China is an incredible, mysterious, and exotic country that has an old history, diverse culture, and tempting foods. With the economic growth, tourism and services have matured over the years, so China has become more and more attractive for travelers to visit from all corners of the world.
There are hundreds of ways to explore China: leaving your footsteps on the magnificent Great Wall, tasting the delicious roast duck in Beijing, and taking a photo with cute pandas in Chengdu. Do you know the 10 most popular activities you should do in China?
1. See the Thousands of Guardians of the First Qin Emperor in Xi’an
Buried in the ground for thousands of years, when the Terracotta Army was unearthed, it was an incredible archaeological find. These figures are the witness of Chinese history and they have accompanied the First Qin Emperor for thousands of years. In addition, they are invaluable historic artworks that highlight the ancient culture and manual skills.
The most outstanding feature of the Terracotta Army is that no two sculptures are the same. Each statue has its own expression and stands with a different pose according to its respective status. Walk close to the Terracotta Army and learn about the history and culture of Xi’an.
2. Watch the Cute Giant Pandas in Chengdu
It’s well-known that pandas are China’s national treasure and everyone loves them. They are fat but agile, lazy but cute, and you will be happy to play with them. Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding is home to 80 pandas and you can watch their daily routine. Moreover, you can have the chance to be a volunteer so that you can take care of them and have close contact with these cute pandas.
3. Explore the Luxurious Forbidden City in Beijing
Exploring the Forbidden City and experiencing Chinese emperors’ lifestyles should be listed as one of your must-do activities in Beijing. To have a comprehensive experience of the Forbidden City, visit it from the Inner Court to the Outer Court.
Get up early to escape the bustling crowds and then start your trip. Visit the most famous palaces in the Forbidden City with the help of a guide who you should hire to introduce you to its history and culture. Hang out in the place where Chinese emperors spent their private lives and experience the strong historic atmosphere there.
In the afternoon, across from the Forbidden City you will arrive at Jingshan Park. It’s not only a classic Chinese-style garden with traditional architectures but is also a place where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Forbidden City. A gorgeous view of a sunset over the Forbidden City is the most beautiful scenery to be enjoyed in Beijing.
4. Eat Beijing Roast Duck, Chengdu Hot Pot, and Chinese Dumplings
Chinese food has always been an important topic for travelers planning a trip to China. Some people even think that eating Chinese food is better than going anywhere interesting or beautiful. Here are some dining tips for you:
- Taste the most famous Chinese dishes, such as Beijing roast duck, Chinese dumplings, and Chengdu hot pot.
- Go to the restaurants where many local residents are eating.
- Don’t miss the street snacks, although some people worry about the nutritional quality.
- Ask your waiter to recommend dishes for you as he will know what the best-selling dishes in the restaurant are.
5. Hiking the Longest Architectural Structure in the World
When thinking of China, most foreigners are reminded of the grand human project — the Great Wall of China. Beijing is the closest and the most convenient place for you to visit this famous piece of architecture.
- If your time is limited, go to the Badaling, Juyongguan, or Mutianyu sections of the Great Wall. They are close to Beijing and you can return to your hotel on the same day.
- If you want to have a different experience of the Great Wall, you can go to the Jinshanling, Simatai, or Gubeikou sections. These sections have fewer visitors, are more authentic, and are further away from Beijing.
6. Float on the Li River and Admire Picturesque Natural Views in Guilin
To explore the long history of China, go to Xi’an; to experience Chinese culture and must-see attractions, go to Beijing; to catch the most picturesque natural views of China, go to Guilin. Guilin is famous for its clear Li River and numerous mountain ranges.
You can even see its beauty on Chinese money as it’s depicted on the 20 yuan note. The most popular way to travel in Guilin is to take a bamboo boat on the Li River and admire the various mountains on both sides of the river.
7. Explore the Ancient Chinese Emperors’ Beliefs at the Temple of Heaven
Chinese emperors believed that their power was given to them by the gods. In order to show their respect to the gods and to pray for a good harvest, they held a series of prayer rites. The Temple of Heaven was the most important place to make sacrifices to heaven.
On every winter solstice, emperors would join the most ceremonious and solemn rite at the Temple of Heaven. As well as being a place to help you understand the ancient Chinese emperors’ beliefs, the Temple of Heaven is also a landmark area to explore Chinese history and architectures.
8. Admire the Exceptional View of the Longji Rice Terraces in Guilin
The Longji Rice Terraces are located 80 kilometers from Guilin’s city center. The area is famous for the stunning view of the terraces on Longji Mountain. There are three main factors that make this area popular with visitors from all over the world: the well-presented natural landscape and pleasant environment, the picturesque view of the countryside scenery, and a harmonious atmosphere between several minorities, such as the Yao, Dong, Zhuang, and Miao people. If you are interested in Chinese minority cultures and customs, Guilin is a good choice. You can enjoy the 72-hour visa-free policy there.
9. Enjoy the Lively Exhibition of Worldwide Architectures at the Bund in Shanghai
The Bund, a famous landmark of Shanghai, is represented by 52 types of architecture, ranging from French to English. Visitors love its various architectural structures that allow you to experience different atmospheres from many countries and feel the breath of Shanghai’s history from 100 years ago.
One more breathtaking thing to do at the Bund is to admire the dreamy nighttime scenery. Shanghai is a city that’s always bright, even at night. Taking a cruise on the Huangpu River and standing in the wind while admiring the exceedingly fascinating and charming scenery of the Bund is a really enjoyable experience.
10. The Classic Chinese-Style Water Towns Around Shanghai
Compared with the Forbidden City and Beijing’s hutongs, the water towns around Shanghai display another Chinese architectural style that is honored as the “Oriental Venice“. There are six famous water towns around Shanghai: Zhouzhuang, Tongli, Luzhi, Xitang, Wuzhen, and Nanxun. Water towns are famous for their traditional bridges, picturesque scenery, harmonious and peaceful lifestyles, and classic Chinese gardens.
Compared with architectures in North China, residential buildings in water towns are more delicate and more personal. A variety of famous gardens were built by local celebrities who had a good reputation or were rich in the past. The peaceful lifestyles and strong historic atmosphere let you enjoy a different cultural side of China.
Explore China and Join Our Popular Tours
- One-Day VIP Mini Tour in Beijing, including the Great Wall at Mutianyu, the Forbidden City, and Tian’anmen Square
- One-Day Essential Mini Tour in Xi’an, including the Terracotta Army, Xi’an City Wall, and Muslim Quarter
- One-Day Highlight Mini Tour in Shanghai, including Shanghai World Financial Center, the Bund, and Zhujijiao Water Town
- One-Day Yangshuo and Li River Highlights Tour