Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
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The 15 Most Beautiful Places in China

The profound history and vast territory have endowed China with a variety of ancient wonders, captivating landscape and colorful ethnic traditions, from the undulating China Great Wall to the grand Terracotta Army, from the breathtaking karst landscape along the Li River to the rainbow mountains showcasing unrivaled Danxia landform. In this article, we will explore the 15 most beautiful places in China to delve into the unique charm and allure of each site.

1. The Great Wall of China

Mutianyu Great Wall
Mutianyu Great Wall

Historical significance

The Great Wall of China used to be an important defensive structure against invasions along the ancient borders. Almost all the dynasties had built or reinforced Great Wall sections and the earliest construction can be traced back to Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771BC). Today, sections built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), with a total length of 8851.8km, are the best-preserved, including Badaling and Mutianyu in Beijing, Jinshanling and Shanhaiguan in Hebei, as well as Jiayuguan in Gansu. >> View Top 10 China Great Wall Sections

Majestic views

One of the most beautiful places in China, the Great Wall stretches out for miles along the rolling mountain ridges, with beacon towers spaced at regular distances from one another. As you hike along the steep stairs, you will be treated to breathtaking vistas of rugged mountains and verdant valleys with the winding walls like a giant yellow dragon occupying the top of the mountain

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2. The Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army
Terracotta Army

Ancient warriors

The Terracotta Army in Xi’an, hailed as the “World’s Eighth Wonder”, was created to guard China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang (259-210BC), in the afterlife. Over 8,000 life-sized pottery soldiers and horses line up in the burial pits, reproducing the invincible troops of Qin 2,200 years ago. There are also a vast collection of bronze weapons and chariots unearthed in the three pits.

Archaeological wonder

Xi’an was the capital city of 13 dynasties in ancient China. Qin, the first united state in Chinese history established by Qin Shi Huang, was also rooted here, making the Terracotta Army one of the irreplaceable cultural symbols of Xian.

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3. The Li River

Guilin Li River Cruise
Guilin Li River Cruise

Picturesque Karst Landscape

There is an old saying in China that “the landscape in Guilin is the best under heaven” and the Li River strings together the most captivating scenes of Guilin. Without doubt, Li River is the one of the most beautiful places in China, and beyond. Along the river, you will be spoiled with stunning karst landscape with verdant hills rolling away to the distance, casting their reflections on the serene water.

Li River Cruises and bamboo rafting

The best way to immerse in the spectacular scenery of Li River is taking a cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo. During the journey, you will feel like being in a scroll of landscape painting with essential sights unfolded in front of you, including Nine Horses Fresco Hill, Yellow Cloth Shoal and scene on note CNY20. You can also take a bamboo rafting in Yangshuo to take in the tranquil beauty of the surroundings.

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4. The Yellow Mountains

Mount Huangshan
Mount Huangshan

Breathtaking peaks and vistas

Yellow Mountains, also known as Huangshan Mountains, is one of the prettiest places in China, famous for “five natural wonders” – strange pines, queer rocks, sea of clouds, hot springs and winter snow. Besides, viewing the splendid sunrise and sunset at the peak can also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the breathtaking scene would make your trekking worthwhile.

Nearby Ancient Villages

After visiting Mt. Huangshan, you can also enrich your China tours by taking a side trip to the nearby ancient villages, like Hongcun Village, Xidi Village and Chengkan Village. Here, you can have a glimpse of unique Hui-style residences. If you come here during March and April, the old residences with white walls and black tiles will set off with the surrounding rape flowers, offering an incomparable rustic scenery.

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5. The Forbidden City

Beijing Forbidden City
Forbidden City

Imperial grandeur

Located along the central axis of Beijing, the Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, is the largest and best-preserved wooden architectural complex in the world, with more than 70 palaces in total. It used to be the living place for imperial family during Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368-1911). Today, grand palaces with crimson walls, golden roofs and glazed tiles still showcase the solemnity of the ancient royal house, and make it one of the most beautiful places in China.

Cultural heritage

Besides the magnificent royal complex, tourists can also take a close look at precious antiques, including jewelry, gold and silver wares, jade and bonsais. Most of them were imperial objects of the Qing Dynasty, which were made of precious materials with top-notch techniques of the time.

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6.  Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Avatar-like landscapes

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a one of the most beautiful places in China of unparalleled natural beauty. Viewing from the top, you will be marvel at the surreal scenes with towering sandstone peaks and pillars rising from the valley floor and pointing straight to the sky. Here, you can also have a visit to the symbolic Hallelujah Mountains which appeared in the movie Avatar.

Glass Bridge and Bailong Elevator

Thrill-seekers can venture onto Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, which is the highest and longest one in the world, to embrace breathtaking views below. Taking Bailong Elevator is another exciting experience. The elevator is 335m in height but only takes 2 minutes to reach the top, making it listed into the Guinness Book of World Records.


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7. Jiuzhaigou Valley

Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Five Colored Pond
Five Colored Pond in Huanglong National Park

Crystal-clear lakes and waterfalls

Nestled in the mountains of Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou Valley is renowned as the unspoiled realm of alpine lakes, waterfalls and pools. The glittering streams are like necklace interspersing among primitive forests and shoals. You can also see through the crystal-clear lakes to view the fantastic underwater scenery.

