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Best attractions in China: Top 37

China is an amazing country of the East, which is full of its mysteries and riddles. China’s vast territory stretches across the vast expanses of Asia in its central and eastern parts. The history of this Asian country is thousands of years old. Today, the country holds a rich historical heritage of the past and a promising future. Loyalty to the traditions of ancient civilization and the frenetic pace of life in modern megacities are intertwined here. As for China’s climate, it varies greatly from north to south. If in the north there are endless steppes that are often covered with snow in winter, in the south there is sun, warm sea and plenty of tropical vegetation. Almost all sights of China reflect the unique color of this country. China is now famous for its excellent tourism and recreational opportunities. The distinctive culture and centuries-old traditions, climatic diversity and scenic nature can all satisfy the thirst for knowledge and adventure. Even the most sophisticated travelers will find something to see in China.

What to see in China first

Travelers have an opportunity to see the monuments and natural wonders on their own or with an escort. English-speaking guides in China are not rare, so there are many to choose from. But first decide what sights and in what order you want to visit.

1. The Great Wall of China (North China)

Bends of the Great Wall of China

There is probably no structure in the world that has aroused as much interest among scientists, travelers, builders and ordinary citizens as the Great Wall of China. The process of its construction generated a lot of rumors and beliefs, cost incredible efforts and colossal expenses, taking the lives of hundreds of thousands of people involved in the construction.

The Great Wall of China is an imposing landmark of China, a grand monument of antiquity and is considered to be the longest structure in the world built for defense purposes. It runs through northern China for almost 9,000 kilometers. According to other data, if you take into account all the turns and curves of the wall, its length is about 21 thousand kilometers. The height of the structure is about 7 meters. And the width is 6 meters. From the inside, the wall is protected by a special barrier with a height of 0.9 meters.

How was the Great Wall of China formed? From the 5th century BC to the 2nd century BC, wars of conquest were waged between the Chinese kingdoms, so the future state was formed. But while the state was fragmented, many kingdoms were raided by nomadic Hunnu tribes from the north. Therefore, each of these kingdoms began to erect protective fences of common land, which over time collapsed and could not withstand the onslaught of the enemies. Over time, this unsuccessful experience forced the use of other materials for fortification - not rammed earth, but stone blocks fixed with a mixture of rice glue and burnt lime.

About a fifth of the country’s population took part in the construction of the great edifice. The construction process was carried out in extremely hard labor conditions, so the number of deaths numbered in hundreds of thousands of people.

Today the Great Wall of China has become a symbol of national pride and the government spends enormous resources to preserve this architectural monument, hoping to preserve the wall for posterity.

2. Potala Palace (Lhasa, Tibet)

Potala Palace

The royal palace and Buddhist temple complex of Lhasa, located in Tibet at an altitude of 3.8 km above sea level, is an important attraction in China among the shrines. The palace served as the main residence of the Dalai Lama. No palace in the world is located as high up in the mountains as the Potala. The very name of the complex comes from the name of the sacred Indian mountain, which, according to legends, is home to the deity Guan Yin - the patroness of the South Sea and its fishermen.

Every year the Potala Palace is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims. The way to the mountain is long, and in the middle of the way there is a large-scale terrace of 1600 square meters. Plt according to historical records, solemn sacred ceremonies have been held since 1653.

  • The palace building consists of two parts - the eastern part of Pochzhangabo, which serves as the residence of the Dalai Lamas, and the central part of Pochzhangambo, which houses the Buddhist halls and burial pagodas.
  • The Pocjanmabo (Red Palace) is considered the main structure of the temple and includes eight tombs, the most luxurious of which is the tomb of the Dalai Lama the Fifth, covered with a 3.7-ton gold sheet and inlaid with precious stones. This palace was the site of offering prayers in the name of the Buddha and burial ceremonies.
  • The Pochzhangabo (White Palace) includes the Great Oriental Pavilion and the Sun Palace, as well as the living quarters of the Dalai Lama’s preceptors and the government offices. The Great Eastern Pavilion was regularly used for religious and political events, including enthronement ceremonies.

3. Terracotta Army (Xi’an, Shaanxi Province)

Terracotta Army Warriors

Not far from the city of Xi’an, in Shaanxi Province, there is a colossal landmark in China - a military garrison of many thousands, but not military, but clay statues 1.9 to 1.95 meters tall. This wonder of the world is known as the Terracotta Army, and its history goes back more than 2 thousand years. In total, the underground tombs include at least 8,099 statues of Chinese warriors and their horses made of terracotta clay. The unusual clay army was buried with the first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi, who unified the kingdoms of China into a single state.

How was the underground find discovered? One day a farmer Yan Ji Wang, digging a well on his property, discovered the figure of an ancient warrior underground, and subsequent excavations showed that the statue was far more than one. Later archeologists discovered several thousand such warriors - the construction of the Terracotta Army began as early as 247 B.C., and some 700 thousand craftsmen took part in it. Yan Ji in his time found the main battle group of 6000 statues, in 1980, was excavated a second column of 2000 statues, in 1994 - the general staff of senior military leaders. Excavations continue to this day.

