17 Best Places to Visit in China

Discover the best places to visit in China, from ancient wonders to breathtaking natural sceneries, China offers a variety of experiences that cater to every type of traveler. China is a popular diverse tourism destination.

With more megacities than any other country and the largest population, this Asian behemoth offers a riveting blend of modernization and charming traditional culture. Every place in China is unique, if you are an adventurer, history buff, or cultural explorer.

The Best Places to Visit in China

1. Beijing

Beijing - Wikipedia

China’s capital city, Beijing, is still one of the most visited destinations in the country. Much of its more than 3,000-year-old history is still present inside its boundaries. Beijing has frequently served as China’s Northern Capital, as implied by its literal meaning. It remains one of the best places to visit in China for its rich cultural heritage and historical significance.

After being designated as the capital of the State of Yan and given the name Yanjing, it initially gained notoriety in Chinese history. After the Mongols took control of the city in 1215, Kublai Khan used it as the capital of a united China starting in 1264. The capital was first relocated to Nanjing during the collapse of the Mongol-founded Yuan dynasty in 1368, but it was later returned and given its current name in 1403.

Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the National Museum of China, and the Old and New Summer Palaces are all located in Beijing. Chinese gardens, historic buildings, and Chinese culture from various eras of the nation’s history can all be observed at these and other attractions.

For those seeking a spiritual experience or to see Confucius, Taoist, and Buddhist landmarks, there are a lot of temples both inside and outside the city. Approximately one hour’s drive from Beijing is Badaling, one of the most well-liked locations to see the Great Wall of China.

The city, which is well-known for its regular architecture and level terrain, has just three hills and its circular ring roads are shaped like rectangles, just like the Forbidden City. Beijing has a vast network of public transport, including a sizable underground system.

Although there are bike trails, visitors may find cycling to be too taxing due to the pollution. Wangfujing Commercial Street has been the best shopping district in Beijing for more than a century. But the Silk Street Markets and Yashow are also hugely popular.

Read Also:14 Most Beautiful Small Towns in China

2. Hong Kong

Hong Kong, an opulent, premier commercial hub where Chinese culture, British colonial influences, and cutting-edge modern technology mingle, is situated off the southeast coast of China. Hong Kong has one of the largest population densities and the biggest concentration of buildings in the world, yet it also has a lot of greenery, beaches, and vistas of the mountains, making it one of the best places to visit in China.

Among the must-see sights are The Peak, the tallest hill on Hong Kong Island with breathtaking views of the harbour, and the well-known Victoria Harbour, which is a breathtaking sight at night with all the shining buildings.

Hong Kong offers everything for everyone, including world-class museums, five-star hotels, luxurious nightclubs, horse racing, stunning beaches, and rides on the largest outdoor escalator in the world. Other attractions include Ocean Park and Disneyland Hong Kong.

Hong Kong offers a diverse range of culinary experiences, encompassing both indigenous Cantonese food and international cuisine. Dim sum is a popular culinary style that consists of tiny servings of food that are typically served in steamer baskets. Chinese tea is typically served with dim sum items, which include delicious meat dumplings, rice noodles, steamed veggies, and soups.

3. Shanghai

Shanghai, China’s largest and most developed city, is situated at the mouth of the Yangtze River and the East China Sea. More than any other emerging nation, the region accounts for over a quarter of China’s total foreign investment and produces nearly one-third of the nation’s exports.

Skyscrapers are sprouting up all across the city, accompanied by opulent hotels, glitzy malls, and esteemed arts institutions. Shanghai’s city nights, with their neon signs, busy avenues, and multitude of enterprises, perfectly capture the image of Chinese cities that Westerners have of China.

Shanghai offers every convenience for transportation, including a well-developed Metro system. Shanghai’s historic riverside along the Huangpu River, known as the Bund, is the most well-liked location for strolls. Even though levies have drastically altered the Bund’s appearance, several noteworthy architectural structures are still visible next to the strip.

Shanghai has a few relics from the past for tourists to see. The Mercedes-Benz Arena and the Oriental Pearl Tower, two futuristic structures that dot the city’s landscape, are examples of how modern the city is. These attractions make Shanghai one of the best places to visit in China.

The greatest method to see the local culture and how it has evolved over time is to visit museums. Additionally, museums are frequently housed in intriguing architecture. These consist of the Rockbund Art Museum, the Shanghai Museum, and the Shanghai Natural History Museum.

4. Xi’an

Xi’an, the capital of the Shaanxi Province in northwest China, is about as old as Beijing. One of Xi’an’s main attractions is its history. It was the beginning of the once-essential Silk Road, which allowed trade between numerous Eurasian nations. Prior to China’s unification between 1000 BC and 1000 AD, it served as the imperial capital for eleven different dynasties, making it one of the best places to visit in China and is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of the nation.

