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China Travel Guide

Best Places to Visit in China

             Top destinations     Additional Resources


Map of the leading tourist destinations in China

Map of the leading tourist destinations in China









China has so many outstanding places to visit that it is difficult to choose among them. We know that your vacation time is both brief and valuable. Our recommendations for the best places to visit will help you find the right place for your vacation in China.

China is a country that feels as if it gives its treasures grudgingly to foreigners.  In part, this is because the country is so large and has  such a long, interesting, history.  You will need to research your destinations to ensure that you see the "face" of China that interests you.  Taking a tour is the easiest way to explore China.

China is justifiably proud of it modern cities and economic power: however, to most travelers, " tourist" China is intertwined with the country's  history.  It is little wonder that most travel is aimed at exploring the impressive monuments, palaces, and tombs representing China's long and important history.


The Great Wall of China



Top Destinations Top of Page  


  • Beijing  Click for a chart of Beijing's annual precipitation and temperature ranges.  Photograph of cherry blossoms and a temple in Beijing Photograph of the Forbidden City Two photographs of the Forbidden City

    • A trip to China would not be complete without a tour of Beijing.  The Capital of China and offers a number of world-class palaces, monuments, and mausoleums for the tourist's inspection.   Be sure the see the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Ming Tombs and 

      • The Great Wall of China Two photographs of the Great Wall of China

        • Built as a defensive wall, construction started between two and four hundred years B.C. When finished, the Great Wall guarded approximately four thousand miles of border. 

        • Although many sections of the wall have fallen into decay, there are numerous locations where you can see the Great Wall at its best:  the most commonly visited Great Wall site is north of Beijing in Badaling.

        • Click for Visit Beijing , the official tourism website of the Beijing Tourism Administration

  • Xi'An  Photographs of the Terra-cotta Warriors
    • Xi"An was the capital city of China during numerous dynasties. Among its many attractions, Xi'An is, perhaps, best known for the Museum/Tomb of Emperor Qin and the world famous Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses.

      • Other places to see include Xi'An's Bell Tower, which was the start of the famous "Silk Road".  If you have time, see the ornate Tang Murals in the Shaanxi Museum of History.

      • Click for the official tourism website of the Xi'an Tourism Administration for more details on visiting.

  • Shanghai Photograph of the Shanghai skyline Photograph of the Bund in Shanghai

    • Shanghai is a historically significant city that has been earmarked as the "new " Hong Kong.  In addition to numerous monuments and museums, Shanghai is a vibrant economic center, with great shopping , good food, and a mix of things to do  that are relatively unique in China.

      •  Picture of the gardens in Suzhou, ChinaTo the west of Shanghai is the Suzhou, a city known for the Lingering Gardens, one of the most famous gardens in China

      • See the official tourism website for Shanghai   for more details on attractions and visiting.


  • Hong Kong  Click for a chart of Hong Kong's annual precipitation and temperature ranges.

    • Hong Kong is a must see city.  It offers a spectacular setting, an upbeat mood, and an "electricity in the air" that cannot be found anywhere else in China.  Be sure to see Victoria Peak, ride the Star Ferry, tour Nathan Road, visit Repulse Bay, discover Stanley, and shop at the Temple Street Night Market.

    • Finally, be sure to read our Hong Kong  PhotoGuide for  details on the best places to visit in this vibrant city.

    If you have a soft spot for Pandas, Ghengdu is the place to see them

  • Chengdu

    • This locale is home to many historic, beautiful palaces, temples and tombs. Chengdu is a pleasant stop on any China tour.  Many travelers are attracted here by Panda City, a national center for research related to the protection of the Panda Bear.

      • If you are traveling by train, note that the train station in Chengdu is a notorious den for pickpockets, who are reputed to operate with police protection. (Always wear a money belt while traveling.)

      • See the official tourism guide for Chengdu   from the Chengdu government for more details on visiting.

  • The Three Gorges

    • Much of China's history is linked with the Yangtze River and the role it has played in the development of the country. The area known at the Three Gorges is comprised of magnificent valleys cut in the areas' imposing limestone cliffs, but the once striking views have been altered  as a result of the Three Gorges Dam Power Generation Project.

      • The Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2009  and the Chinese government claims that the area is better for tourism than ever, due to access to new areas that could not be visited at the lower water level of the past.

      • If you are interested in visiting the Three Gorges, you will need to take a river cruise to do so.  Often, this area is best visited as part of a whole country tour that features river cruising.

    The surreal landscapes of Guilin attract many tourists, espceailly river cruisers

  • Guilin

    • Guilin is one of the most beautiful and exotic areas of China. The karst (eroded limestone) topography provides an unusual, exceptionally attractive and iconic landscapes.  If you  have time, take a Li River cruise.

  • Nanjing

    • Nanjing has many attractions of significance, but most travelers visit to see the spectacular, thousand year old Confucian Temple. 

      In addition, be sure to see the Linggu Temple and The Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum.  The Ming is one of the largest imperial tombs in China.

      • See the Nanjing coverage in the official tourism website for Jiangsu Province , one of leading tourist destinations in Asia.


  • Tibet

    • Since 1959,  the country formerly known as Tibet has been administered by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)

    •  Photographs of Potala Palace, former home of the Dali Lama Photograph of the Jokhang Temple.Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, sits in a beautiful mountain valley and the city is topped by the world famous Potola Palace.

    • Many important temples and monasteries are in or near Lhasa and the city is a beautiful place to visit. 

    • Be sure to inspect the wares at Barkor Street while on your way to the Jokhang Temple, regarded as the holiest of Tibetan temples.

    • Those interested in touring Tibet will need to work with the Chinese government, which must grant access.  A good place for tourist information is the official tourism website for Tibet   provided by the Chinese government.


Additional Resources

The official tourism website for China  is provided by the Chinese National Tourism Board.  The site provides additional details on places we recommend above, as well as locations that did not make our list.

For country facts on China, and  information related to visas and other travel-related information, see this page on China Travel from the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the U.S. State Department.  Regardless of your home country, we think you will find the information provided to be useful when planning a trip to China.

If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index  or Googling ThereArePlaces.

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The Forbidden City in Beijing








Terra Cotta Warriors, Xi"An, China




























The Three Gorges area







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