Must-see attractions in China

  • Main Assembly Hall

    Lhasa

    The main assembly hall (Tsogchen) is the largest of Sera’s buildings and dates to 1710. The central hall is particularly impressive and is noted for its…

  • Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall

    The Bund & People's Square

    Set over five levels, this modern museum covers Shanghai's urban planning history, tracing its development from swampy fishing village to modern-day…

  • White Dagoba Temple

    Beijing

    Originally built in 1271 under the reign of Kublai Khan, the serene Miaoying Temple slumbers beneath its astonishing high dagoba, the tallest in China. A…

  • Huanglong National Park

    Sichuan

    Unaffected by the earthquakes that have so impacted nearby Jiuzhhaigou National Park, the lesser known but almost equally gorgeous Huanglong National Park…

  • Tayuan Temple

    Shanxi

    At the base of Spirit Vulture Peak (灵鹫峰, Língjiù Fēng), Tayuan Temple is the most prominent landmark in Wutai Shan and virtually all pilgrims pass through…

  • Longjing Tea Village

    Hangzhou

    The lush, green scenery around this tea village up in the hills southwest of West Lake makes for a wonderful break from the bustle of Hangzhou. Visitors…

  • Dashiwei Scenic Area

    Guangxi

    Located 15km northwest from Leye is this geopark famous for its sinkholes set amid an environment of karst landforms, caves and underground rivers. From…

  • Nam-tso

    Ü

    The waters of sacred Nam-tso, the second-largest salt lake in China, are an almost transcendent turquoise blue and shimmer in the rarefied air of 4730m…

  • Dinosaur Museum

    Sichuan

    Relive your childhood palaeontology fantasies at this spectacular dinosaur museum. It was the first museum of its kind in China and is arguably one of the…

  • Haizi Valley

    Sichuan

    Considered by many the most beautiful of the three valleys in the Four Sisters Mountain area, Haizi Valley's eponymous lakes and majestic views of the…

  • Sculpture Factory

    Jiangxi

    This tree-lined street, and the pathways that branch off it, form a kind of porcelain-production arts district, which is a centre for contemporary…

  • Ancient Tombs Museum

    Henan

    This superb but little-visited museum has three main exhibits: 20 reconstructed tombs (spanning five main dynasties, or over 1000 years), re-created using…

  • Spirit Way

    Beijing

    A highlight of a visit to the Ming Tombs is to walk the Shen Dao, or Spirit Way, a funerary avenue that plots a sombre course to Cháng Líng, the earliest…

  • Bǎijiānlóu

    Zhejiang

    Oddly overlooked by most visitors, this 400m stretch of 100 (or so) wooden row houses, flanking a narrow canal, is Nanxun's most charming spot. The…

  • Shenyang Imperial Palace

    Shenyang

    This impressive palace complex resembles a small-scale Forbidden City. Constructed between 1625 and 1636 by Manchu emperor Nurhachi (1559–1626) and his…

  • Huangshan

    Anhui

    When its granite peaks and twisted pines are wreathed in spectral folds of mist, the idyllic views of Huangshan (黄山; Huángshān) easily nudge it into the…

  • Shanghai Museum of Public Security

    French Concession

    This offbeat and macabre museum over three floors details how the Chinese authorities keep control. Display cases depict the illicit activities local cops…

  • Gongga Monastery

    Yulongsi Valley & Mt Gongga Shan

    Set at an altitude of 3941m and cut off from the outside world by winter snows for months on end, the Gongga Monastery (also known as the Minya Konka…

  • Draksum-tso

    Eastern Tibet

    Eastern Tibet is blessed with many beautiful lakes but this is arguably the best of the lot. Draksum-tso, and particularly its monastery island, is a…

  • UCCA

    Beijing

    Remodelled in 2019, UCCA remains the finest contemporary-art gallery in 798, and a contender for the best in the country. Many global art superstars have…

