The otherworldly landscapes and revered temples of the “roof of the world” have long called to explorers, travelers and dreamers alike. Wipe away the mists of imagination and meet the real people of Tibet—bargain for wares and souvenirs in Barkhor Square, witness Buddhist monks debate the finer points of theology and meet reverent worshippers as they make pilgrimages to the holy sites of the Tibetan capital and important cities outside Lhasa.
China’s capital city, this is the first stop on most trips to China and with good reason. From the serpentine Great Wall to the north to the historic halls of imperial power at the heart of the city, the incredible concentration of China’s top attractions make Beijing a must-see city!
Home to the world’s laziest bear, the famously cute giant panda, Chengdu is also known throughout China for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, fiery face-changing shows and a unique culture that traces its roots back to the Shu Kingdom and Bronze-age Sanxindui civilization. While the newly-built world’s largest building, the New Century Global Center, is garnering global headlines, famous Chengdu attractions like the nearby Leshan Giant Buddha still amaze and awe. It’s a historic city comfortable in its own cultural skin even as it becomes one of China’s most important modern cities.
Lakes of an unreal bright blue. Beautiful, wide, tumbling waterfalls. Rolling hills that change their colors with the season. Traditional Tibetan hamlets. One of China’s most famous national parks, Jiuzhaigou makes for a great natural getaway from the urban sprawl of eastern China.
Images of water buffalo and boatmen paddling traditional boats along the sleepy Li River against a backdrop of narrow, foliage-draped karst peaks look like something out of a Chinese painting-inspired dream. Or Guilin. Enter a world where serene natural scenes of rice paddies, mountains and rivers aren’t confined to a two-dimensional image.
More than 6,000 life-size Terracotta Warriors stand guard after thousands of years outside the history-rich ancient capital. Within the ancient city walls that encircle the heart of Xi’an, the city’s Muslim quarter offers up some of the favorite cuisine of old China hands.
China’s Huang Shan, or “Yellow Mountain” appears like something out of a painting—jagged spires rising up through rolling cloud cover as trees cling on reaching out and skyward. It’s no wonder these fantastical peaks inspired Chinese poets and painters for centuries as they continue to inspire travelers today. The nearby town Huangshan is of interest in its own right for its Huizhou culture.
Shanghai was introduced to the West as the East’s city of sin during its decadent turn as a foreign treaty port at the turn of the century. Today, it is one of China’s most dynamic and modern cities. Even after hosting the World Expo in 2008, Shanghai hasn’t slowed down, building some of the world’s largest skyscrapers and hosting world events like the China F1 and Shanghai Rolex Masters. It’s where East meets West and old meets new.
Cobblestone streets wind along murmuring streams and between charming Naxi minority-style buildings in Lijiang Old Town. The snowy peak of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain looms above the calm waters of the Black Dragon Pool at the edge of Old Town. Adventure beckons from the opposite slope of the mountain that descends into the breath-taking Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The most remote major city from the sea in the world, Urumqi exists among environmental extremes: snow covered peaks and glacial lakes, lush grasslands where nomadic peoples graze their herds and dry, barren deserts where the remains of great cities of ancient times sit empty. Far west Xinjiang’s capital city introduces travelers to cultures and cuisines that grew along the trade routes of the ancient Silk Road.
The classical Chinese gardens of Suzhou have been recognized by UNESCO as world treasures and for good reason. Built to reflect Chinese art and poetry, they create a delicate world that balances the accidental beauty of nature and the refined beauty of landscaping and architecture. Suzhou has one of the greatest concentrations of famous gardens in all of China making it the ideal place for a stroll into classical South Yangtze culture.
Poets and artists going back over a thousand years waxed eloquent about taking pleasure boats on Hangzhou’s West Lake and exploring the gardens, pagodas and pavilions that surround the city’s most popular attraction. Home to one of China’s most famous teas, ancient pottery traditions and more, scenic and historic Hangzhou is a fabulous place to explore classical Chinese culture.
This pulsing heart of China’s interior has grown into one of the country’s largest cities. Many come to Chongqing for a cruise on the mighty Yangtze River and into the impressive Three Gorges. Continue on down the country’s major artery to witness another of China’s superlatives, the giant Three Gorges Dam.
The singing sands of Baotou’s Resonant Sand Gorge once warned travelers of the great expanse of desert that lay before them but now herald the beauty of the dunes of the Gobi, brought conveniently closer to Baotou by bus. An industrial city reinventing itself greener, Baotou is also believed to be the final resting place of Genghis Khan.
Beijing Lhasa Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Guilin Xi’an Huangshan Shanghai Lijiang Urumqi Suzhou Hangzhou Chongqing Baotou Yichang Dalian Harbin Qingdao Pingyao Xiamen Guangzhou Hong Kong Macau Kunming Dali Shangri-La Hohhot >> All city tours
It’s hard to say whether heaven is up in the sky or down in the sea. Let’s see where you can enjoy the blue happiness across China in the best season for family day!
# Beijing: Pacific Undersea Garden
Best time to visit: May – October
Admission: CNY 90
Features: Mysterious pirate boat; motion simulator; dance with sharks;colorful jellyfishes
# Hong Kong: Hong Kong Ocean Park
Best time to visit: March – October
Admission: HKD 280
Features:The biggest aquarium in Southeast Asia; amusement park equipped with artificial waves, free-fall drop from 60 metes high to get a panorama of the seaside, roller coaster; ocean express to have an immersive experience of ocean bed.
