Experiencing China is to have one foot in the past and one in the future. Whether it’s exploring the mega-metropolis of Beijing, trekking along the iconic Great Wall or staring skywards at the Shanghai Tower, China boasts engineering marvels separated by thousands of years of history. Complete with gorgeous food, fascinating culture and some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, China is a land of myth, magic and majesty, requiring a lifetime to truly discover.
Explore Beijing’s narrow ‘hutongs’ on this half-day walking tour. Visit a traditional family home and learn about the cultures and daily way of life before learning to make Chinese Knots – an ancient art form that produces vibrant decorations that are thought to bring luck. Finish with a Chinese dumpling making workshop before enjoying the delicious creations.
Experience an ancient tea ceremony and learn about life in tea houses whilst sipping this traditional beverage. Visit a local food market and find out which herbs and ingredients give Sichuan cooking its flavour. Explore the fascinating and perfectly restored Narrow and Wide Alleys (‘Kuanzhai Xiangzi’) before enjoying a local hot pot in a bustling restaurant.
Capital City: Beijing
Population: 1.4 billion
Language: There are hundreds of languages spoken in China. The official language of China is Mandarin, and 92% of the population speaks one of seven major dialects of this standard tongue: Putonghua (Mandarin), Yue (Cantonese), Min, Gan, Wu, Xiang, and Kejia or Hakka. Each of these language groups contains a multitude of other dialects. All of these writing groups use the same writing system of characters, but any one written character may be pronounced completely differently in two different dialects. The remaining 8% of the population speaks hundreds of minority languages, with Mongolian, Uyghur, Tibetan, and Zhuang recognised by the state.
Currency: The renminbi (RMB) is the name of the official currency of China, and the yuan (¥) is the unit of that currency. The two words are often used interchangeably, but prices are always marked in yuan. ATMs are everywhere and paying with cash is preferable. The Chinese exchange rate is regulated, so money can be changed anywhere with minimal hassle. Some big establishments like hotels and malls accept credit cards but may ask to see a passport.
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