China : Top Sights
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China stretches more than 6,000 kilometers from the fortresses of Shanhaiguan in the east to Jiayuguan in the west. The best preserved section of the wall is near Badaling Pass northwest of Beijing.
Forbidden City and Imperial Palace
The Forbidden City is a palace complex in central Beijing, China. It houses the Palace Museum, and was the former Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty.
The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. It is a form of funerary art buried with the emperor in 210–209 BCE with the purpose of protecting the emperor in his afterlife.
The Summer Palace
The Summer Palace is a vast ensemble of lakes, gardens and palaces in Beijing. It was an imperial garden in the Qing Dynasty. Mainly dominated by Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, it covers an expanse of 2.9 square kilometres, three-quarters of which is water.
Longevity Hill is about 60 m high and has many buildings positioned in sequence. The front hill is rich with splendid halls and pavilions, while the back hill, in sharp contrast, is quiet with natural beauty. The central Kunming Lake, covering 2.2 square kilometres, was entirely man-made and the excavated soil was used to build Longevity Hill.
In December 1998, UNESCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List.
Classical Chinese garden design, which seeks to recreate natural landscapes in miniature, is nowhere better illustrated than in the nine gardens in the historic city of Suzhou. They are generally acknowledged to be masterpieces of the genre. Dating from the 11th-19th century, the gardens reflect the profound metaphysical importance of natural beauty in Chinese culture in their meticulous design.
The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet was the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Chinese invasion. It is now a museum and World Heritage Site. The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China. Its vibrant, densely populated urban centre is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline. Central (the business district) features architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower. Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market.
The Bund or Waitan is a waterfront area in central Shanghai. The area centers on a section of Zhongshan Road within the former Shanghai International Settlement, which runs along the western bank of the Huangpu River in the eastern part of Huangpu District.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
Tiger Leaping Gorge is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River, a primary tributary of the upper Yangtze River. It is located 60 kilometres north of Lijiang City, Yunnan in southwestern China. It is part of the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas World Heritage Site.
Hangzhou West Lake
West Lake is a freshwater lake in Hangzhou, China. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. There are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands within the lake.
The Li River or Li Jiang is a river in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China. It flows 83 kilometres from Guilin to Yangshuo, where the karst mountains and river sights highlight the famous Li River cruise.
Located at an elevation of 3,800 meters, Daocheng is renowned for Yading’ s charming mountain and lake scenery with alpine views of placid streams, crystal highland lakes, pastures and snow-capped mountains.
Thimphu, Bhutan’s capital, occupies a valley in the country’s western interior. In addition to being the government seat, the city is known for its Buddhist sites. The massive Tashichho Dzong is a fortified monastery and government palace with gold-leaf roofs. The Memorial Chorten, a whitewashed structure with a gold spire, is a revered Buddhist shrine dedicated to Bhutan’s third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, lies on the Lhasa River's north bank in a valley of the Himalayas. Rising atop Red Mountain at an altitude of 3,700m, the red-and-white Potala Palace once served as the winter home of the Dalai Lama. The palace’s rooms, numbering around 1,000, include the Dalai Lama’s living quarters, as well as murals, chapels and tombs.
Mount Emei is a mountain in Sichuan Province, China, and is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. Mt. Emei sits at the western rim of the Sichuan Basin. The mountains west of it are known as Daxiangling.
Mount Hua is a mountain located near the city of Huayin in Shaanxi province, about 120 kilometres east of Xi'an. It is the western mountain of the Five Great Mountains of China, and has a long history of religious significance.
Chengdu's history dates back to at least the 4th century B.C., when it served as capital for the Shu Kingdom. Artifacts from that dynasty are the focus of the Jinsha Site Museum. The city is also home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a conservation center where visitors can view endangered giant pandas in a natural habitat.
Xi’an is a large city and capital of Shaanxi Province in central China. Once known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace), it marks the Silk Road’s eastern end and was home to the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties' ruling houses. At archaeological sites in Xi’an’s surrounding plains are the famed Bingmayong (Terra Cotta Army), thousands of life-size, hand-molded figures buried with China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.
