Each region has a specific geography and climate, but the country is divided into three levels which will be elaborated below. It should be noted that 40% of China is more than 2,000 meters of mountainous altitudes and plateaus, therefore, they occupy an important place in the geography of the country. With highly developed faunas and floras, China is the third country to have a variety of plants and animal species.
The Qinghai-Tibet is located at an average altitude of 4,000 meters. The first tier begins south of Qinghai, crosses Tibet and reaches the north of Yunnan. This is the highest plateau in the world and it is there that the Himalayas and Mount Everest are. It is difficult to get to the top by road but it’s still possible from Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Nepal, although conditions are deplorable. The train route provides access to the platform while gradually acclimating to weather conditions when any aircraft lands in Lhasa at 3,650 meters. This train takes the path of the world’s highest iron, supplies oxygen to the passengers that may need it when they pass the highest point at 5,072 meters above sea level.
This high plateau is elevated closely to the sun, thus, its living conditions are extremely difficult. Populations in this region have a shorter life span than the rest of the country because they are exposed to the rays of the sun year round. Nevertheless, this does not prevent them from living a simple life and worshiping Buddha.
Deserts in the north and northwest extend over the northern part of China. It includes the basin of Xinjiang with the Taklamakan desert, higher Gobi, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia and the desert steppes of Inner Mongolia. These deserts represent nearly 20% of China’s territory and temperatures may be extreme in some parts.
In these regions, there are living large nomadic populations from different ethnic minorities. They continue to move with the seasons to support livestock. They are mostly the descendants of the caravans from the Middle East whom once used the Silk Road. This ethnic mix between Han Chinese and Hui Muslims (e.g. Uighurs) has produced newly created minorities that have a blend of both cultures, including the Guici culture whose presence is still visible in many regions in China. The high plateau of Inner Mongolia is the third largest province of China. This Northern Province is also the longest in China extending over 2,400 kilometers east to west and 1,700 kilometers from north to south. There is a distinction between Inner Mongolia and Mongolia, a country that became independent with the help of Russia in 1924.
The high plateau of Mongolia is ¼ of the total Chinese steppes and even 11% of the territory’s forests. Thus, it is the most important grazing area of the country. Not surprisingly, the nomadic Mongolian actively participate in ancestral traditions.
Additionally, the Mongols and Han are a few of the many ethnic groups in the north of China, including the Manchu, Hui, and the Koreans. The combination of steppe landscapes and respect for local traditions and cultures make the region a remarkable tourist resource although there is still more to be explored. Overgrazing, climate change and industrial development to the reserves of coal, oil and gas Inner Mongolia do not influence the lifestyles of the population.
The plateaus of south east have rich fauna and flora vegetation. Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi are covered by karst peaks, mountains and rain forests. Bamboo forests occupy an important place in the Chinese territory and some places are virgin forests, which is a paradise for nature lovers. However, any visitors should be aware of the mosquitoes since they can be quite voracious.
This mountainous region is the crossing point of longest rivers and houses the largest valley in the world. There is also one of the largest karst caves in the world there.
In addition, its natural treasures, these plateaus are home to a majority of minority ethnic groups in China. Each has retained its own culture and traditions, while others continue to live in a matriarchal society.
The Sichuan Basin is surrounded on all sides by mountains. This region, also called the Chengdu Plain, is difficult to access because of the mountainous natural dam and presence of the Yangtze River. A proverb states, “The way for the kingdom Shu (Sichuan) is more difficult than to climb to heaven.”
The region is home to the silkworm and is the reason it was named “Shu,” which has a Chinese character that translates as the cocoon of a silkworm. In Sichuan, there is a steep land used solely for the culture of this worm, considering that the inhabitants of the province care for the land and consider it a land of plenty. It is also in the Sichuan Basin, the largest and oldest irrigation system created by man in Dujiangyan.
The coastal region is the most developed region in China. While the country still lives on much of the agriculture and the west is home to the poorest regions, the growth rate is high.
This region is mainly composed of lakes and wetlands and dominated by mountains that the majority of the Chinese population is concentrated. Indeed, only 30% of Chinese territory, 70% of the country’s population live there. Yet, in Tibet, the population density is 2.21 inhabitants per kilometer squared yet the population density in China’s coast is 374 inhabitants per kilometer squared.
Whether you’re exploring the Yellow Mountains, Mount Taishan or even Zhangjiajie, China’s coastal areas have granite peaks that go toward the sky with an incomparable charm.
In China, more than 20 rivers exceed 1,000 kilometers long. Due to the terrain, these rivers are sourced in the highlands of west and empties into the East Sea. The Yellow River, the Blue River and Pearl River are among the longest rivers in the world.
Blue River, also called Yangtze or Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third longest river in the world after the Amazon and the Nile, at 6,300 kilometers long. Its source is in Tibet, crosses eight provinces before emptying in Shanghai in the eastern part of the country.
The Yellow River, or Huanghe, is the second longest river in China, the third in Asia and sixth in the world. It has its source in Qinghai and empties in the Bohai Sea. It is a mighty river often experiencing disastrous floods for the land and people.
Pearl River is approximately 2,200 kilometers long. This river in southern China is located at the junction of two rivers, the Xijiang and Beijiang River. It is this stream that feeds the famous delta of the Pearl River in Guangdong Province.
It is in the basins of the three rivers that the first traces of Chinese civilization were found. These three rivers are a cradle of Chinese civilization, and have been for several decades.
Other rivers in Asia also have a river source located in China, especially on the high plateau of Tibet – Qinghai: the Mekong, Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra and Irrawaddy.
Most Chinese rivers from the west and flowing into the sea in the eastern part of the country, a large canal was created to link the fertile regions of the south to the arid north, is the Grand Canal linking Beijing to Hangzhou. Extending 2,000 kilometers, this channel allows water to connect China with the West as well as north and south.