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What to see in China

China Attractions


China's attractions are so many, and its landscapes so vast, that travellers will need a lifetime to fully explore this fascinating and impossibly diverse country. That said, the must-see sights are fairly obvious and highly accessible, and, as previously restricted areas open up, the list of world-class attractions keeps growing. In addition to big draw-cards like the Great Wall, the Xi'an Terracotta Army, and the Forbidden City, travellers can choose from a huge range of cultural treasures, traditional temples, incredible landscapes, national parks, and festivals. Travellers should choose areas that they would like to explore wisely, especially if travelling on a budget, because the country's vastness can make travelling from place to place considerably expensive.

One of the most amazing sights in China can be seen in every Chinese city every day: the incredible pace of modernisation reflected in the energy of the people, frenetic urban development, and the relentless embrace of capitalism, with all its virtues and vices. These impressions are likely to leave the deepest mark on visitors to China. The contrast between the ancient and the new is intriguing and makes exploring China a joy for both history and culture buffs as well as the more modern tourist interested in technology and development.

China is a year-round destination, although visitors might want to plan around Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in late January and early February, when much of the country shuts down for a week and public transport is completely booked up.


Beihai Park

A place of tranquillity and grand imperial beauty, the Beihai Park is one of the great attractions of Beijing. The park is centrally located and close to the Forbidden City and Jingshan Park, providing…

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Chairman Mao Mausoleum

Although Chairman Mao Zedong of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China requested to be cremated, it was decided hours after his death in 1976, that he would be instead be…

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Forbidden City

The impossibly majestic Forbidden City is a historical precinct situated in the heart of Beijing. Almost a city in its own right, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been declared the largest collection…

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Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a perennial favourite among tourists, and with good reason. The magnificent Great Wall, stretching 4,000 miles (6,350km), was built…

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Huaqing Hot Springs

The Huaqing Hot Springs, located about 22 miles (35km) east of Xi'an city, at the base of the Lishan Mountains, is where the ancient emperors bathed and relaxed in scenic surroundings. Huaqing is one…

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Mount Everest

The Shigatse prefecture is the gateway for climbers to the North Col climbing route of the world's highest mountain, Mount Everest. The ultimate climber's challenge, Mount Everest towers at 29,028…

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Potala Palace

The vast Potala Palace stands on a cliff top above Lhasa, considered the greatest achievement of Tibetan architecture. The palace was originally built in the 7th century by the then emperor for his…

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Qin Terracotta Army Museum

In 1974, a group of peasants digging a well north of Mount Lishan in Lintong county, about 18 miles (30km) from Xi'an, unearthed fragments of a life-sized warrior figure. Because the site of the discovery…

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Shanghai Museum

The new Shanghai Museum is situated on the People's Square, the political and cultural centre of Shanghai. The square boasts a giant musical fountain and several attractive green recreational areas…

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Stone Forest

The Stone Forest of Shilin, about two hours' drive from Kunming, is a breathtaking and eerie landscape which is a must-see for tourists in the area. It is called a forest because the limestone pillars…

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Summer Palace

The magnificent Summer Palace at Kunming Lake, in northwest Beijing, was built in 1750 by the Emperor Qianlong, and continued to be an imperial residence until the Empress Dowager Cixi died in 1908.…

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The Beijing National Stadium

The Beijing National Stadium, also known as The Bird's Nest due to its appearance, was the hub of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, hosting all of the track and field events as well the opening and closing…

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The Underground City

For more than 20 years, Beijing's Underground City, a bomb shelter just beneath the ancient capital's downtown area, built in case of nuclear attack, has been virtually forgotten by Beijing locals,…

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Tiananmen Square

This famous square at the heart of Beijing attracts tourists not only with its pleasing design and views of numerous landmarks, including the famous painting of Chairman Mao, but also because it was…

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