# Qinhuangdao: The New Australian Underwater World
Best time to visit: May, June, September, October
Admission: CNY 60
Features: Mermaid dancing with her friends; underwater city presenting the consequences of human activities
# Dalian: Dalian Sun Asia Ocean World
Best time to visit: April — September
Admission: CNY 110
Features: The world’s aquarium themed by ocean adventure, such as passing steel cable bridge, steering the polar spacecraft
# Qingdao: Qingdao Underwater World
Best time to visit: May, June, September, October
Admission: CNY 90
Features: Seabed performance hall, seabed wedding
# Shanghai: Shanghai Aquarium
Best time to visit: September – November
Admission: CNY 160
Features: Show the marine lives according to continents and regions including an area showing Chinese endangered species
# Changsha: Changsha Underwater World
Best time to visit: April – September
Admission: CNY 110
Features: Underwater ballet; water park amusement
# Hangzhou: Hangzhou Polar Ocean Park
Best time to visit: April – November
Admission: CNY 175
Features: The biggest white whale showcase in the world; the world’s largest polar ocean park
# Xiamen: Xiamen Underwater World
Best time to visit: April – November
Admission: CNY 70
Features: Three-stored high fish showcase; feeding show
# Sanya: Yalong Bay Undersea World
Best time to visit: January – December
Admission: Free (extra charge for activities)
Features: Real ocean world; natural environment of coral reels; ocean and beech sports
The former Expo pavilion while small houses ice sculpture based on the Four Great Inventions, Tiananmen Square, the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and other celebrated physical and spiritual highlights of China.
Look at the landmarks below, could you recognize them all?
How to get there: Yaohua Rd Station, Metro Line 8
When swimming pools and water parks are as full as a bowl of dumpling , these places are no longer ideal for you to beat the heat.The following water villages in China promise you a more decent way to escape the burning hot summer.
# Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province
Wuzhen is a national 5A scenic area and one of China’s top ten historical & cultural towns.
Having a history of 1300 years, Wuzhen has kept its way of life since its foundation in 872 A.D..The traditional buildings have survived hundreds of years of weathering but remain intact today. In 2001, Wuzhen was named as a candidate for UNESCO’s World Cultural Heritage List.
Its location at the golden triangle consisting of Shanghai, Hangzhou and Suzhou creates a land of milk and honey.
Highlights: shadow play, water market
# Xitang, Zhejiang Province
Xitang is another renowned water village in Zhejiang. Its history dates back to at least the Spring and Autumn Period. Though resembling Wuzhen in many ways, the two ancient water towns still differ in some aspects. Say for example, tourists are forbidden to stay overnight in Wuzhen since the whole town has been protected as a scenic spots in a commercial atmosphere and few locals is still living there. By contrast, Xitang is more open and delivers a fusion of local culture and tourism; in other words, you are more possible to see the original customs and practices in Xitang.
highlights: local life, tradtional food
# Wuyuan, Jiangxi Province
Wuyuan, on the boundary of three provinces in Jiangxi’s northeastern corner, has a landscape dotted with strange caves, deep secluded rocks and numerous historic sites. Wuyuan County is home to some of the best-preserved ancient architecture in China which can date back in 740 during the Tang Dynasty.Its remoteness and inconvenient transportation protected the villages from too many visitors. The best season to visit is the peak time of canola flower — when stetches of golden cover the land.
Highlights:canola flower, architecture
# Hong Village, Anhui Province
The village near to Huangshan is arranged in the shape of an ox with the nearby hill interpreted as the head, and two trees standing on it as the horns, four bridges across the Jiyin stream being the legs whilst the houses of the village forming the body. Inside the “body”, the Jiyin stream represents the intestines and various lakes such as the “South Lake” (Nanhu) form the other internal organs.
The architecture and carvings of the approximately 150 residences can date back to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The village became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The colors of black, white and grey constitute a Chinese ink and wash style, different from the water towns at Yangtze delta. Scenes from “Crouched Tigher Hidden Dragon” were shot here.Scenes from “Crouched Tiger Hidden Dragon” were shot here.
Highlight: Hui culture, architecture
Love will be sure to heat up next week in China, not only because of the scorching weather, but also for the truth that Chinese Valentine’s Day falls on August 13, next Tuesday, this year according to the Chinese lunar calendar. Just like the Western Valentine’s Day, men will reckon their brains to surprise their ladies on this meaningful day. Here comes an unique idea: what about an escape from the city to water village?
One of the fabulous water villages of China, Wuzhen, will hold a series of events on Chinese Valentine’s Day. Besides the usual cruise on the water and sightseeing, you can watch an outdoor movie, send a love postcard and try making a traditional handicraft, plus a candlelight dinner in the old town.
# Bamboo Forest China
Bamboo Forest National Park, also known as Shunan Zhuhai in Sichuan province is the second batch National Park of China. The Park’s area is around 120km. Scenes from the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” were shot here.
# Canola Flower Field
You can witness an amazing “Golden Sea” of canola flowers in different places across China from early spring time to June. The picture is taken in a small village called Luoping in Yunnan province. Vast farmlands get covered in golden, yellow rapeseed flowers stretching farther than the eyes can see, all the way to the horizon.
# Fields of Tea
When you travel to the coastal province of Zhejiang, don’t forget to have a sip of its famed green tea Longjing; neither can you miss the gorgeou green tea fields.
# Red Beach China
Red beach, located in Dawa County, Panjin,Liaoning province, is famous for its landscape featuring the red grass genus Sueda. It is based in the biggest wetland and reed marsh in the world. Home to hundreds of bird species, the landscape is composed of shallow seas and tide-lands. Red beach is easily accessible from Beijing.
# Tianzi Mountain
Tianzi Mountain is located in Zhangjiajie in the Hunan Province of China. This means “son of heaven” and is the traditional epithet of the Chinese emperor. The main part of the mountain is the “South Pillar”, resembling Hallelujah Mountain in “Avatar”.