China, an ancient land with a history spanning over 5,000 years, is a treasure trove of culture, natural wonders, and modern marvels. Its diverse landscapes, rich heritage, and booming cities attract millions of tourists every year. It’s a land where ancient traditions blend seamlessly with ultra-modern cities, where lush mountains rise above bustling street markets, and where culinary adventures can be as intriguing as the Great Wall itself.
But where do you begin when the options seem as vast as China’s geographical expanse? As a foreigner, finding the true highlights in this fascinating country can be daunting. That’s where we come in. We’ve curated the ultimate list of the 95 best places to visit and things to do in China, specifically with foreign travelers in mind.
Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or simply an avid explorer, our guide is here to help you navigate China’s wonders and turn your journey into a truly unforgettable adventure.
1. The Great Wall of China
Stretching over 13,000 miles, the Great Wall is an awe-inspiring feat of ancient engineering and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wander along its winding path to discover watchtowers, fortresses, and stunning views.
2. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
This otherworldly park inspired the floating mountains in the movie Avatar. With its towering sandstone pillars and lush forests, it offers a unique and breathtaking experience for nature lovers.
3. Jiuzhaigou Valley
Known for its colorful lakes and snow-capped peaks, Jiuzhaigou Valley is a fairy tale landscape that offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
4. Mount Huangshan
Also known as the Yellow Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage site is famous for its granite peaks, ancient pine trees, and seas of clouds, providing an ethereal experience for hikers and photographers.
5. The Potala Palace
Perched atop the Red Mountain in Lhasa, Tibet, this former residence of the Dalai Lama is an architectural masterpiece and a spiritual sanctuary, housing countless treasures and artifacts.
6. The Yellow Mountains
These iconic mountains are a must-see for their dramatic granite peaks, hot springs, and ancient villages. The ever-changing mists and unique vegetation make for a truly unforgettable experience.
7. Guilin and Yangshuo
Renowned for their picturesque karst landscapes, these neighboring towns boast beautiful rivers, limestone peaks, and idyllic countryside, offering opportunities for river cruises, cycling, and rock climbing.
8. Mount Everest Base Camp
For adventurous travelers, a visit to the world’s highest peak is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Trek to the base camp on the Tibetan side for an up-close view of this majestic mountain.
9. The Silk Road
Retrace the ancient trade route that connected China with the Western world, exploring historic cities, desert landscapes, and cultural treasures along the way.
10. The Giant Panda Research Base
Located in Chengdu, this research facility and breeding center offers a rare opportunity to see the adorable and endangered giant pandas up close, as well as learn about ongoing conservation efforts.
Historic Sites and Ancient Cities
11. The Forbidden City
As the world’s largest palace complex, the Forbidden City in Beijing is an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of China’s imperial past. Its magnificent halls and courtyards will transport you back to the days of emperors and concubines.
12. The Terracotta Army
Discovered in 1974, this vast collection of life-sized terracotta soldiers, horses, and chariots was created to accompany China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, in his afterlife. This archaeological marvel is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
13. The Summer Palace
An oasis of lakes, gardens, and palaces, the Summer Palace in Beijing was once the retreat of emperors and their families. Its elegant architecture and serene atmosphere make it a favorite among visitors.
14. Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian
This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to the remains of one of the earliest human ancestors, dating back around 750,000 years. Explore the site to learn about the fascinating history of human evolution and the prehistoric cultures that once inhabited this region.
15. The Hanging Temple
Built into a cliffside over 1,500 years ago, this unique temple in Datong is an architectural marvel that appears to defy gravity. Marvel at its intricate wooden construction and the numerous statues housed within.
16. The Ancient City of Pingyao
Step back in time as you wander through the well-preserved streets of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Heritage site that showcases traditional Chinese architecture, ancient city walls, and historic landmarks.
17. The Longmen Grottoes
Home to tens of thousands of Buddhist statues and carvings dating back to the Northern Wei Dynasty, the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang are a testament to China’s rich Buddhist history and artistic heritage.
18. The Mogao Caves
Also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes, this UNESCO World Heritage site in Dunhuang features a vast network of caves adorned with exquisite frescoes and sculptures, offering a glimpse into China’s ancient Silk Road culture.
19. The Yungang Grottoes
Located near Datong, these impressive caves house more than 50,000 Buddhist statues, ranging from tiny carvings to towering figures. The intricate artwork and architectural detail make the Yungang Grottoes a must-visit destination for art and history lovers.
