China is an interesting nation with much to offer tourists, including breathtaking natural scenery, historical sites, delectable cuisine, and distinct culture.
With so much to see, it’s not easy to decide what to see in China. But don’t worry — our travel experts have done the hard work for you. We’ll show you China’s best places to visit, why we love each one, what to do there, and more.
15 of the Best Places to Visit in China in 2023
From modern cities with fine dining, museums, and vibrant nightlife to lush jungles and historic ruins, there’s something for everyone in China.
Prepare to eat incredible meals and immerse yourself in the vibrant customs of one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Let us be your guide!
Beijing has a lot to offer as the country’s capital and a major point of cultural significance. The capital city tells the story of China’s people from ancient times to the present and touches on dreams of their future.
Historical and modern architecture collide in Beijing. Visit ancient sites like the Forbidden City and the famous Great Wall of China. Then, step into the future at the National Grand Theatre and China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters.
Take a stroll around the hutongs, ancient lanes with quaint courtyards, and old houses. Don’t forget to try some of the local street food, like jianbing or baozi.
Shanghai is another city where the new and the old coexist. Take in the contemporary skyline and the waterfront Bund, which offers breathtaking city vistas.
Step back in time with a stroll through the historic Yuyuan Garden and the charming Zhujiajiao water town. When you’re there, you should also try some of the city’s delectable xiaolongbao dumplings!
Xi’an is home to the renowned Terracotta Warriors and the Bell Tower, two sites every history enthusiast will appreciate. The Xi’an City Wall is another historic landmark that once served as the city’s defense system.
The Muslim Quarter is a massive section near the city’s center with several mosques, a fabulous market with souvenirs, and many dining options.
Other attractions include exploring the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, taking a stroll along the historic Silk Road, or tasting some regional cuisine like roujiamo.
Guilin, located in southern China, is a gorgeous city surrounded by dramatic limestone rock formations. Riding a boat down the Li River and taking in the surrounding towering limestone peaks is one of the things not to miss.
You’ll also want to explore the Reed Flute Cave, a naturally occurring limestone cave with magnificent rock formations and multicolored lighting. To end the day, try rice noodles from Guilin – you’ll want more than just one serving!
You’ll love Lijiang’s picturesque ancient town, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy some of the regional specialties, including yak meat and rice cake, as you stroll around the cobblestone alleyways and take in the classic Naxi architecture.
We also recommend a visit to the Black Dragon Pool and the Jade Dragon Snow Peak, you won’t want to miss them!
Chengdu is the home of the giant panda. See these gorgeous animals up close by going to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.
Don’t overlook the Wenshu Monastery, a peaceful haven in the middle of the metropolis. Finish a perfect day with some spicy local Sichuan food, like hot pot or mapo tofu.
The stunning West Lake in Hangzhou is well-known for inspiring poets and artists for millennia. To fully enjoy this city, you should visit the Lingyin Temple, one of the biggest and most historic Buddhist temples in China.
Or, you can take a boat ride on the lake or stroll through the grounds. Be sure to sample some of the well-known Longjing tea, a regional delicacy.
The towering sandstone pillars in Zhangjiajie, which served as the inspiration for the floating mountains in the film Avatar, are among the area’s outstanding natural features. Ride a cable car to the summit of Tianmen Peak or stroll through Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.
If you’re feeling adventurous, discover the longest and highest glass-bottomed bridge in the world, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge — a trip not for weak stomachs!
Due to its picturesque canals and glorious, ancient gardens, Suzhou is also known as the “Venice of the East.” Enjoy a cruise along the Grand Canal with greenery and flora spilling over the waterway.
Then, wander around the Humble Administrator’s Garden or the Lion Grove Garden.
When you get hungry from all the walking, sample some of the regional treats. The savory yangcheng lake hairy crab and the sweet and crunchy shengjianbao are incredible.
Fujian province’s Wuyishan is home to verdant forests, misty peaks, and sparkling streams. You can go on a hike through the Wuyi Mountains, which are renowned for their beautiful waterfalls and oolong tea.
If you want to enrich your culture, visit the historical Huiyuan Temple or the magnificent Nine-Bend Creek, which runs through the mountains.
In the Gansu province, the city of Zhangye is home to amazing natural landmarks like the vivid Danxia Landform and the Mati Temple.
While there, you can visit Danxia Landform, beautiful red and orange rock formations that have been sculpted by wind and rain over millions of years.
