China is one of the largest, and oldest, nations in the world, and is one of the earliest civilizations. Its rich history goes back over four thousand years, and is the home of some of the most important technological developments in human history. Today, it is an ultramodern and rapidly developing society, with a vibrant culture that reveres its glorious past.
China is the most populated country in the world. Over 1.4 billion people live here. In the same way that China’s ancient history both clashes and meshes with its modern, technologically advanced presence in the world, there is also great diversity in the physical and cultural Chinese landscape.
It should come as no surprise that there are countless ways to experience such a large and long-lived country. China is home to sprawling bamboo forests, mountain ranges, endless fields, and even great expanses of desert—and that’s just the natural landscape. While China is home to massive expanses of open land, its cities tend to be densely packed—Shanghai, for example, has a huge population of thirty-four million people.
Even if you prefer to be far from the madding crowds, China’s cities are incredible places to visit. Food tends to be extremely cheap compared to prices in, say, New York City, to the extent that it is often cheaper to eat in restaurants and to buy fast food from street vendors than it is to do your own grocery shopping.
Happily, given the sheer size of the country, public transport is also relatively cheap; a standard bus fare usually comes to 2-3 CNY, less than fifty US cents. Even the most price-conscious traveler can easily spend a whole day travelling, taking in the sights, and sampling the food from a dozen different street vendors, without worrying about breaking the bank.