China is the sort of place that while you explore it, you’ll have a hard time picking your jaw up from the floor. Whether you’re gawking at the insects on the menu, marveling at ancient landmarks, or learning about the fascinating culture. You’re sure to have your mind blown by the unique country.
As a tourist, there are a ton of amazing things to do in China beyond the megacities of Shanghai and Beijing. The massive country is geographically diverse. With beautiful and strange landscapes as well as interesting wildlife native to China.
The food is a journey of its own. And the adventurous travelers who are brave enough to dive into the unknown will find themselves eating all sorts of unusual delicacies.
As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, China is a country full of historical secrets and long-standing cultural traditions. But as one of the fastest-growing economies, the country has undergone large-scale development which has had a distinctive influence on the current society.
Uncover all there is to know with these riveting facts about China.
Must-Know China Facts and Information
Before you dive into the heart of China, there are some standard titbits of information that everyone should know. In this first section, I’ve covered the most important facts and information about China.
- The People’s Republic of China is the official name of China.
- It is also referred to as the Flowery Kingdom and many of its native fruits and flowers are grown and enjoyed all around the world.
- Beijing is the capital city of China. Originally called Peking, the city was founded in 700 B.C. It became the capital city of the Khanbaliq Empire in 1264.
- China lives in a pretty packed neighborhood of the world and it borders the most countries of any country in the world. A total of fourteen countries border China: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, North Korea, Myanmar, Bhutan, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
- The currency in China is the Renminbi (RMB) which translates to ‘People’s Currency’. However, it is commonly known around the world as yuan (CNY).
- Despite being almost the same size as the USA, China only has one official timezone. While the USA has four!
- In some parts of China, the sun rises as late as 10 am because of the singular time zone. Technically, the country should have around 5 different time zones.
- China has the largest population in the world. As of 2020, there are 1,439,323,776 people living in China. That is a considerable 18.47% of the world’s population in one country!
- China’s national sport is table tennis a.k.a ping pong. However, the sport was invented in Britain, and not in China.
- If you’re looking to call someone in China, the international code is +86.
- Deserts make up about 20% of China and the country is home to the largest desert in Asia, the Gobi Desert. However, Mongolia shares a part of the desert.
- The Yangtze River is Asia’s longest river and the third-longest in the world, with a length of 3914 miles. It is typically referred to as the Yangtze, which means ‘child of the ocean’, by westerners. Chinese people call it Chang Jiang which simply means ‘long river’.
- One in five people in the world is Chinese.
- Beijing hosted the Olympic Games in 2008. It is the most expensive Olympics event yet, totaling USD $40 billion.
- National Day is celebrated on October 1st to commemorate the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
- Yiyongjun Jinxingqu is the name of the national anthem and it means ‘March of the Volunteers’. It was created in 1935 to pay homage to those on the frontline of the battle against Japanese invaders in the 1930s.
Interesting Facts about China
It is no secret that China is an extremely fascinating place. It seems to be the world’s anomaly in many ways, constantly surprising unknowing visitors. Here are some interesting facts about China that are sure to surprise you too.
- We’re all too used to seeing a ‘made in China’ label on everyday products. China is the biggest manufacturing country in the world. This is because It is the leading producer of concrete, steel, fertilizer, clothing, and toys.
- Since opening up its trade borders, China’s economy has boomed. It has become the second-largest world economy, trailing closely behind the USA.
- Large scale urbanization has paralleled the steadily growing economy. Around 300 million people have migrated to the cities from the countryside.
- China has the oldest writing system in the world. It used to be a purely pictographic system that uses characters known as hanzi. Over time, the images have become less refined, but some can still be identified.
- The third lowest depression in the world, the Turpan Depression in China, experiences extreme temperatures. In summer, it can reach a sweltering 120 F and in winter it dips to a freezing -20 F.
- China is a geographically diverse country with an unbelievable range of varying landscapes and natural scenery. You can find strange geographical features such as the Stone Forest, a cluster of ancient rock pillars, in Yunnan province.
- Due to rapid rates of expansion in China, the country underwent large scale infrastructural development. This development required large amounts of material. Between 2011 to 2013, China used more cement than the USA used in the 20th century.
- Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any country in the world and an estimate of 5 new ones are built in China every day – bring on the cement!
- Hong Kong Disneyland is one of the best in the world and well worth a visit, despite the surrounding skyscrapers.
- If a Chinese person was planning to be reincarnated, they’d have to get government approval first. Otherwise, it’s completely illegal and they should probably think of something else.
- Kingdom of the Little People is not a fantastical Elvin kingdom out of your favorite novel, but rather a theme park dedicated to dwarfism. Visitors can watch comical shows performed by dwarfs. It is a controversial place as it claims to provide the marginalized group opportunities for employment. But on the other hand, it is often seen as a blatant mockery of dwarfism.
