From the country’s historical sites to the culture and scenery, China is filled with an array of attractions so it’s no wonder it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. People from around the world visit China to experience the very different culture and way of life, along with sighting some of the world’s most fascination ancient cities, natural wonders and the ever changing city lifestyles.
China is a diverse land with impressive natural beauty, including colourful alpine lakes, picturesque mountains, beautiful villages by the water and the inspirational sheer karst hills.
It attracts more than 50 million tourists every year, with the most popular cities for travellers including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Hong Kong.
Things to see and do
Beijing is known as the heart of China and is the first stop for the majority of travellers to the country. Te city has been the centre of politics and the economy for more than 800 years and is a modern metropolis with an ancient oriental charm.
Top attractions around the city include the Great Wall of China – one of the Eight Wonders of the World; the Forbidden City which is the largest and best preserved imperial palace in the world; and Tiananmen Square – the largest central city square in the world which includes the Tiananmen Tower, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, Monument to the People's Heroes and National Museum.
Beijing has some stunning royal gardens, including the Summer Palace which covers more than 700 aces, and Beihai Park, both of which are extremely popular for visitors; and while visiting its worth stopping off at the Temple of Heaven – where Emperors paid homage to heaven, the Alter of Earth used to worship the God of the Earth and the Great Bell Temple.
If you want to experience the best of modern China, Beijing’s options include the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Centre which were used in the 2008 Olympics; the Planetarium, Century Monument, Happy Valley, the Military Museum and World Park.
Tourists flock to Hangzhou for its unique environment and cultural experiences. It is the capital and the largest city within the Zhejiang Province, Eastern China, and has been ranked as one of the 10 most famous tourist cities in the country.
The famous West Lake is one of the most visited destinations and has been for many hundreds of years. It includes serene forests and springs, blossoms and uniquely shaped peaks, all of which are enhanced by a variety of other features such as Solitary Hill, where you can admire the views. The largest part of the lake is the Outer Lake and it is bounded by the North Inner Lake, Yuehu Lake, West Inner Lake and Lesser South Lake.
The city itself has some beautiful natural sights, including the Botanical Gardens; Running Tiger Spring which is famous for its fountain of high quality water; Mt. Putuoshan – sacred to Buddhists; and the Qiantang River Tide – which sees millions of people visit each year to watch the tide on the 18th day of the 8th lunar month – a tide which can rise up to 30 feet in height, with sounds like thunder.
Hong Kong - or Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (PRC), it’s full name - was a British colony until 1997 when it became part of the PRC. Hong Kong’s location on the southeast coast of China, between the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea, has made it one of the world’s most thriving cities and a fantastic tourist destination.
Though the city has changed dramatically over time, it has retained its spirit, from the sleepy fishing villages to the centre of the CBD. There is much to see and do.
If you are looking for some fun for the family, Ocean Park is one of the best theme parks in South East Asia and at 170 acres, it is one of the largest ocean parks in the world; while Disneyland Resort on Lantau Island has a range of special attractions, and of course – Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters.
One thing you won’t want to miss is The Peak – which has been Hong Kong’s most exclusive neighbourhood since colonial times. The Peak Tower has a viewing platform with spectacular views over the city, while the Peak Tram is well worth the ride as you watch skyscrapers pass by your window while you ascend The Peak.
For great shopping, don’t miss the Temple Street Night Markets where you can pick up a range of bargains, including electronics, jewellery and antiques, as well as some fantastic samplings of local cuisine.
The beautiful city of Shanghai was once a humble fishing village. Today it is one of the most dynamic and busy cities in China. Located on the estuary of Yangtze River, Shanghai is Eastern China’s centre for economic, financial and international trade. It is a perfect blend of modernisation and traditionalism and Chinese culture remains prominent.
There are plenty of options for the traveller to Shanghai and the Huangpu River offers a range of attractions, including the Bund – where you can enjoy a walk along the promenade and find recently built modern commercial houses, alongside grand buildings which were built in the 1930s.
Shoppers will love Nanjing Road, which is actually considered to be the Number One commercial street in China. Here you will find more than 600 shops over 5.5 kilometres, where you can buy everything from cheap souvenirs to brand name items.
If you want to get close to nature, visit the Yuyuan Garden, the largest ancient garden in Shanghai; enjoy culture and history at the Jade Buddha Temple; and see the tallest TV tower in Asia, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower which stands at 468 metres.
Must do Activities
Forbidden City – the best preserved and largest palace in the world, Forbidden City was the imperial palace o the Ming Dynasty and covers an area of 725,000 square metres with a building area of 155,000 square metres. It has 8,707 rooms and a 52 metre moat along the length of the palace.
The Great Wall of China was constructed between 770BC and 221BC and is one of the Eight Wonders of the World. The wall is 7.8 metres high, 6.5 metres across at its base and 5.8 metres at its top. It extends for more than 8,800 kilometres.
The Terracotta Warriors is a collection of terracotta figures that showcase the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It was discovered in the 1970s and there are three pits which hold over 8000 warriors, 130 chariots, 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses.
TEMPLE OF HEAVEN
The Temple of Heaven was built more than 500 years ago for emperors of Ming and Qing dynasties to use to worship heaven. It is the largest and best preserved place of worship in the country and occupies an area of over 2.7 million square metres.
Originating in Maoer Mountain at Xin'an County, Li River winds its way of 83 kilometers from Guilin to Yangshuo. Li River scenic area is the largest and most beautiful karst scenery in the world which has greatly intoxicated visitors since ancient times. The 83-kilometer-long sections from Yangshuo to Guilin enjoy the reputation of best scenery and essence of Li River, decorated with undulant and verdant hills, wonderful caves, leisurely boats and fishermen, which form a splendid hundred-kilometer picture gallery.
BEST NATURAL ATTRACTIONS, BEIJING
Stone Flower Cave
Jingdong Grand Canyon
Black Dragon Pool
Gubei Water Town
Fragrant Hills Park