20. The Leshan Giant Buddha
Carved into a cliff face in Sichuan province, this colossal statue of Buddha is the largest stone Buddha in the world. Take in the awe-inspiring sight and explore the surrounding temples and scenic trails.
Modern Cities and Architecture
As the capital of China, Beijing is a vibrant city with a rich history. Explore iconic sites like the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, or immerse yourself in the city’s modern side with its bustling shopping districts, contemporary art galleries, and innovative cuisine.
China’s largest city offers a unique blend of old and new. Stroll along the historic Bund, explore the futuristic skyline of Pudong, and discover the city’s vibrant arts, food, and nightlife scenes.
23. Hong Kong
This global metropolis is known for its stunning skyline, bustling markets, and unique fusion of Eastern and Western cultures. Experience the city’s lively street food scene, hike its picturesque trails, and take in the breathtaking views from Victoria Peak.
Rapidly evolving from a small fishing village to a thriving tech hub, Shenzhen offers visitors a chance to witness China’s innovation and progress. Visit the city‘s numerous theme parks, marvel at its futuristic architecture, and explore its vibrant art districts.
As the capital of Guangdong province, Guangzhou is a thriving city with a rich history and a diverse food scene. Visit the historic Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, stroll through the bustling markets, and sample the famous Cantonese cuisine.
Known as the “Mountain City,” Chongqing boasts dramatic landscapes, a rich history, and a unique culinary culture. Explore its ancient streets, relax in its numerous hot springs, and indulge in the city’s famous hotpot dishes.
The capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu is known for its laid-back atmosphere, spicy cuisine, and as the home of the giant panda. Visit the Panda Research Base, explore the city’s historic sites, and taste the flavorful Sichuan dishes.
Famed for its natural beauty and historical landmarks, Hangzhou offers a tranquil escape from the busy city life. Wander around the picturesque West Lake, explore ancient temples, and sample the region’s renowned tea and silk products.
This bustling port city combines modern architecture with historical charm. Stroll along the European-inspired Five Great Avenues, visit the ancient Temple of the Queen of Heaven, and enjoy the local specialty, Goubuli baozi.
As the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army, Xi’an is a city rich in history and culture. Visit the ancient city walls, the lively Muslim Quarter, and the impressive Shaanxi History Museum.
31. Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony
Immerse yourself in the art of tea appreciation by participating in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. Learn about the history, preparation, and etiquette of this ancient ritual, while sampling a variety of fine teas.
32. Beijing Opera
Experience the unique blend of singing, dancing, acrobatics, and martial arts that make up the Beijing Opera. Attend a performance and be captivated by the elaborate costumes, makeup, and dramatic storytelling.
33. Chinese Calligraphy
Discover the beauty and skill behind the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy. Take a class or workshop to learn the basic techniques and create your own masterpiece.
34. Chinese Martial Arts
Delve into the world of Chinese martial arts by learning about various disciplines like Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Wushu. Attend a class or watch a live demonstration to witness the strength, agility, and grace of these ancient practices.
35. Learning Mandarin
Enhance your travel experience by learning basic Mandarin phrases and communication skills. Take a language course or engage in language exchange programs to better connect with locals and enrich your understanding of Chinese culture.
36. Chinese Cuisine
From Peking duck to dim sum, China’s diverse culinary landscape offers countless mouth-watering dishes. Take a cooking class, join a food tour, or simply explore the local markets and street food stalls to savor the flavors of Chinese cuisine.
37. Chinese Festivals
Experience the vibrancy and traditions of Chinese festivals, such as the Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the Dragon Boat Festival. Join the celebrations, sample festive foods, and learn about the customs and legends behind these events.
38. Traditional Chinese Medicine
Gain insight into the ancient practices of traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and cupping therapy. Visit a TCM clinic or take a course to learn about the holistic approach to health and wellness in Chinese culture.
39. Silk Production
Visit a silk factory or workshop to learn about the fascinating process of silk production, from the cultivation of silkworms to the weaving of luxurious fabrics. Discover the history and craftsmanship behind one of China’s most prized exports.
40. Chinese Zodiac and Astrology
Delve into the world of Chinese astrology and the 12 zodiac signs. Visit a temple or consult a fortune teller to gain insights into your birth year, animal sign, and their influence on your personality and destiny.
