Top 10 China Destinations for First Time Travelers
To save your time and energy and allow the best value for your money, we carefully selected the top 10 China destinations and the most popular tour packages, in the hope of guiding international travelers especially the first-time visitors to better plan their vacation.
Beijing - Imperial Capital and First Choice
You can wander around the crimson Forbidden City to feel the dignity of the city; or you can stroll along the crisscrossing hutongs and immerse in every day local life. There is an old saying among Chinese people: One who fails to reach the Great Wall is not a true hero. Badaling Great Wall to the north of downtown Beijing is the best preserved section. You should be sure to put it on your must-see list.
By contrast, the mushrooming skyscrapers, bustling shopping streets, first-class museums, and grand Olympic venues all make you feel the modern charm of this mega capital.
Recommended Tour: 8 Days China Tour to Beijing, Xi'an, Shanghai from $1229
Shanghai - Sleepless International Metropolis
The colonial history left Shanghai with a unique landscape. You can see clusters of classical western-style architectures on the Bund, the top waterfront sightseeing belt along the Huangpu River, the mother river of Shanghai. Across the river, Lujiazui Financial Zone is totally a different sight. The high-rise Oriental Pearl Tower, World Financial Center, and Jin Mao Tower stretch upwards to form one of the world's most splendid skylines.
The night view of Shanghai is like a splendid sea of lights. Flashing neon lights, elegant streetlights and ever moving headlights, they all infuse a bit of romance into this sleepless city.
Recommended Tour: Shanghai 3 Days Tour Itinerary from $399
Xi'an - Splendor of Ancient Oriental Civilization
As one of the four major capitals of ancient civilization (together with Athens, Cairo and Rome), Xi'an is the home of Chinese civilization. The renowned Silk Road starts from here, stretching through west China to the Mediterranean.
Over 7,000 years' history including 1,100 years as the ancient capital has endowed Xi'an with abundant historical sites. You can feel the power of the Qin Dynasty (221 - 207 BC), that once ruled the nation, in Terracotta Army Museum. Or, you can cycle along the ancient City Wall to overlook the whole city. Climbing up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and enjoying the splendid music fountain is also a distinctive experience.
Recommended Tour: Xi'an Mini Group Day Tour To Terracotta Army from $79
Guilin - Top Karst Wonderland
Embraced by undulating hills with varied shapes, Guilin is traversed by the picturesque Li River. The winding watercourse from Guilin to Yangshuo is the prettiest part. Peaks along the river form the largest karst landscape in the world. Canoeing on the rippling river with lush bamboo groves on the banks is like being inside an endless landscape painting scroll. After disembarking in Yangshuo, a hike or cycle ride in the idyllic countryside is highly recommended.
Recommended Tour: Guilin 3 Days Tour from $379
Chengdu - Hometown of Giant Pandas
Visiting Chengdu is also a feast for your appetite. Jinli Street should be the best place to have a taste of the well-known Sichuan food. Not only can you eat to your heart's content there, but also enjoy the cozy lifestyle.
Recommended Tour: Chengdu 3 Days Tour Itinerary from $339
Hong Kong - Shining Pearl of the Orient
The former colonial background allows diverse cultures to mix there, making Hong Kong the epitome of the world with a distinctive cityscape. Under the night sky, the colorful lights turn the city into a shining palace. You can taste the night by ordering a cup of wine in Lan Kwai Fong in Central, or take the tram to Victoria Peak to overlook the fascinating Victoria Bay, whose brilliant scenery is known as 'the night scene worth millions of dollars' An evening cruise in the harbor is yet another way to observe the city's fantastic night sky.
Recommended Tour: Hong Kong One Day Tours from $126
Tibet - Holy Site of Buddhism
As the home of Tibetan Buddhism, the trip to Tibet can be likened to a pilgrimage. The magnificent Potala Palace is revered as a holy site by the Tibetan Buddhists. The Jokhang Temple receives countless pilgrims every day. You can see pious pilgrims prostrating all their way to the temple. You can also experience the Tibetan customs wandering around the Barkhor Street in Lhasa.
With 79 peaks above the altitude of 19,685 ft (6,000 m) and abundant highland lakes, Tibet attracts hundreds of thousands of adventurers. Itching to conquer the 'Roof of the World'? Come to explore the Earth's highest Mt. Everest!
Recommended Tour: 11-Day Tour to Beijing, Xi'an, Lhasa, Shanghai from $2809
Guangzhou - Vigorous World Trading Center
Besides a business center, the city with 2,200 years' history retains many historical sites for sightseeing, such as Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family and Bright Filial Piety Temple. A night cruise on the Pearl River is an unforgettable experience. When the city is lit up, the dazzling Canton Tower on the south bank of the river will definitely impress you.
Recommended Tour: 3 Days Guangzhou City Tour from $289
Hangzhou - Heaven on Earth
Nowadays, this city with its heavenly natural beauty is not only a top China destination for tourists, but also the birthplace of China's E-commerce. With prosperous light industry and a solid IT talents base, it hosts the headquarters of several large online shopping companies.
Recommended Tour: 3 Days Hangzhou Tour from $379
Sanya - Best China Destination for Seaside Holiday
Sanya is also a dreamlike dating and honeymoon destination. There is never a lack of lovers along the sea shore. As you wander along the beach with your loved one, while viewing the amazing sunset, the experience will remain with you forever as a romantic memory.
Recommended Tour: 5 Days Haikou Sanya Tour
Further Reading:10 Places to Visit in China for a Trip of a LifetimeTop 10 China Tourist Attractions List
Day 1: Yuexiu Park, Shamian Island, Beijing Road
Day 2: Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family, Museum of the Western Han Dynasty Mausoleum of the Nanyue King
Day 3: Temple of the Six Banyan Trees, Canton Tower, Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street