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Country profile –  China

China is a country of contrast, with both bustling and rapidly developing cities where technology takes centre stage as well as many diverse historical sites and serene natural landscapes teaming with biodiversity. Here we take a closer look at why this country is such a popular destination with tourists.

China is the world’s second largest country by land area, which is roughly 3.7 million square miles! As it is such a large country there is so much to explore and take in, and because of this China is the third most visited country in the world.


China was under dynastic rule until 1912, with the first confirmed dynasty being the Shang dynasty, which began around 1700 BC! The rich history of this country can still be seen in many locations, such as at the great wall, the majority of which was built during the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1644). Another important and popular historic site is the Forbidden City in Beijing, which acted as the imperial palace from 1420 all the way to the end of dynastic rule in 1912. The Forbidden City is now open to the public as a museum and gallery and is the most visited art museum in the world.

Flickr | Bridget Coila

Main cities and attractions

China is home to the two most highly populated cities in the world, Beijing and shanghai. The capital, Beijing is known for its busy bustling streets and can be quite an intense experience for tourists, but this city has so much to offer those who are willing to face the crowds. The 2008 Olympic park is now open to the public and the building that previously hosted the swimming events at the games is now transformed into a waterpark, complete with slides and wave machines. The city is full of architectural wonders, including the curious egg-shaped building that houses the centre for performing arts and the astonishing CCTV tower.

Flickr | Jens Schott Knudsen

China also has many natural attractions to offer any interested tourists, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a popular destination and has some truly incredible sights. This park is home to amazing rock formations made up of many towering sandstone pillars, some of which are over 1000m tall. The park is also the site of the Zhangjiajie glass bridge, which is the longest and highest glass bridge in the world. Suspended 260m above the ground and stretching across the canyon for 430m, a walk across this structure is definitely only for those with a strong head for heights!

Flickr | Carlos Adampol Galindo

Climate, landscape and nature

The climate and landscape of China varies quite dramatically due to its large size. The Gobi desert lies in the north of the country, this desert experiences extreme temperatures ranging from -40˚C to 45˚C! Other landscapes found in China include vast grasslands, forests and mountain ranges, including part of the Himalayas. One truly amazing sight in China is the Yuanyang rice terraces in the south of the country; these rice paddies are not naturally occurring, but have been manipulated by humans to efficiently grow rice. The result is a stunning sight, with whole hill sides tiered with pools of water.

Flickr | peteropaliu

With the diversity in landscape and climate comes a high diversity of plant and animal life, china is home to over 550 species of mammal, the third highest number of any country in the world. China is also one of 17 megadiverse countries around the world, as outlined by Conservation International.

China has so much to offer, it’s hard to do this country justice in one article! Whether you want to take in the natural beauty of the mountains and grasslands, or explore the crazy concrete jungles of Beijing or Shanghai there’s something for everyone in this diverse and beautiful country!

By Gabrielle Brooks - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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