28 Beautiful Reasons to Visit China

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Traveling to China is not cheap given the long haul flights and expansive land in China, but every penny spent here is totally worth it.

China has a lot to offer – diverse cultures, spectacular Great Wall, beautiful scenery, delicious food and hospitable people.

These are some of the things I have summed up or in my eyes for people to have good experience in China.

1. Great Wall
Seeing and touching the Great Wall of China is the main reason why people travel to China. In Beijing you can visit multiple sections of the Great Wall. Some are repaired and renovated; some are half original and half renovated; some are just wild and unrestored. Great Wall Travel Tips.

Jiankou Great Wall

Jiankou Great Wall

2. Forbidden City
Built in 1406 to 1420, Forbidden City was the imperial palace for Ming and Qing dynasties ( 1420 – 1911) for over 500 years.

The complex comprises 980 buildings with 8707 rooms with an area of 180 acres. The Forbidden City epitomizes the traditional China palatial architecture. Forbidden City Travel Tips.

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

3. Terracotta Warriors
These vivid over 2000-year-old soldiers of Terracotta Army were discovered March 24, 1974 by a group of local farmers when they were digging a well.

Now this site of Terracotta army has been turned into a world famous attraction site, bombarded by tons of tourists visiting this museum. Terracotta Warriors Travel Tips.

Terracotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors

4. Shanghai
Though no match for the long history of Beijing and Xian, yet Shanghai has a unique story to tell: starting from a fishing village opened up 1842, Asia’s leading city in the 1920s and 1930s dubbed as “Paris of the East”, and today Shanghai has become one of the world’s largest metropolitan cities. Top 10 Attractions in Shanghai.

Shanghai

Shanghai

5. Yangtze River
The 6300-kilometer-long Yangtze River is the longest river in China. Yangtze River cruise usually refers to the cruise through the Three Gorges that are located between Chongqing and Yichang in the upstream area.

The Three Gorges are Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge, which are the most beautiful part of the Yangtze River. Yangtze River Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise

Yangtze River Cruise

6. Li River Cruise & Cycling Yangshuo
Cruising on Li River is the top thing to do during your Guilin tour. The 83-km long Li River from  Guilin resembles a jade ribbon flanked by idyllic paddy fields and green forested hills, and dotted with pinnacled peaks, yellow shoals, bamboo groves, odd shaped crags, deep pools and flying waterfalls. Li River Cruise and Cycling Yangshuo.

Li River Cruise

Li River Cruise

7. Hiking Longji Rice Terrace
Longji Rice Terrace, literally means “Dragon’s Backbone Terraced Paddy Fields”.  Longji Rice Terrrace area mainly refers to the rice terraces in the three forest-fringed villages –  Dazhai Village, Tiantouzhai Village and Ping’An Village.

For hiking lovers, you may hike up from Dazhai Village along the trails with English signposts. The time hiking up to No.01 and No.2, then back to the entrance takes about 4-5 hours.  Longji Rice Terrace Travel Tips.

Longji Rice Terrace

Longji Rice Terrace

8. Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge, located 60 kilometers north of Lijiang City, is one of the deepest gorges on the planet, and it has the best hiking trails in Yunnan.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is sandwiched by Jade Dragon Snow Mountain to the east and Haba Mountain with plenty of trekking trails.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge

9. Huangshan & Hui Villages
Huangshan Mountain is famed for its beautiful landscape – Staggering sunrise and sunset, fantastically shaped granite peaks, the gnarled forms of ubiquitous Huangshan pine trees, and the other-worldly sea of the clouds.

Hongcun Village is typical of Huizhou Dwellings, one of the vernacular dwellings in China, which are adapted to the characters of hills and waters there and gave full play to them. Hongcun Village is a village of rivers and lakes, like a Chinese paintingscroll rolling before you.  Huangshan Travel & Hongcun Village.

Huangshan

Huangshan

10. Hiking in Jiuzhaigou National Park
Jiuzhaigou literally means “Nine Village Valley” in Chinese. Listed as World Cultural Heritage in 1992, Jiuzhaigou is well known for its beautiful water – multi-level waterfalls and colorful lakes.

Jiuzhaigou is located in Jiuzhaigou County of the Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province, 436km north of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. Jiuzhaigou Travel.

Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou

11. Lhasa
Lhasa is one of the most”want to visit” cities in the world. People want to visit Lhasa either because of its remoteness or its impressive heritage of over a thousand years of Tibetan culture and religion. Top 10 Attractions in Lhasa.