This oasis city along the Silk Road offers unique desert landscapes, ancient ruins, and a glimpse into the region’s Uighur culture. Explore the Flaming Mountains, the ancient city of Jiaohe, and the striking Karez irrigation system.
42. Kanas Lake
Tucked away in the Altai Mountains, Kanas Lake is a hidden gem with pristine waters, diverse wildlife, and stunning scenery. Enjoy hiking, horseback riding, and boat tours in this picturesque natural reserve.
This charming ancient town in Yunnan province is known for its well-preserved architecture, vibrant art scene, and stunning natural surroundings. Wander through the cobblestone streets, visit the Three Pagodas, and enjoy the views of the Cangshan Mountains and Erhai Lake.
Often referred to as the most beautiful countryside in China, Wuyuan is a picturesque region dotted with traditional villages, rolling hills, and vibrant canola fields. Visit during spring to witness the stunning yellow blossoms in full bloom.
45. Fenghuang Ancient Town
With its wooden stilt houses, winding alleys, and tranquil river, Fenghuang is a well-preserved ancient town that offers a glimpse into China’s past. Explore its historic sites, indulge in local delicacies, and take a scenic boat ride along the Tuojiang River.
46. Hulunbuir Grasslands
Located in Inner Mongolia, the vast Hulunbuir Grasslands offer a serene and unspoiled landscape, perfect for horseback riding, camping, and experiencing traditional Mongolian culture.
47. Mount Wutai
As one of China’s four sacred Buddhist mountains, Mount Wutai boasts stunning temples, lush forests, and a rich spiritual atmosphere. Visit the ancient monasteries, hike the scenic trails, and soak up the tranquil ambiance.
48. Tiger Leaping Gorge
One of the deepest and most spectacular gorges in the world, Tiger Leaping Gorge offers incredible trekking opportunities for adventure enthusiasts. Hike along the dramatic cliffs and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
49. Qinghai Lake
As China’s largest lake, Qinghai Lake offers a serene and picturesque escape from the city. Visit during the summer months to witness the vibrant fields of blooming flowers, and explore the surrounding monasteries and wildlife reserves.
50. Yading Nature Reserve
Nestled in the heart of Sichuan’s mountains, Yading Nature Reserve is a hidden paradise boasting snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and lush meadows. Hike the well-marked trails and take in the awe-inspiring scenery.
Food and Culinary Tours
As the former capital of several Chinese dynasties, Nanjing boasts a rich culinary history. Savor the city’s famous salted duck and soup dumplings, and explore the bustling food streets to sample a variety of traditional snacks and dishes.
Experience the taste of Hubei province in Wuhan, known for its hot and dry noodles and vibrant street food markets. Explore the bustling Hubu Alley, where you can sample local delicacies such as duck neck, fried dough twists, and tofu pudding.
Home to the famous Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles, this city is a must-visit for foodies. Watch skilled chefs prepare these delicious noodles and enjoy the hearty, beef-based dishes that have earned Lanzhou’s cuisine a dedicated following.
Fujian cuisine is known for its delicate flavors and exquisite presentation. In Fuzhou, indulge in an array of seafood delicacies, such as fish balls, oyster pancakes, and shrimp dumplings, while learning about the region’s unique culinary techniques.
The picturesque city of Suzhou is renowned for its elegant gardens and equally refined cuisine. Sample Suzhou-style dim sum and sweet treats, including the famous “squirrel-shaped” Mandarin fish and Osmanthus flower cake.
Art and Museum Tours
56. National Art Museum of China, Beijing
Explore China’s rich artistic heritage at the National Art Museum, which houses an extensive collection of ancient and contemporary Chinese art, including paintings, sculptures, and calligraphy.
57. China Art Museum, Shanghai
Housed in the iconic China Pavilion from the 2010 World Expo, the China Art Museum boasts a vast collection of modern and contemporary Chinese art, showcasing the creative evolution of the nation’s artists.
58. Guangdong Museum, Guangzhou
Delve into the history and culture of Guangdong province at this comprehensive museum, which features exhibits on regional art, history, and natural resources.
59. Yinchuan Contemporary Art Museum, Yinchuan
As one of China’s leading contemporary art institutions, the Yinchuan Contemporary Art Museum hosts a variety of exhibitions and events showcasing cutting-edge art from China and around the world.
60. Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
Located in the 798 Art District, the Ullens Center is a major hub for contemporary art in China, offering a dynamic program of exhibitions, performances, and educational events.
