Needless to say that China is one of the most popular countries for tourists to visit.
The country boasts a rich culture and history. Unlike western countries, it has another philosophy and lifestyle, let alone cuisine and holiday traditions.
Coming to China once, you’ll understand the spirit of Asian people and will definitely learn something new about this unique world.
In this article, we’re going to discover the most popular tourist attractions in China.
Moreover, at the end of the article, you’ll find three bonus places that aren’t that popular but are still worth visiting.
So, what are the best places to visit in China?
The Great Wall of China
Perhaps, this is the first attraction every tourist wants to visit once in China.
The greatest man-made construction in the world, the Great Wall is open to visitors all year round.
If your destination in China is Beijing, you’re lucky since the Great Wall is best reached from this very city.
Just take a suitable bus, and in 1.5-2.5 hours, you’ll come to one of several best-preserved parts of the Wall.
You can visit Badaling, Mutianyu, Juyongguan, Simatai, and a couple of other popular Wall sections.
It’s also possible to reach the Wall from other cities in Hebei, Tianjin, Liaoning, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces.
Except for the world-famous Great Wall, Beijing offers its citizens and tourists more attractions that won’t leave anyone indifferent.
- Tiananmen Square is one of the greatest public squares not only in China but in the world. Walking along this place, you can understand the spirit of Chinese culture better.
- Summer Palace – this peaceful area located 15 km from central Beijing is a must-see sight for those who want to enjoy the beauty of Chinese nature. The first brick of the Summer Palace was laid in the middle of the 18th century. Over the years, the Palace was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Nowadays, it’s one of the best places to visit in China.
- Ming Tombs are another top tourist destination that attracts visitors to the Chinese capital. If you want to see the largest mausoleum of thirteen emperors of the Ming Dynasty, you definitely want to go to this place.
- Beijing zoo is one more place you might want to visit in Beijing. With about 450 species living in the zoo, you can find out more about Chinese wildlife.
- Forbidden city – well, it was once forbidden to enter without the permission of an emperor living there. However, nowadays, it is open to every person willing to learn more about Chinese culture.
Although not as popular as tier-1 metropolises, this city has a lot of things to impress you with.
- Echoing-Sand Mountain charms its visitors with sounds it makes. Depending on the wind strength, the sand either whispers or roars so one feels that the desert is alive.
- Crescent lake is indeed a natural wonder. Located in the desert and surrounded by green lawn and trees, it contrasts hectares of sand and attracts more and more tourists every year.
- Mogao Caves consist of 735 caves where visitors can dive into Buddhist culture. Also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas, it is one of the most visited places in China among tourists.
- White Horse Pagoda is another Buddhist sight in the city. Built-in memory of a horse, the one belonging to a Buddhist monk, it is a mixture of Chinese and Buddhist cultures.
- Yangguan and Yumenguan Passes are two main parts of the Great wall that protected Chinese territory in the West centuries ago.
Here’s what you definitely should not miss when visiting Shanghai.
- Nanjing Road is the best place to visit in China for shoppers. 5.5 kilometers of the street is stuffed with numerous shopping malls where you can find literally everything. For visitors’ convenience, one side of the road is pedestrian.
- Oriental Pearl Tower. The sight is not only the second-highest TV tower in China with the futuristic exterior, but also an observation deck, a museum, and even a restaurant.
- Disneyland Park. Visiting this place is one of the best things to do in China as well as in other cities of the world. Both children and adults will be excited to spend a day in the world of fairytales.
- Zhujiajiao Water Town gives you a chance to watch the beauty of Chinese metropolis from the water.
- The Bund, or Waitan, is one of the most recognizable areas in Shanghai. The largest waterfront in the city, it offers you an opportunity to have a great walk and enjoy the city views.
The city with rich historical aura will help you discover genuine China.
- Terracotta Army is one of the best places to visit in China where you can find out more about the military history of China. Three exhibition halls and Chariot exhibition room will take you to the ancient times of Chinese wars.
- Mount Huashan. If you feel like hiking, this attraction is definitely what you need. You can choose a walking tour or a cable car to enjoy the views. For those who prefer risk, it’s possible to try one of the dangerous routes with high and narrow paths.
- A former military defensive structure, the Xi’an City Wall is now one of the top tourist destinations in China. The construction surrounds Xi’an city center, so it’s convenient if you want to visit attractions inside the city.
- Muslim Quarter. As you might guess from its name, this attraction has something to do with Muslim culture. You’re right – inhabitants of this street are expats from Arabic countries who started to come to China back in the 3d century. Nowadays, you can walk along this unusual for China area as well as taste delicious Muslim dishes.
- Famen Temple is another culture site that tells its visitors about the Buddhist philosophy. You can find out more about Buddhism in the Famen Temple Pagoda or Famen Temple Museum.
Although you need to cross the border and go through some legal procedures to reach Hong Kong, visiting this part of China is worth it.
- Repulse Bay is a place to have a luxurious rest. Boasting amazing views, the bay offers you a lot of activities. You can swim, have a meal, try new water sports, or just stroll along the beach.
