Shanghai Photo by Valentin Stanciu via Flickr Creative Commons

China contains some of the world’s most exciting and intriguing attractions. From the stunning beauty of Mount Emei to the archeological wonders of the terracotta soldiers, China has what it takes to leave even the most well-traveled visitors in awe. Most major cities contain a plethora of interesting landmarks, but there are several attractions that stand above the rest, like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

Great Wall at Badaling

One of the world’s most renowned buildings (and the only man-made structure that can be seen from space) is the Great Wall of China. Spanning more than 4,970 miles (8,000kms) in length, visitors shouldn’t find it difficult to see part of it. Most tourists use Beijing as a stepping stone to the Great Wall, with sections like Badaling and Juyongguan just over one hour away. It is easy to find buses to the wall, but generally visitors should take bus number 919. Otherwise, it is possible to find tour vans offering transportation. Address: 216 Provincial Road, Yanqing, Beijing Phone: +86-10-6912-1358 Website:

Forbidden City

The former imperial palace of China’s Ming through Qing Dynasties, the Forbidden City is among the most visited attractions in the world. Built around 1420, this large complex includes almost 1,000 different buildings of varying age and purpose. Much of the landmark is now called the Palace Museum, boasting ancient exhibitions of imperial relics, rooms, paintings and monuments. Some parts of the site are not open to the public, but many fascinating highlights can still be found. The palace is located within walking distance of Tiananmen Square – China’s largest public gathering space. Address: 4 Jingshan, Qianjie, Beijing 100009 Phone: +86-10-6513-1892 Website:

Hainan’s Sanya Beach

Put aside ancient culture and historic attractions for a few days and take some time out to relax on Sanya Beach. This is China’s most famous tropical getaway, and shouldn’t be missed by sun-worshipers. In addition to the golden sand and crystal clear water, Sanya Beach is home to a rich sea turtle conservation program, which enables visitors to understand and see turtles in their natural habitat. Hotels are located right along the beach, but visitors must book well in advance when traveling during peak seasons. Address: Sanya Beach, Hainan, China Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve

Located in the Sichuan province in the southwestern region of mainland China, Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve is a spectacular attraction for anyone in the country. It is known in English as Jiuzhai Valley and is famous for housing a plethora of breathtaking natural landscapes like Pearl Waterfall. In addition, the Wolong Sanctuary also contains a population of protected giant pandas. Tickets to enter the park are reasonably priced, although bus tickets for getting around are not included. Address: Jiuzhaigou National Park, Jiuzhaigou, Aba, Sichuan, China Phone: +86-83-7773-9753 Website:

Xi’an’s Terracotta Warriors

The Army of Terracotta Warriors is one of the great archeological finds in history. Originally discovered on accident by local farmers in 1974, today the site welcomes millions of tourists annually, and includes more than 8,000 soldiers, chariots and horses. The warriors can be found in Xi’an’s Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, which has become a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are also hundreds of interesting relics and items on display within the landmark, making it a great museum, as well. Address: Qin Ling Bei Street, Lin Tong Qu, Xian, Shaanxi, China Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Yungang Grottoes

Located close to the city of Datong, the Yungang Grottoes are a series of spectacular rock-cut architecture and stunning Buddhist statues. Altogether, there are more than 51,000 separate Buddha statues located inside. In 2001, UNESCO labeled the landmark a World Heritage attraction, calling it a masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist cave art. Today, tours are available, but visitors can also see the Yungang Grottoes privately. Address: Datong Province, Shaanxi China Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Mount Emei

One of the four sacred mountains of Buddhism found in China, Mount Emei is a living gem. Located within the province of Sichuan, it is unrivaled in beauty and majestic awe. It is not uncommon for this mountain to be covered in mist and cloud formations, which are often referred to as Clouds Seas. Visiting Mount Emei simply for its superb sunrise is enough; however, tourists can also see the Golden Summit or Guangfu Pavilion, which are two of the more breathtaking structures in the area. Address: Eimeishan City, Sichuan Province, China Phone: n/a Website: n/a

Potala Palace

The former center of Tibet and home of the self-exiled Dalai Lama, the Potala Palace is a wonderful landmark. A great number of relics and culturally unique artifacts are on display within the palace, which can be explored on tours through the many winding stairwells. Address: 35 Beijing Middle Road, Chengguan, Lhasa, Xizang (Tibet), China Phone: +86-891-683-4362 Website: n/a

Tiananmen Square

This is the largest public square on the planet, and one of the most important landmarks in China. Tiananmen Square is the site of central Beijing, flanked by a plethora of landmarks, including the Qianmen Gate, Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, the People’s Monument and Museum of Chinese History (National Museum). Entrance is free, and visitors are welcome to spend as much time as they please embracing its bustling beauty. This truly is the epicenter of modern China. Address: Dongcheng, Beijing, China Phone: n/a Website: n/a

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