Wildlife and Nature Tours
61. Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan
Known for its colorful lakes, snow-capped peaks, and dense forests, Jiuzhaigou Valley is a nature lover’s paradise. Explore the pristine landscapes and encounter diverse wildlife, including the endangered giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey.
62. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan
Home to the famous “Avatar” mountains, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park boasts stunning sandstone pillars, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. Explore the park’s many trails, or take the glass elevator to enjoy panoramic views of this otherworldly landscape.
63. Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), Anhui
One of China’s most iconic mountain ranges, Huangshan offers breathtaking scenery, with ancient pine trees, granite peaks, and a sea of clouds. Hike the mountain’s numerous trails and witness its ever-changing beauty throughout the seasons.
64. Guilin and Yangshuo Karst Landscape, Guangxi
The dramatic karst landscapes of Guilin and Yangshuo are renowned for their natural beauty. Cruise along the Li River, explore hidden caves, and marvel at the region’s unique topography.
65. Poyang Lake, Jiangxi
As China’s largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake is a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Visit during the migratory season to witness thousands of birds, including the endangered Siberian crane, flock to the lake’s abundant wetlands.
Adventure and Outdoor Tours
66. Great Wall of China hiking, Jinshanling
Trek along the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall, renowned for its dramatic scenery and well-preserved watchtowers. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape as you traverse this iconic landmark.
67. Mount Hua, Shaanxi
For adventure seekers, Mount Hua offers thrilling hikes along narrow, cliff-hugging paths. Test your courage on the infamous plank walk, and enjoy the exhilarating sense of accomplishment at the summit.
68. Li River Bamboo Rafting, Guangxi
Float along the tranquil Li River on a traditional bamboo raft, taking in the stunning karst scenery and rural landscapes of Yangshuo. This peaceful, eco-friendly activity offers a unique perspective on the region’s beauty.
69. Shapotou Desert Park, Ningxia
Experience the thrill of desert adventures at Shapotou, where you can try sandboarding, camel riding, and zip-lining over the Yellow River. Explore the park’s diverse landscapes, from towering sand dunes to lush wetlands.
70. Ice and Snow World, Harbin
During the winter months, Harbin’s Ice and Snow World transforms into a frozen wonderland of ice sculptures, snow activities, and illuminated displays. Bundle up and explore this magical, frosty landscape.
Luxury and Comfort Tours
71. Aman Summer Palace, Beijing
Enjoy an opulent stay at the Aman Summer Palace, a luxury resort located near Beijing’s historic Summer Palace. Experience traditional Chinese architecture, indulge in fine dining, and relax in the serene surroundings.
72. Banyan Tree Lijiang, Yunnan
Nestled in the foothills of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, the Banyan Tree Lijiang offers a luxurious retreat with stunning views, world-class spa facilities, and exquisite dining options.
73. The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
Experience the height of luxury at the Ritz-Carlton Chengdu, known for its elegant accommodations, personalized service, and fantastic city views. Indulge in fine dining at the hotel’s acclaimed restaurants and enjoy a relaxing stay in the heart of Chengdu.
74. The Peninsula, Shanghai
Overlooking the historic Bund, The Peninsula Shanghai offers an elegant blend of modern luxury and timeless style. Unwind in sumptuous suites, dine in exquisite restaurants, and experience the hotel’s renowned hospitality.
75. The Bulgari Hotel, Beijing
Located in the heart of Beijing’s embassy district, The Bulgari Hotel offers sophisticated Italian design, exceptional service, and a range of luxurious amenities. Relax in the hotel’s spa, savor gourmet cuisine, and explore the city in style.
76. Disneyland, Shanghai
Experience the magic of Disney at Shanghai Disneyland, where you can enjoy exciting rides, meet beloved characters, and explore themed lands, such as Treasure Cove, Adventure Isle, and Tomorrowland.
77. Ocean Park, Hong Kong
A combination of amusement park and marine park, Ocean Park offers thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and educational exhibits. Discover the wonders of the ocean, encounter diverse marine life, and enjoy a fun-filled day with the family.
78. Chimelong Safari Park, Guangzhou
Home to thousands of animals, Chimelong Safari Park provides a unique opportunity to observe wildlife up close. Enjoy the park’s interactive exhibits, live shows, and family-friendly attractions.
79. Window of the World, Shenzhen
Travel the globe in a single day at Window of the World, a theme park featuring miniature replicas of famous landmarks from around the world. Explore the park’s themed zones, enjoy live performances, and learn about different cultures.
