Top 10 Sightseeing in China
The impressive length of the territories and the long history of the Celestial Empire allow us to offer a huge variety of attractions. The China Highlights team has prepared for you the Top 10 most popular attractions in China – a list of must-see places to visit during your trip.
1. Great Wall of China
As many travelers say: “You haven’t been to China if you haven’t been to the Great Wall of China.”
China’s most recognizable symbol, the Great Wall of China is considered to be the longest defensive structure in the world. Its winding path winds through rugged terrain amidst stunning scenery of steep mountain slopes. It is not without reason that the Great Wall of China is listed among the New Seven Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
This great monument of history and architecture stretches over 8,000 kilometers from China’s western border to the east coast. However, most of the well-preserved sections of the wall are near Beijing. It is this part of the wall that is usually referred to when talking about the Great Wall of China.
Find out more about the Great Wall of China:
- Which sections of the Great Wall of China to visit?
- Mutianyu section of the Great Wall
Recommended Great Wall Tours:
- Golden Triangle Tour
- One Day Great Wall Tour
2. The Terracotta Army in Xi’an
The Terracotta Army has been underground for over 2,000 years. However, in 1974, local peasants digging a well made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in the world. In 1987, the Terracotta Army was officially recognized as World Cultural Heritage.
It is of immense importance: hundreds of life-size warrior statues represent the army that, during the Warring States Period (475-221 B.C.), defeated all other Chinese armies. This victory was decisive in the formation of a unified Chinese state.
The question arises: what was the purpose of the construction of this famous cultural site? The answer will come when you come face to face with the warriors of the past.
Recommended Tours in Xian:
- Tours in Xian
- Hainan Island and Classic China
3. The Forbidden City in Beijing
Forbidden City – is the largest palace complex in the world. Once upon a time it was strictly forbidden for ordinary people to enter the area (hence the name – “Forbidden City”). Now everyone can admire this striking example of ancient Chinese architecture – more than 8,000 chambers with golden roofs elegantly decorated and painted in red and yellow.
The Forbidden City was an imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties until 1911 and served as the residence of 24 emperors for 560 years. A World Cultural Heritage site known to Chinese residents as the Palace Museum, it is a veritable treasure trove of Chinese cultural and historical relics.
Recommended Tours in Beijing:
- Tour of Beijing in 1 day
- Russian speaking Beijing tours
4. Weitang Quay in Shanghai
It was Shanghai’s most prosperous district in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. When the first British company opened its office here in 1846, Weitang Quay was the epitome of elegance.
Today Today the waterfront of the Bund – one of the most recognizable architectural symbols of Shanghai. Its European colonial-style architecture and impressive skyscrapers on the other side of the Huangpu River put it on par with New York or London. Find out about Shanghai’s best nightclubs .
Recommended Shanghai Tours:
- Tours with Children in Shanghai
- Shanghai & Zhangjiajie, 7 days
5. Li River in Guilin
Karst Landscape along the Li River has captured the hearts of many. Generations of Chinese artists and poets have found inspiration here, admiring the picturesque nature and capturing breathtaking landscapes. Today it is one of the most popular places among photography enthusiasts.
Li River and town of Yangshuo – is the first thing that comes to every Chinese person’s mind when they think of the charm and beauty of nature.
The most amazing scenery of the Li River can be seen between Guilin and Yangshuo, a stretch of 83 km long. The quaintly shaped hills, steep cliffs, peasant villages and bamboo groves are mesmerizing in their beauty.
Recommended tours in Guilin and Yangshuo:
- Li River Cruise, 1 day
- Guilin and Classic China
6. Big Panda Center in Chengdu
Big pandas are fondly loved not only by Chinese residents, but also by many foreigners, children and adults. You can see the big panda in many zoos in China and around the world, but if you are curious to observe the panda in its natural habitat, come to Sichuan province!
There are three places in Chengdu where you can see the great panda up close: the The Great Panda Research Center Big Panda Breeding Center, Big Panda Nursery Bifengxia and Dujiangyan Panda Valley.
The Big Panda Research Center in the northern part of the city is the most famous among tourists. The Bifengxia Nursery is a 2-hour drive from Chengdu, there are more pandas here and you can see them in their natural habitat. And even closer you can see the panda, by taking part in a volunteer program in Bifengxia or Dujiangyan Panda Valley, an hour’s drive from Chengdu.
Where to see the panda in China:
- Private tours in China to see pandas
- Yangtze River Panda Cruise Tour
7. Yellow Mountains (Huangshan)
In eastern China, near the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou, the picturesque area of the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) attracts tourists with its magic: incredible sunrises, a fabulous sea of clouds, bizarre shapes of rocks and trees and hot springs.
Huangshan – the most famous mountain range in China, is also rightfully considered one of the top three and most visited Chinese national parks. The other two, Zhangjiajie and Jiuzhaigou, are difficult to reach and therefore less popular. Find out about the list of Top 10 Most Beautiful Mountains in China
Zhangjiajie National Park is famous for its grotesque stone pillars that inspired the makers of the movie Avatar; Jiuzhaigou in Western China’s Sichuan Province is famous for its colorful lakes and picturesque fall foliage. If you are looking for unforgettable, breathtaking scenery, consider visiting these national forest parks!
Recommended tours to see the Yellow Mountains:
- Huangshan 3-Day Tour
- Metropolis Lights and Harmony of Nature Tour
8. Potala Palace in Lhasa
Potala Palace– the undisputed symbol of Tibet. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994. In this huge building, every architectural element and object inside speaks of Tibetan history and culture. The palace is famous for its sculptures, wall paintings and sacred writings. Here you can see chapels and mausoleums of the Dalai Lamas, who led the religious authority in Tibet at different times. We have prepared Tips for traveling in Tibet.
Recommended Tours in Tibet:
- Journey to the Roof of the World Tour
- 7-Day Tour to Tibet
9. Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong
Victoria Peak is undoubtedly the best place to see Hong Kong from a bird’s eye view. When in Hong Kong, make sure you get to the Victoria Peak Lookout and enjoy a view of Victoria Harbour – it’s well worth it both during daylight hours and at night when the lights come on at night to admire one of Asia’s and the world’s leading financial centers.
To get to the top of Victoria Peak you can take a special tramway which was first launched in 1888.
Recommended Hong Kong tours:
- Tours in Hong Kong with a Russian-speaking guide
- Hong Kong – Sanya, 9 days
10. West Lake in Hangzhou (Xihu Lake)
Hangzhou is known in China as “heaven on earth” – so strikingly beautiful is the nature of these places. West Lake (Xihu Lake) was created as part of a traditional Chinese garden, to relax and find harmony between the surrounding nature and yourself.
West Lake is a place of peace, the only reminders of the hustle and bustle of the city are the silhouettes of buildings in the distance to the northeast, and the other 3 sides of the lake are only mountains and nature.
The scenery is enchanting, the neat tree-lined paths, the green-covered islands and hills. Enjoy a boat ride on the lake, pagodas and arched bridges in the Chinese style.
Recommended Hangzhou Tours:
- 6 Days Tour Shanghai – Hangzhou – Shanghai
- 2 Days Tour of Hangzhou
Popular attractions without the crowds of tourists?
Want to know when is the best time to visit a particular city or museum? Perhaps you are planning a trip where you don’t have to wait for other tourists or lose time in endless stores?
We are a local tour operator, so we know very well about the peculiarities of each site and will be happy to answer all your questions.
Write to us and we’ll help you put together an itinerary for your trip to China that meets your expectations.