But why did the Chinese need to spend so much time and effort to create such a large-scale historical monument? The fact that the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered at one time to bury the army of 4 thousand young soldiers, but his advisers were able to convince him not to go for this barbaric act. Then it was decided to build clay figures of warriors instead of people.

The Terracotta Army is amazing in its scope and is one of the most famous historical monuments in the world. If you are lucky enough to travel in Asia, you will find something to see in China - be sure to check out the Terracotta Army Museum.

4. Giant Buddha in Leshan, Sichuan province

The Giant Buddha Stone Statue

In China’s Sichuan Province, near Leshan City, a huge 71-meter-high Buddha sculpture, one of the world’s oldest sculptures, is carved right into the rock. The sight of China in the form of a giant Buddha is located at the confluence of three rivers, whose oncoming streams form dangerous whirlpools. According to legend, a lot of local residents and fishermen were killed in these streams, so the monk Hai Tung decided to tame the elements by carving an image of the deity in the rock. He began work in 713, but over the years he only managed to carve a giant statue of Buddha down to his knees, and later his followers continued the work, and about a century later the statue was finished.

When carving the sculpture, workers threw pieces of rock directly into the river, which allowed the turbulent water currents to be partially covered. That’s how it turned out that the Buddha tamed the water element.

Until the middle of the 17th century the stone body of Buddha was hidden 13-storey temple Dasyange, after which the temple burned down and the statue of Buddha opened to public view. A huge Buddha sits facing the sacred Emeishan Mountain, his head 15 meters high ending where the rock itself ends. The Buddha is wearing a stone tunic, through the folds of which rainwater flows out, protecting the rock from erosion. Images of 90 bodhisattvas are carved into the surrounding walls, and a 38-meter pagoda and temple with a park are built into the headboard.

Despite the fact that a number of protective features had been considered when the statue was carved to prevent erosion, the rock still began to decompose. In 1960, the Chinese government organized the reconstruction of the statue, inside which were now skillfully laid drainage structures. Since then, the statue of the giant Buddha has been preserved in excellent condition and is open to many visitors.

Be sure to check out this beautiful video about China!

5. Hong Kong (south coast of China)

Aqualuna - a junk with scarlet sails in Victoria Harbor

Hong Kong is a city on China’s south coast with more than 260 islands and a special social, economic and political status. Today it is also a major financial and business center, which plays a leading role on the world stage. Hong Kong is of immense value from a tourism point of view, because here the Western way of life is closely intertwined with the oldest traditions of the people, and ultra-modern skyscrapers, propping their roofs in the clouds, contrast with the simple village houses.

What to see in China if you find yourself in such a modern and developed city as Hong Kong? There are so many sights here that even a multi-day trip is not enough to explore them.

  • Lantau Island, Hong Kong’s largest island, has both quiet beaches and lively entertainment venues;
  • Yeng Hau Temple, an ancient temple in the traditional Chinese style, especially revered by fishermen;
  • Pat Sin Leng Mountain Country Park, a system of scenic natural landscapes of the mountains mentioned above;
  • Ocean Park, a world-class entertainment facility focused on exploring underwater marine life;
  • Hopewell Center, one of Asia’s tallest skyscrapers with a complex system of escalators, a circular rooftop pool and a revolving panoramic restaurant;
  • Qingma Bridge - a suspension bridge, one of the top 10 longest bridges in the world;
  • Citywalk, a large shopping mall with numerous clothing, accessories, jewelry, and grocery stores;
  • Ngong Ping 360 - Asia’s largest aerial tramway with a length of 5.7 kilometers.

6. Shaolin (Henan Province)

Shaolin Monastery Complex

Shaolin Monastery is the oldest Buddhist shrine and world-famous landmark in China, located in Henan Province, in an unusually beautiful setting of forests and mountains. The place has kept its sacred spirit for a long time, since in the 5th century A.D. a Taoist temple was founded there, which was occupied by the supporters of Buddhism during the period of religious oppression. By this time Buddhism had already gained a firm foothold in the north of China and this contributed to the founding of new monasteries.

The founder of the Shaolin monastery is considered to be the Indian preacher Bato. And the man through whom the martial arts arose and developed in Shaolin was another Indian missionary - Bodhidharma. Arriving in Shaolin in 527, Bodhidharma instilled in the monks of the monastery a martial spirit. He developed a system of special exercises designed to strengthen one’s physical form while remaining in a state of meditation for long periods of time. This set of exercises later laid the foundation for all of China’s martial arts.

The place where the monastery was founded was not accidentally chosen - on Mount Sunshan, shaped like a lotus. Over the centuries Shaolin has repeatedly changed its appearance, but in the 20th century, with the opening of the tourist center here, it underwent a total restoration.

For many centuries, Shaolin has been a place of pilgrimage for followers of various martial arts.

The temple complex includes several halls.

At the back of the monastery, the Snow Hall, is marked by the place where, according to legend, the monk Huihe, in order to embrace Buddhism, chopped off his palm.

