With a population of more than 1.4 billion people, China is the world’s most heavily populated country. In addition, it is also the third largest country in the world by area. It’s therefore no wonder as to how China is a country filled with intriguing artifacts, historical traditions, and plenty of tourist attractions.
It is truly a fascinating country – from internet addiction boot camps to inventing ice creams, there are so many weird facts and stories about China. Let’s take a look!
1. China is considered one of the four ancient civilizations. The others are Babylonia, Mayan, and Egyptian.
2. Despite being a wide and large country, China only has one time zone – Standard Chinese time. This means that in the West of China, the sunrise can be as late as 10 AM!
3. While crossbows may often be associated with the wars fought in medieval Europe, they were actually invented hundreds of years before that. A Chinese text, estimated be from 200 B.C., credited a man by the name of Ch’in of Ch’u with the invention of the crossbow in 700 B.C.
4. Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world. This country builds a new skyscraper every five days. Also, China’s Shanghai Tower stands at 2,073 feet and is the 2nd-tallest building in the world.
5. The world’s first paper money was created in China 1,400 years ago – who knew?!
6. The Chinese first figured out how to make silk, and it was such a secretive process at first that anyone who told another person how to spin silk could be killed.
7. China has treatment camps for internet addicts. One Beijing camp—run by an army colonel— costs about 10,000 yuan ($1,290) a month and boasts a 70 percent success rate. The camp combines “sympathy with discipline”.
8. In 2013 a zoo in China angered visitors by trying to pass off a Tibetan Mastiff dog as a lion! Oh dear, did you really think that was going to work?
9. Ice cream was invented in China around 2000BC. The first ice cream was soft milk and rice mixture packed in the snow. Yummm!
10. Superstition and numerology are prevalent in Chinese culture. For example, a 13th floor is often absent from hotels and commercial buildings whilst car number plates and phone numbers often lack the number four.
11. Eggs boiled in the urine of young virgin boys is considered a delicacy in certain areas of China.
12. Because of their aggressive nature and keen vision, geese are used as police animals instead of dogs.
13. As China has a one-child policy, tens of thousands of girl babies are abandoned and more than a million aborted each year in favour of potentially raising a boy.
14. China’s air pollution is so terrible that it travels across the Pacific and pollutes San Francisco, contributing to more than a third of the city’s air pollution.
15. Playstations and other foreign gaming consoles are illegal in China.
16. Not only that, about 3,000 websites are blocked in China. This includes such popular sites as Facebook and YouTube.
17. The longest traffic jam in history, which lasted 12 days over 62 miles was in Shanghai.
18. Until recently, the world’s tallest living woman was also Chinese. The Guinness Book of Records list Yao Defen as 2.33m (7 ft 8 in) tall. When she was eleven years old, she was about six feet, two inches tall. At age fifteen, she stood at six feet nine inches. Yao Defen passed away at the age of 40 in 2012 due to medical complications.
How to reach?
China is well connected to the cities around the world with many international airports, Hong Kong airport being the major one with plenty of connections to other international airports. Other major airports in the country are located at Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
If you are coming from Kazakhstan or Russia, you can use the Trans-Siberian Express to reach China. You can also use the Trans-Manchurian and Trans-Mongolian Railway. Tourists from Pakistan and Nepal can use the road options while tourists from Japan can use the sea route to enter China. However, flight travel is the best option that can help you get in and out of China quickly.
Captain Nero’s recommendations in China:
The Great Wall Of China: Starting with one of the most iconic places in the world, The Great Wall Of China, stretches more than 6,000 kilometres. It is the longest man-made structure in the world, Badaling being the most popular section of the wall. Also, The Great Wall of China is the only monument in the world that is visible from outer space!
Forbidden City: China’s largest and most important building, the Forbidden City — also known as the Imperial Palace — is situated in the very heart of Beijing and is a must-see when visiting the country. Travelers can explore the 180 acres complex that now houses some of the finest artifacts and collections with regards to Chinese history.
Xi’an: The second most famous of China’s ancient capitals, Xi’an, was the first capital of a united China in 221 BC, and capital for much of the next millennium. Thus, Xi’an is blessed with a great number of precious relics and historical sites. Its most famous attractions is the recently discovered Terracotta Army, the protectors of the tomb of the first emperor of China and is a must visit.
Lhasa: Inspite of its absorption into greater China, Lhasa is one of the most important cities in Tibet and has retained much of its culture. The Potala Palace here is one of the most recognizable structures in China and was the former home of the Dalai Lama. It is composed of two parts, the White Palace, where the Dalai Lama lived, and the Red Palace, where religious study took place.
Yangshuo: Yangshuo in South China attraction a large number of travellers with its untouched natural beauty. Yangshuo also makes a good base to take a day trip to Guilin for a leisurely trip on the Li River. A place that initially became popular with international backpackers in the 1970s and 1980s, Yangshuo has now grown and transformed into a thriving tourist destination that caters a huge variety of travellers.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: If you have seen the movie Avatar and noticed the peculiar-shaped mountains in the movie, the inspiration was derived from the pillar-like rocky-cliff structures within the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. This is one of the lesser known places to visit in China. In addition to its many natural wonders, the park also boasts a number of new man-made attractions.