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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. It's centrally located and close to the Forbidden City and Jingshan…

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Chairman Mao Mausoleum

Although Chairman Mao Zedong requested to be cremated, his body was instead embalmed. After a supposed mishap during the process, a wax model was made as backup and it's unknown…

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Forbidden City

The majestic Forbidden City is a historical precinct situated in the heart of Beijing. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been declared the largest collection of preserved ancient…

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Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is a perennial favourite among tourists. Stretching some 4,000 miles (6,350km) and built in stages from the 7th century BC onwards, it snakes across the…

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Huaqing Hot Springs

The Huaqing Hot Springs at the base of the Lishan Mountains is where ancient emperors bathed and relaxed. Huaqing is one of the Hundred Famous Gardens of China and the setting…

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Mount Everest

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

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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…

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Qin Terracotta Army Museum

In 1974, a group of peasants digging a well in Lintong District unearthed fragments of a life-sized warrior figure. Further excavation revealed several timber-lined vaults filled…

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Shanghai Museum

The Shanghai Museum is found at the People's Square, the political and cultural centre of Shanghai. Shaped like a giant bronze urn, it contains a collection of some 123,000 artefacts…

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Stone Forest

The Stone Forest of Shilin is a breathtaking and eerie landscape. The limestone pillars and stalagmites poking out of the green hillsides look like petrified trees, with rock formations…

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Summer Palace

The magnificent Summer Palace was built in 1750 by the Emperor Qianlong, and continued to be an imperial residence until the Empress Dowager Cixi died in 1908. It is the largest…

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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…

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The Underground City

Beijing's Underground City is a forgotten vast bomb shelter eight to 18 meters beneath the ancient capital's downtown area, built in case of nuclear attack. Aside from some rather…

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Tiananmen Square

The famous and distinct Tiananmen Square is at the heart of Beijing, a place of so many historic events. The largest city square in the world, it was a gathering place and site…

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