Xi’an Aerospace Science and Technology Industrial Base is located there, making it a hub of technology and culture today. The most well-known feature of the site is the Terracotta Army, which was only recently found and serves as guardians for the tomb of China’s first emperor. A combination of recently publicised reconstructions and remnants of the ancient Daming Palace can be seen on the site.

The city walls of Xi’an date back to the 14th century and span more than 12 km (8 miles). In addition to being an integral part of the city’s past, passing under, over, or around them can occasionally be necessary when travelling in Xi’an.

The Great Mosque of Islam, the 14th-century Ming Dynasty Bell and Drum Towers, and the Roman Catholic St. Francis Cathedral of Xi’an are a few more noteworthy buildings in the city. The Shaanxi Grand Opera House offers classic Chinese operas for those seeking a more Eastern experience.

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5. China’s Great Wall

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The Great Wall of China, which stretches over 6,000 kilometres and is the most well-known landmark in the nation, is one of the greatest engineering and architectural feats ever accomplished. It travels across fifteen provinces in China altogether. From the Bohai Sea in the east to the Desert in the west, its defences, gates, and watchtowers are stretched.

Constructed by multiple Chinese kingdoms, states, and empires over thousands of years, the wall winds through perilous areas and breathtaking vistas. Many of its most well-known features belong to the Ming Dynasty, although its earliest sections were constructed in the 7th century BC as a means of defending people against attackers.

There is enough of breathtaking beauty to behold as the Great Wall winds its way across hills, valleys, and mountains. Some are in varied degrees of deterioration and are located in wild and inaccessible places, while other parts have undergone extensive restoration. Just west of Beijing, Badaling is one of the most well-liked parts of the Great Wall to visit, and hikers are drawn to Jinshanling because of its unspoiled scenery and breathtaking views. These sections of the Great Wall are among the best places to visit in China.

6. Hangzhou

The provincial capital of Zhejiang is Hangzhou. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, Hangzhou and its West Lake have been captured in poetry and artwork for generations. Marco Polo declared the city to be the most exquisite and gorgeous in the world in the thirteenth century, making it one of the best places to visit in China.

West Lake, the most well-known landmark in Hangzhou, is a sizable lake surrounded by historic structures and gardens intended to inspire calm and meditation. It is divided by causeways. Along its coastlines and occasionally protruding over the lake, visitors will find pagodas, temples, gardens, walking pathways, seating spaces, tea farms, and a museum. An essential component of the West Lake experience is tea. One of the most well-known teas in China is the Dragon Well tea that is made there.

In terms of Chinese architecture, landscaping, and gardening, West Lake may be the greatest place in Hangzhou to see it, but Xixi National Wetland Park boasts a number of residences, a traditional temple, and an excellent representation of the native fauna and its habitat. Typical city entertainment is available at the Botanical Garden and Zoo, but in a very Chinese environment.

7. Yangshuo

Yangshuo in southern China used to be a haven for backpackers due to its inexpensive lodging and relaxed vibe, but these days a variety of tourists visit the area to take in its breathtaking scenery, making it one of the best places to visit in China. Yangshuo is a convenient starting point for day tours in the region.

Taking a boat ride on the Li River between Yangshuo and Guilin is a popular activity. The river is renowned for its picturesque landscape and karst mountains, which have been featured in photos and paintings all over the world. Since the return path is very level and offers views of farmers working in their fields, many visitors opt to rent bicycles.

Other well-known attractions in Yangshuo include Moon Hill, so named because of a massive hole in the hill that resembles the moon; Assembling Dragon Cave, so named because the surrounding peaks are shaped like dragons; and enrolling in a Chinese language course at one of Yangshuo’s numerous language schools.

8. Lhasa

At 3,500 metres (11,500 feet) above sea level, Lhasa is not only one of the most significant towns in Tibet but also one of the highest cities worldwide. Despite being included into larger China, Lhasa has kept a large portion of its cultural heritage. In the seventh century, Songtsen Gampo brought Tibet together and constructed a palace on Mount Mapori. Lhasa was briefly the capital of Tibet over the years, but it has always been a significant spiritual hub.

In Tibetan history, Lhasa, which lies tucked away in a Himalayan valley, is extremely important. This city is home to the Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s former home. It was constructed on Red Hill over 360 years ago. It comprises of the White Palace, where the Dalai Lama resides, and the Red Palace, where religious practice and instruction were held. With its extensive exploration of Tibetan history and culture, Lhasa is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in China.