The Pilu Hall, specifically in the floor of the room, is equipped with many pits for foot training.

In the Chuipu Hall there are terracotta sandstone sculptures demonstrating various Shaolin boxing techniques.

If you go up the slope above the monastery, you can visit the cave where, according to legend, Bodhidharma spent 9 consecutive years in meditation.

Official website:

7. Monkey Island Reserve (Sanya)

A monkey paradise in the Monkey Island Reserve

China is famous for its unusual sights and the first thing to visit in China among such places is the Monkey Island Reserve near Sanya. After all, this is the only reserve in which monkeys live in their natural environment, but freely and without fear of interacting with visitors.

Monkey Island” is located on an area of about one thousand hectares and is a home to 2,000 monkeys. You can get here by boat or by cable car, which itself is a landmark of China. Its length is more than 2 kilometers, which can be overcome in just 6 minutes. On the way you will discover wonderful views of the sea and mountains.

Nimble and smart inhabitants of the reserve are used to people - they freely approach visitors and willingly interact with them, so when visiting the territory of the reserve is worth following a few simple rules. For example, don’t wear shiny and glittering jewelry, because curious animals can easily steal these valuable objects. Your camera or even a bottle of water may also attract the attention of the monkeys. You are not allowed to feed the monkeys yourself, you can only buy food and give it to the guide of the reserve to feed them in front of you. Another favorite entertainment at the reserve is the show of trained monkeys. They show their wits and dexterity, delighting the audience with amusing tricks.

Returning from the island by boat, you can dine at a cozy restaurant located right on the water, try a variety of seafood dishes.

8. The Forbidden City (Beijing)

The Imperial Palace in Beijing

The Imperial Palace in Beijing, built in 1420, has been the residence of emperors for many centuries - a total of 24 emperors and their families have lived here at different times. The entire royal retinue was housed behind these walls, and for a long time outsiders were forbidden to enter here, hence the second name of the palace - Forbidden City.

The construction of the Forbidden City began in 1406 and lasted 14 years, involving about a million builders and more than a hundred thousand other professionals - talented artists, stone and wood carvers and many others. The splendid Chinese site is a World Heritage Site, and so many craftsmen have worked so skillfully on it.

Originally the full name of the Imperial Palace was Zijingsheng, which translated as the Forbidden Purple City, but later the new name almost superseded the former. It became known as Gugong, which means Palace of the former rulers. Often the building is referred to as the Winter Imperial Palace because the emperors visited it more often in winter, and for summer there were other suburban residences provided.

The Forbidden City, located in the center of Beijing, has a rectangular shape with watchtowers in the corners. The entire Imperial Palace complex comprises 9,999 structures covering an area of 72 hectares, a creation of enormous proportions. In the northern part of this area is the Imperial Garden of indescribable beauty, with stone pools, gazebos, pavilions, and of course an abundance of plants. In short, you won’t have any doubts about what to see in China - be sure to include the Imperial Palace Complex in your travel program.

Official website:

9. Temple of the Refuge of the Soul (Feilai Mountain)

Stone sculptures of the Buddha at the Soul Sanctuary Temple

On the western slope of Mount Feilai in China sits the oldest Zen temple in all of southeastern China, the Shrine of the Refuge of the Soul, founded by an Indian monk, Hui Li, as far back as 326. During the 16 centuries of its existence, this Chinese landmark has undergone a lot of destruction and rebuilding - history has preserved data on its twelve major reconstructions. The present-day structures, as they appear today, were built in the 17th century during the Qing dynasty. According to one legend about the temple, a monk named Hui Li was so impressed by the beauty of the site that he considered it a “sanctuary for the saints. Hence the name of the sanctuary, the Sanctuary of the Soul.

Today the monastery includes several rooms - from north to south there are three main pavilions.

  • Hall of Heavenly Masters holds a statue of Buddha Maitreya and a statue of Skanda Buddha carved from the trunk of a camphor tree, which is over 700 years old. The ceiling of the hall is lavishly decorated with elaborate ornaments.
  • Mahavira Hall is decorated in the traditional Chinese style with three levels of cornices, in the center of which there is a golden statue of Shakyamuni Buddha sitting on a lotus throne.
  • The Healing Buddha Hall, reconstructed relatively recently, has a golden statue of Buddha on its altar, with statues of the Sun and the Moon on either side.

Around the central pavilions are other important rooms:

  • Huayan Hall with statues of Buddhas made of precious Burmese wood;
  • the Hall of the Five Hundred Arhats with bronze statues of various Buddhist saints;
  • Sutra Library - includes ancient collections of sayings, including an ancient sutra on palm leaves and a handwritten Diamond Sutra by calligrapher Dong Qichang.

Official website:

10. The Edge of the World Nature Park (Hainan Island)

Track at the "Edge of the World" Park in Hainan Island

One of the most outstanding sights in China, located on Hainan Island, is the “Edge of Light” Nature Park. It is the easternmost tip of the Shandong Peninsula, only 174 kilometers from South Korea by sea.

