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The 13 Best Places to Visit in China

China, with rich culture, long history and diverse landscapes, is a perfect destination for all kinds of tours. For those tourists who are travelling to China from US, this article may help you make a decision more efficiently. According to the feedbacks from our customers who are from the United States, the 13 best places to visit in China can be put on your bucket lists.


13.Sanya: Yalong Bay

Sanya, located at the southmost point of China, owns the best beaches in China with crystal blue sea water. Here in Sanya, you can enjoy great sunshine, soft sandy beach and the gentle breeze, which all provide a wonderful chance for you to have fun. Besides, as most of American tourists love to take adventures, Sanya will be an ideal place for you to explore the mysterious tropical rainforests. By the way, a seafood feast sounds great too.

  • Yalong Bay, stretches for more than 7 kilometers, is known as the world’s top bay. It is really a perfect place to enjoy the fresh air, white and soft beach.
  • Wuzhizhou Island, the best diving spot in China, will be an amazing choice for diving lovers. You can explore the beautiful coral reef under the pure clear sea water, with different types of tropical fish.
  • West Island, as the largest diving base in the world, is suitable for all kinds of water sports, such as diving and fishing.

best places to visit in China
Yalong Bay

How Long to Stay: 4 to 5 days

Best Time to Visit: October to the next March

Suggested Areas to Stay: Yalong Bay; Sanya Bay; Haitang Bay; Dadonghai Beach

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Sanya

Recommended Tour: >6 Days Haikou & Sanya Sunny Tour<


12.Lijiang: Tiger Leaping Gorge

Lijiang is a mysterious and romantic place located in Yunnan Province. There will always be one reason that you choose Lijiang as one of your destinations, no matter for the famous Lijiang Ancient Town, or the picturesque sceneries around. What’s more, the splendid Naxi culture will give you an amazing experience in China.

  • Lijiang Ancient Town, influenced by the profound Naxi culture in Lijiang, has a distinctive architectural style combining traditional Chinese features.
  • Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, lying above the clouds like a silver dragon, has extraordinary snow sceneries. Don’t miss it if you’re into snow mountains.
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge, as the most thrilling section of Jinsha River, is your best option for an adventurous tour in Lijiang. Hiking is highly recommended.

best places to visit in China
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

How Long to Stay: 3-5 days

Best Time to Visit: April to October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Sifang Street; Wuyi Street; Shizi Mt.

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Lijiang

Recommended Tour: >3 Days Best Lijiang Tour<


11.Hangzhou: West Lake

Hangzhou is only one hour from Shanghai by high speed train, which is quite suitable for a visa-free trip along with Shanghai, as Hangzhou is just in the Shanghai 144-hour visa-free transit zone. The charming West Lake, ancient pagodas, traditional tea culture and silk culture, are all attractive reasons that so many Americans travel to Hangzhou every year. Moreover, historical water towns around Hangzhou are worth visiting as well.

  • West Lake, as the most representative symbol of Hangzhou, shows its unique glamor to tourists all the year round. Various ways for sightseeing make your trip more interesting and enjoyable.
  • Lingyin Temple has a profound history of over 1,600 years. Regardless of a large number of buddhas inside the temple, tranquil sceneries here are also good.
  • Wuzhen Water Town enjoys high reputation among those famous water towns in China. Most of Americans love the local culture and typical water views here.

best places to visit in China
West Lake

How Long to Stay: 2 to 3 days

Best Time to Visit: March to April; September to October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Eastern Area of West Lake; Near Lingyin Temple; Siyanjing Area

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Hangzhou

Recommended Tour: >3 Days Hangzhou City Essence Tour<


10.Suzhou: Classic Suzhou Gardens

Suzhou along with Hangzhou, have won lasting fame of real paradise on earth, as what a famous Chinese saying goes: “Up above there is heaven, down below there are Suzhou and Hangzhou”. If you’re travelling to China from US for the characteristic gardens, Suzhou is right the place. Luckily, Suzhou is also included in the 144-hour visa-free zone of Shanghai, a connecting trip with Shanghai will be an amazing experience.

  • Classic Gardens: Humble Administrator Garden; Lingering Garden; Lion Grove Garden
  • Water Towns: Zhouzhuang Water Town; Tongli Water Town; Luzhi Water Town
  • Ancient Streets: Pingjiang Road & Shantang Street

best places to visit in China
Lingering Garden

How Long to Stay: 2 to 3 days

Best Time to Visit: April to October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Guanqian Street; Pingjiang Road; Shilu Business Circle

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Suzhou

Recommended Tour: >3 Days Suzhou Essence Tour<


9.Lhasa: Potala Palace; Mt. Everest

Lhasa, the capital city and the cultural center of Tibet, is a must-visit city for American tourists. This is a holy place with numbers of historical sites and peculiar Tibetan Buddhism, you may get varieties of sceneries here. And for those who come to Tibet all the way from the United States to challenge Mt. Everest, Lhasa must be your first option to enter Tibet.

