Best Places to Visit in China

China, known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, is a dream destination for travelers. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or simply in search of adventure, China offers a multitude of must-visit places that will leave you awe-inspired. From the iconic Great Wall to the ethereal beauty of Guilin, here are some of the best places to visit in China.

Best Places to Visit in China (List)

Key Takeaways:

  • China is home to incredible travel destinations with a mix of historical, natural, and modern attractions.
  • Must-visit places in China include the Great Wall, Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu, and Zhangjiajie.
  • Explore historical sites like the Forbidden City and Terracotta Warriors, experience the vibrant atmosphere of Shanghai, and get up close with adorable pandas in Chengdu.
  • Marvel at the dramatic landscapes of Zhangjiajie that inspired the movie “Avatar.”
  • Embark on a journey through China and discover the best attractions this diverse country has to offer.

The Great Wall – Top Landmark of China

When it comes to must-visit landmarks in China, the Great Wall undoubtedly takes the top spot. This ancient military defense project spans tens of thousands of kilometers and showcases the rich history and culture of China. Its sheer magnitude and architectural brilliance never fail to leave visitors awe-struck.

Constructed over several centuries, the Great Wall stands as a testament to the ingenuity and determination of the ancient Chinese civilization. It is a remarkable feat of engineering that continues to captivate travelers from around the world.

Whether you choose to hike along the wall, take a cable car ride for a bird’s-eye view, or even camp on the Great Wall, you’ll be rewarded with a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Walking along its ancient stones, you can imagine the soldiers who once stood guard, protecting the Chinese empire from invasions.

The Great Wall offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, stretching as far as the eye can see. From lush mountains to rolling hills, this iconic landmark is nestled amidst splendid natural beauty. It’s an ideal location for photography enthusiasts, as every angle offers a magnificent landscape to capture and cherish.

Visiting the Great Wall should be high on every traveler’s bucket list. Whether you’re an avid history buff or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, the Great Wall will leave an indelible mark on your heart.

“The Great Wall is not just a landmark; it’s a testament to the rich history and culture of China. Walking along its ancient stones, you can feel the stories etched into every brick and mortar.” – Anonymous

Exploring the Great Wall

There are several popular sections of the Great Wall that are easily accessible for sightseeing:

1. Badaling: The most visited section of the Great Wall, known for its well-preserved fortresses and stunning views.

2. Mutianyu: Located in a beautiful mountainous area, Mutianyu offers breathtaking scenery and a less crowded experience.

3. Jinshanling: A favorite among hikers, Jinshanling boasts rugged terrain, watchtowers, and panoramic vistas.

4. Sima Tai: This section is famous for its steepness and grandeur, and it also offers a chance to witness a beautiful sunset.

Quick Facts about the Great Wall

Length Built By Construction Time
Approximately 21,196 kilometers Different Chinese dynasties Over several centuries, starting from the 7th century BC

Beijing – The Ultimate Destination for First-Time Explorers

Beijing, the capital of China, is a must-visit destination for first-time travelers. This bustling metropolis offers a perfect blend of ancient history and modern development, making it an ideal starting point for your exploration of China. Here, you’ll find a myriad of top tourist attractions that are sure to captivate and inspire you.

Iconic Landmarks

No visit to Beijing is complete without exploring its iconic landmarks. The Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an architectural marvel that offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the past. Marvel at the intricate details of its palaces, halls, and gardens as you step back in time to the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Of course, no trip to Beijing is complete without a visit to the Great Wall of China. Stretching over thousands of kilometers, this awe-inspiring structure is undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in China. Traverse its ancient paths and soak in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Tiananmen Square, the largest public square in the world, is another must-visit site. This historic location has witnessed significant events throughout China’s history and serves as a symbol of national pride and unity. Take a moment to reflect on its historical significance and admire the iconic Gate of Heavenly Peace.