80. Happy Valley, Beijing
With thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and various themed areas, Happy Valley Beijing is a must-visit destination for families. Enjoy a day of fun and excitement at this popular amusement park.
Budget and Backpacker Tours
81. Yangshuo County, Guangxi
With its stunning landscapes and affordable accommodations, Yangshuo is a favorite destination for budget travelers. Explore the region’s natural beauty, rent a bicycle to navigate the countryside, or participate in a variety of outdoor activities.
82. Shaxi Ancient Town, Yunnan
Step back in time in Shaxi, a well-preserved ancient town on the Tea Horse Road. Discover the town’s rich history, visit local markets, and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this hidden gem.
83. Luoyang, Henan
As one of China’s ancient capitals, Luoyang offers a wealth of historical sites at an affordable price. Visit the Longmen Grottoes, White Horse Temple, and other attractions without breaking the bank.
84. Dunhuang, Gansu
Explore the Silk Road’s fascinating history in Dunhuang, where you’ll find the famous Mogao Caves and the striking Crescent Lake. With budget-friendly accommodations and plenty of low-cost activities, Dunhuang is perfect for backpackers.
85. Chengde, Hebei
Discover the former imperial summer retreat of Chengde, which offers a range of budget accommodations and affordable attractions, such as the Mountain Resort and the Eight Outer Temples.
Romantic and Honeymoon Tours
86. Sanya, Hainan
Relax on the beautiful beaches of Sanya, a tropical paradise that’s perfect for a romantic getaway. Enjoy luxurious resorts, indulge in spa treatments, and savor fresh seafood while taking in the stunning ocean views.
87. West Lake, Hangzhou
Stroll hand in hand along the shores of West Lake, a poetic landscape that has inspired countless artists and lovers throughout history. Enjoy a leisurely boat ride, visit nearby temples, and watch the sunset over the lake.
88. Lijiang Old Town, Yunnan
With its charming cobblestone streets, traditional architecture, and stunning mountain backdrop, Lijiang Old Town is an ideal destination for a romantic getaway. Explore the town’s many shops and teahouses, or embark on a scenic hike in the nearby countryside.
89. Gulangyu Island, Xiamen
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city on Gulangyu Island, a car-free oasis known for its European-style architecture, lush gardens, and serene atmosphere. Wander the island’s quiet streets, visit its beautiful beaches, and enjoy a romantic retreat.
90. Xitang Water Town, Zhejiang
Discover the enchanting canals and bridges of Xitang Water Town, where time seems to stand still. Cruise the waterways on a traditional wooden boat, sample local cuisine, and experience the town’s romantic charm.
91. Danxia Landform, Zhangye
Marvel at the striking colors of the Zhangye Danxia Landform, a geological wonder characterized by its vivid, layered rock formations. This lesser-known destination offers a unique and unforgettable experience for adventurous travelers.
92. Tashkurgan, Xinjiang
Explore the remote town of Tashkurgan, nestled in the Pamir Mountains along the ancient Silk Road. Discover the region’s unique culture, visit the Stone City ruins, and experience the dramatic landscapes that surround the town.
93. Meili Snow Mountain, Yunnan
Venture to the remote Meili Snow Mountain, one of the most sacred peaks in Tibetan Buddhism. Trek through pristine forests, visit isolated villages, and take in the awe-inspiring views of the snow-capped mountains.
94. Ordos, Inner Mongolia
Experience the vast landscapes of Inner Mongolia in Ordos, a city known for its modern architecture, desert landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Visit the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, explore the Kubuqi Desert, and learn about the region’s unique traditions.
95. Changbai Mountain, Jilin
Discover the natural beauty of Changbai Mountain, a volcanic peak on the border of China and North Korea. Explore the mountain’s diverse ecosystems, hike to the stunning Heaven Lake, and encounter a range of wildlife in this off-the-beaten-path destination.
40 Interesting Facts About China
- China is the world’s most populous country, with over 1.4 billion people, representing approximately 18% of the global population.
- China is the third-largest country by land area, covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers (3.7 million square miles).
- The Great Wall of China is the longest wall in the world, stretching over 21,000 kilometers (13,000 miles) in length. It was built over several centuries to protect China from invasions.
- China has one of the world’s oldest and continuous civilizations, with a history that dates back over 5,000 years.