It is a beautiful place right on the seashore at an altitude of 200 meters with an area of only 2.5 square kilometers. There is a special beauty in the local landscape - high rocks of intricate forms framing the blue sea, wild waves crashing on the steep shores, green trees everywhere.

It is ideal for leisurely walks: the wide central avenue leads directly to the snow-white beach with a clear sea. The wide strip of sandy beach, framing the park, is complemented by huge rocks, fanciful shapes which were given by nature itself, by wind, water and sun. Many boulders even have hieroglyphs with various philosophical sayings carved on them. Along the western beach of the park is a strip of palm trees, while the eastern beach is a veritable tropical park with rich vegetation and ponds.

In addition, the park preserves the centuries-old history - there were military disputes during the Tang, Sui, Qing, and Ming dynasties, the defense during the Sino-Japanese War. Therefore, it has its own attractions - the Qingshuang Temple, the Mountain of Light, the old bridge, the stone of the Qin Dynasty, shark shooting range, stone city. For vacationers is also available to rent electric cars and motor boats.

Official website:

Sightseeing in China: what else to visit while in China

In fact, all excursions in China can bring a lot of positive emotions and new impressions. If the most popular tourist sites are not for you, we offer a few places that are not as well-known, but no less beautiful and unusual. Attractions are located in different parts of the country, so take into account the time and cost of transportation.

11. Xihu Lake (Hengzhou)

Arched stone bridge on Xihu Lake in Hengzhou

There is one place in China that is rightly considered one of the most beautiful places in the country. It is Xihu Lake, which means Western Lake. The fact is that the lake, located in the city of Hengzhou, was once located outside the city, namely in the west. Since then, the city has grown significantly, and Xihu entered its borders, but the name remained the same.

Extraordinarily scenic sight of China is surrounded by contrasting landscapes: on the one hand are the city blocks, on the other - the majestic mountains, for the carved border of which the sun sets every evening. Lake Xihu brings to its visitors an extraordinary joy of contemplation of the surrounding scenery: wide and quiet smooth surface of the lake, gentle willows, branches descending to the water, numerous pavilions, pagodas, bridges, lotuses and irises, ships and islands - all this merges into a rare beauty of harmonious panorama. No wonder that not only the Chinese, but also many visitors to China are eager to visit this lake.

The average depth of Xihu is 2.3 meters, and the area is about 6.5 square kilometers. The lake owes its arrangement to two poet-governors who, impressed by the beauty of this place, praised it in their poems. In addition, they did much to improve the coastal area Sihu. Two dams, Sudi and Baidi, are named after them.

  • Sudi Dam, named after the poet Su Dongpo, is 2.6 kilometers long with six arched bridges. The governor also organized a large-scale cleanup of the lake, and the clay extracted from the bottom of the lake was used to build the dam.
  • The Baidi Dam, built by order of Governor Bai Jiuyi, offers dizzying scenery. In addition, the dam, designed to conserve the lake’s waters for irrigation of fields, connects the lake shore with the largest island of the lake, Gushan.

12. The Lotus Mountains of Lianhuashan (20 km from Guangzhou)

View of the Lotus Mountains of Lianhuashan

Twenty kilometers from Guangzhou is an unusual and very popular place, the Lianhuashan Mountains. This is a mountain system, combining about 50 hills on the banks of the Shizi River. The average height of these hills is about 100 meters, so it is not a mountain system in the usual sense, but rather a system of hills.

In ancient times, these hills were called the Stone Lion’s Head, and the main hill among them is the Lotus, or Lian Hua. It was named so because the huge stone on top resembled a lotus flower. Most likely, this shape of the stone was achieved in ancient times, when the Chinese were digging here, extracting building material. Therefore the same “lotus” may have been formed as a result of combination of natural processes and anthropogenic activity.

In addition, the unusual landscape is decorated with the ancient tower Lian Hua, once served as a lighthouse for passing ships.

Today, the Lotus Mountains of Lianhuashan are under state protection as a historical heritage site and a popular attraction in China. On the hills is the ancient Lotus Pagoda, erected in 1612 during the reign of Emperor Wanli. And also the ruins of the Lotus City, built in 1664 under Emperor Kangxi. A huge 41-meter statue of Buddha, the tallest in the world today, was also erected here in 1994. The statue is cast in bronze, covered with gold, and weighs 120 tons.

13. Jiuzhaigou Valley (Sichuan Province)

The beauty of the pristine nature of Jiuzhaigou Valley

China’s nature is unusually rich and there is always something for many visitors to see in China. Now we are going to talk about one of those places. In the southwest of the country, not far from the city of Chengdu, there is an unusually beautiful Jiuzhaigou Valley. It is impossible not to admire the richness and diversity of local nature: crystal clear lakes with different shades of water are interspersed with rapid and rushing waterfalls, and untouched wild forests are home to rare species of animals and birds.

The valley is located in a hard-to-reach area of about 250 square kilometers. Tourist route to the valley was opened not so long ago, in 1972. A little later the reserve acquired the status of a national park, and already in 1992 he was included in the list of UNESCO.