Beijing, China’s sprawling capital, has history stretching back 3 millennia. Yet it’s known as much for modern architecture as its ancient sites such as the grand Forbidden City complex, the imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Nearby, the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza is the site of Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China, displaying a vast collection of cultural relics.
Guilin is a city in southern China known for its dramatic landscape of limestone karst hills. At its center are 2 lakes, Shanhu (Cedar) and Ronghu (Banyan), remaining from a medieval-era moat that once surrounded the city. Boats travel through these and other lakes via connected rivers. On Shanhu Lake’s shore, twin pagodas, the Sun and Moon, light up the sky at night.
Qomolangma National Nature Reserve
The world's highest national park, Qomolangma National Park, opened in Tibet in 2012. The Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) National Park, located at the border of China and Nepal, covers six counties of the Shigatse Prefecture with a total area of 78,000 square kilometers. the park features ecological valleys and culture-themed zones, hot springs and snow-coated forests.
Zhangjiajie, a city in the northwest of China's Hunan province, is home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area. This protected zone encompasses thousands of jagged quartzite sandstone columns, many of which rise over 200m, as well as caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Wulingyuan also encompasses forests, rivers, waterfalls and 2 large natural land bridges, as well as endangered plant and animal species.
Mount Gongga, also known as Minya Konka, is the highest mountain in Sichuan province, China. It is also known to locals as "The King of Sichuan Mountains"
Zutrulpuk Gompa - Darchen (3 hr). Lake Manasarovar Khora (Pilgrimage Circuit) - Together with Mt Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is a pilgrimage site.
Leshan Giant Buddha
The Leshan Giant Buddha is a 71-metre tall stone statue, built between 713 and 803, depicting Maitreya. It is carved out of a cliff face of Cretaceous red bed sandstones that lies at the confluence of the Min River and Dadu River in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan.
Jiuzhai Valley National Park
Jiuzhaigou National Park is a network of valleys in China’s Sichuan province. In the northern Shuzheng Valley, Nuorilang Waterfall cascades from the edge of a large tree-fringed lake. The Zharu Monastery is a place of worship for the park’s Tibetan villages. In the south, Rize Valley’s mountains are covered with ancient forests. Fallen trees are scattered on the bottom of the striking, multicolored Five Flower Lake.
Yellow River Shapotou
Shapotou Scenic Area is located in the southeastern line of Tengger Desert, about 20km away from Zhongwei County in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. Shapotou is near the Yellow River, integrating sand and river scenery together.
Kangrinboqe known as the holy mountain is the main peak of Gandise mountains. Standing at the height of 6,714 meters above sea level,
Lugu Lake is located in the northwest of the Yunnan plateau, with the middle of the lake forming the border between the Ninglang County of Yunnan Province and the Yanyuan County of Sichuan Province.
There are beautiful mountains for hiking in Xichang itself and the nearby regions. Xichang is a beautiful tourism spot in southern Sichuan. The Xichang Satellite Launch Center (XSLC) is used to launch geostationary communications and weather satellites
Confucius was born here around 551 BC Qufu has sites associated with the Chinese philosopher. The Kong Miao (Confucius Temple) was established in 478 B.C., with the current sprawling complex mostly dating from the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Hengshan Hanging Temple
This Hanging Temple is famous for its precipitous location, and it’s the only existing temple which combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism together in China. It was constructed by drilling holes into the cliffside into which the poles that hold up the temples are set.
The Yungang Grottoes, formerly the Wuzhoushan Grottoes, are ancient Chinese Buddhist temple grottoes near the city of Datong in the province of Shanxi. They are excellent examples of rock-cut architecture and one of the three most famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.
Mount Wutai, also known by its Chinese name Wutaishan and as Mount Qingliang, is a sacred Buddhist site at the headwaters of the Qingshui in Shanxi Province, China. Its central area is surrounded by a cluster of flat-topped peaks roughly corresponding to the cardinal directions.
Changbaishan Heaven Lake
Heaven Lake is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Paektu Mountain, a part of the Baekdudaegan mountain range and the Changbai mountain range.
Kaifeng is a city in central China’s Henan province, just south of the Yellow River. Rebuilt many times, the city was the Northern Song Dynasty capital from the 10th to 12th centuries. Dating to that period is the Iron Pagoda, a 55m-tall octagonal structure built in 1049. The city’s Qing-era Daxiangguo Temple is noted for a 7m-high bodhisattva statue with approximately 1,000 hands.
