Best places to visit in CHINA (Part 1)
China has been attracting tourists for years. Rich with history and cultural heritage, China is a great place to immerse yourself in unique Asian culture.
China is known for so many things. Its huge size, it’s Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army, and of course, its rich and diverse cuisine that has spread all around the world and now loved by so many. But there is much more to China than that! China is so diverse and full of surprises that even the most experienced traveler will gasp in wonder.
But what to see in China? There are plenty of interesting places to visit and amazing things to do in China. It’s nearly impossible to tell you about all of them, so we had to choose our most favorite ones.
Best places to visit in China
Beijing is the capital of the People’s Republic of China.
Being rich with culture and history, it’s one of the best places to visit in China. In fact, it is the place where most tourists start their trip around China.
The best thing to do in Beijing is to explore its historical buildings and learn more about the history of Beijing and China.
Certainly, do not miss the Forbidden City – a large palace complex in the heart of Beijing. It’s one of the most impressive building complexes in China. It was the former Chinese imperial palace and served as home to emperors for almost 5 centuries. The Forbidden City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Tiananmen Square is another place in the heart of the capital you shouldn’t miss. It is impressively large and is considered one of the world’s largest and most famous city squares. It contains several important monuments.
2. The Great Wall of China
Many people believe if you haven’t climbed the Great Wall of China, then you haven’t been to China at all. Well, we think that is an exaggeration, but yeah, the Great Wall should be at the top of your list when visiting China.
The easiest way to get to the Great Wall is to join an organized tour from Beijing.
You probably know already, that due to its significance, the Great Wall is extremely popular among both local and foreign tourists. So, expect crowds. Especially if you are visiting sections of it which are very close to Beijing.
If you want to visit an uncrowded part of the wall and do not mind traveling by a local bus, head to Huanghuacheng or Jinshanling.
3. The Rainbow Mountains in Gansu Zhangye National Geopark
Have you always marveled at the beauty of the Rainbow Mountain of Peru?
Turns out Peru is not the only place on the planet where you can see such a beautiful natural phenomenon.
Good news for those traveling to China – you can see the Rainbow Mountain also in China, in Gansu Zhangye National Geopark.
There are two scenic areas in the geopark – Binggou and Danxia.
Binggou consists of sculptured rock formations and Danxia – of colorful rock formations which are a result of deposits of sandstone and other minerals. Danxia is one of the most beautiful landform areas in China and one of the best unique places to visit in China.
4. Yungang Grottoes
Yungang Grottoes are an ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes, and one of the most famous Buddhist sites in China.
These grottoes are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and they are classified as an AAAAA scenic area. This means that the grottoes are one of the most important and best-maintained sites in China.
There are so many caves in the area – more than 40 major caves and more than 200 secondary caves. These caves house thousands and thousands of Buddha statues of different height. The largest of them is 17 meters high.
5. Xi’an and the Terracotta Army
Xi’an is the gateway to the Terracotta Army which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole of China.
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the warriors and horses of the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. The terracotta sculptures are a funerary art, and were buried with the emperor to protect him in his afterlife.
Xi’an is not only the gateway to the Terracotta Army, but also has an impressive fortification in the city.
If you have extra time in Xi’an and love extreme outdoor activities, visit Huashan Mountain which is located some 150 km from the city. There’s a plank walk there, and it is considered one of the most dangerous hikes in the world! The views from the mountain are amazingly beautiful, too.
6. Jiuzhaigou Valley
Alpine landscapes in China? Yes!
Head to Jiuzhaigou in the north of Sichuan Province to see snowy peaks and breathe some fresh air.
Jiuzhaigou is a national park and a protected area, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just like the Yungang Grottoes, Jiuzhaigou is classified as an AAAAA scenic area.
The national park was opened in 1984, and tourist activity has been increasing every year.
The Jiuzhaigou is part of the Min Mountains and consists of three valleys. The national park has several lakes and waterfalls. High Lake, Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake, Rhinoceros Lake, and Mirror Lake are some of the most beautiful lakes.
7. Pingyao Ancient City
Pingyao is an ancient city in central Shanxi Province. The city used to be a regional financial center. Now Pingyao is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an AAAAA-rated tourist attraction.
Pingyao is one of the best places to see ancient Chinese architecture and get the feel of the “old times”. The city has well-preserved Ming and Qing architecture. Inside the city’s well-preserved walls you’ll find countless traditional shophouses, ancient temples and old courtyard houses.
China travel tips
- You need to apply for a visa before arriving in China. Check with the nearest embassy or consulate to learn what are the requirements. Citizens of only a few countries do not need a visa to enter China (in Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Belarus).
- Trains are the major mode of transport, and tickets can sell out quickly. So, book your tickets a few days in advance.
- Learn a couple of phrases in Chinese and write down important symbols. Make sure you have the destinations and hotel names written in Chinese. Also, offline Chinese dictionaries (or travel phrase guides) will help you get around China, where rarely anyone speaks English.
- Facebook, Google, Instagram, and many other webpages and services are blocked in China. If you wish to use them, download and set up a VPN before your trip.
- Download offline maps (e.g., maps.me work in China) and add all the places you want to visit the map.
- Weather is diverse in China. Do your research and dress appropriately.