Built in 1755, Norbulingka is another palace located in Lhasa. Prior to his exile, it served as the Dalai Lama’s summer residence. The gardens of the expansive castle, which occupy approximately 90 acres, are the most remarkable feature. Additional tourist attractions include a visit to Chokpori, one of Tibet’s four sacred mountains, or Jokhang Market. Visit Barkhor Street for traditional goods and souvenir shopping.

It is also still evident that Lhasa is an occupied city, with armed soldiers on constant patrol around the city and on roofs and street corners. To enter Tibet, foreign nationals must apply for a special permit (Tibet Entry Permit) and hire a tour guide each day of their stay. Although details are subject to change, this is rigidly enforced.

9. Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou Valley is one of the best places to visit in China, a destination that is appealling to those who love being outside and who appreciate clean, uncomplicated scenery. Several Tibetan villages may be found in this national park in Sichuan Province, allowing tourists to experience a different way of life without having to go to the high altitudes of the Himalayan region. The name of the area translates to nine Tibetan villages.

Because of its numerous waterfalls, snow-covered karst mountains, and 108 incredibly pure lakes with blue, turquoise, and green hues one could even see the bottoms of them the national park has been compared to a fairyland. In addition, gigantic pandas call this home, however sighting them is unlikely given the vastness of the park and the volume of visitors.

Read Also: 15 Top Cities to Visit in China

10. Dali

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Dali, which is surrounded by majestic mountains and is on the shores of the dazzling Erhai Lake, is among the best places to visit in China, a well-liked travel destination for tourist. The little city, which is part of Yunnan Province, is well-known for its picturesque surroundings, rich cultural history, and charming old town.

Since Dali served as the capital of multiple kingdoms over the ages, the town is home to a number of fascinating and striking historical and cultural sites. The Ming Dynasty is credited with creating the most of the old town’s stunning structures. Notable landmarks include the Three Pagodas, Chongsheng Temple, and the city’s old city walls.

There are also a tonne of excellent museums located around, and there are plenty of outdoor entertainment options available at the lake and neighbouring mountains. The Cangshan Mountains are a popular destination for hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing, and the banks of Erhai Lake are home to remote, picturesque villages as well as historic cities and temples.

11. Wulingyuan

Wulingyuan, which is in northwest Hunan Province, just outside the tiny city of Zhangjiajie, is home to some of China’s most breathtaking scenery. The picturesque region, which is a part of the Wuling Mountain Range, is especially well-known for the thousands of peaks and pillars that dot the park.

These amazing karst rocks, several of which stand over two hundred metres high, are frequently covered in mist. Encased in a subtropical rainforest, they soar above swooping canyons and deep gorges, interspersed with shimmering rivers, lakes, and waterfalls. The park is also home to Tianqiashengkong, one of the highest natural bridges on Earth, and innumerable caverns.

Many of Wulingyuan’s small routes meander over precipitous slopes and steep clifftops, making hiking among these truly amazing scenery an experience. You may take in breathtaking views of the park’s distinctive landscapes from its charming, if occasionally treacherous, pathways. This makes Wulingyuan one of the best places to visit in China for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

12. Suzhou

Located in Jiangsu Province, northeast of Shanghai, Suzhou has long been renowned for its grace, beauty, and culture. Situated along the banks of Lake Tai and the lower Yangtze River, the city is replete with charming canals and stone bridges, earning it the moniker Venice of the East. It’s no wonder that Suzhou is considered one of the best places to visit in China for those seeking an authentic and picturesque experience.

Suzhou still contains historic pagodas and picturesque streetscapes, despite the fact that China’s rapid expansion has resulted in the emergence of a vast number of contemporary buildings in recent years. The city boasts four classical gardens, the most notable of which is the Lingering Gardens, which is regarded as a Chinese masterpiece with its four unique portions.

It’s nice to stroll through the gardens, which have lakes, pavilions, trees, and rocks all tastefully combined. Suzhou’s Grand Canal, which links Beijing and Hangzhou, passes through the old city, giving rise to a network of canals all around it.

Suzhou, a key hub of Wu culture, was formerly the capital of the kingdom of the same name. It was established over 2,500 years ago. As such, the town is filled with remarkable historical sites, and its rich history and traditions are highlighted by a number of first-rate museums.

Read Also: Where to Stay in Shanghai | Best Neighborhoods & Hotels

13. Lijiang

Lijiang, tucked away in the northwest of Yunnan Province, is a charming city with an ageless appearance. The city, which was formerly the seat of a minor kingdom, is well-liked by tourists and has one of China’s best-preserved historic centers.

