23 fascinating facts about China

written by Kerry Higgins

updated 4.11.2019

  1. With a civilisation spanning over 5000 years and a land area of 9,600,000 square kilometres, China certainly packs a punch. From the sweeping vistas of Mount Sanqingshan National Park to the sprawling cities of Beijing and Shanghai, it makes for an unforgettable eastern experience. Why not begin your oriental odyssey by checking out these fun facts about China.
  2. Buddhism first came to China along the Silk Road, around 500 AD.
  3. In China over 30 million people live in caves.
  4. One in every five people in the world is Chinese.
  5. China is the most populous nation on Earth with around 1.3 billion people.© kathayut kongmanee/Shutterstock
  6. In Chinese mythology, a monster called “Nian” (“year”) comes out to eat people on New Year’s Eve.
  7. Facebook has been banned in China since 2009.
  8. “Chinese” fortune cookies were actually invented in San Francisco in the early 1900s.
  9. Some of the bricks in the Great Wall of China are held together by rice flour.© Maxim Tupikov/Shutterstock
  10. Ketchup’s first incarnation was in China as a pickled fish sauce called ke-tsiap.
  11. The world’s biggest mall is located in China and is 99% empty.
  12. In 2011 China consumed 42.5 billion packs of instant noodles.
  13. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the most expensive yet. They cost US $40 billion.© r.nagy/Shutterstock
  14. Paper money was invented in China.
  15. Half of the world’s pigs live in China.
  16. China’s railway lines could loop around Earth twice.
  17. Reincarnation is forbidden in China. You must have government permission.

© xujun/Shutterstock

  1. China’s national sport is table tennis.
  2. Each soldier in Qin Shi Huang’s 8000-strong Terracotta Army has distinct facial features.

© sudalim/Shutterstock

Explore more of China with the Rough Guide to China. Book hotels for your trip and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Top image © r.nagy/Shutterstock

Kerry Higgins

written by Kerry Higgins

updated 4.11.2019

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