- Chinese is the world’s most spoken language, with over 1.2 billion native speakers. Mandarin, the official language of China, is the most widely spoken dialect.
- China is the birthplace of four major world religions: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Islam.
- The invention of paper, printing, the compass, and gunpowder are attributed to ancient China. These inventions are collectively known as the “Four Great Inventions” of China.
- The giant panda, an international symbol of conservation, is native to China. The country has established numerous nature reserves to protect this endangered species.
- China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tea. Tea has been an integral part of Chinese culture for thousands of years.
- The Terracotta Army, a collection of over 8,000 life-sized terracotta statues, was discovered in 1974 near the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. The statues were created over 2,000 years ago to accompany the emperor in the afterlife.
- The Forbidden City in Beijing was the imperial palace for 24 emperors during the Ming and Qing dynasties. It consists of over 980 buildings and covers an area of 72 hectares (180 acres).
- China’s economy is the second-largest in the world by nominal GDP and the largest by purchasing power parity.
- The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third-longest river in the world, stretching over 6,300 kilometers (3,900 miles).
- China is the world’s largest producer of rice and is responsible for around 30% of global rice production.
- The Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, is the most important traditional holiday in China. The celebration lasts for 15 days and includes various festivities, such as dragon and lion dances, fireworks, and family gatherings.
- China has 55 officially recognized ethnic minority groups, each with its own unique culture, language, and traditions. The Han Chinese make up the majority of the population, accounting for over 90% of the total.
- China is home to some of the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest, the tallest peak on Earth, which it shares with Nepal. The Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range, stretches across the border of southwestern China.
- Peking Opera is a traditional form of Chinese theatre that combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics. It has been performed for over 200 years and remains a popular cultural art form in China.
- China is the world’s largest exporter and the second-largest importer of goods. Its main exports include machinery, electronics, textiles, and medical equipment.
- China is known for its various forms of martial arts, such as Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Wushu. Martial arts have been practiced in China for thousands of years and are deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy and culture.
- The Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes, connected China with the Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It played a significant role in the development of Chinese civilization, enabling the exchange of goods, ideas, and culture.
- Chinese cuisine is one of the most diverse and popular in the world, with eight major culinary traditions: Sichuan, Cantonese, Shandong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Hunan, and Anhui.
- China has the largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Asia, with 56 sites recognized for their cultural, historical, and natural significance.
- Traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal remedies, has been practiced in China for thousands of years. These practices have gained global recognition and are increasingly used in conjunction with Western medicine.
- The Chinese Zodiac, a 12-year cycle based on the lunar calendar, assigns an animal and its attributes to each year. The zodiac plays a significant role in Chinese culture, influencing people’s personalities, relationships, and even career choices.
- China is the world’s largest consumer and producer of renewable energy, investing heavily in solar, wind, and hydroelectric power to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and combat air pollution.
- The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, is the highest ancient palace in the world, sitting at an altitude of 3,700 meters (12,100 feet) above sea level. It was once the residence of the Dalai Lama before he went into exile in India.
- China is one of the few countries in the world with a space program, launching its first manned space mission in 2003. The country has ambitious plans for its space program, including sending astronauts to the Moon and establishing a permanent space station.
- China has a high-speed rail network that is the longest and most extensive in the world, covering over 22,000 miles (35,000 kilometers) and connecting major cities across the country. High-speed trains can reach speeds of up to 217 miles per hour (350 kilometers per hour), making travel between cities efficient and convenient.
- Feng Shui, an ancient Chinese philosophical system, is used to harmonize people with their surroundings by arranging spaces according to specific principles. It has been practiced in China for thousands of years and has gained popularity worldwide.
- China is one of the largest producers of silk in the world, with a history of silk production dating back over 5,000 years. Silk was once a highly prized commodity and was traded along the Silk Road.
- China is home to some of the world’s oldest and most impressive architectural wonders, such as the Hanging Temple in Datong, which is built into a cliff, and the Leshan Giant Buddha, a 71-meter (233-foot) tall stone statue carved into a mountain.
- China’s film industry, known as “Chollywood,” is the second-largest in the world, producing a vast array of movies each year, from epic historical dramas to contemporary action films.
- The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is a popular Chinese celebration held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. It is a time for families to gather and enjoy mooncakes, a traditional Chinese pastry, while admiring the full moon.
- China is a global leader in the production of electric vehicles, with a rapidly growing market share and a commitment to reducing carbon emissions by promoting electric transportation.