  • Potala Palace is the most symbolic landmark of Lhasa, and also Tibet. The usage of white and red color represents distinctive Tibetan building culture.
  • Jokhang Temple combines different types of architectural features in Tibet, and also from Nepal and India. It is an important temple for Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Barkhor Street offers you an excellent chance to buy souvenirs and experience local culture and the long history in Lhasa.
  • Mt. Everest, as the highest mountain in the world, is a dream for mountaineering fans. September and October will be the best time for you to take a challenge.

best places to visit in China
Potala Palace

How Long to Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: May to October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Around Potala Palace; Barkhor Street & Jokhang Temple area

Related Reading: How to Plan a Trip to Lhasa in Tibet

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Best Lhasa Tour<


8.Zhangjiajie: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie possesses gorgeous mountain views which have big fame in the world, the “Hallelujah Mountain” from the famous movie Avatar even helps Zhangjiajie gain considerable repute. As lots of American tourists are keen on mountaineering, you definitely don’t want to miss the magnificent sceneries in Zhangjiajie, we’re pretty sure that the spectacular karst landscape of Wulingyuan will surprise you a lot.

  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park combines best landscapes of strange-shaped peaks, dense forests and secluded valleys.
  • Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve attracts numbers of American tourists for the perfect combination of cloud and mist with mysterious peaks.
  • Yuanjiajie Scenic Area is where you could see the world-famous “Hallelujah Mountain”.

best places to visit in China
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

How Long to Stay: 4-5 days

Best Time to Visit: April to October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Zhangjiajie downtown area; Wulingyuan Ticket Office area

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Zhangjiajie

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Zhangjiajie Highlight Tour<


7.Hong Kong: Victoria Harbor

Hong Kong is really a popular tourist city when choosing cities for your China tour. With unique background of history and culture, Hong Kong kindly shows its splendid culture and sceneries to all the tourists in the world, including American tourists. It is also a paradise for shopping, eating and entertaining.

  • Victoria Peak is the highest hill in Hong Kong where you can have a bird-eye view of Hong Kong and also the beautiful Victoria Harbor.
  • Victoria Harbor has fascinating night view. Taking Star Ferry will be a wonderful experience in Hong Kong.
  • Lantau Island is famous for the Big Buddha. Riding Ngong Ping 360 is an amazing experience.

best places to visit in China
Victoria Harbor

How Long to Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: September to the next January

Suggested Areas to Stay: Tsim Sha Tsui area; Mong Kok area; Hong Kong Island Central area

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Hong Kong

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Hong Kong Culture Tour<


6.Huangshan: Mount Huangshan

Huangshan City in Anhui Province is normally known for Mount Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain. Here you can not only explore the natural beauty of Mount Huangshan, but also rich history and culture among the ancient villages and streets nearby.

  • Mount Huangshan has exceptional sceneries of strange-shaped pines and stones among a sea of cloud and mist. The most famous symbol is Guest-Greeting Pine.
  • Hongcun Village owns over 140 well-preserved ancient houses from the Ming and Qing Dynasties, with characteristic Huizhou style.
  • Xidi Village has stoned-paved roads along the traditional Huizhou style architectures. You can also appreciate exquisite wooden carvings and stone carvings here.

best places to visit in China
Mount Huangshan

How Long to Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: all the year around

Suggested Areas to Stay: Tunxi Old Street; on the summit; Tangkou Town

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Huangshan

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Mt. Huangshan Highlight Tour<


5.Guilin: Li River

Guilin is blessed with the best karst landscapes of river, mountain and caves. With Li River as the most enchanting landmark, Guilin provides an ideal option for those visitors who prefer a scenic tour. Lots of American tourists love West Street very much, you’d better connect your Guilin tour with Yangshuo.

  • Li River shows its picturesque beauty to the world all the year round. The most beautiful part is the section from Guilin to Yangshuo.
  • Reed Flute Cave enjoys the highest reputation among all kinds of karst caves in Guilin.
  • Yangshuo county has even better sceneries than in Guilin, with Yulong River, West Street and Silver Cave as main attractions.
  • Longji Rice Terraces can be a great choice if you want to spend more days in Guilin. You may feel like entering a golden world during harvest time in autumn.

best places to visit in China
Li River

How Long to Stay: 3 to 5 days

Best Time to Visit: April and October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Guilin downtown; Yangshuo West Street

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Guilin

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Best Guilin Tour<


4.Chengdu: Pandas and Jiuzhaigou Valley

Chengdu is no doubt to be one of the best places Americans should visit in China, no matter for the giant pandas, or the delicious Chengdu Hot Pot. Splendid culture and civilization in Chengdu have attracted plenty of people come for visit as well. Moreover, you can also go to popular places around Chengdu in order to have an excellent panda tour. Enjoying 144-hour visa-free tour in Chengdu is really worthy.

