This Yangtze River city, along with Chongqing, is a starting point for travelers taking a cruise down the great river, particularly those interested in seeing the famous Three Gorges and massive Three Gorges Dam downstream from the city.
Russian, Japanese, and Korean influences come together in the beautiful coastal city of Dalian, which is consistently ranked as one of China’s most livable cities. Beaches, mountains, historic European-style architecture and its pleasant summer climate bring visitors to this northern city that’s managed to develop without losing what made it great.
The distinctly Russian feel of this northern city comes from onion domes and facades of old buildings and boulevards and even the hearty Northeastern Chinese and Russian cuisines served up in Harbin’s most popular restaurants. Harbin may be best known for its Siberian tiger reserve and the yearly Harbin Ice Festival, when sites around the city become winter wonderlands of neon-lit ice castles and reproductions of world monuments.
This former German colony gains world-wide fame from the horribly mangled name of Tsingtao Beer (pronounced the same as the city)—although not every China traveler knows its origins, they’re almost certainly familiar with the beer. Qingdao is renowned for both lovely sandy beaches and its historic German architecture, reflected even in some of this northern seaside town’s newer buildings.
Business was booming in the 18th century for the city known as China’s Wall Street. Travel back in time to Imperial China among centuries-old banks, businesses and private homes protected within the great city walls that still surround Pingyao today.
The coastal city once known as “Amoy” is among southeastern Fujian Province’s most beautiful locales. Former foreign concession Gulangyu, an island off the coast of Xiamen, is lined with European-style architecture among cobblestoned streets. From Xiamen, explore the amazing tulou, the round, fortress-like village-sized dwellings of the Hakka people.
The city once known as Canton still offers the realization of business dreams at today’s massive trade show the Canton Fair just as it did for 18th and 19th century Western merchants looking to crack the Chinese market. Many built their still-standing homes and businesses on Guangzhou’s beautiful Shamian Island.
One of Asia’s greatest financial hubs, Hong Kong is a world of its own where ancient Chinese tradition exists among one of its most imposing modern skylines. Whether you’re looking to hike the trails of the New Territories, lay out on the white sands of the islands’ beaches, shop for the hottest brands or the cheapest electronics, have fun for the whole family at Hong Kong Disneyland or to nosh on delicious Cantonese cuisine, your Hong Kong trip is sure to be a memorable one.
“China’s Las Vegas” is well known as the only place to gamble in China (legally, anyway). More than that, the former Portuguese colony offers the bright lights of modern entertainment alongside beautifully-preserved historic boulevards, squares and churches along with some of China’s most exotic cuisine. Mixing the diverse influences of this port city, Macanese cuisine brings together Chinese and European dishes with flavors from Africa, India, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Known as China’s “Spring City,” Kunming’s year-round mild climate and laid-back culture make it a popular destination. The gateway to Yunnan Province, the city is a great starting place for traveling in Southwest China but has plenty to offer in its own right from the natural, surreal beauty of the Stone Forest and serene Dian Lake to the historic halls of Yuantong Buddhist Temple and the botanical wonders of the Expo Garden.
Backpackers and travelers looking to escape the hubbub of China’s great cities have long made their way to Dali. While it’s no longer the off-the-beaten-path secret it may or may not have once been, it remains one of Yunnan’s most popular destinations for the beauty of nearby Er Lake and Cang Mountain as well as the local Bai minority culture.
The mystic fictional land of Shangri-La may or may not have been inspired by this mostly Tibetan county, known until recently as Zhongdian, but the cobblestone streets and Tibetan architecture of Yunnan’s celebrated mountain towns reflect the charm of the legend. Outside of Tibet proper, visitors to Shangri-La don’t need a Tibet Travel Permit.
Welcome to the land of the Mongols! Endless blue skies stretch out above undulating grasslands that go on towards the horizon around the capital of Inner Mongolia. Proud Mongolian people still celebrate their culture with horse racing and celebrations year-round, but especially during Nadaam Festival in late summer. The transmission of cultures that occurred during the height of Mongolian power is still evident in the city’s Tibetan Buddhist temples and historic mosque.