The 10 Best Places to Visit in China

Great Wall of China

Immerse yourself in a beautiful and unique culture by choosing China as your next holiday destination. There are so many reasons to visit, no matter if it's because you want to experience ancient Chinese history in one of the oldest cities in the world, Beijing, or if you're looking to adventure through more secluded natural surroundings like in Zhangjiajie. We've compiled a list of the ten best places to visit in China, detailed some of their one-of-a-kind attractions, and added some pointers so that all you have to do is get there!

#1. Beijing

Temple of HeavenTemple of Heaven

Beijing is one of the oldest cities in the world, and with it being home to over 13 million people, it is also one of the most populous cities in the world. Because of its immense diversity, you'll be able to see a combination of modern and traditional attractions. Be sure to allocate enough time to explore points of interest such as the Forbidden City in the historical heart of Beijing, the massive Palace Museum complex, and over 100+ museums and galleries that are scattered throughout the city. Of course, no trip to Beijing is complete without visiting the architectural marvel, the Great Wall of China.

  • Visiting Time: 3 to 5 days
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to October

#2. Shanghai

The BundThe Bund

The largest city in China by population, Shanghai is also one of the country's more well-known tourist locations. As a transportation and financial epicenter, you'll find Shanghai to be a very busy place that is a lot more congested than some of the other locations on our list. You'll find yourself amidst ancient structures and futuristic-looking skyscrapers all overlapping each other. Some of the more one-of-a-kind things to do include having a cup of coffee while people watching in the M50 art district, exploring the alleyways exploding with local culture, or walking the Bund waterside promenade at night and watching the sun set from Lujiazui Pier.

  • Visiting Time: 2 days
  • Best Time to Visit: October to November

#3. Hong Kong

Victoria HarborVictoria Harbor

Hong Kong is a farming and fishing village that completely transformed itself into a global commercial port and financial center. The city is filled with attractions and is sure to have something for everyone; you can spend your days visiting museums, theme parks, and shopping centers, and then eat, drink, and dance the night away at their array of restaurants, bars, and clubs. No matter your age or your interests, a visit to Hong Kong will guarantee that you have a memorable time. Some of the more one-of-a-kind experiences include taking a picturesque ride on the Peak Tram to the summit, taking in the Hong Kong skyline from Victoria Peak, meeting the Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha), spending a day at Hong Kong Disneyland, and searching for souvenirs at the hundreds of stalls at the Temple Street Night Market.

  • Visiting Time: 2 days
  • Best Time to Visit: October to December

#4. Xi'an

Terra-cotta WarriorsTerra-cotta Warriors

Home to historical sites such as the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang and his Terracotta Army, The Great Mosque of Xi'an, and the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an is a beautiful place to explore when visiting China. It is the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China and today, is an emerging megacity that has become a hub for cultural, industrial, and educational development. Outdoorsy visitors will be able to spend their time in Xi'an's several national parks such as the famed Mount Hua or Huaqing Pool which is a peaceful mountainside full of hot springs, gorgeous gardens, and scenic views.

  • Visiting Time: 2 days
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May

#5. Guilin and Yangshuo

Countryside in YangshuoCountryside in Yangshuo

Guilin and Yangshuo are some of the most picturesque cities you'll come across when visiting China. They're great places to enjoy outdoor activities, especially biking or hiking in Guilin. You can travel the stretch on land, but you also have the choice of taking a bamboo raft from Guilin to Yangshuo on the stunning Li River. This is one of the best ways to see the unique mountain structures towering parallel to the body of water. Downtown Yangshuo may not be as busy as Shanghai and a few other places, but you'll be pleasantly surprised at the bustling bars, restaurants, and cafes that are available there.

  • Visiting Time: 3 days
  • Best Time to Visit: April to October

#6. Chengdu

Panda in ChengduPanda in Chengdu

Chengdu is a megacity known for its relaxed atmosphere, housing a lot of peaceful and calm green space, and contrastingly, for its boisterous nightlife. One of the most popular attractions is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding where you can see the pandas in a replicated natural environment alongside swans, peacocks, and butterflies. Other things you have to do while you're there include feasting on local snacks and drinks at tea houses in Kuanzhaixiangzi, witnessing an elaborate water show at Tianfu Square, or seeing the futuristic interactive exhibits at the Sichuan Science and Technology Museum.

  • Visiting Time: 1.5 days
  • Best Time to Visit: March to June, September to November

#7. Lhasa

Potala PalacePotala Palace

Lhasa is located on the Tibetan Plateau, making it one of the highest cities in the world with an altitude of 3,490 meters. You'll find several attractions of historic interest there that will appeal to visitors of varying ages. A few of the must-visit places in Lhasa are the Potala Palace, which is now a museum but was once the chief residence of the Dalai Lama, Chokpori, which is one of the four holy mountains of central Tibet, and the Tibet Museum, which has over 1,000 artifacts in its collection. One of the best times to visit is during the spring and summer when Lhasa is home to the month-long Saga Dawa Festival which celebrates the birth of Buddha and his enlightenment.

  • Visiting Time: 2 to 3 days
  • Best Time to Visit: May to June and September to October

#8. Hangzhou

West LakeWest Lake

No visit to Hangzhou is complete without exploring one of its best known attractions, the UNESCO World Heritage Site - West Lake. The freshwater lake is filled with picturesque pagodas, temples, artificial islands, and gardens that will surely take your breath away. Other places of interest include the Grand Canal, Qiantang River, Xixi National Wetland Park, and Yuefei Temple. The city is making a name for itself in the tourism industry as an emerging technology hub and will surely grow further in the years to come as it has been named the site of the 2022 Asian Games.

  • Visiting Time: 1.5 days
  • Best Time to Visit: March to October

#9. Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie National Forest ParkZhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie is a beautiful land filled with unique sites and attractions for visitors of all ages to enjoy. People come from all over the world to explore Zhangjiajie's limestone caves, hidden valleys, and strange-shaped pillars. Be sure to head over to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park where you can see the stunning natural landscape of deep ravines, sandstone mesas, and dense forests. Walk on the wild side and hang off the cliffside walkways on the peaks of Tianmen Mountain or take a walk across the glass bridge at Grand Canyon.

  • Visiting Time: 3 days
  • Best Time to Visit: March to May and September to November

#10. Guangzhou

Canton TowerCanton Tower

The third biggest city after Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou has a thriving population of over 12 million people giving it a rich mix of old and new. For example, you'll be able to see some of the oldest temples in the country such as the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees one day, and then have an adventure-filled thrill on the state-of-the-art roller coaster rides at Chimelong Paradise the next. Be sure to head to the top of the 604-meter-high rooftop observation deck at Canton Tower to see a breathtaking view of your surroundings. Don't leave Guangzhou without purchasing a souvenir from Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street where you will all sorts of clothes, electronics, and trinkets.

  • Visiting Time: 2 days
  • Best Time to Visit: April to Mid-November

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