  • Panda Bases: Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding; Dujiangyan Panda Base; Bifengxia Panda Base
  • Leshan Giant Buddha is the tallest and biggest stone buddha statue in the world.
  • Mt. Emei is well-known for the marvelous natural sceneries and rich culture of Buddhism and Taoism.
  • Jiuzhaigou Valley may meet all your expectation for the most beautiful water views. Autumn will be an amazing season for a visit.

best places to visit in China
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

How Long to Stay: 3-5 days

Best Time to Visit: March to June; September to November

Suggested Areas to Stay: Tianfu Square; Wuhou District

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Chengdu

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Best Chengdu Tour<


3.Xi’an: Mount Huashan & Terracotta Warriors

Xi’an, with 6 attractions marked as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is a famous historical and cultural city in China. Being the ancient capital for a long history of more than 1,100 years, Xi’an has so many things for you to explore. If you are travelling to China from US because of your interests on the ancient Silk Road, Xi’an, as the starting point of Silk Road, is exactly your first choice.

  • Terracotta Warriors, renowned as one of the World’s Eight Wonders, displays thousands of precious terracotta warriors, horses and bronze weapons.
  • Xi’an City Wall is the best-kept ancient city wall in China, with the largest scale. Touring by bike is quite enjoyable.
  • Mount Huashan will be a challenge for some tourists, for it is the most dangerous mountain among the 5 greatest mountains in China.

best places to visit in China
Mount Huashan

How Long to Stay: 3-4 days

Best Time to Visit: April, May, September and October

Suggested Areas to Stay: Near Bell Tower or Xi’an City Wall

Related Reading: How to Plan a Trip to Xian

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Xian and Mt. Huashan Tour<


2.Shanghai: The Bund

Shanghai is very easy to approach from the US, as there are plenty of airlines available. We all know that Shanghai is a modern metropolis in China, where you could witness the rapid development of China’s technology and economy. The 144-hour visa-free policy have attracts so many people coming for a visit from the United States, you can even connect your Shanghai trip with Suzhou and Hangzhou.

  • The Bund is suitable to take a stroll at any times. You may get the best night view of Shanghai on the Huangpu River Cruise.
  • Yuyuan Garden is a good choice if you like classic gardens but have no time to visit Suzhou. You can appreciate both traditional architectures and some art works from ancient China.
  • Oriental Pearl TV Tower is the symbol of Shanghai, which you might find it on most of pictures when you search for Shanghai, it will be a great experience to enjoy a buffet on the tower.

best places to visit in China
Shanghai Night View

How Long to Stay: 3-5 days

Best Time to Visit: June to November

Suggested Areas to Stay: Nanjing Road; Xiujiahui area; Jing’an District

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Shanghai

Recommended Tour: >3 Days Best Shanghai Tour<


1.Beijing: The Great Wall

Beijing, as the capital of China, must be the top 1 city that Americans should visit in China. Beijing has been through over 3,000 years, it has the largest number of historical sites in the world. No matter you’re considering a cultural tour, historical tour or scenic tour, Beijing will always be your ideal choice. Besides, most of American tourists choose Beijing as the entry city, you can enjoy a 144-hour visa-free trip in Beijing as well.

  • The Great Wall: Badaling Great Wall; Mutianyu Great Wall; Simatai Great Wall; Jinshanling Great Wall; Gubeikou Great Wall; Huanghuacheng Great Wall; Jiankou Great Wall
  • Forbidden City is the largest and best-preserved imperial palace in China, where you could experience the emperors’ life and have a look at many rare cultural relics.
  • Temple of Heaven is also a symbolic attraction in Beijing, which was built for sacrifice to the heaven and worship for rain and good harvest.
  • Summer Palace is a beautiful imperial garden with a long history. The tranquil environment there is wonderful for you to have a leisure time.

best places to visit in China
The Great Wall

How Long to Stay: 3-5 days

Best Time to Visit: June to November

Suggested Areas to Stay: Wangfujing area; Chaoyang District; Houhai area

Related Reading: How to plan a trip to Beijing

Recommended Tour: >4 Days Best Beijing Tour<


Create Your Unique China Tour

For first timers from the US, you can choose from the 13 best places to visit in China we have listed above. If you have visited China before, you definitely know what you still want to experience this time, if not, please feel free to contact us for some inspirations.

You can either join our group tours if you’re willing to make more friends during your trip, or have a private tour for a more flexible schedule. Check tours below for more good ideas.


For group tours:

For private tours:

If you want to have a customized tour, you can just tell us your favorite cities and attractions, and we will work out the most suitable itinerary for you.