- Avenue of Stars. Hong Kong is also known as the Hollywood of the East, and you can see it for yourself once you come to the Avenue of Stars. There, you’ll find hundreds of handprints of world-famous actors and become a little closer to filmmaking.
- Victoria Harbour (Victoria Bay) is definitely in the list of the best places to visit in China. It will come to the liking of those who enjoy watching seaports and those preferring wonderful night city views.
- Victoria Peak is a must-visit place. You will not only conquer the highest point in Hong Kong but also will watch the whole city that is especially magnificent at night.
- Wong Tai Sin Temple. The cultural and religious value of this attraction is difficult to underestimate. Discover the world of three religions – Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism – in one place.
The Window of the World
It is the largest collection of international attractions in one place. Visiting this site is a great way to spend time and learn more about world culture.
The attraction offers its visitors several theme areas divided according to the parts of the world.
The Window of the World has the following sections – Oceania region, Africa region, Americas region, European region, the Area of Asia, the World square, International street, and Sculpture Garden.
There, you can watch replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids, the Grand Canyon, numerous temples, and much more world sights.
Chinese waterfront is famous for its splendid views and different activities it can offer.
Thus, if you have a chance, take your time to visit one of the Chinese beaches.
For example, two of the most famous beaches are Dameisha and Xiaomeisha.
Both beaches are located in Shenzhen, so citizens and tourists of the city can enjoy their spare time near the water.
The beaches offer different conditions and services.
You can have a really laid-back time relaxing on loungers or live in tents.
Visiting one of these places is a great idea if you want to escape from the noise of metropolis and enjoy the sea view.
Folk Culture Villages
They are among the most interesting China tourist attractions.
With 25 replicas of ethnic Chinese villages, this place is perfect to learn more about Chinese history.
You can get there easily from Shenzhen by bus or metro.
Once you find yourself in this place, you’ll be able to enjoy historical relics and natural landscapes as well as folk houses.
Moreover, visitors are welcomed to watch one of the shows like dress shaw to find out more about Chinese culture.
A-Ma Temple, Macau
Although it is one of the hundreds of temples in the country, it is still one of the best places to visit in China.
The temple was built in honor of Mazu – the sea goddess.
The Chinese believe that she was a special girl with some extrasensory abilities since childhood. She always helped fishermen, so she is still worshiped as their patroness.
Except for visiting the Mazu statue, you can also go for a walk around the temple. It has a large territory with sophisticated architectural complex.
Plus, it’s possible to learn more about Chinese literature – a lot of poems are carved on the stones in A-Ma Temple.
Monte Fort, Macau
One of the most visited places in China, Monte Fort is an example of military construction that used to defend Chinese borders.
This stone fort is a great place to enjoy sunsets and night city lights of Macau.
Moreover, there is a Monte Museum on the territory of the fort.
The museum is sponsored by the government. There, you can visit three floors of exhibition halls that show military as well as peaceful life of Macau.
You can visit Macau from Hong-Kong or another city nearby.
As this place is one of the most well-known attractions in China, you can also find guided tours.
The Li River
If your destination in China is Guangxi Province, you want to visit this river. By visiting, we mean not only coming to its shore and watching how it flows.
Thanks to its popularity, the Li River offers much more interesting activities. For example, you can go on a river cruise and spend a wonderful time enjoying nature.
Moreover, the cruise is guided, so you’ll listen to the most interesting facts and stories about the river and nearby villages.
Three Gorges at the Yangtze River
Another famous river, which you might want to see when visiting China, is the Yangtze River.
Divided into sections by three gorges, its length is almost 200 km.
The most popular activity at the river is a ship cruise that will take you to watch the most scenic views of the region.
Once you decide to go on a cruise, you can choose one of several options.
For example, it is possible to go for a 12-day voyage to discover the nearest attractions. You will also take lots of photos and learn something new about Chinese history.
The Classical Gardens, Suzhou
Chinese places of interest are full of UNESCO heritage items, and the Classical Gardens in Suzhou are a great representative.
Dated back to the 6th century BC, some part of these gardens disappeared over time, but about 50 of them exist nowadays.
The gardens exhibit Chinese culture in terms of art, landscape art, and architecture.
Once you come to visit them, you switch to an authentic Chinese atmosphere that can be hardly felt in modern Chinese metropolises.
The Potala Palace, Tibet
Once you have a look at Potala Palace on the photos, the first thing that comes to your mind is about its grandeur. But it is even more majestic in real life.
Covering 13 hectares of the land in the Tibetan mountains, it is located at 3,700 meters above the sea level and includes 13 stores and about 1000 rooms in it!
Moreover, the palace is a place of pilgrimage for religious people from all over the world.
Leshan Giant Buddha
Do you want to see one of the biggest Buddha statues in China and even in the world?
Then, visiting Leshan city is just what you need. There, you’ll find a 71-meter high Buddha sitting between the two mountains.
The idea to create this statue first came to the mind of a Chinese monk.
However, the construction only started during his lifetime and at some point, the statue was destroyed.
It took years before another person decided to give money to continue building the construction.