One of the most distinctive and beautiful Buddhist temples in China is the Mati Temple, which is perched on a cliff wall near Zhangye. You won’t want to miss it.
Zhongdian, another name for Shangri-La, is a town in Yunnan province. Many people credit the region as the model for the fictitious utopia of the same name.
It is the location of the Songzanlin Monastery, a sizable Tibetan Buddhist temple with vibrant prayer flags and breathtaking mountain vistas.
See the town’s quaint ancient alleys and shops or go for a hike through the neighboring Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the deepest and most impressive gorges in the world.
In Sichuan province’s Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, you’ll find gorgeous blue and green lakes, waterfalls, and woods. When the leaves on the trees change to brilliant red, orange, and yellow hues in the fall, the park becomes exceptionally lovely.
The vibrant colors create a one-of-a-kind landscape where artists can capture some stunning photos and find inspiration.
Visit the historic Tibetan towns, go on a trek along one of the park’s beautiful routes, and keep an eye out for the numerous wild species that call Jiuzhaigou home.
The Huangshan mountain range, also known as the Yellow Mountains, has inspired artists for generations with its stunning beauty. Take time to appreciate the mist-covered peaks, twisted pine trees, and jagged rocks that create the stunning landscape.
If you have time, be sure to follow the trails that lead to temples atop the mountain. Walk back down or ride a cable car down while watching the sunset over the clouds.
15. The Great Buddha of Leshan
This statue, located in the Sichuan province, is probably the most famous likeness of Buddha on Earth. The massive statue was painstakingly carved out of a cliff during the ninth century.
The impressive 232-foot-tall Buddha is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Take a boat ride along the river below and see the adjacent temples and gardens to really appreciate the magnificence of this work of art. Being around this magnificent piece of art is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Things to Consider
Before traveling anywhere, you should always take into consideration that you might need to adapt to local customs and habits to respect their culture:
- Language: Since English is not widely spoken in China, learning some fundamental Mandarin phrases is beneficial. To make communication simpler, download a translation app or bring a phrasebook.
- Cash: Several locations in China, particularly those outside of large cities, only accept cash. To cover daily expenses like meals, transportation, and souvenirs, make sure you have adequate cash on hand.
- Internet access: In China, several well-known websites and social media networks like Google and Facebook are restricted. To access these websites, think about using a virtual private network (VPN).
- Cultural conventions: Be respectful of regional traditions and customs, such as taking off your shoes before entering a home or a temple and refraining from touching people’s heads.
- Tipping is not customary in China.
- Avoid politics and religion: Politics and religion can be touchy subjects in China. Steer away from these conversations, especially negative commentary about the Chinese government as you could end up in jail.
Don’t be shocked if someone stands near you in a line or on public transit because personal space in China differs from that in several Western nations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have questions about visiting China? Hopefully, these common questions and answers will clear things up:
What region of China is the most beautiful?
The most beautiful region in China depends on personal preference. People who prefer natural landscapes might gravitate toward the less developed regions and lush forests. Artists and architectural fanatics might prefer the larger cities with a range of historic and modern buildings and structures.
Which region of China should I visit?
Choosing which region to visit depends on what you want to see and do. To see the Great Wall in Beijing, head to the southeast part of the country. Head to the northwest region to visit Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors or go southwest to see the pandas in Chengdu.
Where should I go when I first visit China?
We advise beginning your trip in one of the big cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou if it’s your first time visiting China. These vibrant cities provide a wonderful introduction to China’s distinctive culture and history.
You’ll find a blend of historic and contemporary buildings, delectable cuisine, and a lot of activities to keep you occupied.
What is a popular tourist destination in China?
The most popular tourist destination in China is probably the Great Wall of China, spanning more than 13,000 miles. Some other well-traveled locations include the Yellow Mountains in Anhui, the Bund in Shanghai, the West Lake in Hangzhou, and the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
What are the visa requirements for traveling to China?
US residents must get a visa to travel to China. Complete a visa application form, provide a passport that is still valid for at least six months, and a recent passport-size photo.
Additionally, you may need to provide supporting papers, such as an invitation letter, a travel itinerary, or proof of financial ability, which must be submitted in order to apply for a visa.
So, What Is the Best Place to Visit in China?
China is a country with a wide range of experiences, from the busy city of Beijing to the lovely landscapes of Guilin and Yangshuo County.
There are a ton of incredible spots to discover in this enormous country, whether you’re searching for a calm retreat or an urban experience. So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip today!