As one of the world’s largest countries (3rd biggest actually, if you exclude Antarctica), the geographical facts of China are going to include some wowzers. The country covers 3.7 million square miles – that’s some area and it’s where practically every topographical feature can be found. Let’s us delve into some of the fascinating geographical facts of China as we learn more about one of the most interesting countries on earth.
1. Tallest Mountain in China
This first of eight geographical facts of China comes as a surprise to many. You might not know Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain at 8,848 meters, is actually partially in China on the border with Nepal. For climbers, it’s a symbol of lifetime achievement, and for non-climbers it’s just a wonder to behold. You don’t have to be a professional to visit the site of many a triumph and tragedy. The 2nd tallest mountain in China is K2, which sits on the Pakistani border, but the tallest mountain solely within the Chinese borders is Nancha Barwa at 7,785 meters high.
2. Longest River in China
The longest river in China has a river basin which houses a third of China’s population and drains a fifth of the total land area of China. It’s the Yangtze River, which flows for 6,418 kilometers from the Qinghai-Tiber Plateau down to the East China Sea. It’s the longest river in Asia and is one of the facts of China’s geography that is massive in global terms, as the Yangtze is the third longest on the planet.
3. Largest Desert in China
Taklamakan is China’s largest desert and covers 270,000 square kilometers. It’s also still expanding as a result of desertification through human activity. The ancient Silk Road crosses its sandy plains, but in recent years, a cross-desert highway has enabled travelers to move across the golden sands freely.
4. Lowest Point in China
The lowest point in China is easily the Ayding Lake. Located in the Turpan Depression, this is the fourth lowest point on earth at a depth of 154 meters below sea level. It’s a dried up muddy and salty lake, but in ancient times when the waters still existed, a layer of white salt gave it the appearance of a shining moon, which led to its nickname ‘The Moon Lake.’
5. Largest Glacier in China
This next of my geographical facts of China takes us back to the Himalayan Mountains. The Purog Kangri glacier covers a spectacular 422 square kilometers and currently holds the title of being the third largest glacier on the planet. 560 kilometers away from Nagqu Town, the black rocks hiding under the base of the ice creates a spectacular fading effect as it steadily grows whiter towards the pinnacle of the glacier. Definitely a fantastic photo opportunity!
6. Coldest Place in China
On the border of Russia sits Mohe, or China’s ‘Arctic Village’ as it’s known. It’s by far the coldest place in China, where temperatures range from a mere 20 degrees Celsius all the way down to -52 degrees Celsius. Some would ask why you would ever visit somewhere to freeze to death? Well, Mohe actually attracts thousands of visitors each year as the green and blue hues of the Aurora Borealis descend on the area.
7. Wettest Place in China
If you want to visit one of the 26 Buddhist temples based near the mountain top of Mount Emei, take an umbrella, because it’s also the wettest area of the country. With a staggering 8169 millimeters of rain on average each year, the volcanic salt plains, known as the Emeishan Traps, have their work cut out for them as they desperately try to control the rapidly rising water levels.
8. Biggest Waterfall in China
The biggest waterfall in China is Huangguoshu Waterfall, which drops from 220 feet high into a pool below. It’s on the Baishui River where visitors flock to each year. The minor waterfalls which combine with the main Huangguoshu fall contribute to its unbeatable beauty. The site has since received an AAAAA scenic award from the China National Tourism Administration.
The geography of China runs the entire gamut from towering mountains, deep deep gorges, ice fields, rivers, lakes, rolling plains, salt flats, bamboo forests et al. It’s no wonder this country is a fascination for travelers. Would these landscapes inspire you?