Famous Cities In China You Should Not Miss


Being the world’s most populous country and also among the biggest economies in the world, China surprisingly hosts a lot of cities where is the home to both the richness of history, culture, natural beauty and also modern life with the most innovative convenience. The list below encompasses the most well-known cities in China that could offer you a fabulous glimpse of China to the wholeness.


1. Beijing – The heart of China


Beijing, the capital city of the People's Republic of China, is no doubt a must for any travellers’ bucket list when in here. As the country’s seat of power for over 850 years, Beijing now is a "modern" imperial capital and also the centre of the nation’s politics, culture, science, education, international exchanges, and also a busy metropolis full of vitality. It is one of the biggest ancient capitals in China and houses the largest number of cultural heritages all over the country with six UNESCO World Heritage (Sites). The city also has numerous historical monuments witnessing the major events of the country in the earlier time. 

Located in the northern part of China, the city of Beijing connects to Tianjin in the southeast and the rest is surrounded by Hebei province. Covering an area of 16,800 square kilometres including both plain and mountains, Beijing is surrounded on its three sides (north, northwest and west) by mountains with its southeast opening to the south and east extending to the Bohai Sea. Its total population calculated up to 2019 is approximately 21.54 million with urban population takes account for 18.63 million. 

In most China tour packages, Beijing is the first stop within travel itineraries. Ranking as the top tourist hub in China, Beijing is most famous for its splendours dating back from the Ming-Qing dynasty, which is also the most thriving days of the city in the past. To many people, only after massive reconstruction during the two last dynasties of Chinese feudalism did the city become such an architectural masterpiece as the capital of the Chinese empire. Beijing's top-tier imperial attractions include the Forbidden City (Imperial Palace), the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace, where are also the city’s most-visited tourist sites. An iconic example of Chinese civilization, the Great Wall of China runs across the northern part which is about one hour from Beijing. Places standing for Beijing’s modern age are Tiananmen Square and Mao Zedong's Mausoleum which are right in front of the Forbidden City. Besides imperial heritages, Beijing essence is also reflected through traditional Hutongs and a lot of sumptuous delicacies, the most famous dish among which must be Peking Duck (Beijing roasted duck). All in all, people can experience what is called the most sublime highlight of China in Beijing.

Recommended Best Beijing Package Tours: Beijing Private Tours and Travel


2. Xi’an –  A famous ancient city in China


For those who are into the richness of Chinese history, Xi’an would be a promising city for your interest. Proudly regarded as the most famous ancient capital city in China, Xi’an noted its glorious history spanning for over 3000 recorded years of evolution with the establishment of Qin Dynasty, the first empire of unified Imperial China. Xi'an was called Changan in ancient times, which means "Everlasting Peace" in Chinese. The city also was the home to 13 later dynasties and regarded as one of the finest examples of Han culture. Xi’an is one of the most important cradles of Chinese civilization since it marked the start of the legendary "Ancient Silk Road" that linked China with central Asia and the Roman Empire in Europe. 

Xi’an now has turned out to be a modern city still encapsulating withing itself the sublime glory of the past with numerous cultural and historical spots around the city. Aiming to preserve Xi’an ancient treasures as much as possible, no underground railway is founded here. Hence the city still remains a unique sedate and historical ambience amidst the global development. Top tourist attractions you should not miss when in Xi’an include:

>> The Terracotta Warriors and Horses (The Terracotta Army): a large-scale underground military museum with a huge collection of life-sized terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang and also one of the most significant archaeological excavations of the 20th century. 

>> Xian Ancient City Wall: a great defensive system dating back from the Tang Dynasty where people can enjoy strolling along the path or cycling on the city wall for sightseeing.

>> Big Wild Goose Temple: a famous ancient pagoda located to the south of Xi'an city with the history spanning over 1,300 years from the Tang Dynasty and interesting stories of its first abbot, the revered Master Xuan Zang.

>> Muslim Quarter: a vivid place of cultural diversity originated from the Ancient Silk Road with an interesting blend of Chinese and Islamic culture.

Recommended Best Xi’an Package Tours: Xi'an Private Tours and Travel


3. Chengdu – Centre of Sichuan essence


As the capital city of fertile Sichuan Province, Chengdu, a lively city located right in the central region of the province, is an important economic, financial, commercial, cultural, transportation, and communication centre of Western China. With the total population of approximately 16,33 million people in 2019, Chengdu is also one of the three most populous cities in Western China, along with Chongqing and Xi'an. 

China is a massive country with distinct regional cultural diversity ranging from North to South, from West to East. And Sichuan, the homeland of the endemic Giant Panda, with its world-famous culinary art, is one of the most prominent exemplifications of Chinese tradition’s richness. Chengdu, as Sichuan’s capital city, is obviously an inviting destination for any culture buff, especially foodie lovers. In 2011, it was recognized by UNESCO as a city of gastronomy. Among a lot of pleasant things to do during your trip to Chengdu, here are the top-rated travel experiences you should not miss here:

>> Partake a traditional Sichuan cooking class in Sichuan Cuisine Museum: learn about highlights of Sichuan culinary art and try making some iconic Sichuan traditional dishes under the guidance of professional Sichuan chef. 

>> Enjoy fabulous Sichuan foodie trips sneaking into bustling streets or visiting renowned family-running restaurants in Chengdu.

>> Get a close and personal look at lovely & iconic pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding.

>> Enjoy a day trip from Chengdu heading to the Leshan Giant Buddha – a UNESCO Heritage Site and also a grandiose religious attraction in Sichuan. 

