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China General Information


THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA is the third largest country in the world in terms of area and the largest in terms of population. Its total area is 9.6 million square kilometers and its population is 1.2 billion. China has shared borders for centuries with Korea, the formerly Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, Burma, Laos and Vietnam.

China General Information


Quick facts


Capital city


National flag

Five-star red flag, length and width proportion: 3:2.

National anthem

March of the Volunteers (lines: Arise, those who do not want to be slaves! We will use our flesh and blood to build another Great Wall. China has reached the brink of national collapse. All the people have been making their last outcry. Arise! Arise! Arise! All our hearts become one. Let us face the angry guns. March on! Let us face the angry guns. March on! March on! March on! On!)

National Day

October 1, the country was founded in 1949.

Top legislature

National People's Congress (NPC).


In East Asia, by the west Pacific Ocean.

Territory area

9.6 million square km, second to Russia and Canada.

Largest city



Renminbi (RMB) yuan.

Exchange rate

8.3 yuan=US$1 .

Weights and measures

metric system .

Gross domestic product

8,940.4 billion yuan (at the end of 2000) .


High in its west and low in its east: mountain areas 33.3%, plateaus 26%, basins 18.8%, plains 12% and hills 9.9%.



Among the 5,400 islands, Taiwan Island (about 36,000 square km) is the largest, Hainan Island (about 34,000 square km) the second.


Among the 19 mountains over 7,000 meters high in the world, seven are in China. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as "the roof of the world", has many high mountains. The Himalayas, with an average elevation of 6,000 meters, have the world's highest peak Mount Qomolangma, 8,848 meters above sea level.


The Yangtze River, 6,300 km long, the third longest in the world after the Nile and the Amazon. The Yellow River, the second longest in China, stretching 5,464 km.


The canyon on the Yalu Tsangpo River, the world's largest, 504.6 km in length and 6,009 meters in depth.

Man-made river

The Grand Canal, 1,801 km long, the longest man-made river in the world. Its cutting began in the fifth century BC.


The Poyang Lake on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River is China's largest freshwater lake; the Qinghai Lake on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the country's largest salt lake.



Most of the country in the temperate zone, although geographically the country stretches from the tropical and subtropical zones in the south to the frigid zone in the north.

Wild animals

Wild animals

China has a great variety of wildlife, over 4,400 vertebrates, more than 100 rare species of the world: the giant panda, the golden monkey, the white-lipped deer, the South China Tiger, Crossoplilon mantchuricum, the white-flag dolphin, the Chinese alligator, and the crowned crane.


China has a great variety of plants, 32,000 species of higher plants, including nearly all the major kinds of vegetation found in the frigid and temperate zones of the northern hemisphere.

Popular flowers

Peony, azalea, primrose and felwort.


China carried out its fifth national population census on November 1, 2000. It has a population of 1,295.33 million. Of which: the total population of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities (excluding Jinmen and Mazu islands of Fujian Province hereafter) and of servicemen on the mainland of China was 1,265.83 million; the population of Hong Kong SAR was 6.78 million; the population of Macao SAR was 440 thousand; the population of Taiwan Province and of Jinmen, Mazu and a few other islands of Fujian Province was 22.28 million.

Population growth rate

Compared with the population of 1,133.68 million from the 1990 population census (with zero hour of July 1, 1990 as the reference time), the total population of the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and the servicemen of the mainland of China increased by 132.15 million persons, or 11.66 percent over the past 10 years and 4 months. The average annual growth was 12.79 million persons, or a growth rate of 1.07 percent.

Average life-span

71 years old by the end of 2000.

Population composition

The males: 51.63%, the females: 48.37%; people aged below 14: 22.89%; people aged 15-64: 70.15%; people aged above 65: 6.96%; urban population: 36.09%; rural population: 63.91%.

Ethnic groups

China has 56 ethnic groups. Of the people enumerated in the 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities and servicemen of the mainland of China, 1,159.40 million persons or 91.59 percent were of Han nationality, and 106.43 million persons or 8.41 percent were of various national minorities.


Of the 56 ethnic groups in China, the Hui and Manchu use the same languages as Han people, while the rest of groups have their own spoken and written languages.

Public holidays

New Year's Day (January 1), the Spring Festival (the New Year's Day by Chinese lunar calendar), International Labor Day (May 1), and the National Day (October 1).


