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Top 10 Places to Visit in China

The vast country of China is home to a rich variety of different things to do and see.  With many great attractions and several different landscapes, it can be difficult to know where to begin!

Luckily, China enjoys a great public transport system, meaning that visitors can get to and from the different wonderful places.  Long distance trains operate around most areas of the country, there are numerous bus services, and the majority of major cities have excellent internal transport systems.

A major problem, however, when visiting places in China can be the language.  Timetables are often only available in Chinese, announcements are only made in Chinese, and ticket vendors are very unlikely to understand another language.  Information about exhibits, historical events, and key places of is also only available in Chinese in many places.  Learn a few words to facilitate your travels in these 10 captivating spots and save yourself lots of potential headaches and hassles:


Photo by Brian Jeffery Beggerly

1. The Great Wall of China

The formidable Great Wall stretches for huge distances, and really is a sight to behold.  Built to keep Mongol invaders out of Chinese lands, it is also the world’s biggest graveyard!  Building such a huge and far reaching structure is no mean feat!  You can see the Great Wall from many different places in China, although the stretches near to Beijing are perhaps some of the easiest to access and most visited.

2. The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is a city within a city – within the hustle and bustle of China’s capital city of Beijing, step back in time to a world of ancient traditions, grandeur, and opulence in the imposing and majestic Forbidden City.  It was called this as it was forbidden for anyone to enter the fortified city without the express permission of the Emperor.  Don’t worry though – you are completely safe to wander around inside today!  See incredibly ornate buildings, stunning pagodas, intricate carvings, beautiful gardens, well appointed courtyards, and more.

3.The Terracotta Warriors

Lying in wait, ready to serve their master in the afterlife, the Terracotta Warriors are a relatively recent discovery.  Farmers working in their fields found one of X’ian’s best kept secrets.  Land around the life size soldiers has been excavated and a protective building constructed around them, but seeing the formidable army in all its splendour is definitely a China highlight.

 4. The Three Gorges

The spectacularly stunning Three Gorges are best seen on a Yangtze River cruise.  Feel as small as an ant next to the towering greenery glad cliffs, and be in awe of the picturesque scenery all around.  A cruise will also allow you to see the mysterious hanging coffins, the Yangtze River Dam, life alongside the river, and more.

5. The Bund

An iconic part of modern, lively, and exciting Shanghai, The Bund is a world famous river front.  Gaze up at the skyscraping marvels, be dazzled by the flashing neon lights, and enjoy the atmosphere in a leading global city.

6. The Gardens of Suzhou

You will perhaps not find a better selection of delightful traditional Chinese gardens anywhere else in China.  Suzhou is crammed with these inspirational, imaginative, and incredible gardens, with beautiful names such as the Lingering Garden, the Couples’ Retreat, the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty, and the Retreat and Reflect Garden.  Using all natural elements to recreate the world in miniature, visitors can wander past towering mountains, poke around in enticing caves, see cascading waterfalls, gaze at pretty pagodas, and more.

 7. Yungang Grottoes

In Northern China’s Datong you can visit the awesome and ancient Yungang Grottoes.  It is a legacy of Chinese Buddhism, complete with over 250 caves and more than a whopping 51,000 Buddha images!  It really will blow your mind!

 8. The Giant Panda Breeding Research Centre

In the heart of Chengdu, visitors can learn all about the iconic Chinese animal – the pretty and cute looking panda.  Visiting the centre also means that your money will go towards conservation efforts for the endangered animal.

9. Hainan Island

Do you ever think of China and see yourself winding down on a beach? No? Will then prepare yourself for a different side with Hainan Island, with its lively atmosphere, and a variety of attractions for all.  Take a few days to relax after all your other adventures!

 10. Potola Palace

The most important spiritual building in Tibet, Potola Palace is a must see.  Rising high into the air, it is home to literally thousands of rooms, pictures, ornaments, and statues.  Once home to the Dalai Lama, it is now a fascinating museum.  Despite Tibet’s struggle to become an independent nation, it is still an autonomous part of China.


Photo by David et Magalie

Of course, there are many other wonderful places to discover in China – have a go at learning a few vitals parts of the language before working your way through the list!