Top China Destinations

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Best Choices for First-time Travelers to China

What are the Top Destinations for First-time Travelers to China?

Based on feedback from our customers, China Travel recommends the following destinations in China, in order of popularity, to help you make your travel plans: Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin, the Yangtze River Cruise, Chengdu, Tibet, Hangzhou, Suzhou, the Yellow Mountains, Zhangjiajie, Harbin, the Silk Road and Xinjiang.


Beijing - Capital city of China

Beijing is a mixture of an ancient city inside of the 2rd ring road and a modern city outside of the 2rd ring road to the 6th ring road. Travelers can explore an imperial life in the Forbidden City Where the emperors and his empresses live in during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Summer Palace is the imperial garden based on the traditional Chinese garden in Suzhou and Hangzhou deeply loved by the Empress Dowager Ci Xi.

Hutongs stands for old Beijing's local life which should not to miss in Beijing. In addition, travelers can enjoy a comfortable modern journey in Beijing. The Bird Nest and Water Cube at night are beautiful modern night scenery.

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Xian - a city of history

Xi'an, also known as Chang'an, has been the capitals for 13 dynasties. Travelers can mainly experience the culture in the Qin, Tang, Han, Ming and Qing Dynasties now. It is a city that to explore old Chinese historic relics. Travelers should not to miss the magnificent Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang which has been recognized as the 8th wonder in the world by French Former President Chirae.

The vivid Terra-cotta Warriors record the culture of the Qin Dynasty (221 to 206 BC), which was the first imperial dynasty of China. The well- preserved Ancient City Wall of Xi'an is mainly built during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.


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Shanghai - a charming metropolis

As one important port for visiting China except Beijing, Shanghai has been the first destination for thousands of foreign travelers every year. Different from Xi'an, Shanghai is a symbol of the modern China. Travelers can see numerous skyscrapers and experience a modern journey in Shanghai. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Jinmao Tower are the most famous modern buildings.

The night of the Bund is one highlight of the city and travelers can take a cruise along the Huangpu River to enjoy Shanghai's night scenery. If travelers want to see water towns, Zhujiajiao Water Town is easy to reach in Shanghai. And the Yu Garden in the downtown is a typical Jiangnan garden in Shanghai.

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Guilin - beautiful landscape

To a lot of travelers, Guilin is their last city to visit before they leave China. Guilin in the south of China is famous for its karst hills, clear Li River and blue sky. Natural karst landscape has attracted a lot of travelers, painters and photographers. The Li River has been selected as one of the top 15 rivers by CNN in 2013.

And the Longji Terraced Rice Fields is not only a great place to experience Zhuang and Yao people's unique life, but also a wonderful area to see spectacular terraced fields. It is a must-visit destination in Guilin which is widely loved by photographers.

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The Yangtze River Cruise

The Yangtze River cruise is suitable for travelers who want a comfortable journey instead of walking and hiking. Most Yangtze River cruises are running between Chongqing and Yichang in Hubei Province and Victoria Sophia is the only cruise running between Chongqing and Shanghai. Travelers can see beautiful scenery along the Yangtze River and the magnificent Yangtze River Dam. Fengdu Ghost City is a fantastic place to experience Chinese ghost culture.

Travelers can learn Tai Chi every morning on the board. And there are a series of Chinese cultural lectures such as Chinese medicine and Chinese paintings for travelers. In addition, there are a lot of entertainment facilities including bars, beautiful salon, fitness room and Internet café.




A lot of travelers are touched by Chengdu's leisure life. Located in the southwest of China, Chengdu is giant pandas' hometown. Travelers should not miss the pandas in Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center in Chengdu or the Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya'an. Jinli Street and Kuan Alley and Zhai Alley are the great places to enjoy a leisure life in Chengdu.

Taoist culture influences the city, so travelers can visit some Taoist relics such as Qingyanggong in the downtown and Qingcheng Mountain. Natural landscape in the west of Sichuan and Jiuzhaigou has attracted hundreds of travelers. Autumn is the best time to visit the areas.

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Pure snowy mountains, blue sky and mysterious Buddhism culture are the highlights of Tibet. A large number of Buddhism pilgrims have been Tibetan new scenery. The Potala Palace is the symbol of Tibet which is on every traveler's must-see list. Unique Tibetan culture is another element to attract some travelers. Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, has been listed into some travelers' bucket list. The best time to visit Tibet is from May to October.

