Although China is located in eastern Asia, it is arguably the center of Asian culture. Its vast territory spans a total area of 9.6 million2 kilometers.
China’s climate and terrain vary widely providing many beautiful environs to explore. The land sweeps down from the highlands in the west to the lower eastern landscapes, forming a ladder-like terrain.
At its widest stretch, the land measures 5,000 km from the furthest inland border to the coastline, which meanders more than 18,000 km around this amazing land. The climate ranges from temperate in the north to tropical in the south, with varying combinations of temperature and precipitation.
China is divided into a total of 34 administrative units, including 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two special administrative regions.
China’s population is large and still growing, and includes many ethnic groups. Though the land is rich in resources, these are relatively small per capita. China is divided into the northern region, the southern region, the northwest region, and the four major parts of the Qinghai-Tibet region.
China’s Border and Neighboring Countries
China’s boundaries of 22,800 km border North Korea in the east, Mongolia in the north, Russia in the northeast, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan in the northwest.
To the west and southwest Chinas’ neighbors include Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan as well as South and Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam. Across the sea to the east and southeast are South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
China’s Diverse Terrain
China’s vast landscape is varied and beautiful ranging from imposing mountain ranges, majestic plateaus, undulating hill country and extensive plains. There are five basic terrain types, which make up the land of China, and coupled with wide ranging conditions provide extensive scope for the development of industry and agriculture.
China’s Vast Mountains
No matter where you go in China, you will run into mountains eventually! More than one of the many mountain ranges of Central Asia make an appearance in China. Part of the Tian Mountains, or Mountain of Heaven, make up northwest China, together with the Yan Mountains and the Kunlun Mountains.
The famous Szechuan Alps in mid-eastern China running east-west are home to many unique plants and animals not found anywhere else. The Taihang Mountains run along the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau, and the snowy peaks of Wushan form part of Wu Gorge, the second of the three gorges of the Yangtze River.
Changbai Mountain, also in the north, is found along the border between China and North Korea. And of course, the island of Taiwan has mountains (in case you’re wondering). At the junction of China and Nepal, the main peak of the Himalayas, Mount Everest, 8844.43 meters above sea level, is the highest peak in the world.
Two-thirds of China’s land area is mountainous which is challenging to the development of infrastructure and agriculture. However, the mountains also provide fruitful forests, valuable minerals, water and tourism resources, and opportunity to develop the mountain economy.
China’s Ocean Areas
The South China Sea is composed of three major coastal waters: the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, and the East China Sea, together lapping 18,000 km of the eastern and southern coastline.
These waters cover an area of about 4.7 million2 km, dotted with more than 7600 islands, of which Taiwan is the largest at 35,7982 km.
China is home to one of the largest rivers in the world; indeed many of China’s rivers are long covering more than 10002 kilometers.
The ten most famous of China’s rivers are the Yangtze River, Pearl River, Yellow River, Heilongjiang, Songhua River, Liaohe River, Brahmaputra River, Lancang River, Nu River and Han River.
The Yangtze River
The Yangtze River, originating in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the peak of the Dadan East Snow Mountains, is not only China’s longest river but is also the longest in Asia totaling a length of 6,403 km (3,978.63 miles) and the third longest in the world outdone only by the Amazon and Nile rivers.
The Pearl River
The Pearl River, located in southern China and formerly known as Yuejiang, is China’s second largest river.
The Yellow River
The Yellow River meanders around northern China and totals a length of approximately 5464 km, the basin area being about 752,443 square kilometers. It is the world’s fifth largest river and China’s second longest river.
China’s Beautiful Lakes
China is dotted with many beautiful lakes, 24,800 to be exact, and 2800 of those are natural lakes with a combined area of more than 1 square kilometer.
Although China is blessed with much rich land, it is also one of the most devastated countries in the world. By 1999, China’s desertification land area was 2.644 million square kilometers, accounting for 27.9% of the total land area of China.
China is a magnificently vast and wide land with large distances from the sea, and combined with the diverse terrain of mountains and plains means there are different combinations of temperatures and rainfall.
China’s very pleasant temperate climate in the northern regions (though quite cold along the Tibetan border), and tropical climate in the east and humid south make visiting opportunities easy for tourists all year round.
China’s Traveling Resources
China’s resplendent landscape attracts many tourists. Among its natural wonders are the five picturesque Sacred Mountains (Dongyue Taishan, Xiyue Huashan, Beiyue Hengshan, Nanyue Hengshan, Zhongyue Songshan), the four major Buddhist mountains (Mount Wutai, Jiuhuashan, Putuo Mountain, Mount Emei) not to mention the Huang Mountains, Mount Lu, and the Stone Forest.
When you are in China, you simply cannot miss the Yangtze River Three Gorges, the beautiful Hangzhou West Lake, or Wuxi Taihu Lake’s scenery.
The city of Sanya, the islands of Hainan, The Ends of the Earth beach in TianYa Haijiao, and not forgetting the many sights both new and old, natural and man-made in Yunnan and Dali, are all well worth visiting.
The beautiful old town of Lijiang is a great experience of ancient Chinese culture, the natural beauty and warmth of Xishuangbanna in the south, and Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan are all well-known tourist destinations.