China tourist attractions, where to begin? In a country that spans thousands of miles that include every possible type of terrain, China also has one of the oldest and most studied histories on the planet, making this country a traveler’s dream.Below are the top 10 most popular sights in China, ranked just for you.
1 – The Forbidden City
Sitting in the center of Beijing, The Forbidden City, or Palace Museum, is directly north of Tian’anmen Square, where an infamous portrait of Mao Zedong forever hangs on it’s palatial walls. This sprawling attraction can take hours to visit fully. As the imperial home for the Ming and Qing dynasty emperors from 1420 – 1912, the Forbidden City was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
2 – The Great Wall of China
Covering an area of over 5,500 miles (8,850 km), the Great Wall of China began construction over 2,000 years ago. The entirety of the wall itself is actually an intricate network of interconnected sections that were created during different Chinese dynasties throughout the years.
3 – The Terracotta Warriors
Discovered by accident in 1974, the Terracotta Army was buried in 210 BC with the first emperor of the Qin dynasty to protect him in the afterlife. Located in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, these pits consist of thousands of life-size figures, each with their own individually unique faces, hair and armor styles appropriate to their rank.
4 – Karst Mountains in Yangshuo
Pictured on the 20 Renminbi (Chinese currency) note, the Karst Mountains, located in the southern region of China known as Guangxi Zhuang, are famously beautiful within the country. Best viewed from Yangshuo, a small town outside of Guilin, make sure you bring your camera before you go.
5 – Hangzhou
Referred to in China as “Paradise on Earth”, Hangzhou is a picturesque city centered around the famed West Lake. The hills surrounding the city grow the famous Long Jing green too. Close to Shanghai, the city is a tranquility haven filled with gardens, temples, pavilions and historic streets.
6 – Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature reserve located in China’s Sichuan province. A beautiful example of China’s varied landscape, Jiuzhaigou is famous for crystal blue lakes and multi-level waterfalls.
7 – Potala Palace, Lhasa
Now a Chinese museum, the Potala Palace was traditionally the seat of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhists’ spiritual leader. Famous for its imposing white walls surrounding the inner red palace, the building sits 12,000 feet high (3,700 meters). The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
8 – The Bund, Shanghai
The Bund, meaning embankment, was historically the seat of Shanghai’s most powerful businessmen in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Bund is a fabulous place to see examples of Shanghai’s rich architectural history, illustrated by the HSBC Building, built in 1923 and at the time said to be “the most luxurious building between the Suez Canal and the Bering Strait.” (Quote source: Wikipedia)
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9 – Giant Pandas and Chengdu
Heading out to Chengdu is a great way to get a taste of Sichuan as well as an in-depth understanding of Giant Pandas at the Breeding Research Base.
10 – Hong Kong
See modern China – and Asia – at the cutting edge with a visit to Hong Kong. Walking down the Kowloon side promenade gives the traveler a view of some of the most beautiful modern architecture in China, dominated by the Bank of China Tower designed by I.M. Pei.