8 Best Tourist Destinations in China

As one of the largest countries in the world, China has plenty of beautiful and interesting places available for travelers to visit, including ancient heritages, natural mountains, and modern skyscrapers. Among them the country's ancient heritages is most unique, the nation is touted to have a history of five thousand of years, the culture and architecture of ancient China is perfectly expressed on these ancient buildings and towns.

Below are 8 most beautiful and interesting sights or places in China that you should not miss to see.

If you have never been to China before, take a look at these best places to visit in China for first-timers.

1. Ancient Water Towns in Jiangnan area

There are many water towns in Jiangnan area, in these towns, numerous well preserved ancient buildings are situated beside the canals, which can be seen throughout the town with many wooden boats floating on. These water towns are always referred to as Eastern version of Venice.

Wuzhen night view

Some most notable ones are Wuzhen, Zhouzhuang, Xitang, if you plan to visit Shanghai, then Zhujiajiao is best option, it's very similar with other water towns mentioned above, and located not far from the urban area of Shanghai.

Zhouzhuang water town
Zhouzhuang water town

2. Shanghai Tower

Shanghai Tower is the symbol of modern China, it was first envisioned in 1992, and completed in 2015.
Standing at 632 meters, the tower is the tallest skyscraper in China and second tallest building on the planet.

The tower has world's highest observation deck, from where visitors can get the aerial view of Shanghai, it's one of the best place to enjoy the panoramic view of the Bund.

Learn more of Shanghai Tower Observation Deck here

3. Forbidden City

Forbidden City is an ancient imperial palace complex in Central Beijing, it's the largest existing ancient palace complex in the world, the palace was where the emperors of Ming and Qing Dynasty live in and discuss political affairs with their ministers by that time, ordinary people were not allowed to get into the Forbidden City, hence get the name.

Today visitors can get into the city to enjoy the extraordinary view of amazing architecture of palaces which was designed exclusively for Emperors.
Forbidden City is very large and has hundreds of buildings, you may need to spend many hours to see all of them.
Learn more details of Forbidden City here

4. The Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Buddha is a giant stone Buddha statue near the city of Leshan in Sichuan Province, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Western China.

The stone Buddha is created in the 8th century during Tang Dynasty, it is carved into a hillside, facing the Mount Emei, with rivers flowing in front of it.
The Buddha statue stands 71 meters, it's the tallest stone Buddha statue in the world, and also the largest Buddha statue, the statue took about 90 years to complete.
There's a path right of the Buddha statue winding up to the observation platform above the statue, the foot of the statue also has a square for visitors to look up at the statue. This imposing sculpture will inspire your meditation when you look at it.

5. Sanya

Sanya is a seaside city in the Hainan Island, the island is located in the southernmost of China, and is often seen as an alternative of Maldives or Hawaii for its tropical climate, palm trees are seen everywhere on the island. Sanya is the most visited city in the island by tourists, as the city has more tourist attractions than the rest of the island.
Sights that worth to visit in the city are:
Yalong Bay: A bay located east of the city, the bay has the longest tourist beach in Sanya, the beach is 4.7 miles long, from there visitors can see the impressive views of sea and palm trees, or enjoy the sunshine. Some hotels and resorts are situated there.

Phoenix Island: A resort built on a series of artificial islands in Sanya Bay, the resort is nicknamed Oriental Dubai, as some concepts are inspired by the Palm island or Burj Al Arab in Dubai.

There are five futuristic highrise buildings on the islands, these buildings are designed by Yansong Ma, an architect who had ever worked for Zaha Hadid, both of them design in a same style, futuristic and curves are found everywhere on the buildings. Some of these buildings are used as hotels, the island is only open to hotel guests.
Guanyin of Nanshan: A giant sculpture of Guanyin Buddha, the sculpture is built on the sea, standing at 108 meters, it's one of the tallest sculptures in the world. One of the interesting features of the sculpture is that the Buddha has 3 respects, so visitors can always find the Buddha is facing to them, no matter which point they are standing at.

6. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a natural park in northwest of Hunan Province, the park is composed of forests and mountains, it offers some of the most beautiful natural sights in China for visitors.
Zhangjiajie is known for its numerous pillar stones, one of the them is called Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Below is introduction to some of the most popular sights in Zhangjiajie Forest Park.
Avatar Hallelujah Mountain: A 150m stone pillar, it's one of the most unique pillars in the forest, the pillar was formerly known as South Sky Pillar, after the film Avatar became a success the pillar was renamed to its current name, as it was the photographs of this impressive stone pillar inspired the giant floating rocks seen in the film.

Bailong Elevator: A vertical observatory structure on the wall of a stone pillar in the forest, the 326-meter-tall structure is composed of 3 vertical rails that each has a high speed elevator.

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge: A pedestrian glass bridge connects two mountains, it's the longest (430 meters) and highest (300 meters) pedestrian glass bridge in the world, the bridge is made of transparent glass, tourists can look down at the natural views through the glass while they walk on it.

Heaven's Gate: An aperture in the mountain of the Park, it is located on the top side of a pedestrian path, appears like a gate leads to heaven.

7. Fenghuang Town

Also known as Phoenix Town, this ancient town is in northwest of Hunan Province, very close to Zhangjiajie, the buildings are also built along the rivers, but the style is totally different with what seen in Jiangnan water towns, the majority of buildings here are wooden structures instead of stone structures like in Jiangnan area, many of them are directly built on the water, supported by a series of pillars, making the main structures lifted high from the water. The view of nearby mountains makes Fenghuang more calm and gorgeous.

8. Hengdian Theme Park

Unlike many European countries, most buildings or towns built in ancient China no longer exist today, the attractions listed above are well preserved ones in the minority. If you want to experience more of the ancient China, you can try to visit Hengdian theme park.
Hengdian Studio is a filming Studio in Zhejiang Province, it's one of the largest film Studio in the world, known as the Hollywood of China, it provides special filming sites for TV series and films, the views of these sites are special because they can't be found in modern world, it's also a theme park that open to tourists, many replicas of ancient buildings, palaces are built there, including a full scale replica of Forbidden City. Some destroyed palaces which were once in the history are rebuilt in Hengdian.

One of palace complex in Hengdian Theme Park

Hengdian Studio is still constantly expanding, one of the recent addition to the theme park is the rebuilt Yuan Ming Yuan, also known as Old Summer Palace, an ancient imperial palace destroyed in Second Opium War.

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