  • Datong Museum

    Datong

    Housed in a contemporary building inspired by a dragon totem, this wonderful museum is chock-full of relics – religious, funereal, military, imperial and…

  • Sili Götsang

    Ü

    A 4km drive north of the turn-off to Taklung brings you to Sili Götsang, an amazing eagle’s-nest hermitage perched high above the main road, home to 10…

  • Degongbu Temple

    Sichuan

    Surrounded by the mud-brick buildings belonging to the smaller of Ganzi's two Tibetan quarters, this 13th-century temple's two dimly lit halls (one…

  • PMQ

    Hong Kong

    This arts and lifestyle hub occupies the multistorey modernist building complex of the old married police quarters (c 1951). Dozens of small galleries and…

  • Yong‘an Temple

    Datong

    Yong‘an Temple at the foothills of Heng Shan (恆山) only unlocks its halls when there are visitors and for a good reason – this poised and serene 13th…

  • Rockbund Art Museum

    The Bund & People's Square

    Housed in the magnificent former Royal Asiatic Society building (1932) – once Shanghai's first museum – this world-class gallery behind the Bund focuses…

  • Chun Yeung Street Market

    Wan Chai & Northeast Hong Kong Island

    Hop on a tram bound for North Point, and past Fortress Hill you’ll turn into a narrow street teeming with market stalls and old tenement buildings. This…

  • Pingyao City Walls

    Pingyao

    A good place to start your Pingyao experience is the magnificent city walls; they date from 1370 and are among the most complete in the nation. At 10m…

  • Propaganda Poster Art Centre

    French Concession

    Design junkies and history buffs will love this vast collection of original posters from 1950s, ’60s and ’70s China, stored in the basement of a…

  • Yànyì Wéi

    Jiangxi

    The jewel in the crown of Jiangxi's wéi lóng wū, this fascinating, 350-year-old, four-storey structure is the tallest of a number of crumbling old…

  • Wenshu Monastery

    Chengdu

    This Tang dynasty monastery is dedicated to Wenshu (Manjushri), the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and is Chengdu’s largest and best-preserved Buddhist temple…

  • Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

    Wan Chai & Northeast Hong Kong Island

    Housed in a coastal fort (c 1887) that guarded the eastern sea entrance into Hong Kong harbour (via the narrow Lei Yue Mun Channel), this excellent museum…

  • Church of St Joseph

    Macau

    St Joseph’s, which falls outside the tourist circuit, is Macau’s most beautiful model of tropicalised baroque architecture. Consecrated in 1758 as part of…

  • Hongjiang Old Town

    Hunan

    The old town can be visited in half a day, and undulates in a delightful, higgledy-piggledy, often steep, maze of narrow stone-flagged alleys and lanes…

  • Young Master Brewery

    Aberdeen & South Hong Kong Island

    Young Master Ales has moved to a new street-level location in Wong Chuk Hang. Merchandise is sold in the front, while at the back, the brewing system,…

  • Jingci Temple

    Hangzhou

    The serene yet monastically active Chan (Zen) Jingci Temple was built in AD 954 and has been fully restored. The splendid first hall contains the massive,…

  • Tsingtao Beer Museum

    Qingdao

    For a self-serving introduction to China’s iconic beer, head to the original and still-operating brewery. On view are old photos, preserved brewery…

  • Lushun Prison

    Liaoning

    Most visitors to Lushun head straight for the notorious prison that, from 1902 to 1945, housed more than 450,000 war prisoners captured by the Russians,…

  • Ping Shan Heritage Trail

    Yuen Long

    Hong Kong's first-ever heritage trail features historic buildings belonging to the Tangs, the first and the most powerful of the 'Five Clans'. Highlights…

  • Tibetan Culture & Medicine Museum

    Xining

    Exhibitions in the north hall focus on Tibetan medicine, astronomy and science. Many visitors come for the 618m-long thangka scroll in the south hall –…

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