Potala Palace in Lhasa

Potala Palace in Lhasa

12. The Silk Road
Silk Road in China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgizstan have been added the World Heritage list. The decision was announced at the 38th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage committee in Doha, Qatar on June 22, 2014.  Silk Road Tour.

There are numerous scenic spots and historical sites along the silk road: Jiayuguan Pass, the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang, Yangguan Pass, the Turpan Basin, Bazaar of Urumqi, Abakh Khoja Tomb, Idgar Mosque, Kashgar Old Town of Kashgar and (Kashi) and many more.

A Uyghur Girl along Silk Road

A Uyghur Girl along Silk Road

13. Yungang Caves
In a valley at Yungang, some 16km west of Datong, there are more than 45 recesses dug into the hills and filled with Buddhist statues of various sizes and shapes, 51,000 altogether, later called Yungang Grottoes ( Cloud Ridge Caves ) listed UNESCO World Heritage in 2001.  Yungang Caves Trip.

Yungang Caves

Yungang Caves

14. Pingyao
Experience a real ancient city in Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911) in China – one of the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. Pingyao is your ideal choice, a small ancient city in central Shanxi Province.

Pingyao lies about 700 km from Beijing, 500km from Xian and 100 km from Taiyuan.   Pingyao, Bring you 2700 Years Back.

Pingyao Ancient City

Pingyao Ancient City

15. Grand Buddha Leshan
Leshan City is about 145 km southwest of Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province. The city of Leshan is situated at the confluence of three rivers including Minjiang River, Qingyi River and Daduhe River. The world famous giant Leshan Buddha,  a statue of Maitreya in sitting posture opposite to the city of Leshan across the rivers.

This is the largest  cliff stone caved Buddha sitting sculpture.  Listed as UNESCO World Heritage together with Mount Emei 1982. Leshan Grand Buddha Leshan Trip.

Grand Buddha Leshan

Grand Buddha Leshan

16. Fujian Tulou
Fujian Tulou refer to the vernacular dwellings mainly inhabited by the Hakka People in the mountainous areas in the southwest Fujian Province of China. The Tulou are earthen houses, providing communal housing and reinforcing the structure of clans.

In July, 2008, Fujian Tulou were listed as World Cultural Heritage. A total of 46 Fujian Tulou sites including the major sites as Hongkeng Tulou Cluster, Gaobei Tulou Cluster, Chuxi Tulou Cluster, Nanxi Tulou Cluster and Nanjing Tulou Cluster. Chuxi Tulou Cluster.

Chuxi Tulou in Fujian

Chuxi Tulou in Fujian

17. Dunhuang
The monotonous desert landscape suddenly gives away to the green oasis with cultivated fields opposite the rolling sand dunes. But it is not just the oasis and the sand dunes that attracts a huge number of tourists coming to Dunhuang each year, it is the splendid Dunhuang Mogao Caves, a trove of Buddhist art in the high desert.  Dunhuang Trip.

Mogao Cave in Dunhuang

Mogao Cave in Dunhuang

18. Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is located in the northwest of Hunan Province. The city of Zhangjiajie has two administrative districts – Yongding District ( downtown area ) and Wulingyuan District (Wulingyuan Scenic Area). Yongding District and Wuling District are approx.30km apart.

Wulingyuan Scenic Area was listed with UNESCO World Heritage 1992. Wulingyuan Scenic Area are  famous for its unique hills, queer rocks and peaks, tranquil valleys, clear streams, abundant fauna and flora and hospitable climate. Top 10 Attractions in Zhangjiajie.

Wulingyuan Scenic Area

Wulingyuan Scenic Area

19. Fenghuang
The old town Fenghuang is located in  the west of Hunan Province, about 210 km from Zhangjiajie, 430 km from Changsha and 37 from Jishou. Fenghuang, literally “Phoenix”, is  named after its neighboring mountain that resembles a flying phoenix. Fenghuang old town is mainly inhabited by the minorities dominated by Miao and Tujia.

The old town Fenghuang features a magnificent riverside town dotted blessed with wooden stilt houses, stone flagged pathways, winding bridges and charming rivers. Just walk randomly in the old town, you will see the old city wall, elegant bridges, former houses of celebrities, old temples ans museums.

The old town Fenghuang

The old town Fenghuang

20. Cruise up Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour, one of the most popular travel tourist attractions in Hong Kong, is a natural landform harbour situated between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula.Victoria Harbour covers an area of about 41.88 square kilometers. Victoria Harbour is world-famous for its magnificent panoramic sight.