- Chinese calligraphy, the art of writing characters with a brush and ink, has a history of over 3,000 years. It is considered one of the highest forms of Chinese art and is still widely practiced today.
- China has a rich tradition of performing arts, such as shadow puppetry, acrobatics, and traditional Chinese dance, which are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
- The Hukou Waterfall on the Yellow River is the largest waterfall in Asia, with a height of 50 meters (164 feet) and a width that varies from 30 to 50 meters (98 to 164 feet) depending on the season.
- China is home to the world’s largest human-made structure, the Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River and is 2,335 meters (7,661 feet) long and 185 meters (607 feet) high. The dam generates hydroelectric power and helps control flooding along the river.
- China is home to the largest ice and snow festival in the world, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Held annually in Harbin, the festival features massive, intricately carved ice and snow sculptures that transform the city into a winter wonderland. The event attracts millions of visitors from around the world and showcases the skill and creativity of ice and snow artists.
20 Common FAQs About China And Their Answers
- Q: Do I need a visa to visit China?
A: Most foreign visitors require a visa to enter China. However, there are a few visa-free policies for short-term stays, such as the 72-hour and 144-hour transit visa exemptions for certain countries. Always check the visa requirements for your specific country before planning your trip.
- Q: What is the official language of China?
A: The official language of China is Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese or Putonghua. However, there are several regional dialects and languages spoken throughout the country, including Cantonese, Shanghainese, and Hokkien.
- Q: What is the currency used in China?
A: The currency used in China is the Renminbi (RMB), with the unit of currency called the yuan (¥). It is important to have some cash on hand, as not all businesses accept credit cards, especially in smaller cities or rural areas.
- Q: Is it safe to travel in China?
A: China is generally considered a safe country for travelers, with low crime rates and a stable political environment. However, it’s always important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas.
- Q: What is the best time to visit China?
A: The best time to visit China depends on the region and your preferences. Generally, spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) are the most pleasant seasons, with mild temperatures and less rainfall. However, some areas, such as southern China, are better visited in the winter to avoid extreme heat and humidity.
- Q: Can I access popular western websites and social media platforms in China?
A: Many western websites and social media platforms, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are blocked in China. To access these sites, you will need to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service.
- Q: Do I need vaccinations before traveling to China?
A: While no specific vaccinations are required for entry into China, it is recommended that travelers be up-to-date on routine vaccinations, such as measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, and polio. Additionally, some travelers may need vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and rabies, depending on their itinerary and activities.
- Q: What is the time zone in China?
A: China has only one time zone, known as China Standard Time (CST), which is UTC+8. Despite its vast size, the entire country follows the same time zone.
- Q: Is tap water safe to drink in China?
A: Tap water in China is generally not considered safe to drink. It’s best to drink bottled or boiled water, and avoid ice in beverages.
- Q: Can I use my electronic devices in China?
A: China’s electrical system operates at 220 volts, 50 Hz. The country uses types A, C, and I plugs. If your devices are not compatible with these specifications, you will need a voltage converter and a plug adapter.
- Q: How can I get around in China?
A: China has an extensive and efficient public transportation system, including high-speed trains, buses, and domestic flights. Major cities also have well-developed subway systems. Taxis and ridesharing apps, like Didi, are also widely available.
- Q: Are credit cards widely accepted in China?
A: Credit cards are accepted in many hotels, restaurants, and shops in large cities, but cash is still the preferred method of payment in smaller cities and rural areas. Mobile payment platforms, such as Alipay and WeChat Pay, are also popular in China.
- Q: How do I communicate with locals if I don’t speak Chinese?
A: While English is becoming more common, especially among younger people in major cities, it is not widely spoken in smaller towns and rural areas. It’s helpful to learn a few basic phrases in Mandarin and have a translation app on your phone. In tourist areas, you may find English-speaking staff at hotels, restaurants, and attractions.
- Q: Is it customary to tip in China?
A: Tipping is not a common practice in China and is generally not expected in most situations. However, tipping tour guides and drivers on organized tours has become more common, especially for foreign tourists.
- Q: What is the etiquette when visiting temples and religious sites in China?
A: When visiting temples and religious sites in China, it’s important to dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees. Remove your hat and sunglasses when entering the temple, and avoid taking photos in restricted areas. It’s also respectful to follow the local customs, such as walking clockwise around sacred objects or burning incense as an offering.
- Q: What are some popular Chinese dishes I should try?