Immersive Cultural Experiences

While exploring Beijing, be sure to immerse yourself in its rich culture. Stroll through the traditional hutongs, narrow alleyways that offer a glimpse into the daily lives of locals. Discover hidden gems, quaint shops, and traditional courtyard homes that provide a stark contrast to the modern cityscape.

Indulge in the world-famous Peking Duck, a culinary delight that originated in Beijing. Savor the succulent roasted duck, wrapped in thin pancakes with an array of condiments. This delectable dish is a must-try for food enthusiasts visiting China.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene of Beijing by catching a traditional Peking Opera performance. Experience the captivating music, intricate costumes, and acrobatic movements that make this art form truly unique.

Beijing, with its rich history and modern charm, offers an unforgettable experience for first-time explorers. From walking in the footsteps of emperors to indulging in local delicacies, this vibrant city has something for everyone.

Explore Beijing and check off the top tourist attractions in China from your travel bucket list. Immerse yourself in the ancient wonders and vibrant culture of this captivating city. Plan your journey to Beijing and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of China.

Xi’an – Best Archaeological Discoveries

Xi’an, located in Shaanxi province, is renowned as one of the best archaeological destinations in the world. The city offers a remarkable glimpse into ancient China’s rich history, particularly through its notable archaeological site – the Terracotta Warriors.

Discovered in 1974 by farmers digging a well, the Terracotta Warriors are a collection of life-sized clay statues that date back over 2,200 years. Constructed to safeguard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, these intricately carved figures stand as a symbol of power, artistry, and military prowess.

“The Terracotta Warriors are a testament to the extraordinary craftsmanship and attention to detail of ancient Chinese artisans,” says Professor Zhang Wei, an archaeologist specializing in Chinese history.

A visit to Xi’an provides a mesmerizing opportunity to witness this archaeological wonder up close. Marvel at the scale of the excavation site, where thousands of warriors, horses, and chariots have been carefully unearthed and restored. The site is divided into three distinct pits, each offering a different view of the meticulous planning and immense effort that went into creating this ancient army.

The Terracotta Warriors Museum also houses various artifacts discovered at the site, providing additional insights into the Qin Dynasty’s cultural and historical significance. Visitors can explore the exhibits and gain a deeper understanding of the dynasty’s achievements while admiring the intricate details of the sculptures.

Exploring Beyond the Terracotta Warriors

While the Terracotta Warriors are undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to Xi’an, the city offers much more to explore. From ancient city walls to bustling street markets, here are a few additional attractions to add to your itinerary:

  • The Xi’an City Wall: Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bicycle to experience one of the most well-preserved ancient city walls in China. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and immerse yourself in its history.
  • The Muslim Quarter: Lose yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Muslim Quarter, known for its bustling market, delicious street food, and historic mosques.
  • The Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Visit this iconic Buddhist pagoda, which exemplifies the city’s significance as a hub of Buddhism in ancient China. Climb to the top for panoramic views of Xi’an.

With its incredible archaeological treasures, Xi’an is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike. Immerse yourself in the wonders of the Terracotta Warriors, delve into the city’s architectural marvels, and uncover the secrets hidden within the ancient walls of this captivating Chinese city.

Shanghai – Best City for a Sense of Past and Future

Shanghai, known for its glitz and glamour, offers a captivating blend of history and modernity. From the grand architecture of the Bund to the futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong, Shanghai showcases the best of past and future China. Explore its vibrant neighborhoods, indulge in delicious cuisine, and experience the bustling energy of this cosmopolitan city.

When you visit Shanghai, be sure to take a stroll along the iconic Bund. This waterfront promenade offers breathtaking views of the Huangpu River and the historic buildings that line its banks. Marvel at the blend of European and Chinese architectural styles as you immerse yourself in Shanghai’s rich history.

To get a glimpse of the future, head to Pudong’s Lujiazui district. Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of ultra-modern skyscrapers, including the famous Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center. Take an elevator to the observation deck and enjoy panoramic views of this futuristic cityscape.