- The Grand Canal in China is the longest and oldest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Fun Facts About China
It’s always great to learn about the strange, the interesting and the unknown things about a country. Here are a lot of China fun facts which are sure to entertain you!
- Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, is located in China. The mountain is part of the Himalaya Mountain Range and is 29 028 feet tall. The summit marks the border between Nepal and China
- In China, Mount Everest is called Qomolangma which translates to ‘Mother Goddess of the Earth’.
- There is no mono-climate in China, being that it is such a massive country. Temperatures vary greatly throughout China. For example, the north is colder and drier than the south. And the east is warmer and more humid than the west. You could be enjoying the sun down south and then heading to the north for a ski holiday!
- Underground hobbit-style houses become more trendy for eco reasons but China has been pioneering this way of living for many years. Around 35 million Chinese people live in underground cave structures. Not only are these affordable to build, but the natural insulation helps to regulate temperatures.
- Many historic emperors held the belief that they were descended from dragons. The dragon is a revered symbol in China, representing power and strength.
- They might not be the team to beat on the soccer field these days. But the most popular sport in the world was invented over 2000 years ago in China. You would think that the inventors of soccer and the biggest population in the world would have qualified for the FIFA World Cup more than once. But the only time the country qualified was in 2002.
- All of our favorite holidays wouldn’t be the same without fireworks. We have China to thank for the incredible, flashing displays as the country invented them. Gunpowder was invented during the Tang Dynasty by alchemists. It is used to make explosives, rockets, cannons, and guns….and fireworks.
- It makes sense, then, that the inventors of fireworks are also the largest exporters. China is responsible for an estimated 85% of firework exports.
- You’d normally chuck out soup after a few days in your fridge. Imagine finding a 2400-year-old pot of soup! Exactly that was uncovered in Xi’an in 2010.
- Unfortunately, a consequence of large-scale development is environmental degradation. Four of China’s cities are on the top ten list for most polluted in the world.
- China has a fairly extensive rail network running to all corners of the huge country. If all the railway lines in the country were attached, they could loop twice around the entire world.
- The humongous Leshan Giant Buddha’s eyebrows are on fleek. And they’re also 18 feet long!
- If you thought the Chinese population was numerous, then you’ll be shocked to hear about its pig population. 50% of the entire world’s pig population lives in China.
- You’ll struggle to get your social media fix in China. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google are blocked in mainland China. This is under the policy of internet censorship which the government instituted in 1996. Ironically, the word ‘censorship’ is also censored.
- Home gaming consoles such as Playstation were banned in China for over a decade, between 2000 to 2013. They were forbidden because they were seen as an intentional attack on the country and its army’s reputation.
- There are treatment facilities in China for internet addicts. And it is the first country to recognize online addiction as a disorder.
- Paper money was first invented in China during the Tang Dynasty.
- After Russia and the USA, China became the third country to send a man to space in 2003.
- Contrary to stereotypes, a Chinese woman named Yao Defen was the tallest woman in the world until she died in December 2012. She was an impressive 7 feet 8 inches tall!
China Facts for Kids
China has some awesome animals and suspicious snacks. Learn all about it with these fun facts about China for kids.
- China is pretty huge. In fact, it’s the third biggest country in the world by area.
- Flying kites is an activity that kids have enjoyed for a long time, and still do now. Well, the Chinese have been flying kites for almost 3000 years. The original kite was made from silk, fastened to a bamboo frame.
- Each year in China is represented by one of 12 animals. These include animals such as a pig, a snake, and a rat.
- Would you send a soldier to war with paper armor? Probably not. But that’s what some soldiers were kitted out in during battles in Ancient China.
- A nocturnal mouse, that looks a bit like dumbo and straight out of a fairytale, calls China home. The long-eared jerboas have ears that are a whole third longer than their heads.
- Since we’re on the subject of strange animals, the Asian golden cat deserves a mention. These cats are found in southern China. They have a strange way of communicating that involves gurgling and spitting at one another.
- Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys are a little weird looking. But they live at a higher altitude than any other primates – except for their human cousins.
- Would you like some pickled fish with that ketchup? It doesn’t sound very appetizing. But the word ‘ketchup’ may have its origins in the Chinese word for ‘pickled-fish sauce’, ke-tsiap.
- Stamp collecting is one of the most popular hobbies in China.
- Disguising vegetables in yummy treats has been taken to a whole new level in China! The country sells green bean flavored ice lollies.
Chinese Culture Facts
The Chinese culture has developed over thousands of years and has distinctive traditions and practices.
- It is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Along with the Babylonian, Mayan, and Egyptian it makes up the four ancient civilizations. The assumed beginning of Chinese civilization is 6000BC.
- China has a diverse ethnic population. There are 56 different minority groups throughout the country and many of them have a distinctive culture with their own language and writing system.
- The majority of the Chinese population (91%) are part of the Han ethnic group.
- The main language in China, Mandarin, is considered the most difficult language to learn.
