minority peoples, spectacular scenery, and backpacker havens
Southern-central (Anhui, Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi) Farming areas, semi-tropical or temperate mountains and forests
South-east (Guangdong, Hainan, Fujian) Traditional trading center, manufacturing powerhouse, and ancestral homeland of most overseas Chinese
East (Jiangsu, Shanghai, Zhejiang) The "land of fish and rice", traditional water towns, and China's new cosmopolitan economic center
China has many large and famous cities. Below is a list of the nine most important to travelers in mainland China. Other cities are listed under their specific regional section.
Beijing (北京) - the capital, cultural center, and host of the 2008 Olympics
Guangzhou (广州) - one of most prosperous and liberal cities in the south, near Hong Kong
Guilin (桂林) - popular destination for both Chinese and foreign tourists with sensational mountain and river scenery
Hangzhou (杭州) - famously beautiful city and major center for the silk industry
Kunming (昆明) - capital of Yunnan and gateway to a rainbow of ethnic minority areas * Nanjing (南京) - a renowned historical and cultural city with many historic sites
Shanghai (上海) - famous for its riverside cityscape, China's largest city is a major commercial center with many shopping opportunities
Suzhou (苏州) - "Venice of the East," an ancient city famous for canals and gardens just west of Shanghai
Xi'an (西安) - the oldest city and ancient capital of China, home to ten dynasties including the Han and the Tang, terminus of the ancient Silk Road, and home of the terracotta warriors
You can travel to many of these cities using the new fast trains. In particular, the Hangzhou - Shanghai - Suzhou - Nanjing line is a convenient way to see these historic areas.
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