Thus, citizens and tourists in China have had the ability to come to Giant Buddha for more than 1300 years already.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
It’s unlikely that you can see something similar to this park somewhere else in the world. If you ask yourself “Where should I travel in China?” and you have a chance to visit this place, just do it.
The park isn’t an ordinary forest one could imagine. It is sand pillars of tremendous size with trees growing on them.
It will usually take you a couple of days to walk the whole area of the park.
Huanglong National Scenic Reserve
One more great top tourist destination included into UNESCO list, this place will charm you with its beauty.
Once you’re there, you can visit two valleys, a forest, and of course, enjoy unbelievably azure or blue color (depends on a season) of ponds.
You can visit the National Scenic Reserve all year round to experience merge with fantastic Chinese nature. It is recommended to spend one day to see the reserve.
You might have heard and even seen the pictures of Rainbow Mountains on the internet before. But seeing them alive is another experience.
Although the mountains aren’t as colorful as you see them on the web, they are still worth visiting.
We’re sure the site that was rated as one of the 10 natural wonders of the world by National Geographic won’t leave anybody indifferent.
If you don’t care about the political argument between China and Tibet, you might want to visit this area.
China occupied Tibetan territory in 1950 and, since that time, the position of Tibet in the world has been somewhat unclear.
Still, this area remains quite unique in terms of culture.
Although highly influenced by Chinese traditions, Tibet is a region with its own lifestyle, customs, and religion.
You want to discover Tibet if you’re seeking something new and absolutely self-sufficient.
Fortress Towers, Guangdong
The towers appeared in Guangdong province in the 19-20th century.
The initial function of these buildings was to serve as defensive constructions.
However, they were beautiful at the same time. Perhaps, fortress towers are one on a few attractions in China that incorporate features of various cultures. Thus, the towers reflect Romanic, Islamic, and Greek influence.
Saint Sophia Cathedral, Harbin
Quite an unusual name for a Chinese tourists attraction, isn’t it? The thing is that this cathedral is a trace of Russian culture in China.
There’s no need to mention that the two world giants have a long border, so there’s no surprise, they influence each other.
Completely different from Chinese architecture, Saint Sophia Cathedral was built in 1907 and hasn’t changed much since that time.
If you feel like learning about two cultures in one place, visiting this cathedral is a must. There, you’ll feel the spirit of majesty, take great photos, and just relax.
Fenghuang, or Phoenix, ancient city is the city on the water.
To be more precise, Fenghuang is located on the banks of the river Tuo Jiang.
You might want to visit this place if you’re keen on learning more about the life of ordinary people in China. The houses are located right on the river, and the locals wash clothes and go fishing there every day.
The architecture won’t leave you indifferent, too.
Except for unusual houses where people live, you’ll see numerous pagodas, bridges, and towers.
And of course, having a chance to go on a boat trip along the Tuo Jiang River is a great experience.
West Lake, Huangzhou
If you want to spend some time in a quiet and peaceful place, West Lake might be just what you need.
The lake stretches 3.2 km in length and 2.8 km in width and is surrounded by magnificent nature. Also, you can visit several pagodas and walk along the territory of the lake enjoying splendid views.
By the way, the lake has an interesting history and is often chosen as a place for romantic dates.
Huangguoshu Waterfall, Guizhou
The largest waterfall not only in China but in Asia, the Huangguoshu is a must-see attraction if you prefer discovering natural wonders.
When visiting this China tourist attraction, you can not only watch it but also touch it. The territory of the waterfall is equipped with ports in a special cave from which you can watch the water.
If you decide to visit this place of interest, take an umbrella or raincoat since humidity there is quite high.
Three Secret Places for you to Visit
For those longing to discover another side of China, not so popular among tourists but still charming, we offer to pay attention to these three places:
Tulou houses, Fujian
A UNESCO heritage site, the Tulou houses are impressive examples of architectural art and national spirit.
Built between the 15th and the 20th centuries, they were intended to serve as fortifications.
These buildings, made of wood and earth, used to be a home for thousands of people.
Nowadays, there are people living in Tulou houses, but not as many as before.
Tulou houses are open to the public, so tourist can visit them.
Moreover, if you want to experience the way people live in Tulou, you have a chance to stay there overnight and even taste dishes of the local cuisine.
Heaven Lake, Jilin
It’s difficult to call the Heaven Lake anything but natural wonder.
A former crater of an active volcano, it started to fill with water more than four centuries ago until it became the deepest lake in China.
If you want to visit this place, you need to head for the mountains in Jilin Province.
The lake is located just under the foot of the Changbai Shan Mountain. By the way, you might want to climb the mountain too.
Not only you’ll be able to enjoy great views but also the uniqueness of the mountain itself. It is called White Mountain as it is covered with snow all year round.
Huaxi village, Jiangsu
Where else will you find a place with thousands of identical houses which, if watching from above, make a strict geometrical picture?
If we speak about China, then, probably, nowhere except for Huaxi village.
A symbol of communism, Huaxi village is considered the richest village in China.
Every family living there is believed to have 150,000$ of property, plus at least one car.
An interesting fact is that people living in Huaxi, work for a local factory seven days a week in order to have all their property. Once a person decides to move to another city, he will lose all of it.
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