The stunning Old Town of Lijiang, with its charming canals, historic stone bridges, and meandering cobblestone alleyways, is located in the city’s center. Its numerous exquisite wooden structures showcase tasteful traditional architecture; the vast Mu Palace complex is one of the highlights. There are also quaint tea shops and eateries tucked away among its tiny lanes that you should check out.

Lijiang is well-known for being the principal hub of the Naxi people in addition to its many historical monuments, and its rich cultural past is seen everywhere you walk. One of the best places to visit in China is the town, which has a number of interesting and educational museums. You can also attend a traditional music performance at the cultural hall.

14. Leshan

Among the best places to visit in China is Leshan, situated in southwest China’s Sichuan Province at the confluence of the Dadu, Min, and Qingyi rivers. The city is well-known for being close to the beautiful scenery and historical sites of the Mount Emei Scenic Area, and it is home to the largest stone-carved Buddha in the world.

Leshan is known for its robust culinary culture and a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and lodging alternatives, despite its frequent neglect. Numerous intriguing locations can be found all across the area, including the former house of renowned author Guo Moruo and the Oriental Buddha Park, which is home to hundreds of incredible statues and carvings.

The Leshan Giant Buddha, which rises to a startling 71 metres, is the principal draw, though. The magnificent sandstone sculpture, which was carved out of a solid cliff face and overlooks the Min and Dadu rivers, was constructed during the Tang Dynasty. The second feature of Leshan is Mount Emei, which is close by and has 76 Buddhist monasteries in addition to lots of beautiful landscape and fauna.

15. Macau

Known for its luxurious resorts, flashy casinos, and top-notch entertainment, Macau is a popular gambling destination situated on the western side of the Pearl River Delta. Known as the Vegas of China, the city is situated on the South China Sea, not far from Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Macau features an intriguing fusion of Chinese and Portuguese customs and cuisines because the Portuguese ruled it for four centuries. Interesting historical sites abound as well among Old Macau’s vibrant colonial-era structures are churches, temples, and fortifications, making it one of the best places to visit in China for a unique cultural experience.

Even though the Macau Peninsula is home to several noteworthy landmarks and excellent museums, the majority of visitors are drawn to the area by its casinos. These have a tonne of eateries, pubs, and lodging in addition to any kind of slot machine and gambling game imaginable. They also have sizable retail centres and a plethora of captivating plays and musical concerts in their theatres.

16. Kunming

Southwest China’s hub for trade, transportation, and culture is Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan. It has rail connections to all of the major cities in China and Vietnam; the Hanoi rail connection dates back to 1901. Since the third century BC, caravans have travelled through Kunming on their way to Tibet, India, and Southeast Asia.

Because of its moderate climate, Kunming is one of the best places to visit in China all year round. Although the summers might be hot and muggy, the winters are pleasant and dry. More than 400 different kinds of flowers are grown here due to the excellent growing conditions.

The official flower of the city is the camellia. The city is renowned for its verdant parks as well, like Cuihu (Green Lake) Park, which has meandering walkways and canals. The funfair and food vendors at Daguan Park could make a trip enjoyable for younger tourists.

Apart from its inherent attractions, Kunming acts as a starting point for discovering the region’s diverse array of ethnic minorities. The Dai, Bai, and Naxi are the three most well-known ethnic groups. The Shilin Stone Forest, dubbed the first wonder of the world since the Ming Dynasty, is another well-liked day trip destination. The stone forest, which is 120 kilometres (75 miles) from Kunming, has amazing rock formations in a variety of shapes.

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17. Leaping Tiger Gorge

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One of the world’s deepest, most beautiful, and incredible river canyons, Tiger Leaping Gorge slashes spectacularly across the harsh terrain of Yunnan Province. Situated just north of Lijiang, the gorge traces the course of the Jinsha River, passing through peaceful towns, terraced farms, and snow-capped hills.

The gorge flows between the over 5,000-meter-tall Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain for around 16 kilometers. With their magnificent views, the majestic peaks and Tiger Leaping Gorge combine to create some of China’s most striking natural beauty.

Because of its breathtaking natural surroundings, hiking along the narrow trail in the valley is growing in popularity. The track goes by sheer cliffs, sparkling waterfalls, and deafening rapids. It’s one of the best places to visit in China for both nature lovers and cultural explorers, since you can spend time in isolated villages and guesthouses to learn more about the rich culture and history of the Naxi people.


Each destination on this list provides a unique glimpse into the country’s rich culture and history. We encourage you to explore these best places to visit in China to fully appreciate the beauty and complexity of this incredible nation.

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