In Chinese, the name Jiuzhaigou Valley sounds like the valley of nine settlements. This is true - historical documents confirm the existence in the valley of nine villages that were once inhabited by Tibetans. Today, people live in seven of these settlements.

The territory of the valley is richly covered by dense forests and bamboo groves, here grow rare species of plants. Many of the animals that inhabit the reserve are listed in the Red Book as rare and endangered species. These include the panda, golden monkey, and many species of songbirds.

The territory of the park includes three large valleys located in the lowlands, and in each of them there are numerous lakes of extraordinary beauty. In total there are 108 such lakes in the valley. Connected by rivers and swift waterfalls.

Due to the fact that this beautiful sight of China is located in a remote area, a trip here will take at least 10 hours by car. But these time costs are certainly worth the vivid impressions that a trip to the Jiuzhaigou Valley will leave.

Official website:

14. Tombs of Ming and Qing Dynasty Emperors (Beijing)

Square pavilion with a bisi turtle at the entrance to the burial complex of 13 Ming emperors ofol

The splendor of the imperial palaces, the living memory of the creators of the revolution, the richest cultural heritage collected piece by piece over the millennia - all this is represented by the modern capital of China. The sights of Beijing are so numerous that this city offers enough attractions for an entire country. One of the national treasures is about 50 kilometers north of the capital, a complex of tombs where 13 of the 16 emperors of the glorious Ming Dynasty, as well as empresses, princes and concubines are buried. The valley where the tombs are located, is the largest funerary complex in the country - its area covers about 40 square kilometers. The burial place itself was chosen not accidentally, but according to the rules of feng shui - from the east, north and west it is surrounded by mountains, and to the south there were flat lands, where Beijing is now built.

15. Summer Imperial Palace (Beijing)

The Summer Imperial Palace with historic architecture, a lake and a boat on the outskirts of Beijing

On the outskirts of Beijing is a beautiful park complex, a true work of art by ancient landscape artists. According to the original design of the Chinese rulers, the park was a place of contemplation, the meaning of which was to prolong life. The palace complex itself was built in the distant 12th century on the Yuiquan Hill. There are about 3,000 architectural objects on the grounds, including numerous pavilions, bridges, temples and pavilions. The summer residence was intended solely for the recreation of imperial families; it was not used for gathering state councils or receiving foreign ambassadors - the largest palace complex in the world called the Forbidden City, or Gugong, which means “the Palace of Former Rulers”, was intended for such purposes.

Official website:

16. Temple of Heaven (Beijing)

Hall of prayers for a good harvest on the three-tiered round white stone platform at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing

The ancient temple complex called the Temple of Heaven has the status of the most important religious landmark in Beijing and a valuable cultural site. It was here that the emperor of China prayed, asking the heavens for the harvest and well-being of the whole country. Because it was originally a Temple of Heaven and Earth, the complex has retained its symbolic layout - for example, its northern part is in the form of a semicircle symbolizing heaven, and its southern part is in the form of a square symbolizing the Earth. The Harvest Temple, the central and most important structure in the complex, is in the form of a three-tiered circular building on a marble base. It is the inner Hall of Prayer that for two centuries was visited by emperors who offered gifts to Heaven and prayed for the harvest. And in another structure of the complex, the Heavenly Sanctuary, the ruler prepared for the ceremony and fasted for three days.

17. Weitang Quay (Shanghai)

Lounging on the Weitang Embankment or Bund along the Huangpu coast in Shanghai Daniel Case

One of the most atmospheric places in Shanghai is the Weitang Embankment, a mile-and-a-half-long stretch of Sun Yat-sen Street near the Old City that transports visitors to the heart of Europe right in the middle of the Chinese metropolis. This distinctive corner attracts visitors with its extraordinary urban panorama, which is especially splendid at night when it is illuminated and reflected in the waters of the Huangpu River. A striking contrast to the usual panoramas are historic European buildings, which were built in the beginning of the last century, at a time when the city was a gateway for Europe. The most recognizable of these buildings are the Customs building, which is memorable because of the large clock, and the building of the European Bank. Along the waterfront you can take a boat ride, and the best views of the city can be admired from Jin Mao’s platform.

18. Pudong New District (Shanghai)

Skyscrapers in the Lujiazui International Financial Center of Shanghai's new Pudong District

Shanghai is a bustling metropolis of millions of people, and there are many different neighborhoods, but only some of them attract special attention. For example, the Pudong district, located on the eastern bank of the Huangpu River, is a popular tourist destination because of the location of most of the city’s attractions in this area. Until very recently this land was an agricultural area where vegetables and fruits were grown. Today it is the most modern and dynamically growing area with a mass of international companies working in advanced economic sectors. In some two or three decades, a forest of skyscrapers grew here, foreign firms, companies, offices appeared. The most notable buildings in the district are the East Pearl TV Tower, the Science Museum, and the Jinmao Tower.