Highlights Recommended Chengdu Package Tours: Chengdu Private Tours and Travel


4. Shanghai – China’s most prosperous city 


Shanghai is one of the finest examples of China’s phenomenal economic development in the modern-day. From a small seaside town, Shanghai turned out to be a renowned international metropolis drawing more and more attention from all over the world. Loads of skyscrapers, impressive old and new architectures, buzzing city life, and a lot of local delights worth discovering. Being a major hub of China, Shanghai plays a significant role in Chinese and Asian economy as a centre of both domestic and international trading, finance, transportation, and many other industries. Hence, Shanghai is not only a popular destination for tourists but also a preferred Chinese city for important national and international economic & cultural events.  

Shanghai is an accessible city that is advantageously located in the middle portion of the Chinese coast, on the estuary of Yangtze River – China’s longest river, faces the Donghai Sea in its east and Hangzhou Bay to the south, and neighbours Jiangsu & Zhejiang province in the west. Thanks to its strategic location, Shanghai is a vital part of the Yangtze River delta economic area in East China. With the urban population (updated in 2019) is about 20.6 million, Shanghai is also one of the most populous cities of China. 

Shanghai welcomes any travellers to visit with profound modern urban culture, innovative convenience, and many interesting cultural and historical sites. The Bund- symbol of Shanghai, is the most notable landmark of the city with famous images of the stunning skyline showing the incredible prosperity of the new Shanghai from the waterfront as well as clusters of massive western-style buildings dating back from the last centuries. If Oriental Pearl Tower Shanghai, Urban Planning Exhibition Center, and Shanghai Disneyland stand for modern life of the city, beautiful tourist attractions such as Yu Garden, Zhujiajiao Ancient Town, or merely bustling local markets are vivid pictures of Shanghai unique local culture. Here, you will not only experience the fancy atmosphere of a megacity but also excitingly discover traditional highlights existing for centuries that represents Shanghai’s great history. Shanghai, undoubtedly, is a friendly Chinese destination suiting travellers of all types and global citizens of all ages. 

Recommended Best Shanghai Package Tours: Shanghai Private Tours and Travel


5. Guilin – The city of landscape


Renowned for majestic karst landscape, Guilin, a city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southern China is endowed with spectacular scenery that surely arouses the interest of any nature enthusiast. The city is set amidst a peaceful setting of verdant hills, mountains, and graceful grasslands. Guilin is well-known as the land of numerous natural attractions including beautiful caves, unique karst formations, picturesque Li River, to idyllic rural scenery or stunning rice terraced fields.

When comparing to many other famous cities all over the country, Guilin looks like a young lady that quietly sitting on Southern China with the pleasing natural beauty of traditional Chinese ink paintings. Hence, the city attracts a lot of foreign travellers each year who expect to savour one of the most beautiful natural scenery in China. The sought-after tourist attractions in Guilin for any traveller are:

>> Reed Flute Cave: a famous scenic spot in Guilin praised as "the underground Palace of Natural Arts" with an impressive collection of uniquely-shaped stalactites and stalagmites inside 

>> Elephant Trunk Hill: a distinct karstic formation that is commonly considered the icon of the city of Guilin.

>> Li River: a calm and picturesque river with unforgettable Li river cruise experience from Guilin to Yangshuo, passing through the various magnificent landscape of limestone ranges and peaks.

>> Yangshuo: an inviting attraction for those who’re into being immersed in the charming atmosphere of the Chinese countryside, with exciting outdoor activities such as farming, cycling, or bamboo rafting.

>> Longsheng Rice Terraced Fields: a mountainous region in Guilin where features fantastic scenery of terraced fields, remote tribal villages, and blissful vistas of mountain ranges.

Recommended Best Guilin Package Tours: Guilin Private Tours and Travel


6. Hong Kong – The Pearl of the Orient

 Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Xianggang) is a metropolitan area and special administrative region of China on the eastern Pearl River Delta of the South China Sea. The place got the name as it was a famous harbour producing and exporting agarwood and its products including oil, incense, etc from Guangdong province to other parts of China or abroad. Covering an area of 1104 km2 but being the home to 7.5 million people (in 2019), Hong Kong is one of the world’ most densely populated places. Hong Kong was a colony of the British Empire from 1842 until it was transferred back to China in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong maintains separate governing and economic systems from that of mainland China under a principle of "one country, two systems". Due to its special history, although the major population in Hong Kong is Chinese who speak Cantonese, this harbour city is a dynamic metropolis with the global atmosphere to some extents.

Hosting a unique Chinese-Western character, Hong Kong now is a famous business, financial, transiting, and shopping centre in the world. The city is considered the land of countless skyscrapers besides a place of cultural diversity with various colonial buildings and traditional temples within the city. Hong Kong is also famous for narrow & busy streets (mainly in Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Lan Kwai Fong) with lines of stores, clubs, western restaurants, and tasty local cuisine that features typical Cantonese Cuisine, Chinese cuisine, and many abroad influences. Travelling to Hong Kong, you will be deeply immersed in the world of bustling city life, iconic Chinese traditions, and the global modernity as well. Shopping, harbour cruise, sightseeing excursion to Victoria Peak, and foodie tours are the very best things to do when in Hong Kong that you should not miss. 

Recommended Best Hong Kong Package Tours: Hong Kong Private Tours and Travel

China ranks as a top destination in Asia with its world-famous inherent natural and cultural highlights along with surprising development in major cities, which are also inviting tourist attractions for anyone here. Six Chinese cities on the list are our best recommendations for your trip to China if you’re seeking a classic expedition learning about Chinese essence in the fullest ways. We also offer many other China private tour packages meeting different travel interests. Don’t hesitate to contact our Asia Private Tours Expert Team for an amazing China holiday!

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