Tibet is available for foreign travelers to travel. But foreign travelers have to apply for a Tibet Travel Permit and need to be accompanied by a legal Chinese travel guide. China Travel can offer you the Tibet Travel Permit once you book a tour to Tibet with us.

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Hangzhou is easily reached from Shanghai. The West Lake shows travelers difference scenery in four seasons. For example, summer is a great time to enjoy a large field of lotus flowers and winter is the time to see the white snowy West Lake. There is a proverb to describe Hangzhou's beautiful scenery: there is a paradise in the sky, and there is Suzhou and Hangzhou in China.

Hangzhou is famous for its Longjing Tea, so travelers can visit a tea garden and drink some fresh tea. Meijiawu Tea Culture Village is the most popular tea garden in Hangzhou. Besides, it is convenient to visit Wuzhen and Xitang Water Towns from Hangzhou.

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Located in the golden delta of the Yangtze River, Suzhou has a convenient transport from Shanghai. It is famous for ancient private gardens and water towns. The imperial Summer Palace in Beijing is built based on Suzhou's gardens. The Humble Administrator's Garden and Lingering Garden are typical historical private gardens in China. Together with the Summer Palace and Emperor Kangxi's Summer Mountain Resort in Chengde, the two gardens are among top 4 gardens in China.

To take a small boat along the river is one of the best ways to enjoy a leisure journey in Suzhou. A lot of new couples head to Suzhou to spend their honeymoon. Zhouzhuang and Tongli Water Towns near Suzhou are popular destinations among travelers.

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The Yellow Mountain

The Yellow Mountain is a popular mountain all the year around. It has been one of the World Heritage Sites in 1990. The sunrise, oddly pine, strange stone, cloudy sea and hot spring are 5 highlights of the Yellow Mountain. Tiandu Peak, Lotus Peak and Guangmingding Peak are the 3 main peaks on the mountain. The snowy Yellow Mountain is new scenery in winter.

A lot of travelers will leave for the Yellow Mountain from Hangzhou and Shanghai. The Yellow Mountain is decorated with numerous flowers in April. July is the best time to see a sunrise and sunset. There are Taoism temples scattered in the Yellow Mountain for travelers to experience Taoism culture.

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Zhangjiajie in the northwestern part of Hunan Province is well known for its stone peak forest. There are marvelous hundreds of stone peaks with different shapes standing straightly in the area. Together with Yangjiajie, Tianzishan and Suoxiyu Nature Reserve, it is one part of Wulingyuan Scenic Spot. Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Zhangjiajie. Zhangjiajie became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.

Travelers can also experience Tujia people's cuisine and culture in Zhangjiajie City. Fenghuang Ancient Town in the west of Hunan Province is a great choice for travelers to enjoy Miao people's culture and life.

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Harbin in the northeast of China is a twinkling star in winter. Ice carving art and Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival make the reputation of Harbin. The International Ice and Snow Festival (lasting for a month) is one of the top 4 ice and snow festivals in the world. The festival in Harbin comes to sight at Jan. 5th since 1985.

The exquisite ice carving decorated with colorful lights at night looks like a fairyland. Harbin is one of the best places in China to go skiing and take other activities on the snow. In addition, it is a popular destination to escape from a hot summer.

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The Ancient Silk Road

The Ancient Silk Road is a famous ancient trade route starting from Chang'an (Xi'an) to Western Asia, Africa and Europe. It promoted cultural interaction between China to other counties. Nowadays, a lot of travelers are still addicted to exploring the ancient cultural route. Travelers can see Jiayuguan (the first pass under heaven), Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang and desert and experience different ethnic culture along the route.

With a more than 2,000,000 years history, Zhangye Danxia Landforms is becoming a new destination deeply loved by experienced photographers. Less travelled by visitors, the large-scale colorful landscape is one highlight of the Ancient Silk Road.

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Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwest of China is much less traveled by travelers. Kanas in autumn is a beautiful golden paradise which is one of top 10 photography destinations in China. If travelers come to visit Xinjiang, the southern Xinjiang is more worth exploring. The Pamirs and Stone Citadel and Great Mosque are popular destinations in Kashgar.

If travelers want to see a vast grassland, Hemu is the best choice in Xinjiang. The best time to visit Xinjiang is from June to October. Tianshan Mountain, the symbol of Xinjiang, has joined the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Jun. 21th in 2013.

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