- Despite Mandarin being the main language, there are a ton of varying dialects. Some of which are totally different from Mandarin. Cantonese is a widely spoken dialect in areas such as Hong Kong. While some people in Shanghai speak Wu.
- Diversity seems to be the trend in China and the same goes for religion. There is no single predominant religion that governs society in China. People hold a variety of beliefs, from Christianity to Taoism and ancestor worship.
- Superstition is a big part of Chinese culture, as is numerology. The number 4 is seen as an unlucky number and often absent in number plates and phone numbers.
- Chinese women covet small and dainty feet. The custom of foot binding came about in the 10th-century and was only recently banned in the 20th-century. This involved binding the feet of young girls with tight materials to stunt growth.
- The Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year, is the most loved and celebrated holiday in Chinese culture. The Chinese calendar ushers in a new year at the end of January or early February. With each new year comes a new animal to represent the achievements and challenges of the year to come.
- The New Year celebration lasts for two weeks and the whole country takes part. Spending time with family making dumplings and festive shows and dances are a traditional part of the celebration.
- The color white symbolizes death in China. Therefore, you won’t find many traditional brides wearing the color. But you will see funeral attendees clad in white.
- If you spot someone with an unusually long nail on their pinky finger, you can assume they are wealthy and upper-class. Or maybe they just want you to think so. The affluent often used to grow these long nails to demonstrate their wealth and status.
- Red is considered to be a lucky color in China. Many brides wear red on their wedding day to bring their marriage good fortune.
Foodie China Facts
If you’re a food tourist, China will be a wonderland of new experiences for you. Although, I can’t guarantee that they will all be pleasant. Chinese people love to eat and cooking is a predominant part of their culture. Check out these tantalizing facts about food in China.
- Cuisines differ throughout China, and the food is incredibly interesting. You will come across an array of bizarre food on your travels. Such as birds nest soup, thousand-year-old eggs, and sheep’s penis to name a few.
- Sichuan cuisine is a fan favorite among locals and tourists. The famous hot pot is a hallmark of Sichuan cooking, as are the spicy flavors.
- Chopsticks are the main eating and kitchen utensil. Much to the dismay of visiting westerners who lack the dexterity required for superb noodle control. They became a popular eating tool during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
- It’s not uncommon to find insects on the menu at street food vendors in China. Scorpions are deep-fried live and skewered to make an apparently tasty treat. These scorpion sticks are especially popular in Beijing.
- Forget bacon and eggs for breakfast, a popular breakfast meal in China is soup! And it’s more common to drink the soup from the bowl rather than eat it with a spoon. Which is much more efficient, don’t you think?
- Soy and rice products are prevalent in Chinese cuisine.
- Everyone loves cracking a fortune cookie to find a prophecy concerning love and money. But fortune cookies are not actually Chiese. They were invented in America in the 20th-century.
- If it’s not rice on your plate in China, it’s probably noodles. In fact, instant noodles are so popular in China that in 2011 a recorded 42.5 billion packs of instant noodles were eaten.
- You could say that fun guys are found in China. Or, more specifically, fungi. 60% of the world’s mushroom varieties are found in China and it has become the leading producer and exporter.
China Interesting Facts for Tourists
China is a tourist’s playground – especially for adventurous travelers who are seeking a unique cultural experience. There are so many historical and natural sights throughout the country. Check out these things about China that visitors will love.
- The longest wall in the world, The Great Wall of China, is 5500 miles long. It used to be a border of the ancient Chinese empire and now forms part of the border with Korea, stretching into the Gobi desert.
- The ancient Chinese name of the Great Wall translates to ‘the 10 000-mile Long Wall’ or ‘Incredibly Long Wall’. And it is incredibly long.
- You can take a photo with the life-sized clay soldiers who are a part of ‘First Emperor’ Qin Shihuang’s city of the dead. He created this extensive necropolis to include over 2000 soldiers and even animals to rule over in the afterlife. The Terracotta Army Museum exhibits artifacts from his fantastical museum and you’ll see that each soldier has distinct and unique facial features.
- The largest ancient palace, the Forbidden City, in Beijing has around 9000 rooms.
- Visitors can go see the native giant panda. These animals are endemic to China and are endangered. They are a national pride of the country and you can see them in their natural habitat at places such as the Wolong Giant Panda Nature Reserve.
- There are a lot of scenic natural areas in China. One of these is the limestone karst mountains in Guilin, along the Li River. You can raft along the river, bartering with locals at the river markets and taking in the epic sights.
Final thoughts on China Fun Facts
Are you feeling pumped up and eager to explore the mysteries of China? The crazy, interesting, and unusual country is the perfect spot for travelers seeking unique experiences.
Offering you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a culturally and geographically rich country. It might seem intimidating, with all the strange food and the culture which may have many stark differences to your own. But this is what makes China incredible and it should be high up on your travel bucket list!
Planning a trip to Asia?
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