19. Victoria Cove (Hong Kong)

Tourist wooden sailing ship at Victoria Cove in Hong Kong
View of Victoria Cove at night from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong

The real pride and symbol of Hong Kong has become Victoria Cove, the beauty of which is not the natural landscape, but the ultra-modern urban panoramas. This Asian gem is nestled between the two islands of Hong Kong and Kowloon. And its waterfront is one of the most beautiful spots where the view of magnificent modern architecture from the opposite side of the rounded shoreline grabs the eye. This waterfront street has become a favorite stroll destination for citizens and visitors, so there is a concentration of cafes, restaurants, stores, souvenir shops, as well as boutiques, art galleries, and a major entertainment center. One of the highlights of the bay is the laser show, when thousands of colored lights light up over the harbor and fireworks explode into the sky.

Official website:

20. Lijiang Old Town (Yunnan Province)

The wooden facades of traditional Chinese houses in Lijiang Old Town
Nightscape in Lijiang Old Town in the South Tibetan Plateau in Yunnan Province

At the foot of the Himalayan Mountains in Yunnan province is an ancient city which was an important cultural and trading center on the Tea and Silk Roads many centuries ago. It is the Old Town in Lijiang, now a World Heritage site. The city has authentic buildings with their tiled roofs, although it is worth remembering that most of these buildings are copies of old structures that have been demolished. The whole town forms a single composition with the waters of the river Yuyuanhe, which splits into three arms, as if piercing all the streets, and everywhere graceful bridges are decorated, thrown over the numerous streams. Dozens of narrow cobblestone streets intricately intertwine with each other, and the houses in the national style are originally inscribed in the surrounding mountain landscape.

21. Zhouzhuang (Jiangsu Province)

Chinese town of Zhouzhuang on the Jinghan Channel in Jiangsu Province
Boats on the "street" among the ancient houses of Zhouzhuang town in Jiangsu Province

One of China’s most beautiful cities on the water is called the Venice of the East. It is Zhouzhuang, an ancient settlement on the Jinghan Canal connecting the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai. It is a protected area, prized for its preserved authentic antiquity rather than its imitation. The city is surrounded by a large number of rivers and lakes, which fill their waters on all sides with numerous canals. The main attraction are the 14 ancient bridges that were built during the Qing and Ming dynasties. Along the canals there are white houses with crooked tiled roofs, and the most eye-catching are the old mansions of the rich - some of them are built so that one can get to their front door only by boat through their own mini-canal.

22. City Wall (Xi’an)

The Ming-era city wall towers in Xian
A pleasant walk on the City Wall in Xi'an Maros M r a z (Maros)

Among the most recognizable pieces of world architecture is the Great Wall of China, which stretches from the west to the east of the country. The best preserved system of ancient fortifications is in the city of Xian, where it encircles the old city and its northern part stretches right along the railroad. The wall is a great contrast between the appearance of the city inside and outside the wall. On one side is the old city, preserving the outlines of the old geometric layout, on the other side are modern skyscrapers, bright modern facades and busy highways. It is worth noting that not only the Chinese Wall is well preserved in Xi’an, but also another historical treasure - the terracotta army of 8,000 life-size clay statues of soldiers and horses.

23. Shilin National Park (Southwest China)

Unique landscape of the Stone Forest National Park in China

A geological phenomenon in the form of a stone forest is a recognizable natural find for which Shilin National Park is famous. The reserve itself is 350 square kilometers of scenic areas, dominated by rock formations. In addition to the stone forests, there are plenty of other beautiful places - mirror-like lakes, mysterious caves and grottoes, magnificent meadows and pristine forests. From the point of view of geologists, the Stone Forest is a classic example of karst formations. It is believed that the bizarre stony formations here began to form hundreds of millions of years ago, when in the process of frequent earthquakes the earth’s stratum rose and exposed the rocks, and water erosion completed the creative natural process, giving the rocks amazing outlines.

24. Hanging Monastery of Xuankun-si (Shanxi Province)

The Xuankun-si (Hanging Monastery) temple complex on a cliff near the sacred Hengshan Mountain in China
Statues inside Xuankun-si Monastery in Shanxi Province in China

The talent of ancient Chinese craftsmen has always impressed with inimitable creations, and even today, after many centuries, continue to amaze some architectural creations - a striking example is the suspended monastery of Xuankun-si, which is literally at the very edge of a rocky cliff. The fact that it was built back in the 5th century makes it all the more impressive. The monastery complex consists of three sections, arranged in sequence, each one a level higher than the previous one. And only the lower one has a solid brick foundation, the rest rest rest on wooden piles - it’s amazing how such shaky supports have managed to keep the construction for so many centuries. The role of the back wall in all the constructions of the monastery is performed by the rock itself, and to accommodate some of the statues in the stone hardness special depressions were carved.

