15 Best Cities to Visit in China

by Hui Ming
Beijing cityscape at the CBD

China, the world’s most populous country, is home to several ethnic groups and geographical regions, each with its own set of traditions and practices. Thus, its cities splendidly display this plethora of cultural traditions, and one may spend a lifetime discovering their many wonders.

China’s top cities are filled with wonderful sights like temples, palaces, and gardens to explore, and that’s not even mentioning the Great Wall of China or the Terracotta Army, two of the country’s most popular tourist destinations.

15. Chengde

The early rulers of the Qing Dynasty spent their summers in this beautiful location, which has pagodas, palaces, lakes, and more. When in Chengde, you really must see the incredible Eight Outer Temples complex. Simply said, this mountain resort is heaven on earth, what with its breathtakingly beautiful architecture and ethereally beautiful, meticulously maintained grounds.

14. Dali

Dali’s Old Town is a renowned tourist destination due to its picturesque setting at the foot of the stunning Cangshan Mountains and the presence of two equally spectacular city gates at its extremes.

Many visitors to Dali take advantage of the area’s beautiful weather and pure landscape by venturing into the neighboring mountains for a day of hiking along the meandering routes and trails and taking in the serenity and clean air. The Cloud Traveller’s Path is a wonderful walk that takes you up to 2500 meters.

13. Kashgar

Kashgar, a city on the ancient Silk Road, is surprisingly closer to Damascus than to Beijing. The city’s distant location in the most western portion of China, across a large desert, is one of the things that makes it so fascinating to tourists. Kashgar has been a major commercial hub for centuries, attracting a diverse population.

Visit the Old Town, famous for its Uyghur architecture and bustling bazaars, and fill your tummy with one of the city’s numerous delicious culinary offerings. As more and more Han Chinese move to the city, the beautiful Id Kah Mosque stands as a symbol of a culture that is increasingly under assault.

Don’t leave town without first checking out the Sunday market; it attracts throngs of people from all over Central Asia who have come to do business in the city.

12. Nanjing

Although Nanjing is known for its relaxed atmosphere, clean streets, and lush avenues, most tourists just stop in the city on their trip between Beijing and Shanghai. Despite its location on the Yangtze River, the former Chinese capital of Nanjing is generally neglected by tourists.

Taking a cruise along the Qin Huai River is a fantastic opportunity to explore many of the city’s attractions in a short amount of time. Numerous tourists who visit Nanjing and the surrounding vicinity do so primarily to see the many spectacular tombs and mausoleums that can be found there.

11. Harbin

Harbin, China, is in the very north of China, so it may be quite cold there. However, the city is famous for its annual Ice Festival, which draws millions of visitors. Due to its closeness to Russia, Harbin has a great deal of Russian cultural and architectural influence, making it a one-of-a-kind destination in China. St. Sophia Cathedral is a must-see.

The Ice Festival is a fantastic event, with everything carved out of ice and lights lighting them brilliantly, and it lasts for nearly two months, from December to February.

10. Suzhou

Suzhou, in eastern China, is a popular day excursion from the city of Shanghai. Suzhou is the most well-known water town in China, drawing visitors from all over the world to its beautiful gardens and ancient houses that line the canals. Small footbridges span the river, and paper lanterns dangle from the houses, making for a wonderful stroll along the canals.

The city has undergone a dramatic period of modernization over the last several decades, but it has preserved some of its historic character in the form of lovely neighborhoods and buildings. The Garden of the Humble Administrator is a wonderful spot to relax. Once the seat of power for the Wu Kingdom, the city of Suzhou now ranks among the world’s biggest. The city’s famed silk manufacturing and position in the Yangtze River Delta have drawn merchants and artisans from far and wide to its streets since the Silk Road’s earliest days.

9. Kunming

Kunming, China.

Discover the vibrant city of Kunming in China. Image source: TZIDO SUN/Shutterstock.com

Known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” this southern Chinese metropolis is an excellent jumping-off point from which to see the wonders of the stunning Yunnan Province. Yuantong Temple, located in Kunming, dates back to the eighth century and has stunning stone sculptures throughout the building and its grounds. The beautiful surroundings of Tanhua Temple are attracting more and more visitors every year.

8. Hangzhou

Tourists go to Hangzhou to take in the city’s famed scenery, which includes the picturesque West Lake and its most famous landmark, the Broken Bridge. A boat ride along its calm seas is lovely, and you may explore the area’s many unique islands.