Visa and Travel Guide


Visa requirement


The Chinese Government issues different types of visas according to the purposes of the visitors. Foreigners wishing to travel to China should apply to a local Chinese embassy or consulate for tourist visas(L). In the event of a group tour of more than nine persons , the organizer has to apply for group tourist visas(L). Foreigners requesting to visit Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Xiamen Special Economic Zones may apply directly to visa authorities in these zones for tourist visas to special economic zones. Foreign tourist groups from Hong Kong for a 72-hour visit to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone are exempt from entry visas. When applying for a visa, foreigners are required to answer certain questions and go through the following formalities: 1)providing a valid passport or any document in place of a passport; 2)filling in a visa application form and handing inup-to-date passport photos; 3)submitting documents needed for visa application and documents which explain one's reason(s) to enter China. A foreigner holding the tourist visa (L) should go to an appointed port of entry or one which is opened to foreigners, receive the examination by a frontier inspection station, submit a valid passport and visa for inspection, and fill in an entry card; entry into China is granted only after the frontier inspection has approved all the documents and stamped them with an entry seal.


Foreigners may travel in places opened to them in China with a valid passport and tourist visa(L). By March 1996, China had opened 1, 220 cities and counties to foreign visitors. Foreigners travelling with their own transport vehicles should apply for approval before they enter China. These include bicycles, motorcycles, cars, boats and aircrafts.

Foreign tourists are not allowed to enter areas not opened to foreigners;violators will be penalized according to law. Foreigners who want to visit an area on business not opened to them should apply to the local public security organ for a Foreigners Travel Permit . When they apply for such a permit, they should show their own passports and valid visas, provide letters which explain the reasons for such a visit , and fill in the Application Form for Foreign Travellers. Only after approval is granted, can they enter the area not opened to foreign visitors. The Foreigners Travel Permit should be used along with the passport.


When applying for lodging in a hotel, guesthouse, school or any other Chinese establishment , a foreign visitor should provide a valid passport and fill in a registration form for temporary lodging. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family should apply to the local public security organ within seventy-two hours after arrival with valid identification documents of both the guest and the host. A foreign visitor staying with a Chinese family in a rural area should apply to the local police station or residential administrative organ within seventy-two hours after arrival. This stipulation also applies to a foreign visitor staying in a foreign establishment or with a foreigner's family in China.

A foreign tourist may travel in China within the approved period of time. If he wishes to continue travelling in China after the approved time of his stay expires, he should apply to the local public security organ for the extension of his stay. After he has finished his travel in China, he should fill in an exit document before his visa expires and submit his documents to the frontier inspection station in a port opened to foreigners; he is allowed to leave the country only after his document is stamped with an approval seal.


A foreigner staying in China with a tourist visa (L) is not allowed to engage in activities beyond the capacity as a tourist, such as employment, religious propaganda and illegal journalist interviewing. Violators of this stipulation will be punished. The Chinese Government protects the lawful rights of foreigners in China. On their part, foreigners staying in China should abide by the Chinese laws and respect the Chinese habits and customs, and on no account should they do anything to jeopardize China's national security, public interests and social order.


A foreigner who has lost his passport in China should promptly report to the local public security organ, explain what has happened, apply to the Embassy or Consulate of his own country for an exit document with a certificate issued by the local public security organ, and go through related formalities at an entry and exit inspection department. Only then is he allowed to leave China.


Custom Regulations


Entry: Tourists must fill out a baggage declaration form (in two copies) and hand it in to customs, retaining the carbon to show upon exit.
Personal belongings will be admitted duty free, including food, two bottles of liquor and two cartons of cigarettes. Wristwatches, radios, tape recorders, cameras, movie cameras, and similar items may be brought in for personal use but cannot be sold or transferred to others and must be brought out of China.
Gifts for relatives or friends in China, or articles carried on behalf of other, must also be declared.
Visitors can bring in an unlimited amount of foreign currency and Chinese renminbi traveler's checks, and the unspent portion can be taken out.

China - Custom Regulations


Bringing in the following articles is prohibited:

1. Arms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds
2. Radio transmitters-receivers and principal parts
3. Renminbi (Chinese currency) in cash
4. Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and videotapes, etc. which are detrimental to China's politics, economy, culture, and ethics
5. Poisonous drugs, habit-forming drugs, opium, morphine, heroin, etc.
6. Animals, plants and products thereof infected with or carrying germs and insect pests
7. Unsanitary foodstuffs and germ-carrying food-stuffs from infected areas
8. Other articles the import of which is prohibited by state regulations
Exit: On leaving China, tourists must again submit the baggage declaration form for customs inspection (the second copy). Travelers by ship are exempted.
Items purchased in China with RMB converted from foreign currencies may be taken out or mailed out of the country after receipts are presented for customs inspection. In cities where a Customs Office does not exit, this can be arranged through the local Friendship Store.


Taking out the following articles is prohibited:

1. Arms, ammunition, and explosives of all kinds
2. Radio transmitters-receivers and principal parts
3. Renminbi (Chinese currency) in cash and negotiable securities in RMB
4. Unratified foreign currency, foreign notes or drafts
5. Manuscripts, printed matter, films, photographs, gramophone records, cinematographic films, loaded recording tapes and videotapes, etc. which are detrimental to China's national security
6. Rare and precious copies of books about Chinese revolution, history, culture and art that are not for sale
7. Valuable animals, plants, and seeds
8. Precious metals, pearls, and jewels (things declared to the customs are exempted)
9. Other articles the export of which is prohibited by state regulations.




