China has many large and famous cities. Below is a list of the nine most important for travellers in mainland China.
- Beijing (北京) – the capital, cultural centre and host of the 2008 Olympic Games
- Guangzhou (广州) – one of the wealthiest and most liberal cities in the south, near Hong Kong
- Guilin (桂林) – popular destination for Chinese and foreign tourists with sensational mountain and river landscapes
- Hangzhou (杭州) – famous beautiful city and important centre of the silk industry
- Kunming (昆明) – Yunnan capital and gateway into a rainbow of ethnic minority areas
- Nanjing (南京) – a well-known historical and cultural city with many historical sights
- Shanghai (上海) – famous for its riverside cityscape, an important commercial centre with many shopping opportunities
- Suzhou (苏州) – “Venice of the East”, an ancient city west of Shanghai famous for canals and gardens.
- Xi’an (西安) – the oldest city and ancient capital of China, capital of 13 dynasties including the Han and Tang, endpoint of the ancient Silk Road and home of the Terracotta Warriors
You can travel to many of these cities on the new express trains. Especially the Hangzhou – Shanghai – Suzhou – Nanjing route is a very convenient way of seeing those famous historical areas.
Other destinations in China
Among the most famous tourist attractions in China are:
- Great Wall of China (万里长城) – more than 8,000 km long, this ancient wall is the landmark of China.
- Hainan (海南) – a tropical, paradise island that is being developed with a strong focus on tourism
- Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve(九寨沟) – known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colourful lakes and as home to the giant pandas
- Leshan – most famous for its giant Buddha cliff statue on the riverbank and nearby Mount Emei
- Mount Everest – the highest mountain in the world lies on the border between Nepal and Tibet.
- Mount Tai (泰山 Tài Shān) – one of the five sacred Daoist mountains in China and, due to its history, the most climbed mountain in China
- Tibet (西藏) – with a majority of Tibetan Buddhists and traditional Tibetan culture, it feels like a completely different world
- Turpan (吐鲁番)- in the Islamic region of Xinjiang, this area is known for its grapes, harsh climate and Uyghur culture.
- Yungang Grottoes (云冈石窟) – these hillside caves and alcoves number more than 50 in total and are filled with 51,000 Buddhist statues.
In China, there are over 40 sites listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.