China Travel Bucket List: 12 Sites You Should Visit!


China is home to rich culture, history, stunning sceneries and amazing food. There’s so much to discover in the world’s most populous country with over 1.4 billion people and third-largest country by land area. It may be overwhelming to compile places to see when you plan to travel to China, so here are our most recommended sites to see when you visit China. Let’s start!

  1. The Palace Museum [Beijing, China]

Located in the heart of Beijing, The Palace Museum is also known as the Forbidden City. The imperial palace during the Ming and Qing dynasties that’s now a vast museum complex, showcasing imperial treasures and Chinese history.

It served as the residence of Chinese emperors for nearly 500 years, housing 24 emperors from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Forbidden City is a masterpiece of traditional Chinese architecture and design. It covers an area of 72 hectares and consists of 980 surviving buildings, including palaces, halls, gardens, and ceremonial structures.

2. The Great Wall of China [Beijing, China]

UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Great Wall of China is one of the most famous and iconic landmarks in the world. It spans over 21,000 kilometers (13,000 miles) in total, making it the longest man-made structure on Earth.

Photographed using Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A062)

The Great Wall attracts millions of visitors each year. Visitors can hike or take a cable car to reach the wall, and once there, they can walk along the path and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

3. Datang Everbright City [Xi’an, China]

Located at Xian, Shaanxi Province. Datang Everbright City is a 2,100-meter-long tourist landmark that features a grand street with characteristics of Tang Dynasty. It stretches from the south square of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in the north, to the Tang City Wall Heritage Park in the south.

It’s a one-stop traveller paradise with shopping, dining & entertainment.

4. Museum of Terracotta Warriors [Xi’an, China]

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Museum of Terracotta Warriors and Horses houses the terracotta army that was discovered in 1974 by a group of farmers digging a well in Lintong District, Xi’an. They uncovered the life-sized terracotta statues buried with the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang.

Photographed using Tamron 20-40mm F/2.8 Di III VXD (Model A062)

In the museum, you will see thousands of life-sized terracotta statues, including soldiers, horses, chariots and more. The museum consists of 3 main pits (Pit 1, Pit 2, and Pit 3). Pit 1 is the largest and most impressive, containing the majority of the terracotta soldiers arranged in battle formation.

Bonus experience: Buy tickets to watch The Resurrected Legion at Daqin Theater which tells the true-to-life story of the Terracotta Warriors.

5. Liangjiahe Village [Yan’an, China]

Discover the old life in China. Liangjiahe Village is a small rural village located in Yanchuan County, Shaanxi Province, China. The village offers visitors a glimpse of rural Chinese life and the opportunity to see the places where Xi Jinping lived and worked.

6. Shibadong Village [Hunan, China]

Also known as “18/th Cave Village”. It is located in Hunan Province, China and was historically one of the poorest villages in Hunan Province. It gained recognition for the successful poverty alleviation efforts applied in the village and has become a model for rural development.

The village showcases unique cultural heritage, including Miao ethnic minority traditions and customs. Visitors can experience Miao culture, try local cuisine, and witness traditional performances and crafts.

7. Charming Xiangxi Show [Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China]

The Charming Xiangxi Show, also known as “Charming West Hunan,” is a cultural performance that showcases the traditional music, dance, and customs of the Xiangxi Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities in Hunan Province, China.

Photographed using Tamron 35-150mm F/2-2.8 Di III VXD (Model A058)

8. Wulingyuan Scenic Area [Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China]

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most famous attraction in Zhangjiajie. It features the breathtaking quartzite sandstone pillars known as the “Avatar Mountains” or “Hallelujah Mountains” due to their appearance in the movie “Avatar.”

9. Bailong Sky Elevator [Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China]

Ride the world’s fastest and tallest outdoor elevator. The Bailong Sky Elevator, aka the Hundred Dragons Elevator or the Avatar Elevator, is a unique vertical lift located in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area of Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China. Upon reaching the top you can explore Tianmen Mountain, the “Heaven’s Gate” rock arch, glass walkways, and other attractions.

10. Huangpu River Cruise [Shanghai, China]

One of the best spots to watch the sunset and see panoramic views of Shanghai’s most famous landmarks, including the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower, Jinmao Tower, and the historic buildings along the Bund.

11. The Bund [Shanghai, China]

A famous waterfront area in Shanghai, China, located along the western bank of the Huangpu River. The Bund has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. It was a major financial and trading center during the colonial era when Shanghai served as an international port.

Photographed using Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD (Model A057)

The Bund is lined with numerous historic buildings that are now home to various institutions, luxury hotels, restaurants, and high-end retail stores. Some of the notable landmarks include the Peace Hotel, Customs House, HSBC Building, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, and the Shanghai Bund International Cruise Terminal.

12. Shanghai Tower [Shanghai, China]

Last but not the least, see Shanghai from the tallest view point in the city, the Shanghai Tower. The Shanghai Tower stands at a height of 632 meters (2,073 feet) and has 128 floors above ground. It is the second tallest building in the world, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The Shanghai Tower is a mixed-use building that includes office spaces, hotel rooms, observation decks, conference facilities, retail areas, and entertainment venues.

China is home to a vast range of experiences that fits different interests. These are just some of the notable places to visit, but there’s so much more that this country has to offer. We haven’t even started on the food yet, but that’s for a different piece. Immerse yourself in the rich culture, sites & history of China and enjoy re-discovering China in your own eyes. Happy travels!

Special thanks to the Chinese Embassy of the Philippines and Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all the arrangements!

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