Journey Through the Middle Kingdom: Exploring China’s Top 7 Must-Visit Tourist Destinations

China is such a fascinating place to visit because it has just the right amount of historical sites blending ancient with the modern-day attractions.  China has plenty to explore as people travel from one city to another, stopping at unique sights along the way.

Here are my top 7 tourist destinations in China:

1.    Guilin

Guilin is the country’s most picturesque area, which is why it is at the top of most visitors’ lists of destinations to see.  Thousands of people arrive in this area every day to cruise along the Li River as they snap photos of the banks filled with bamboo and the lush green mountains in the distance.

Elephant Trunk Hill is another popular attraction on the Li River, as it looks like an elephant taking a drink from the river below.  No one can leave Guilin without spending some time at the Longji Rice Terraces and Minority Villages.  These two areas are the perfect places for everyone to see the beauty of the terraces while learning about the traditions and cultures of the Yao, Dong, and Zhuang people who live there.

2.    Beijing

This capital city of China may not be the largest city in the country, but that doesn’t mean that it is lacking in any way.  A unique feature of this city is the ring roads that everyone uses to determine where they are within the area.  Most visitors will spend time at Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall of China, the Imperial Palace, and Olympic Park when they are Beijing.

However, everyone should also consider stopping at the Ming Tombs to pay their respects to the thirteen Ming Dynasty emperors who are buried there.  This archaeological site is open to the public, but only three of the tombs have been uncovered so far.  The rest still lay now buried waiting to be discovered.  The Temple of Heaven is another fabulous attraction to see, as it is the holiest temple in the city.  For centuries, emperors worshipped the heavens at this temple. Nowadays, visitors can watch the locals go about their morning activities.

3.    Shanghai

Shanghai happens to be the largest city in China, although it is not the capital of the country.  This developed city has been on the fast track attracting visitors since the early 1900s, and there are no signs of slowing down any time soon.  One of the best ways to learn about Shanghai is to visit the Shanghai Museum because it is full of more than one million artifacts.

Guests will love wandering through the remarkable building as they look at jade carvings, Chinese clothing, calligraphy, and bronze work that is a thousand years old.  Of course, people should also stop at The Bund, the Shanghai World Financial Center, Yuyuan Garden, and Nanjing Road while in the city.

4.    Xi’an

The city of Xi’an has been around for more than three thousand years, but back then, it was known as Chang’an.  History has not always been kind to this city, but current visitors will see only the best that it has to offer.  One of the first things everyone needs to do when they get there is to visit the Terracotta Warriors at the Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang.

Those who are adventurers will want to explore Mount Huashan, after conquering it, you will see astonishing panoramic views.  A few other must-see places include the Xi’an City Wall, Yuanjia Village, and Muslim Street.

5.    Guangdong

The region of Guangdong has a plethora of adventures waiting for everyone, so much in fact, that no one can do everything that they want in just one visit.  Thankfully, return trips to this area are easy and just as amazing!  During a visit to Guangdong, people will want to stop at the Temple of Six Banyan Trees, because it is an infamous Buddhist temple constructed in 537 A.D.

The original temple was destroyed by a fire but was quickly rebuilt in 989.  The pedestrian street of Beijing Lu is a must-visit destination due to the two underground archaeological sights that can be found in the middle of the road.  Of course, visitors have plenty of places to shop after they finished sightseeing.  A few other notable sights in Guangdong include the Xiangjiang Wildlife Park, Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s birthplace, and the Qing Xin Hot Springs.

6.    Hunan

The province of Hunan can be found within southcentral China, and its history dates back to 350 B.C.  The Wulingyuan, or Zhangjiajie, Scenic Area is a popular area in the province. The natural beauty found in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, and the Suoxi Valley Natural Resource Reserve.

Visitors can spend days exploring the sights including the stunning valleys, massive rocks, never-ending peaks, and abundance of wildlife.  Of course, some people prefer to spend their time at one of the sacred mountains, Hengshan.

This massive and legendary mountain has seventy-two peaks, rushing waterfalls, and the tranquility that many people desire.  The old city wall and beautiful bridges of Fenghuang Old Town will bring every visitor back to reality after their extensive time in nature.

7.    Shenzhen

Shenzhen is part of the Guangdong province. While it used to be a quaint and a small fishing village decades ago, it has blossomed now into a popular tourist destination.  An easy way for people to learn the history and culture of China is to visit Splendid China.

There are replicas of historical buildings, as well as scenes and folk customs.  While it is not as fascinating as seeing the real buildings up close, it can give everyone a general idea of where it is all located.  Shopping is a must in Shenzhen, especially within the pedestrian shopping district of Dongmen.

The stalls continue throughout the streets and visitors can purchase everything from clothing, jewelry, luggage, purses, and more.  The Fairy Lake Botanical Garden is breathtaking and famous for travelers as is the Hongfa Temple and the beaches of Dameisha and Xiaomeisha.

These seven destinations in China are filled with extraordinary things to do. Every traveler will want to put them on top of their list when they are planning their travel itineraries to China. From Guilin, take a train to Hong Kong located in southeastern China. It is a great place to experience the blending of the Chinese and British culture.

What do you think about these 7 places to visit in China and have you been to any of them? Post your favorite place in the comments section. To see more of the country, what about spending 30 days backpacking in China?.


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