Colorful autumn scenery

Jiuzhaigou Valley is one of the best places in China to visit all year round, but offers its most captivating scenery in autumn. During this period, the valley will transform into a world of colors, including the azure blue of lakes, fiery red of maples, dark green of pines, pure white of the snow mountains…

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8. Potala Palace

Tibet Potala Palace
Potala Palace

Symbol of Tibet

Potala Palace is a grand complex presenting typical Tibetan architectural features. The palace was set into a hillside with the highest elevation of 3,700m, which is regarded as the world’s highest. The complex mainly consists of White Palace and Red Palace, with the former one being the site for religious rituals and the latter one the living place of Dalai Lamas.

Holy place Among Tibetans

The palace is not only a masterpiece of architecture, but also a pilgrimage site among Tibetan Buddhists. A large collection of religious relics is well preserved here, including 10,000 Thangka paintings, stupas worshiping Dalai Lamas and various religious instruments.

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9. The Yangtze River

Yangtze River Cruise

Spectacular gorges

Flowing through some of China’s most dramatic landscapes, Yangtze River showcases the breathtaking panorama of Three Gorges, boasting towering cliffs, misty peaks, and winding waterways. Embarking on a Yangtze River cruise is the best way to immerse yourself in its natural beauty. You will also stop at some ancient temples and quaint riverside towns along the way.

Three Gorges Dam

Three Gorges Dam is usually the destination of Yangtze River cruise. It is the largest water conservancy project in the world and offers expansive views of the river.

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10. The Reed Flute Cave

Guilin Reed Flute Cave
Reed Flute Cave

Stunning rock formations

Praised as a shining pearl of Guilin landscape, Reed Flute Cave is a natural wonder adorned with a multitude of stalactites and stalagmites. Illuminated by colorful lights, stalactites of different shapes turn cavernous chambers into a stretch of “primitive forest”, “a giant pagoda”, or even “a crystal palace”, presenting surreal scenes everywhere.

Colorful lighting displays

As you stroll along the paths, each turn reveals a new display of vibrant hues and intricate formations, making the cave a mysterious realm that only appears in fairy tales.

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11. West Lake, Hangzhou

Hangzhou West Lake
West Lake

Serene beauty

West Lake, hailed as “paradise on earth”, is the symbol of Hangzhou. Considered as one of the most beautiful places in China of both cultural and natural importance, it is renowned for its tranquil waters, verdant islands, and serene pagodas along the lake. The picturesque scenery has been a source of inspiration for countless poets and artists throughout history. Taking a boat ride across the lake is a good way to fully appreciate its ethereal beauty.

Nearby Tea Plantations

As the home of Longjing Tea, West Lake is also famous for the profound tea culture. If interested, you can pay a visit to the nearby tea plantations to learn more about Longjing tea and also take a sip of the refreshing drink.

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12. Guilin Rice Terraces

Longsheng Rice Terraces Guilin
Longsheng Rice Terraces

Unique agricultural landscapes

Guilin Rice Terraces, also known as Longji Rice Terraces, is the paradise for hikers and photographers. Cascading layers of terraces are cultivated along the mountain slopes, showcasing the distinctive rural landscape of the region.

Ethnic culture and customs

Villages of Zhuang and Yao ethnic minorities are scattered among the terraces. Local peasants have preserved their unique customs and traditions for centuries. Visiting the villages allows you to experience their warm hospitality and learn about their rich cultural heritages.

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13. Zhangye Danxia Landform

Zhangye Rainbow Mountains
Zhangye Rainbow Mountains

Rainbow mountains & a geological wonder

A must-visit site and beautiful place along the Silk Road journey, Zhangye Danxia Landform is a geological marvel showcasing distinctive charms at different times. You will be marvel at the surreal landscape as the rolling mountains look like being decorated with colorful ribbons against the azure sky and the hues become even brighter under the glory of the setting sun, making it a photographer’s delight.

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14. The Summer Palace

Beijing Summer Palace
Summer Palace

Royal gardens and pavilions

Situated in the western suburbs of Beijing, the Summer Palace used to be the summer resort of imperial family in the Qing Dynasty. It represents the summit of Chinese garden architecture with Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake perfectly immerged with magnificent royal palaces and pavilions as well as Buddhist towers. Taking a boat ride on Kunming Lake is a must-do and it offers you a panoramic view of the surroundings.

15. Huangguoshu Waterfall

Huangguoshu Waterfall Guizhou
Huangguoshu Waterfall

Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province is the largest waterfall in Asia and one of the most impressive in the world. The six viewing platforms allow visitors to observe the waterfall from different angles. The best time to visit Huangguoshu is the midsummer when the currents are the most powerful, pouring from the dangerous cliffs and dropping abruptly to the bottom.

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China’s beauty knows no bounds, with each destination offering a unique blend of natural wonders, cultural heritage and historical significance. These 15 most beautiful places in China offer an unforgettable journey, from the winding Great Wall to the spectacular Huangguoshu Waterfall. So, do not hesitate to embark on an adventure and immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty that awaits in this remarkable land.

You can also get to Top 7 Tourist Landmarks in China to know more iconic attractions of China.


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