• Population 1.4 billion
    • The world’s most populous country.
  • Major language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism
  • Life expectancy: 75 years (men), 78 years (women)
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY)


  • Area: 9.6 million sq km (3.7 million sq miles)
    • The People’s Republic of China is the fourth largest country in the world.


  • China has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, and is a leading exporter, as well as a major overseas investor.
  • China’s Communist Party retains a tight grip on political life and much of society.


  • As of 2019, China has started seizing tourist’s phones and installing malware to search the devices (Source: Vice)
    • Visitors might want to leave their electronic devices at home, bring a burner unit that you leave behind before heading back home, or buy a device while you are in the country.
    • An added precaution would be to not access online accounts while in China or with a device that has been in China.
  • China is the fourth most visited country in the world with a reported 59.3 million visitors in 2016.
  • Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions of China.
  • Canadians (and all foreigners) must obtain a permit and be taking part in an organized tour to travel to Tibet.
  • A normal Chinese Tourist Visa can be extended at least once (and sometimes twice) in China, but the Group Chinese Visa (restricted to travel in Tibet) cannot be extended.
  • Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai International Circuit in the spring.


  • China is ranked as the second most dangerous place to drive
  • A guide from a recognized tour company is required to be with the overlanders at all times during your trip.
    • This makes a trips through China quite expensive and cost prohibitive for some.
      • To reduce expenses, one guide can accompany a group of overlanders who arrange to travel together through China.
    • Itinerary must be preplanned, with very little deviation allowed.
    • The Wescotts used the assistance of Lisa Li at NAVO Tour for their arrangements.
      • Important: Start planning months ahead of time! Be prepared for lots of paperwork.
  • Torugart Pass (elevation: 3,752 meters – 12,909 feet) between Kyrgyzstan and China (Google Maps) used by the Wescotts.

Useful Information


  • Travelling with pets to China may require a 30 day quarantine at the border. Rules changed May 1, 2019 (PetTravel.com)

Safety and Security

  • See Tourist section above.
  • December 2018 – In light of recent developments, Canadians travelling to China will want to take extra care that their visas are in order. Chinese authorities are imprisoning Canadians for minor visa irregularities.
  • Generally, security requires only normal safety precautions.
    • Higher levels apply in Tibet and Xinjiang.

China’s World Rankings (2018)

  • Airport connectivity: 2nd
  • Innovation capability: 24th
  • Quality of vocational training: 40th
  • Roads quality: 42nd
  • life expectancy: 43rd
  • Judicial independence: 45th
  • Reliability of police services: 63rd
  • Freedom of the press: 140th (out of 140 surveyed)

Government Advisories


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