When mulling over vacation plans in Asia, China is easily one of its most compelling destinations. A country approximately the size of the contiguous United States, it hosts a wide variety of landscapes, cities, and attractions within its borders.
From archeological sites that date back thousands of years to flashy casinos that support many blackjack myths as well as games of blackjack, mahjong, and poker, visitors will be able to find something that will interest them during a holiday here.
If you want to hit this country’s biggest highlights though, be sure to include the following cities if you want to see the best places to visit in China.
There are many excellent destinations that can be found within China’s borders, not the least of which is Beijing, its federal capital.
Not only home to the Chinese government in the modern era, it was also where the country was ruled by its monarchy from the 14th century up until 1911.
As such, it is home to can’t miss historical sights such as the Forbidden City (where the royals held court during the Ming and Qing dynasties), the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven.
Additionally, Beijing is located within a quick day trip from one of the most popular surviving segments of the Great Wall of China.
Taking an hour and a half each way, heading out to Beijing’s rural outskirts to see the Wall will eat up a half day, but it is well worth the time investment.
Located inland from the East China Sea, Xi’an was home to 13 dynasties and 73 emperors over its 3,000-year history.
Due to its lengthy association with Chinese royalty and its location at the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, there are many attractions worth seeing during a visit here.
The most prominent of these is the Terracotta Warriors, which was uncovered in 1974. Dating back to the 3rd century BCE, this army, with each stone representation of a soldier crafted individually, is an awesome sight to behold, with over 7,000 pieces depicting soldiers that were meant to accompany and protect emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife.
Other sights worth seeing include the Xi’an city wall (the largest in the world) and the Muslim Quarter, which is home to a variety of shops, mosques, and markets servicing this ethnic minority in China.
Situated in the subtropical south, Guilin is set amidst a forest of limestone karsts on the Li River. As you might imagine, the most popular activity to do here are boat cruises that will get you up close and personal with these wonders of nature, but there are other attractions that will make a trip down there well worth your while.
The best of these alternative landmarks is the Sun and Moon Pagoda, which are best enjoyed after dark, as they are brilliantly lit up by orange and white lights that fit each of their identities perfectly.