China is seen variously as an ancient civilization extending over a large area in East Asia, a nation and/or a multinational entity. With nearly 4,000 years of continuous history, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Prior to the 19th century, it possessed one of the most advanced societies and economies in the world.
Historically, the cultural sphere of China has extended across East Asia as a whole, with Chinese religion, customs, and writing systems being adopted to varying degrees by neighbors such as Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Through its history, China was the source of many major inventions. It has also one of the world’s oldest written language systems. The first evidence of human presence in the region was found at the Zhoukoudian cave. It is one of the earliest known specimens of Homo erectus, now commonly known as the Peking Man, estimated to have lived from 300,000 to 780,000 years ago. (Info from Wikipedia)
Eagerly assuming its place among the world’s top travel destinations, even more so since Beijing took centre stage at the 2008 Olympics, China is an epic adventure. From the wide open and empty panoramas of Tibet to the push and shove of Shanghai, from the volcanic dishes of Sìchuan to beer by the bag in seaside Qīngdǎo, a journey through this colossus of a country is a mesmerizing encounter with the most populous, perhaps most culturally idiosyncratic nation on earth.
The sheer diversity of China’s terrain takes you from noisy cities fizzing with energy to isolated mountain-top Ming-Dynasty villages where you can hear a pin drop. Pǔdōng’s ambitious skyline is a triumphant statement, but it couldn’t be further from the worldly renunciation acted out in Tibet’s distant monasteries.
Curator of the world’s oldest continuous civilization, China will have you bumping into history at every turn. But it’s not just a museum of imperial relics: the frisson of development that has left China’s coastline glittering with some of the world’s most up-to-the-minute cities propels the land on with a forward-thinking dynamism.
And it’s the people – unavoidable in their immense numbers – who provide the ceaseless drama and entertainment. Loud, garrulous and quick thinking, you’ll see the Chinese squeezing onto dangerous-looking buses, walking in pajamas around Shanghai or inviting each other to sit down to some of the most varied cuisine in the world. Animated by a palpable sense of pride, the Chinese are revelling in their country’s ascendency. Everyone is talking about China, so why not find out what all the fuss is about? (Info from Lonely Planet)