Top 10 China Travel Destinations

Written by Ruru Zhou Updated Jan. 3, 2023

Based on feedback from our customers, China Travel recommends the following 10 destinations in China to help you make your travel plans.

1. Beijing - Capital city of China

Beijing is a mixture of an ancient city a modern city. Travelers can explore imperial life in the Forbidden City Where the emperors and their empresses live during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Summer Palace is the imperial garden based on the traditional Chinese garden in Suzhou and Hangzhou deeply loved by Empress Dowager Ci Xi.

Hutongs stand for old Beijing's local life which should not miss in Beijing. In addition, travelers can enjoy a comfortable modern journey in Beijing. The Birds Nest and Water Cube at night are beautiful modern night scenery.

2. Shanghai - a charming metropolis

As one important port for visiting China except for Beijing, Shanghai has been the first destination for thousands of foreign travelers every year. Different from Xi'an, Shanghai is a symbol of modern China. Travelers can see numerous skyscrapers and experience a modern journey in Shanghai. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Jinmao Tower are the most famous modern buildings.

The night of the Bund is one highlight of the city and travelers can take a cruise along the Huangpu River to enjoy Shanghai's night scenery. If travelers want to see water towns, Zhujiajiao Water Town is easy to reach in Shanghai. And the Yu Garden downtown is a typical Jiangnan garden in Shanghai.

3. Xian - a city of history

Xi'an, also known as Chang'an, has been the capital of 13 dynasties. Travelers can mainly experience the culture in the Qin, Tang, Han, Ming, and Qing Dynasties now. It is a city that to explores old Chinese historic relics. Travelers should not miss the magnificent Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang which has been recognized as the 8th wonder in the world by French Former President Chirae.

The vivid Terra-cotta Warriors record the culture of the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC), which was the first imperial dynasty of China. The well-preserved Ancient City Wall of Xi'an is mainly built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

4. Guilin - beautiful landscape

To a lot of travelers, Guilin is their last city to visit before they leave China. Guilin in the south of China is famous for its karst hills, clear Li River, and blue sky. The natural karst landscape has attracted a lot of travelers, painters, and photographers. The Li River has been selected as one of the top 15 rivers by CNN in 2013.

And the Longji Terraced Rice Fields is not only a great place to experience Zhuang and Yao people's unique life, but also a wonderful area to see spectacular terraced fields. It is a must-visit destination in Guilin which is widely loved by photographers.

5. Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie in the northwestern part of Hunan Province is well known for its stone peak forest. There are marvelous hundreds of stone peaks with different shapes standing straight in the area. Together with Yangjiajie, Tianzishan, and Suoxiyu Nature Reserve, it is one part of Wulingyuan Scenic Spot. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Zhangjiajie. Zhangjiajie became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

Travelers can also experience Tujia people's cuisine and culture in Zhangjiajie City. Fenghuang Ancient Town in the west of Hunan Province is a great choice for travelers to enjoy the Miao people's culture and life.

6. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the most multi-layered cities in Asia and whether you spend 1 day or many years here, you’ll always discover something new the further you dig from the surface.

Today, you will feel the power of Hong Kong everywhere you go. In the Central district of Hong Kong Island, you’ll see men and women powering the financial heart of this world-class city. In the New Territories, families rush to get their children to school. Down in the Kowloon area like Kowloon Walled City Park and Kowloon Park, the most innovative fashions are just waiting to be mass-produced and shipped internationally, and luxury shopping and restaurants (with prices to match) cluster around the tip of Tsim Tsa Tsui. Along any shore, you’ll find new industries alongside traditional temples and fishing coves. To be sure, tradition and modernity exist hand in hand in Hong Kong.

And although it is famously known as one of the tallest cities in the world (skyscraper forests dominate all the urban views), Hong Kong is not only about concrete and glass. In fact, the majority of Hong Kong’s official property is still natural and often in the form of protected parks. The Pacific archipelago offers green mountains and virgin beaches just a short bus ride from any point in the city, making Hong Kong the perfect urban and natural getaway depending on what you’re looking for. 

7. Chengdu

A lot of travelers are touched by Chengdu's leisure life. Located in the southwest of China, Chengdu is giant pandas' hometown. Travelers should not miss the pandas in Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu or the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya'an. Jinli Street and Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley are great places to enjoy a leisure life in Chengdu.

Taoist culture influences the city, so travelers can visit some Taoist relics such as Qingyanggong in the downtown and Qingcheng Mountain. The natural landscape in the west of Sichuan and Jiuzhaigou has attracted hundreds of travelers. Autumn is the best time to visit the areas.

8. Hangzhou

Hangzhou is easily reached from Shanghai. The West Lake shows travelers different scenery in four seasons. For example, summer is a great time to enjoy a large field of lotus flowers and winter is the time to see the white snowy West Lake. There is a proverb to describe Hangzhou's beautiful scenery: there is a paradise in the sky, and there is Suzhou and Hangzhou in China.

Hangzhou is famous for its Longjing Tea, so travelers can visit a tea garden and drink some fresh tea. Meijiawu Tea Culture Village is the most popular tea garden in Hangzhou. Besides, it is convenient to visit Wuzhen and Xitang Water Towns from Hangzhou.

9. Suzhou

Located in the golden delta of the Yangtze River, Suzhou has convenient transport from Shanghai. It is famous for ancient private gardens and water towns. The Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing is built based on Suzhou's gardens. The Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden are typical historical private gardens in China. Together with the Summer Palace and Emperor Kangxi's Summer Mountain Resort in Chengde, the two gardens are among the top 4 gardens in China.

Take a small boat along the river is one of the best ways to enjoy a leisure journey in Suzhou. A lot of new couples head to Suzhou to spend their honeymoon. Zhouzhuang and Tongli Water Towns near Suzhou are popular destinations among travelers.

10. The Yellow Mountain

The Yellow Mountain is a popular mountain all year round. It has been one of the World Heritage Sites in 1990. The sunrise, oddly pine, strange stone, cloudy sea, and hot spring are 5 highlights of the Yellow Mountain. Tiandu Peak, Lotus Peak, and Guangmingding Peak are the 3 main peaks on the mountain. The snowy Yellow Mountain is new scenery in winter.

A lot of travelers will leave for the Yellow Mountain from Hangzhou and Shanghai. The Yellow Mountain is decorated with numerous flowers in April. July is the best time to see a sunrise and sunset. There are Taoism temples scattered in the Yellow Mountain for travelers to experience Taoism culture.

China Domestic Travel Restrictions 2023

Since Jan.3, 2023, travelers will no longer need to quarantine and PCR test upon arrival on China's mainland. Currently, foreign travelers may enter China for work or humanitarian reasons. Read on to know more about 2023 China travel restrictions. More>>

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