25. Suzhou Gardens (Jiangsu Province)

The beautiful circular gate at the "Garden of the Humble Official" in Suzhou
Bridge in a 16th century Chinese Suzhou Garden in Jiangsu Province
Suzhou Gardens, an example of traditional Chinese garden art

Holidays in Suzhou evokes a double impression for tourists - on the one hand, the city gives the opportunity to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of antiquity, as if to go back a few centuries. But there is another Suzhou - a modern, bustling, economically developed center with an active urban rhythm of life. Gardens and parks are the main pride of the city, so when buying a last minute tour to Suzhou, it is worth planning a visit to the magnificent gardens - several dozen classical courtyards of imperial officials, with a complex of carved arches, ancient bridges, ponds and plenty of fragrant greenery. For many centuries, these amazing landscape creations have been a decoration of the city and a source of inspiration for many people of art. Even today, the gardens are a great place for walks and photo shoots, their beauty is unique at any time of the year.

26. Giant Panda Research Nursery (Chengdu)

Giant pandas at the Research Nursery 10 km northeast of downtown Chengdu

Giant pandas are not just a national treasure of the Celestial Empire, they are the darlings of the general public from all over the world. Cute and a bit clumsy bamboo bears can be seen a dozen kilometers away from Chengdu in a special nursery. Here pandas are provided with conditions close to natural, and after the pandas grow up and become independent, they are invariably released into the wild. You can watch the funny bears all day long, but they are especially active in the morning hours. The nursery takes care not only of the giant pandas, but also of some species of animals and birds in need of protection. These include the lesser panda, white stork, black-necked crane and dozens of other endangered species.

27. Lunmen Cave Temples (Henan Province)

A general view of the caves from the Yhe River in Henan Province, China
Statues of Buddhist deities in the Lunmen Cave Temples in Henan Province

On the slopes of the Longshan and Xiangshan Mountains, right in the cave cavities, is the third largest complex of Longmen cave temples. The first grottoes here were arranged in the 5th century during the Northern Wei Dynasty, but the complex reached its peak in the Tang Dynasty, to which most of the carved statues belong. The figures of Buddha and various Bodhisattvas are carved directly into the solid rock - it’s hard to imagine what titanic labor it took to create thousands of statues and images in stone. All in all there are about 2 thousand grottos with 43 Buddhist temples, hundreds of thousands of religious images and thousands of different inscriptions in the complex.

28. Leaping Tiger Gorge (Yunnan Province)

View from the upper trail to Jumping Tiger Gorge and the mountains in southwestern China

In the southwest of the country, the waters of the Yangtze River flow through a beautiful canyon known as Leaping Tiger Gorge. In this 15-kilometer stretch, where the river seems to divide with its waters the impressive mountain ranges of about 5.5 km high, the gorge reaches its dizzying depth of about 3900 meters, the world’s deepest canyon. There is a legend that a tiger escaping from hunters jumped over the turbulent mountain river at its narrowest point here - this story was the basis for the name of the gorge. You can see the most beautiful places and admire the dizzying mountain panorama by choosing one of the suggested trails - for example, there is a trail for multi-day hikes and an option for a light car ride along the low bank.

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29. Honghe-Hani Rice Terraces (Yunnan Province)

Honghe-Hani Rice Terraces on the slopes of the Ailao Mountains in YuanYang County

As one moves southward in China, the sights take on a touch of natural exoticism. For example, in the south of Yunnan province, there is a man-made wonder that blends into the natural landscape - these are rice terraces on a vast area of 16,600 hectares. The unique creation appeared as a result of titanic efforts of the local population during 1300 years, developing the unique masterpiece piece by piece. In general, the culture of rice cultivation in China has been practiced for 7 thousand years. In those times, farmers discovered that rice grains yield ten times as much on flooded soils as on dry ones, and the inhabitants of mountainous areas had to adapt to their surroundings - they began to transform the mountainous landscape by creating stepped fields and an intricate system of channels, which provided a supply of spring water to these territories.

30. Yungang Grottoes (Shanxi Province)

Buddhist statues in the niche of Yungan Cave Grotto, 16 km from Datong City, Shanxi Province Marcin Białek
_Painted carvings and figures in one of the Yungan Caves G41rn8

China’s top attractions include three monuments that are famous for their stone sculptures - the Lunmen, Dunhuang and Yungan cave complexes. The Yungan Grottoes stand out for their size, ancient history and, of course, their well-preserved stone sculptures. This complex has 2.500 man-made grottoes with 50,000 statues, but about fifty caves have survived in good condition. Most of these grottoes have an identical layout - rectangular rooms were carved in the sandstone except for the central part. The remnant of the column-shaped stone was later dressed up by carving a statue of Buddha. The stone carvings were painted, and to this day many elements still have fragments of paint.

31. Wudangshan Monasteries (Hubei Province)

The Taoist monastery area on Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province

In the Wudang Mountains, in a place belonging to Hubei province, there is a complex of Taoist monasteries in Wudangshan. It was here, during the Ming dynasty, that the Tai Chi chuan school was born, based on the rules of Taoism. The grandiose architectural complex, construction of which began in the 15th century, is located directly on the slopes of the mountains in several levels. In fact, as early as the 2nd century AD these places served as a refuge for all those who fled from the hustle and bustle of the world and sought solitude, and it is believed that here monks first saw the swirling vapor of life-giving energy “qi”. The buildings erected on several mountain peaks had dozens of structures stretching in a chain for 80 kilometers. Once upon a time, the ancient Taoist University was located here, and the monastery complex was a center for the teaching of martial arts practices.