There are many stunning vistas to be seen in this region, thanks to the abundance of temples and pagodas and the reflective water behind them. Lingyin Temple, one of the most visited attractions in the nation, is located in this stunning metropolis.

7. Guilin

Giulin and its surrounds include exotic landscapes that are sure to wow any visitor. Simply sitting back and letting the boat carry you down the Li River, taking in the amazing karst characteristics of the countryside as they pass by, is a really enchanted experience. Shrouded in mist, they have a mystical air, and if you make your way into the heart of beautiful Yangshuo, you will discover caves and grottoes tucked away in the underbrush. Guilin is a stunning city, and many tourists visit the Moon and Sun Pagodas to take in the breathtaking scenery.

6. Guangzhou

Guangzhou’s position on the Maritime Silk Road means it possesses old historical monuments and, thanks to the different influences of merchants, an eclectic mix of architectural styles that date back over two thousand years. Guangzhou, the third biggest city in China, is a bustling and chaotic destination to visit, and its massive size may threaten to be overpowering.

The Liurong Temple and the beautiful Huaisheng Mosque, both built in 627 A.D., are two examples of the country’s earliest temples that may be found within the city’s never-ending concrete jungle. Guangzhou, China, is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population and a lively atmosphere. A cruise down the river at night, past the city’s glittering skyscrapers, is sure to be one of the highlights of any visit to Guangzhou, and the city also has the highest concentration of restaurants per resident of any city in China.

5. Lhasa

Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, is a stunning destination because of its stunning Himalayan location. The most impressive sight in all of Tibet is undoubtedly the Potala Palace. The old and wonderful Buddha statue housed at Jokhang Palace, Tibet’s most valuable property, makes the palace itself worth a visit. Those interested in learning more about the Tibetan culture will find this region of China quite foreign.

4. Xi’an

Seeing everything in Xi’an may be challenging since the city is filled with ancient landmarks. In any case, seeing the Terracotta Army and its magnificent steeds is a must. The old city walls that surrounded Xi’an and made it the Ming Dynasty’s capital are also worth seeing. Xi’an served as the imperial capital for a total of thirteen dynasties, spanning more than a thousand years and a total of 73 emperors.

Even though the city has been drastically altered by modernisation, several landmarks remain that attest to Xi’an’s previous greatness and its role in the development of what we now know as Chinese civilisation.

3. Shanghai

Shanghai, being the most populous city in China, is a vibrant metropolis with a wide variety of attractions. The tall skyscrapers that line the Huangpu River are a sight to see, and, perhaps unexpectedly, there are several Art Deco structures to be found there. The Bund, a stretch of riverside land with a variety of colonial-era structures, is the first stop for most visitors visiting Shanghai.

The Bund, often known as “the museum of buildings,” is a monument to the city’s history of foreign imperial domination. Shanghai’s fast development over the previous century has resulted in a city that is a fascinating jumble of architectural forms and a fantastic place to do some serious retail therapy. Visit the historic district of Old Town and the beautiful, enclosed Yuyuan Gardens to get a feel for the city as it was in the past.

2. Hong Kong

A city of skyscrapers on Victoria Bay, with forested mountains as a magnificent background. Victoria Peak, which is conveniently located nearby, provides a breathtaking panorama of Hong Kong’s glittering skyline. Taking to the sea and gazing upward at the skyscrapers that spread out before you is another great way to soak in the scenery.

The diversity of cultures and peoples in cosmopolitan Hong Kong is one of the attractions of this fascinating city. What with it plus the bustling markets, it’s a shopper’s dream! If you’re a nature lover and you need to get away from the city, Lantau Island is a terrific option.

1. Beijing

Beijing, the nation’s capital, is home to more than twenty million people, making it a teeming metropolis with plenty of room to roam and a wide variety of sights to see. Many visitors begin their explorations at Tiananmen Square, a vast open space surrounded by opulent palaces and temples like the Forbidden City, which formerly served as the seat of imperial power. There is definitely a lot to see, what with over a hundred museums spread out around the city and a number of palaces, temples, and historic monuments scattered amid the encroaching contemporary structures.

It’s highly recommended that you eat your way through the streets. Some of the most beautiful sections of the Great Wall of China may be reached in under an hour by car from Beijing. It’s a remarkable feat of engineering to get it to wind its way through the countryside’s hills and mountains.

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