Shopping in China is getting more convenient. For those who are staying in the country for more than just a few days, they may need their choice brands of daily necessities which can be found in most of the large department stores and shopping malls which are springing up in the country. Western retail companies have established outlets in major cities in China which carry both domestic and imported goods.
For those who want to shop for souvenirs to take home, they can look around, apart from large department stores and shopping malls, in some of the open markets such as the Xiushui Street and Panjiayuan Antique Market in Beijing. Unlike large department stores where the prices are fixed, these places are where you can and you must bargain. Your local tour guides or hosts are the best help when you go to these places. They will prove essential in finding the real stuff and bringing the prices down!

China Child



Health Matter


There are lots of matters requiring attention when travelling, health protection is one of them, to have a good time, it is important to keep fit both physically and mentally, here are some suggestions as follows:

Protect yourself from cold: The weather is very changable in spring and autumn. Don't take off too many clothes and take umbrella with you in spring. The temperature of daytime and night is much different in autumn, make sure you have enough clothes, especially when you are overage, your immunity and disease resistant ability become weakened. Don't stay out in the wind for a long time.

Stay in comfortable, quiet room: To sleep soundly for at least 6~8 hours every day,as poor sleep would make you tired, weak and even sick.

Pay attention to food hygiene: To prevent constipation, you'd better take light foods, vegetable and fruit, Your digestion slows down without enough activity, don't eat too much when you are traveling by train, plane or boat, otherwise your stomach will be over-burden. Don't drink water directly fron the fountain, pool and river. Have your meals in the hotel restaurant where you stay as much possible as you can. If you eat out, you'd better choose a good and clean restaurant. Don't make yourself too tired: Travel according to your capability, don't go beyond what you can. Try your best to keep normal routine.


*How to remove tiredness


Stretch shoulder: cross your fingers and rise up with palm upward,stretch you body backword ten times slowly, then quicken.

Stretch chest: bend you arms,put arms in front of chest vertically, lower your head,then extend arms parallelly and backward,raise head and stick out chest at the same time, do it 10 times.

Stretch body: put one hand on waist, raise other hand up, turn upper body aside,stretch hand forcibly upward 5 times,each time last for 1~2 seconds,then other side.

Stretch waist and abdomen: hold head in hands, bend you body, then stretch upper body backward, do you best to keep body straight,do it slowly 5 times,each time last for 3~4 seconds. Stretch legs: lay knee against chest, then stretch both legs at one time and on tiptoe for 10 times,each time last for 1~2 seconds.

Do health care exercise: The exercise is fit for doing on bus, boat, and plane. Ten finger tips press each other. the left hand make a fist, the right hand hold tightly the left hand wrist,push forth forcibly with palm downward. Then turn two hands' role.

How to remove tiredness

Two hands collude and draw each other for 5 seconds.
Two hands hold fist tightly.
Hold you breath for 5 seconds.
Set your teeth.
Open your mouth widely and shout silently.
Grip your lips .
Hold chin with two fist, and chin press downward forcibly.
Raise face with right hand, lean face against right hand forcibly, then left hand's turn.
Hold the upper head with two hands, then head exerts all strength to stretch forth, while hands push it backward.
Lean against chair, push your right part of brain forth with crossing hands,while your body and brain press toward right.then brain's left part turn and do it repeatedly.


Prevention from reaction to the altitude on the plateau:


Visiting the Tibet region, tourists should be careful about plateau reaction. When you are touring and learning local customs, you will realize it is hard for you to breathe because of low pressure and thin air. This is so-called reaction to altitude. In general, the tourists from the low altitude to plateau can emerge this sort of reaction: dizzy, thirsty, nervous, pasting, heart beat fast and nose bleeding and muscle pain. How can you get used to the environment of plateau?

Climbing the mountains or hiking is not allowed to go fast, don't take too much luggage. Do less strenuous exercises. Be careful to keep warm, avoid having a red throat and imposing pressure upon the heart and lung. Come over the nervous feeling. Eat more vegetable and fruit when entering Tibet. The more you are nervous, the more you tend to emerge the plateau reaction. If you travel the plateau for your first time, you get ready to experience first. If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or asthma, it is not suitable for you to travel plateau. You'd better take oxygen bag just in case if you are in a weak condition.

As soon as plateau reaction happens, you have to stop traveling and take oxygen at once. If you have slight reaction, you can recover quickly after breathing oxygen. But when you have serious reaction, please go to the hospital located at the region of low altitude, when the situation is stable, be careful to keep you in good condition and avoid getting worse.