32. The Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple (Yunnan Province)

View from below the ensemble of three pagodas of Chunsheng Temple against the background of the Qian Mountains near the city of Dali

The three pagodas beside Chunsheng Temple are not only famous for their size and beauty, they are the oldest structures in southern China and are well-preserved to this day. They are located just one kilometer from the city of Dali, in a surprisingly beautiful spot on the shore of Lake Erhai. This architectural complex, which was built over several centuries - from the 7th to the 10th century, consists of three large-scale structures located at the top of an equilateral triangle. Each of the pagodas is built of bricks and covered with white clay over which are painted. One of them, about 70 meters high, was built before the other two and has 16 levels. The other two were erected about a century later than the first, have 10 tiers and are about 42 meters high.

33. Mogao Caves (Gansu Province)

The entrance to the "Caves of a Thousand Buddhas" carved in the rocks above the Dachuan River in Gansu Province BetacommandBot
Mogao Caves Fresco Painting scchoong123

Some of the oldest Buddhist temples can be found on the slope of Minshashan Mountain, a complex of 92 caves with Mogao temples representing a thousand years of Buddhist art history. The temples are built on one of the borders of the Takla Makan Desert, along which the Great Silk Road passed. And along with caravans carrying a variety of goods, the propagators of Buddhist teachings passed through the desert. The first temples of Mogao began to be built in the middle of the 4th century, when the monk Lezzun wandered in these places. He saw a vision of thousands of shining Buddhas on the hillside, and believing it to be a sign from on high, he decided to carve a cave into the mountainside and turn it into a temple. As time went on, more and more cave temples sprang up, and as Buddhist teaching spread, they became a famous pilgrimage site.

34. Zhangjiajie National Park, Hunan Province

Panoramic views of the cliffs and mountains in the colorful valley of Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan Province

China’s best sights are not just ancient imperial palaces, ancient Buddhist temples or impressive metropolitan high-rises. Beautiful landscapes and natural creations deserve no less attention - just see the beauty of picturesque corners of China, such as Zhangjiajie National Park. This place strikes the imagination with its fantastic scenery, staring upwards with numerous rock formations overgrown with forests. In addition to its luxurious scenery, the park also reveals itself in another role - it is officially listed as a geological and botanical reserve, and there is a zoo here. Zhangjiajie is also famous for the fact that the local weathered sand and quartz rock formations up to 3 kilometers high were the prototype of the beautiful soaring rocks of Pandora from the acclaimed movie “Avatar”.

35. Taishan Mountain (Shandong Province)

Stone Stairs to the Top of Taishan Mountain Charlie fong

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of the sacred Taishan Mountain for the people of China: climbing it is not just a journey, it is a pilgrimage to the country’s most precious shrines. If myths are to be believed, China’s five mountains were created from the body of the Creator, and Taishan was the chief of them, as it was formed from the head of the supreme deity. Today there are two ways to climb the mountain: the first is on foot and the second is by bus or cable car. The second way is usually taken by visitors and the first by locals, mostly elderly people. They make the 7-kilometer ascent over 6,000 stone steps, believing piously that their pilgrimage will gain the favor of the gods.

36. Cane Flute Cave (Guilin)

Stalactites, stalagmites and stalagmites in neon lighting at Cane Flute Cave Bernt Rostad

All kinds of wonders of China can be found not only on its soil, but also underground: in Guilin province, one of the most beautiful and impressive caves can be found in the depths of a rock called the Cane Flute. The amazing underground world is transformed by the soft neon lighting, which turns the trip in the depths of the rock into a real fairy tale. It is believed that once in place of the caves was the ocean, but because of natural disasters water left, exposing the bizarre mountains with fantastic gorges, crevices, grottos and caves. Inside the cave, it is as if you find yourself in some fantasy movie with extraordinary scenery. In addition to bizarre formations - stalactites and stalagmites, here you can see the ancient rock inscriptions, which allegedly belonged to the first Chinese.

37. Yangtze River Cruises, China

Yangtze River Gorge Boat Cruise in China Tuner tom

The great Yangtze River is one of China’s largest waterways, and locals arrange extremely busy trips along the river on comfortable motorboats. Tour on the Yangtze River, which takes 4-5 days, is a great opportunity to feel the true spirit of the Celestial Empire: enjoy the beauty of landscapes of the coast, see valuable historical monuments, visit protected areas and explore the Chinese land from a fundamentally new perspective. Perhaps all the most beautiful and unusual natural places are concentrated along this route - these grandiose gorges, violent waterfalls, the places with the ancient temples, where like nowhere else you can feel the local color. Next to China is the country of morning freshness - South Korea. While in China, consider visiting that country as well. Read about Sights of South Korea and get inspired for your next trip to Asia!