While Shanghai is renowned for its dazzling skyscrapers, it also boasts beautiful traditional neighborhoods. Explore the narrow streets of the Former French Concession, where you’ll find charming boutiques, trendy cafés, and tree-lined boulevards. Don’t miss Tianzifang, an artsy district filled with art galleries, craft shops, and cozy cafés housed in traditional Shikumen-style buildings.

Indulge in Shanghai’s vibrant culinary scene, which offers a wide variety of local and international flavors. Sample xiaolongbao (soup dumplings) and Shanghai-style noodles at a local eatery, or treat yourself to a Michelin-starred dining experience at one of the city’s renowned restaurants.

“Shanghai is a city that beautifully blends its past and future, offering travelers a unique and captivating experience. From its architectural marvels to its vibrant neighborhoods, this cosmopolitan metropolis has something for everyone.”

Experience the buzzing energy of Shanghai’s nightlife by visiting popular entertainment districts such as Xintiandi and The Bund. Enjoy live music performances, sip cocktails at rooftop bars, or dance the night away at stylish clubs. Shanghai truly comes alive after dark.

Don’t forget to visit Shanghai’s incredible museums and galleries to delve deeper into the city’s art, history, and culture. Explore the Shanghai Museum, known for its extensive collection of ancient Chinese artifacts, or visit the Power Station of Art, which showcases contemporary art exhibitions.

Finally, no trip to Shanghai would be complete without a visit to the charming water town of Zhujiajiao. Just a short drive from the city center, this ancient town offers tranquil canals, stone bridges, and traditional architecture. Take a boat ride along the waterways and immerse yourself in the timeless beauty of this picturesque destination.

Shanghai truly embodies the essence of both past and future China, making it a must-visit city for travelers seeking a diverse and captivating experience.

Shanghai’s Top Attractions

Attraction Description
The Bund A waterfront promenade offering stunning views of the Huangpu River and iconic historical buildings.
Shanghai World Financial Center One of the tallest skyscrapers in the world, featuring an observation deck with panoramic views.
Tianzifang An artsy district known for its narrow alleyways, boutique shops, galleries, and cafés.
Xintiandi A trendy entertainment district with a mix of modern and traditional architecture, offering dining, shopping, and nightlife options.
Shanghai Museum An impressive museum displaying a vast collection of ancient Chinese art and artifacts.
Zhujiajiao Water Town A picturesque ancient town with canals, stone bridges, and traditional architecture.

Guilin – Best Countryside Scenery

The picturesque city of Guilin in southern China is renowned for its breathtaking countryside scenery. Nestled amidst karst peaks, the landscapes of Guilin are truly mesmerizing, offering a visual treat for nature lovers.

The karst peaks of Guilin provide a stunning backdrop to the scenic Li River and rice paddies. With their unique shapes and lush greenery, these formations create a serene atmosphere that feels straight out of a masterpiece scroll painting.

To fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Guilin, there are several activities you can indulge in. Take a leisurely bicycle ride along the picturesque countryside, allowing you to explore the charming villages and iconic landmarks at your own pace. Alternatively, embark on a memorable raft tour down the Li River, marveling at the breathtaking landscapes that surround you.

“The ethereal beauty of the Guilin countryside is truly a sight to behold. The combination of karst peaks, rivers, and rice paddies creates a tranquil and captivating atmosphere, making Guilin one of the must-see destinations in China.” – Travel enthusiast

Top Tourist Spots in Guilin:

  • The Li River: Cruise along the Li River to witness Guilin’s stunning karst landscapes and enjoy the tranquility of the water.
  • Reed Flute Cave: Explore this magnificent limestone cave with its colorful stalactites, illuminated to create a magical spectacle.
  • Elephant Trunk Hill: Visit this iconic landmark, which resembles an elephant drinking water from the river.
  • Longji Rice Terraces: Discover the terraced fields that adorn the mountain slopes, presenting a unique agricultural landscape.
  • Moon Hill: Hike up to this natural arch and be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Guilin’s countryside scenery is a true gem in China’s tourist landscape. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene escape, Guilin is a destination that will captivate you with its beauty and tranquility.