A: China has a diverse and flavorful cuisine, with regional specialties varying across the country. Some popular dishes include Peking duck, dumplings, hot pot, Kung Pao chicken, mapo tofu, and Sichuan-style spicy dishes. Be sure to explore the local cuisine in the region you are visiting.
- Q: What are the typical business hours in China?
A: Business hours in China usually range from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Banks are typically open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday, and some branches may be open on weekends. Shopping malls and stores generally open around 10:00 am and close around 10:00 pm, with some staying open later on weekends.
- Q: What should I pack for a trip to China?
A: What to pack for your trip to China depends on the time of year and the regions you plan to visit. Generally, it’s a good idea to pack lightweight, breathable clothing for summer, warm layers for winter, and comfortable shoes for walking. Don’t forget essentials like a passport, visa, travel insurance, medications, and any necessary electronic adapters and chargers.
- Q: Are there any customs or cultural norms I should be aware of when visiting China?
A: When visiting China, it’s essential to respect local customs and cultural norms. Some tips include avoiding public displays of affection, not sticking your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice, and being mindful of personal space in crowded areas. Also, be prepared for different attitudes towards queuing and personal space, which can vary from what you may be accustomed to in your home country.
- Q: Can I use my mobile phone in China?
A: You may be able to use your mobile phone in China, depending on your carrier and plan. Check with your service provider for international roaming options and rates before your trip. Alternatively, you can purchase a local SIM card upon arrival or rent a portable Wi-Fi device for internet access.
20 Basic Mandarin Phrases For Foreigners Visiting China To Learn and Their Translations
Here are some basic Mandarin phrases and their English translations that can be helpful for foreigners visiting China:
- 你好 (Nǐ hǎo) – Hello
- 再见 (Zài jiàn) – Goodbye
- 谢谢 (Xiè xiè) – Thank you
- 不客气 (Bú kèqì) – You’re welcome
- 对不起 (Duì bù qǐ) – I’m sorry
- 请 (Qǐng) – Please
- 是 (Shì) – Yes
- 否 (Fǒu) – No
- 我不懂 (Wǒ bù dǒng) – I don’t understand
- 你会说英语吗？(Nǐ huì shuō yīngyǔ ma?) – Do you speak English?
- 我叫… (Wǒ jiào…) – My name is…
- 你叫什么名字？(Nǐ jiào shénme míngzì?) – What is your name?
- 多少钱？(Duōshǎo qián?) – How much does it cost?
- 请问洗手间在哪里？(Qǐngwèn xǐshǒujiān zài nǎlǐ?) – Where is the restroom?
- 能给我看一下菜单吗？(Néng gěi wǒ kàn yīxià càidān ma?) – Can I see the menu, please?
- 我要这个 (Wǒ yào zhège) – I want this
- 买单 (Mǎidān) – Check, please
- 慢走 (Màn zǒu) – Take care (used when saying goodbye)
- 好吃 (Hào chī) – Delicious
- 我不吃辣的 (Wǒ bù chī là de) – I don’t eat spicy food
It’s important to remember that Mandarin is a tonal language, so pronunciation plays a crucial role in conveying the intended meaning. Practice listening to native speakers or use language learning apps to help with pronunciation.
China, with its millennia of history, intricate tapestry of cultures, and sprawling landscapes, is truly a world unto itself. As we’ve journeyed through this vast nation, we’ve experienced the majesty of its great walls, the tranquility of its ancient temples, the vibrancy of its bustling metropolises, and the tantalizing flavors of its varied cuisines. Each destination has told a story, painting a picture of a country that seamlessly melds its rich traditions with modern-day innovations.
For foreigners, the allure of China lies not just in its iconic landmarks but also in the hidden alleys, local markets, and off-the-beaten-path villages that offer genuine interactions and authentic experiences. Whether you’ve been charmed by the panda sanctuaries of Chengdu, inspired by the martial arts of the Shaolin monks, or captivated by the ethereal beauty of Zhangjiajie, it’s evident that China’s wonders are as limitless as they are diverse.
While this guide has explored a mere fraction of what this vast nation has to offer, it serves as a testament to China’s boundless allure. As you prepare to embark on your own adventure or reminisce about your travels, may this list of things to do in China continue to inspire wanderlust, fostering a deep appreciation for a country that continues to enchant and surprise at every turn. Safe travels and may your memories be as vast and varied as the Middle Kingdom itself.