leisure in China
Updated 3 weeks ago

China is an East Asian country you will enjoy exploring. From stunning natural landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to historic landmarks and dazzling modern architecture, China has a lot to offer. The 4th largest country in the world, China will need a lot of your time and travel to be seen in full. But, as most of the country’s visitors note, it will be 100% worth it.

History and culture

The country has many historical and cultural sites unveiling its rich heritage. The Warriors Museum, located in the north of Xi'an, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Urumqi is another stunning location — the capital of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, it is home to numerous places of worship and museums but also other relics, as well as traditional markets.

Take time to visit the famous symbolic urban monuments such as the "Bund", located in Shanghai, the Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the site of the Emperor Qin Shu Huangdi's buried army, the Great Buddha of Mount Emai, the Three Gorges Dam in Hubei, the Dazu Rock Carvings, the Jianshui Confucius Temple, or the Temple of the Three Pagodas.

 Good to know:

Avoid travelling to famous attractions during Chinese national holidays — transportation, as well as the locations themselves, may be extremely crowded.


China has long been noted for its stunning natural beauty. The country is home to some of the world’s most picturesque mountain peaks, lakes, waterfalls, river valleys, and more. You will find a large number of natural wonders here that are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: Mount Tai (Shandong), Mount Huangshan (Anhui), Lushan National Park, Fanjingshan, and others.

The natural parks of Macau, the Seven Star Park in Guilin, the Forest Museum in Xi 'An and the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve in Xi Shan attract loads of nature enthusiasts all year round.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the country’s first national park but has become a popular tourist attraction only recently after its unique mountain set served as inspiration for the Hallelujah Mountains in the movie Avatar. The park now also features the world’s highest and longest glass bridge — Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge.

Aside from its mountains and countryside, China also has many coastal areas and beautiful beaches. Sanya, located in the south of Hainan Island, is considered the best destination in the country for a beach holiday. It is home to Yalong Bay Beach (known as Oriental Hawai), Dadonghai Beach, Tianya Haijiao and others.

The tourist island of Gulangyu off the southeast coast of Xiamen is home to another beautiful beach and a unique cultural setting — the island houses a piano museum, a bird sanctuary and many old historical buildings. In 2017, the island received the status of World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Beidaihe Scenic Area in Hebei offers a different type of setting with cool summers, warm winters, golden sand and pleasant mild sunshine. The neighbouring region of Hong Kong is also a known beach destination with Turtle Cove Beach, Tai Long Wan, Sai Wan Beach, and others.

Urban sightseeing

Those who prefer the fast pace of urban life, there is no shortage or lack of variety of leisure activities in China’s big cities. From traditional and international restaurants to nightclubs and exquisite shopping, Chinese urban centres have it all. Shopping, in particular, takes a special place in the country’s tourism and culture. Here, you will find some of the biggest shopping malls (South China Mall in Dongguan, IFC Mall in Hong Kong, Super Brand Mall in Shanghai), wholesale markets (Yiwu Market, Guangzhou Baima Costume Market) and electronics markets (SEG Electronics Mall in Shenzhen) that some tourists make the focal point of their visit.

China’s diverse cuisine and a significant number of restaurants are attractions in themselves. Each province boasts a unique cooking style, which you can experience in big restaurants in the city centre or smaller street stalls in the back streets. If you want to splash out on a unique dining adventure, pay a visit to the country’s only three-star Michelin restaurant — Cantonese T’ang Court located in the Langham Shanghai Hotel.

 Useful links:

National Tourism Association of the People’s Republic of China
China National Tourist Office

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