Advantages Disadvantages
Stunning karst landscapes Popular tourist destination, can be crowded
Serene and tranquil atmosphere Language barrier for non-Chinese speakers
Charming countryside villages Seasonal weather may affect travel plans
Rich cultural heritage Limited public transportation options

Chengdu – Best Place to See Pandas

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is a paradise for panda lovers. It is renowned for its adorable giant pandas, which can be seen up close at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Witness the playful antics of these captivating creatures as they munch on bamboo and go about their daily activities. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base is dedicated to the conservation and breeding of pandas, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about these endangered animals and the efforts being made to protect them.

But pandas are not the only highlight of Chengdu. The city offers a vibrant food scene that is sure to tantalize your taste buds. Sichuan cuisine is famous for its bold flavors, tingling spices, and mouth-watering dishes. Don’t miss the chance to try authentic Sichuan cuisine, such as the famous Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken, during your visit.

In addition to its culinary delights, Chengdu is known for its bustling markets and lively street scenes. Explore the vibrant Jinli Street, where you can immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region. Here, you’ll find traditional architecture, local crafts, and street performances that showcase the charm and traditions of Chengdu.

For a deeper dive into Chengdu’s history and culture, visit the Wuhou Shrine, dedicated to the renowned military strategist Zhuge Liang. Marvel at the beautiful architecture and learn about the significant role Zhuge Liang played in Chinese history. You can also explore the tranquil surroundings of the Du Fu Thatched Cottage, a memorial to Du Fu, one of China’s greatest poets.

Chengdu truly offers a complete experience, combining the adorable pandas, mouth-watering cuisine, and a vibrant cultural scene. It is undeniably one of the must-visit China travel destinations for nature lovers, food enthusiasts, and culture seekers alike.

Why Visit Chengdu? What to Do What to Eat
Adorable giant pandas Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base Sichuan cuisine – Mapo Tofu, Kung Pao Chicken
Bustling markets and lively street scenes Explore Jinli Street Hotpot, Dan Dan Noodles
Cultural heritage sites Visit Wuhou Shrine, Du Fu Thatched Cottage Gong Bao Ji Ding, Lazi Ji

Zhangjiajie – Best Dramatic Landscapes

Zhangjiajie, located in the Hunan Province of China, is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscapes that became the backdrop for the blockbuster movie “Avatar.” This sensational destination offers nature lovers an enchanting experience amidst towering sandstone pillars and lush greenery.

One of the must-visit attractions in Zhangjiajie is the vertiginous glass bridge, which allows visitors to walk above the breathtaking scenery. As you step onto the transparent floor, prepare to be mesmerized by the panoramic views that unfold beneath your feet. It’s a truly exhilarating experience that will leave you in awe.

For those seeking a more immersive adventure, embark on a scenic hike through Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Explore the mesmerizing trails that wind through the towering peaks and vibrant vegetation. As you navigate the trails, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale world.

Be sure to capture the breathtaking beauty of Zhangjiajie by bringing your camera along. Every corner of this natural wonder is worthy of a snapshot – from the misty mountains to the cascading waterfalls. Get ready to immerse yourself in the dramatic landscapes that have captivated millions.

“Zhangjiajie’s unique sandstone pillars and lush forests provide an otherworldly experience that feels straight out of a fantasy movie. The stunning landscapes here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.”

Exploring Zhangjiajie: Helpful Tips

  • Visit during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) for milder weather and fewer crowds.
  • Plan your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time in Zhangjiajie.
  • Comfortable footwear is essential for exploring the park’s numerous trails and staircases.
  • Don’t forget insect repellent, sunscreen, and a hat to protect yourself from the elements.
  • Consider hiring a local guide to enhance your understanding of the park’s history and significance.