Luoyang is an industrial city in central China’s Henan province, in what is widely recognized as the region where Chinese civilization originated. Luoyang, ancient China’s capital during multiple dynasties, is home to Baima Si (White Horse Temple), among China’s first Buddhist temples, founded in the 1st century. Nearby, the Longmen Grottoes contain thousands of Buddhist rock carvings dating to the 5th century.
Shangri-La or Xianggelila is a county-level city in northwestern Yunnan province, People's Republic of China and is the location of the seat of the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Gubeikou is a town of Miyun District in northeastern Beijing, bordering with Luanping County, Hebei to the north and the Beijing towns of Gaoling to the west, Xinchengzi to the east and Taishitun.
Gansu is a province in north-central China. Its city of Jiayuguan is known for the striking Overhanging Great Wall and imposing Jiayuguan Pass fortress complex, both part of the Great Wall of China. The nearby city of Jiuquan is a gateway to the July 1st glacier, which crowns the Qilian Mountains to the south, and to the Gobi Desert. Jiuquan's Silk Road Museum houses artifacts from this ancient trade route.
The Jokhang, also known as the Qoikang Monastery, Jokang, Jokhang Temple, Jokhang Monastery and Zuglagkang, is a Buddhist temple in Barkhor Square in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Tibetans, in general, consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.
Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong province, China. The tallest peak is the Jade Emperor Peak
Lijiang, a city in the northwest part of China's Yunnan province, is home to the Naxi and several other ethnic minority groups. A commercial center in the 1300s, its old town encompasses cobblestone streets, canals and Central Market Square with shops and restaurants. Black Dragon Pool has famed views of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain range, fronted by the Moon Embracing Pavilion.
Kashgar is a city in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, in China’s far west. It was a stop on the Silk Road, with its history stretching over 2,000 years. Today it’s known for the Kashgar Sunday Bazaar, a daily market crammed with pashminas, spices, fur caps and more. Another major site is the 15th-century Idkah Mosque, which can house up to 20,000 worshipers.
Meili Xue Shan
Meili Xue Shan or Mainri Snow Mountain is a mountain range in the Chinese province of Yunnan. It lies close to the northwestern boundary of the province and is bounded by the Salween River on the west and the Mekong on the east.
Labrang Monastery is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Its formal name is Genden Shédrup Dargyé Trashi Gyésu khyilwé Ling. Labrang is located in Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu, in the traditional Tibetan area of Amdo.
Giant Panda Breeding
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, is a non-profit research and breeding facility for giant pandas and other rare animals. Chengdu Panda Base was founded in 1987. It started with 6 giant pandas that were rescued from the wild.
The Three Gorges
Three Gorges reservoir region is a mountainous stretch along China's Yangtze River, between Chongqing and Yichang cities. Carved between steep cliffs are its trio of gorges, Qutang, Wu and Xiling. Cruise boats sail along the Yangtze's placid waters while the Baiheliang Underwater Museum displays ancient stone carvings from beneath the river's surface. The massive, hydroelectric Three Gorges Dam is in Sandouping city.
Longji Rice Terrace
The Longsheng Rice Terraces, also called the Longji Rice Terraces, are located in Longsheng County, about 100 kilometres from Guilin, Guangxi, China. The terraced fields are built along the slope winding from the riverside up to the mountain top, between 600 to 800 metres above sea level.
Litang town is situated in the southwest of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. Litang is a historic town at an altitude of around 4,000 meters above sea level, even higher than Lhasa, which is why it is even known as a ‘town up in the air’. It's famed for its horse racing festivities where Khampas gather together from all across Tibet and Southwest China
Chongqing is a sprawling municipality at the confluence of the Yangtze and Jialing rivers in southwestern China. In the city center, the large, domed Great Hall of the People complex stands above pedestrianized People's Square. On the other side of the square, the Three Gorges Museum features artifacts from the construction of the Three Gorges Dam as well as ancient art.
Pingyao, officially Pingyao Ancient City, is a settlement in central Shanxi, China, famed for its importance in Chinese economic history and for its well-preserved Ming and Qing urban planning and architecture.