Tower on the Victoria Peak is the best place to soak in the beautiful view. Vistas from the Culture Centre and Tsim Sha Tsui are also very nice. Number of people go for rides on the Star Ferry to see the harbour.

Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour

21. Yuanyang Rice Terraces
Yuanyang County is located in Honghe Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture in the south of Yunnan Province.  It is a Hani minority settlement with vast rice-terraced mountains. Part of the area now forms the 45th World Heritage Site in China.

The terraced paddy fields on the slopes are the collective masterpieces of labor by Hani minority people in their successive generations. Picturesque hilltop villages,  rice fields bouncing off mesmerizing colors at sunrise and sunset are your reason to make efforts to come to the Hani’s place.

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

Yuanyang Rice Terraces

22. Labrang Monastery
Labrang Monastery is located on the north of Daxia River in the west of Xiahe County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province.

This most important Tibetan monastery outside Tibet was first founded by Ngagong Tsunde, the first generation of Jamyang from nearby Ganjia in 1709. it is an important monastery of the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat Sect.  How to Visit Labrang Monastery.

Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery

23. Diaolou Kaiping
Kaiping County, 130km southwest of Guangzhou is highly recommended. Kaiping is world famous for its Diaolou (fortified village houses ), pristine villages and old townships.

Kaiping Diaolous and villages were named as World Cultural Heritage in 2007 for their harmonious fusion between Chinese and Western structures.  How to Visit Diaolou Kaiping.

Diaolou Kaiping

Diaolou Kaiping

24. Mt. Everest Base Camp
Mt.Everrest Base Camp is about 8km south of Rongbuk Monastery. In the middle of the way between the Camp and the Monastery, there is a “Tent Community”, also known in the tourist book as “Za-Rombuk”. The “tent community” is set up by locals for 6 months of each year.

The tents in Za-Rombuk seems cozy and warmer, and friendly. Climbers or leisure travelers share their temporary home. The tents are windproof, spacious. Heating comes from the stove in the middle of the room which burns yak and goat dung.  My trip to Mt. Everest Base Camp.

Mt. Everest Base Camp

Mt. Everest Base Camp

25. The West Lake Landscape
Hangzhou West Lake Landscape was listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 24,  Once the ancient capital of China in the 12th and 13th centuries during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127–1279‎), Hangzhou is now the capital of Zhejiang Province, about 200km to the southwest of Shanghai.

Hangzhou is the most beautiful garden city in China famous for its picturesque West Lake, the ancient canal, lakeside temples and historic buildings. It boasts lots of local products, like silk, Xihu silk umbrellas, color-glazed porcelain, Longjing tea, and white chrysanthemum,etc.  Night View of West Lake in Hangzhou.

Sunset over the West Lake

Sunset over the West Lake

26. Kanas Lake
The Kanas Lake (Kanasi Hu) means “beautiful, rich and mysterious” in Mongolian. The lake is nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay. The lake is 1,374m above sea level and covers an area of 45 sqkm (10 times bigger than Tianchi on Bogda Mountain) with the deepest point of 188m.

The long bean-shaped lake reflects the surrounding snow capped mountains. The tour guide on the boat says that the Kanas Lake in autumn is at its best with the beautiful foliage.

Legend has it that huge monsters live in the lake. They often take away horses and camels drinking into the water by the lake and later swallow them, a similar story of “Nessie Monster”.  Trip to Kanas Lake.

Kanas Lake

Kanas Lake

27. Narat Grasslands
Narat Grassland is about 180km long from east to west along the river bed sandwiched by the mountains of Tianshan in three sides, the east section of Ili valley.

The famous Ili River zigzags through Ili Valley. Ili River is formed by its principal three tributaries Kashi, Kunes, and Tekes. Kunes River is the upper reaches of Ili River, passing through the river bed of Narat Grassland.  Trip to Narat Grassland.

Narat Grassland

Narat Grassland

28. Badain Jaran Desert
Badain Jaran Desert is definitely the highlight of the adventurous drive. Badain Jaran Desert boasts the highest stationary dunes in the world (the tallest dune over 450 meters, extending over 5 km in length) and the third the largest desert in China with an area of over 49,000 sq.kilometers.

Badain Jaran literally means “mysterious lakes” in Mongolian. As its name suggest,  Badain Jaran Desert is dotted with over spring-fed 140 lakes. All  the lakes reside among the gigantic sand dunes, creating the most mesmerizing desert landscapes in the world.  A Glimpse of Badain Jaran Desert.

Badain Jaran Desert

Badain Jaran Desert

Add-on:
Top 10 Places in China

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