Zhangjiajie – Highlights

Discover the top attractions and landmarks in Zhangjiajie:

Attraction Description
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Expansive park known for its dramatic natural beauty, including the iconic “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.”
Tianmen Mountain A majestic mountain offering breathtaking views, accessed via a unique cable car and the famous “Heaven’s Gate” cliffside glass walkway.
Baofeng Lake A scenic lake surrounded by lush greenery and limestone peaks, perfect for a boat ride or leisurely stroll.
Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve A stunning landscape featuring towering peaks, dense forests, and picturesque valleys.

Prepare to be captivated by the mystical beauty of Zhangjiajie. Whether you choose to explore the winding trails or conquer the glass bridge, this destination promises an unforgettable adventure among some of China’s most extraordinary landscapes.


China boasts a myriad of fascinating travel destinations that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you crave ancient wonders or breathtaking landscapes, this diverse country has it all. From the iconic Great Wall to the enigmatic Terracotta Warriors, each place showcases its own unique charm and beauty.

For those seeking a glimpse into China’s rich history, Beijing offers a perfect blend of ancient landmarks and vibrant city life. Explore the majestic Forbidden City, marvel at the architectural wonders of the Great Wall, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of this capital city.

If natural beauty captivates you, the picturesque landscapes of Guilin and Zhangjiajie will leave you in awe. Cruise along the ethereal Li River while admiring the dramatic karst peaks in Guilin, or step into a real-life Avatar-like world among the towering sandstone pillars of Zhangjiajie.

And let’s not forget the giant pandas in Chengdu! Get up close and personal with these adorable creatures at the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, and indulge in the vibrant food scene and bustling markets of this captivating city.

So pack your bags and embark on a journey of discovery through the best places to visit in China. Whether you’re an avid history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a city explorer, China’s travel destinations will leave you with cherished memories and a longing to return.


What are some of the best places to visit in China?

Some of the best places to visit in China include the Great Wall, Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin, Chengdu, and Zhangjiajie.

What makes the Great Wall a must-see attraction in China?

The Great Wall is an ancient military defense project spanning tens of thousands of kilometers, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. It can be explored by hiking, taking a cable car, or even camping on it.

Why should Beijing be on my travel bucket list?

Beijing, the capital of China, offers a perfect blend of ancient history and modern development. It is home to iconic attractions such as the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and Tiananmen Square. Exploring its traditional hutongs and immersing yourself in the rich culture are also highlights of the city.

What makes Xi’an a must-visit destination in China?

Xi’an is famous for its remarkable archaeological site, the Terracotta Warriors. These life-sized statues, dating back 2200 years, provide a unique opportunity for visitors to come face to face with ancient wonders.

Why is Shanghai worth exploring in China?

Shanghai showcases the best of past and future China, with its grand architecture of the Bund and futuristic skyscrapers of Pudong. The city offers a captivating blend of history and modernity, vibrant neighborhoods, delicious cuisine, and a bustling energy that will leave a lasting impression.

What makes Guilin a must-visit place in China?

Guilin is known for its stunning karst peaks, which provide a breathtaking backdrop to the scenic Li River and rice paddies. The ethereal beauty of this countryside landscape is often compared to a masterpiece scroll painting, making it a paradise for nature lovers.

Why should Chengdu be included in my China travel itinerary?

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is famous for its adorable giant pandas. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base offers visitors a chance to see these iconic creatures up close. Chengdu also boasts a vibrant food scene, bustling markets, and a rich cultural heritage.

What makes Zhangjiajie a must-visit destination in China?

Zhangjiajie’s towering sandstone pillars, made famous by the movie “Avatar,” provide a surreal and breathtaking backdrop for nature lovers. Exploring this stunning scenery through walking on the vertiginous glass bridge or taking a scenic hike offers a thrilling experience.

What are the best places to visit in China overall?

China offers a wide range of incredible destinations for travelers to explore. From the iconic Great Wall to the ancient Terracotta Warriors, each place has its own unique charm and beauty. Whether you’re seeking history, natural beauty, or vibrant cities, China has something to offer every type of traveler.

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