Beijing’s history can be traced back 3,000 years. It’s about as old as London, six times older than New York, and ten times older than Sydney. The city retains a wealth of historical sites, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.
Beijing is also one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world. Fossils indicate that Peking Man (Homo erectus) lived there from 770,000 to 230,000 years ago. The Peking Man World Heritage Site at Zhoukoudian is the place to see the fossils.
Beijing has a unique collection of architecture, arts, cuisine, and other cultural facets.
Beijing Municipality has a population of almost 22.5 million (almost as many as Australia), in an area of 16,800 square kilometers (or 6,500 square miles). It is China’s second largest city after Shanghai.
Shanghai, is one of the world’s most vibrant cities, as well as China’s largest city and the commercial and financial centre.
Shanghai literally means the city by the sea. Situated on the west shore of the Pacific Ocean, right in the middle of China’s east coastline, Shanghai is an excellent sea and river port, boasting easy access to the vast hinterland.
The city is divided into two parts by the Huangpu River: Puxi (west of the Huangpu River) and Pudong (east of the Huangpu River). Puxi is the older part of the city and hosts the majority of shops, restaurants and museums. Pudong is the modern part, and is recognized for its rather unusual yet extremely impressive high-rises.
Beijing’s long and rich history has left behind an abundant historic and cultural heritage, including seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Tombs, Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian, and the Grand Canal.
Beijing is a city of extremes when it comes to its temperatures. The highest recorded temperature in Beijing is 42 °C (109 °F) while the lowest is -27 °C (-17 °F). This means the best times of the year to go are spring and fall.
Shanghai, with a pleasant northern subtropical maritime monsoon climate, enjoys four distinct seasons, generous sunshine and abundant rainfall.
Shanghai is a popular destination for visitors as the city's multicultural flair endows it with a unique glamour. Here, one finds the perfect blend of cultures, the modern and the traditional, and the western and the oriental. New skyscrapers and old Shikumen together draw the skyline of Shanghai.