14 Most Beautiful Small Towns in China

The most beautiful small towns in China, known for their vast landscapes and bustling metropolises, are also home to some of the most charming small towns in the world. These historically and culturally significant cities provide an insight into the calm and traditional aspects of Chinese life. Discover the tranquil and traditional side of Chinese life in these cities, if you’re a history buff, nature lover, or cultural traveler.

Even seasoned travelers to China might not notice the country’s fast westernization when they return for a visit. Shanghai and Beijing are similarly fast-paced metropolises to New York City or London. However, there are still remnants of the past China the China that lives in our imaginations in the Middle Kingdom. All you have to do is know where to search. Go to the countryside in China, where people live slower and customs are still deeply ingrained.

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The Most Beautiful Small Towns in China

1. Town of Yangshuo

Yangshuo and The Moon Hill, China » Geology Science

Yangshuo is surrounded by stunning karst mountains and the picturesque Li River, making it one of the most beautiful small towns in China. Key attractions include Moon Hill and various outdoor activities such as biking and rock climbing. The Impression Liu Sanjie show, set against the natural backdrop of the river, is a cultural highlight.

Backpackers used to love Yangshuo Town, which is located on the picturesque Li River. Now that more people are aware of the area’s attractiveness, it is becoming more affluent. The karst mountains and caverns that around the town have an ethereal quality, particularly in the early mist when fisherman are out in their little wooden boats. It’s a fantastic location for a rural bike ride. You might enjoy taking a boat on the Li River to Guilin and then riding your bike back, just like a lot of other tourists do.

2. The Old Town of Lijiang

Lijiang, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is famous for its cobblestone streets, wooden houses, and the stunning backdrop of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. The Lijiang Old Town and Black Dragon Pool are must-visit sites. The town is a cultural hub for the Naxi ethnic group, known for their unique music and dance traditions.

One of China’s most well-known ancient towns is Lijiang Old Town. It exudes the allure of bygone eras. Waterways that flow through this village in Yunnan contribute to the overall atmosphere. As one of the most beautiful small towns in China, Lijiang offers a unique glimpse into the past. Come now, though, before it’s too late.

This place is suffering from development. The water table is falling in the new Lijiang as a result of overbuilding, which affects the canals. The vibrant Nakhi people used to populate Lijiang Old Town along the ancient Tea-Horse trade route, but they are fleeing due to the exorbitant cost of housing.

3. Jiaju

If you are pressed for time, you can still experience Tibetan culture by traveling to Jiaju, a Sichuan Province village designed in the Tibetan style. Jiaju, often known as the Tibetan fairyland, is regarded as one of the most beautiful small towns in China.

Constructed atop a hillside covered with trees, this evaluation is difficult to contest, particularly during the spring when pears are in bloom. The houses have a distinctive design, with red eaves and white outside walls, and crowns above multiple stories.

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4. Tongli

Tongli, another beautiful water town, boasts beautiful canals, the Retreat and Reflection Garden, and ancient bridges. The town is also known for its traditional Chinese opera and local tea culture, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful small towns in China, preserving its charm and cultural heritage amidst modern developments.

If you plan to stay in Shanghai, a trip to a water town is a must. The majority of visitors go to Suzhou, but astute tourists flock to Tongli. Plan on staying longer because this quaint town has so many stunning gardens and temples that you won’t be able to see them all in one day.

Take a flat-bottom wooden boat cruise through the canals, where even the water moves more slowly. You never know; you might encounter elderly ladies doing their washing by the canal or a fisherman using cormorants to bring in his catch.

5. Wuyuan

A group of rural villages known for their historic architecture is called Wuyuan Villages. Many structures from the Ming and Qing dynasties are in good condition, while others date back 1,300 years to the Tang Dynasty. The white stone houses have grey tile roofs and are really charming.

Indeed, one of China’s most picturesque locations is the Wuyuan region as a whole, known for its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Spring is a great time to go since the tea plants are green and the azaleas and rape flowers are in bloom. Wuyuan stands out as one of the most beautiful small towns in China, offering visitors a serene escape into rural beauty.

6. Ancient Town of Fenghuang

China Tourism - HuNan Fenghuang Ancient town - China Tours @WestChinaGo

Fenghuang, often referred to as Phoenix Town, is renowned for its well-preserved ancient architecture and picturesque setting along the Tuojiang River. Key attractions include the iconic Hong Bridge and the traditional stilt houses that line the riverbanks. The town is steeped in Miao and Tujia ethnic culture, which can be experienced through local festivals and traditional crafts.

Fenghuang Ancient Town in Hunan Province will astound you even if you have been to other ancient towns in China. This incredibly lovely village dates back to the Qing Dynasty and is home to the Miao, who are well-known for its silverwork and embroidery. Its unique charm and picturesque scenery make it one of the most beautiful small towns in China, offering visitors a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage.

That is the historical China prior to its modernization movement. The village is traversed by a calm river that is used by locals to go around in wooden boats. The streets are narrow and well-worn with cobblestones. A few of the homes along the waterfront are raised on stilts. Fenghuang Ancient Town has an understated elegance about it.

