Country with the most national borders, world's longest national borders

China's military spending was $US215.7 billion ($A300 billion) in 2016. Given that it shares a border with more territories than any other country, perhaps that should not come as a surprise. 

The most populous nation on the planet has 16 unique land neighbours, with 22,147km of land borders (also a record).

They are: Afghanistan (76km), Bhutan (470km), Hong Kong (30km), India (3 borders totalling 3380km), Kazakhstan (1533km), North Korea (1416km), Kyrgyzstan (858km), Laos (423km), Macau (0.34km), Mongolia (4677km), Myanmar (2185km), Nepal (1236km), Pakistan (523km), Russia (2 borders totalling 3645km), Tajikistan (414km) and Vietnam (1281km). That's a lot of armed guards and passport control stations. 

A couple of its borders are particularly interesting. Trains crossing between Mongolia and China need to have their wheels changed at the town of Erlian. That's because railway tracks in China are narrower than in Mongolia. It takes several hours to perform this monumental operation and passengers must remain on board throughout.

Those who scale Everest can not only brag of climbing the world's highest peak, but can also claim to straddle the world's highest border: this icy peak is a natural frontier between Nepal and China. 

The border between China and North Korea, meanwhile, is one of the world's most heavily guarded, what with territorial disputes, escape attempts from Kim Jong-un's regime, and fears over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions. There have even been reports of North Korean soldiers darting over to China to steal food and money. 

A Chinese tourist photographs the Sino Korean Friendship Bridge at Dandong in Northern China. This bridge is currently the only operational link between China and North Korea. .

The Sino Korean Friendship Bridge at Dandong in Northern China. This bridge is the only operational link between China and North Korea. . Photo: Chris Crerar

Which other countries have a surfeit of neighbours?

Russia

BGGX5E Alaska. Bering Strait. Little Diomede Island, Little Diomede Village. Alaska. Bering Strait. Little Diomede Island, Little Diomede Village.

Little Diomede Island is in the US, opposite Big Diomede which is part of Russia. Photo: Alamy Stock Photo

Advertisement

Number of unique land neighbours: 14

Total length of borders: 20,017km

Neighbours: Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Norway, Poland, Ukraine. 

Given that it's the world's largest nation by area, it will not be a shock to learn that Russia has 14 land neighbours. It also shares a quirky maritime border with the United States. Separated by the Bering Strait, which forms a natural border between Russia and the US, the Diomede Islands are comprised of Big Diomede and Little Diomede.

Russia owns the former and America owns the latter. As you can imagine, the frontier is frosty in more ways than one (it's actually illegal to cross the strait). More interesting, though, is the fact that Little Diomede is almost a day behind its bigger sibling, meaning islanders can look across the water and see the future. 

Brazil

Iguazu Falls.

The majestic Iguazu Falls sits at the borders of Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Photo: Shutterstock

Number of unique land neighbours: 10

Total length of borders: 14,691km

Neighbours: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela. 

Nearly every other South American nation shares a border with Brazil, with the only exceptions being Chile and Ecuador. 

Democratic Republic of the Congo

SHD WORLD Congo Gorillas. Pic by AP Photo/Jerome Delay. Two mountain gorillas seen in the Virunga National Park, near the Uganda border in eastern Congo, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008. The director of Congo's Virunga Park says rangers who fled fighting between rebels and soldiers are returning to protect its endangered mountain gorillas. The park headquarters in eastern Congo had been seized by rebels on Oct. 26. Virunga's gorilla sector is home to 200 of the last remaining gorillas. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Virunga National Park, near the Uganda border in in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is famous for its endangered mountain gorillas. Photo: AP

Number of unique land neighbours: 9

Total length of borders: 10,730km

Neighbours: Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia

Its vast size and location at the very centre of Africa, the continent with more countries than any other, means the Democratic Republic of the Congo has nine land neighbours. It is nearly landlocked, retaining just a 37 kilometre strip of Atlantic coastline. Only five countries possess a smaller coastline, including Jordan (26km), Nauru (30km), Tuvalu (24km), Monaco (4.1km) and Bosnia and Herzegovina (20km). There are 45 landlocked nations around the world. 

Germany

FILE -- The first guard house at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin is shown in this undated  photo. The Berlin Wall was built Aug.13, 1961 by the communist East German government.  Aug. 13  2001 is the 40th anniversary of the construction.  (AP Photo/Files) **BW ONLY**

Checkpoint Charlie, the notorious border between East and West Berlin, which came down in 1989. Photo: AP

Number of unique land neighbours: 9

Total length of borders: 3621km

Neighbours: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland. 

Germany's most famous border was torn down in 1989, but it still has plenty of them. While Africa has more countries than any other, Europe's smaller size (not to the mention its Schengen Agreement) makes it perfect for travellers hoping to tick off lots of countries in the shortest possible time.

France

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 2889km

Neighbours: Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland

Eight countries border mainland France, but if one factors in its overseas territories and departments, such as French Guiana, its number of land borders jumps to 11. 

Austria

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 2562km

Neighbours: Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland

Austria is equally endowed with land neighbours. Its shortest border is a 35km strip that links it with Liechtenstein; its largest the 784km border it shares with Germany. 

Zambia

Rainbow over Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, sunny day in Africa
 sunsep2africa - Africa: Second Honeymoon - Nina Karnikowski 
Credit: Shutterstock

Another spectacular border crossing lies at Victoria Falls, on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Photo: Shutterstock

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 5667km

Neighbours: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe.

Zambia's shortest border is the 150-metre strip of land that touches Botswana near Kazungula. Only one border on Earth is less significant, the 85 metres that divides Morocco from the Spanish exclave of Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera.  

Turkey

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 2648km

Neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Syria.

No border causes more headaches than the 822km that Turkey shares with Syria. DFAT's Smart Traveller website says 'Do Not Travel', its highest warning level, to anywhere within 10km of the border.  

Tanzania

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 3861km

Neighbours: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia

Serbia

Number of unique land neighbours: 8

Total length of borders: 2027km

Neighbours: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania

The last of six countries with eight land neighbours is Serbia. While Serbia and Kosovo share a border, Serbia does not recognise the republic as a sovereign state. Travellers attempting to enter Serbia with Kosovo stamps in their passport have even been turned away. 

The world's longest borders

  1. Canada-USA : 8,893 km
  2. Russia-Kazakhstan : 6,846 km
  3. Argentina-Chile : 5,300 km
  4. Mongolia-China : 4,677 km
  5. India-Bangladesh : 4,053 km
  6. Russia-China : 3,645 km
  7. Russia-Mongolia : 3,543 km
  8. Brazil-Bolivia : 3,400 km
  9. China-India : 3,380 km
  10. USA-Mexico : 3,141 km

SEE ALSO: What it's like to cross the US-Mexico border as an Australian

Most separate segments of land borders between two nations

Belgium – Netherlands: 31
Armenia – Azerbaijan: 6
Belgium – Germany: 6
Kyrgyzstan – Uzbekistan: 6
Cyprus – Akrotiri and Dhekelia (UK): 5

The Telegraph, London

See also: Bucket-list borders: World's 10 coolest border crossings

See also: No pointing, no ripped jeans: The rules for visiting the Korean DMZ

Comments