In recent years, China has gained a lot of international recognition. While still technically communist and also a third world country, the number of tourists and expats that set foot in the country each year has skyrocketed.
One of the biggest reasons of this sudden surge in popularity is China's emergence in the global economy. With a population of over almost 1.5 billion people and a rapidly growing middle class, it only makes sense that the amount of money flowing through the country is increasing in staggering amounts. GDP has already surpassed that of Japan, which had long cemented its place as the world's second largest economy. Now, it seems it will only be a matter of time before it surpasses the United States as well.
Depending on where you decide to go, China can offer a wide range of wondrous experiences for the typical traveler.
Shanghai, sometimes considered the world's next "Super City", is the financial center of the country. Now officially the world's largest city proper by population, and sporting more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, this thrilling metropolis is certainly something to admire. The city changes by the day, and it is not uncommon to stand in one spot and see three to four skyscrapers going up around you at any one time. The rush hour is hectic, as you would imagine, but the city also sports one of the most modern and efficient public transport systems in the world. The underground subway system reaches the far corners of the city and is being upgraded by the day. Some common favorites are The Bund; a glamorous waterfront with a deep history, Nanjing Road; the busiest shopping street in the world, and The French Concession; a charming and affluent area lined with boutique shops and fine dining restaurants.
Beijing is considered the country's cultural capital. The air quality here can often upset travelers, it more than makes up for it with its many historical wonders and architectural sites. One popular attraction here is the "Bird's Nest"; the epic Olympic stadium from the 2008 Summer Olympics. For a more historical sight, many travelers spend a day at Tiananmen Square and the nearby Forbidden City. These were integral sites of the ancient Ming Dynasty, which served as the home for Emperors and their families. Of course, one can also not leave Beijing without seeing the incredible Great Wall of China, famous for being one of the original Seven Wonders of the World.
One last major city to visit is the southern metropolis of Guangzhou. Guangzhou is often considered the manufacturing capital of the world, and almost all products that have the label "Made in China" originate from here. The city is a mecca of factories and warehouses, and obviously a business center for any companies that deal with manufactured goods. However, with the amount of money that flows through this city, it's no wonder that the city has become incredibly wealthy. The city center is modern and developed, and could rival most major cities throughout Asia. One also mustn't forget the incredible food here. The Cantonese roots that run through this city's population make the cuisine absolutely divine, reminiscent of the best that nearby Hong Kong has to offer.