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7. Huangzhuang

If your trip to China is crammed with activities, Zhouzhuang is a great spot to relax. Gondola rides along the canals of this aquatic town are one method to accomplish this. This will not only help you de-stress but also change your viewpoint of the place, making it one of the most beautiful small towns in China to unwind and appreciate the scenic beauty.

This 1,200-year-old location, which is 30 km (18 miles) from Suzhou in eastern China, is home to numerous remarkable sights, including 14 arched stone bridges, the most well-known of which are the Twin Bridges. There are also 11th-century Taoist temples and centuries-old homes constructed by affluent families to explore.

8. Hongcun

Hongcun is known for its ancient village layout, Moon Pond, and Southern Lake Academy. The town’s traditional Anhui architecture is beautifully preserved and was featured in the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, making it a favorite among history buffs, film enthusiasts, and those seeking to explore the most beautiful small towns in China.

When you arrive in Hongcun, which is close to Mount Huangshan in the province of Anhui, an ox-shaped settlement may seem unbelievable. A hill serves as the head, two trees its horns, four bridges its legs, and the dwellings its body.

The animal’s insides run through the community like a stream. In addition to its distinctive shape, Hongcun is well-known for its Ming and Qing dynasty buildings. Hongcun is regarded as a traditional Chinese village, which is vanishing quickly in the modern day.

9. Chengyang Villages

Chengyang Villages are a great site to get a taste of Dong culture. The group consists of eight villages that are roughly five hours’ journey from Guilin. The villages are well-known for their folk culture, with twice-daily performances by the villagers, and for having one of China’s most beautiful small towns well-known covered wooden wind-and-rain bridges, which shields users from the weather. Rice paddies and other crops encircle the communities. This place is best visited during the autumn harvest season.

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10. Hemu

You can see the picturesque Kanas Lake region in west China’s Xinjiang Province by traveling to Hemu Village. China Hemu is regarded by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful small towns in China.

The Tuwa people reside in modest log houses in a setting like a garden. Because Hemu and its environs are so attractive, many tour operators cater their tours specifically to those who love taking pictures. On a nearby hill, there’s an observation platform where you can obtain some amazing pictures.

11. Xijiang Qianhu Miao

One of China’s 56 ethnic minorities is the Miao people. They are a vibrant people, well-known for their elaborate needlework, singing, and dancing, as well as their stilt-style homes. Located in Guizhou Province, 35 kilometres (22 miles) from Kaili, is Xijiang Town, the ideal spot to explore Miao culture.

The town consists of ten villages, including Xijiang Qianhu. The Miao Nationality Museum is a great place to start your visit because it has everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Miao culture but were afraid to ask. It’s one of the highlights of exploring one of the most beautiful small towns in China.

12. Town of Heshun

Heshun is a well-preserved ancient village known for its traditional houses and the Heshun Library. The town has a rich history of overseas Chinese and offers a tranquil natural setting, perfect for a relaxing retreat. It’s truly one of the most beautiful small towns in China, where visitors can immerse themselves in history and natural beauty alike.

One of China’s most enchanting villages is Heshun Town, a small town in the western Yunnan Province. Given that Heshun Town’s name signifies harmony and tranquilly and that it is situated amidst forested hills, this is not overly surprising.

Heshun Town is well known for its remarkably intact examples of ancient architecture, with its tile-roofed stone dwellings resembling museums rather than typical homes. The densely populated houses are separated by little lanes. The historic Tea-Horse Road stopped at Heshun Town.

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13. The Duoyishu

The farmers of Duoyishu, in the Yunnan Province of southwest China, are well-known for their rice terraces, regarded as pieces of art. Residents of Duoyishu are from the Yi and Hani ethnic groups. It’s worth witnessing the sun rising over the terraces, making it one of the most beautiful small towns in China. Seeing platforms let you take the ideal picture. The Hani are renowned for their family-friendly Chinese New Year celebrations in addition to their rice terraces.

14. Suopo

14 Most Beautiful Small Towns in China (+Map) - Touropia

A chocolate sundae recipe could be the description of Suopo, encircled by verdant woodlands; white stone structures are crowned by towering brown spires. This village is one of the most beautiful small towns in China.

There used to be the greatest concentration of old watchtowers in the world, but now there are just 84 of these stone and wood constructions in this Qiang village in Tibet. Their heights range from 66 to 196 feet (20 to 60 meters). These millennia-old towers served as watchtowers, sheds for storing goods, and places of prayer.

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China’s varied little towns provide a multitude of experiences, ranging from breathtaking natural scenery to historic places. Every town on this list offers a different window into the rich history and culture of the nation, making them some of the most beautiful small towns in China.

To completely understand the beauty and intricacy of this amazing country, we strongly advise you to visit these charming tiny towns. These 14 towns provide incredible experiences, whether you’re captivated by historic cultures or the serenity of gorgeous scenery.

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