China

yuán (元; ¥)

Mandarin, Cantonese

Top things to do

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

Forbidden City

Forbidden City

Enclosed by 3.5km of citadel walls at the very heart of Beijing, the Unesco-listed Forbidden City is China’s largest and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings – large enough to comfortably absorb the 16...

Top ChoiceCave in Dunhuang

Mogao Grottoes

Mogao Grottoes

The Mogao Grottoes are considered one of the most important collections of Buddhist art in the world. At its peak during the Tang dynasty (618–907), the site housed 18 monasteries, more than 1400 monks and nuns,...

Top ChoicePark in Temple of Heaven Park & Dongcheng South

Temple of Heaven Park

Temple of Heaven Park

An oasis of methodical Confucian design, the 267-hectare Temple of Heaven Park is unique. It originally served as a vast stage for solemn rites performed by the emperor (the literal 'Son of Heaven'), who prayed...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Xi'an

Army of Terracotta Warriors

Army of Terracotta Warriors

The Terracotta Army isn't just Xi'an's premier sight: it's one of the most famous archaeological finds in the world. This subterranean life-size army of thousands has silently stood guard over the soul of China's...

Top ChoiceHistoric Site in Summer Palace & Haidian

Summer Palace

Summer Palace

A marvel of Chinese garden design and one of Beijing's must-see attractions, the Summer Palace was the royal retreat for emperors fleeing the suffocating summer torpor of the old imperial city and, most recently,...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Stupa in Gyantse

Gyantse Kumbum

Gyantse Kumbum

Commissioned by a local prince in 1427 and sitting beside Palcho Monastery, Gyantse Kumbum is the town’s foremost attraction. This 32m-high chörten, with its white layers trimmed with decorative stripes and...

Top ChoiceCave in Datong

Yungang Caves

Yungang Caves

One of China’s most supreme examples of Buddhist cave art, these 5th-century caves are simply magnificent. With 51,000 ancient statues and celestial beings, they put virtually everything else in the Shanxi shade....

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Samye

Samye Monastery

Samye Monastery

About 170km southeast of Lhasa, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra River) is Samye Monastery, the first monastery in Tibet. Founded in 775 by King Trisong Detsen, Samye is famed not just for...

Top ChoiceLake in Hangzhou

West Lake

West Lake

The very definition of classical beauty in China, West Lake is utterly mesmerising: pagoda-topped hills rise over willow-lined waters as boats drift slowly through a idyll of leisurely charm. Walkways, perfectly...

Top ChoiceDam in Sai Kung Peninsula

High Island Reservoir East Dam

Handsome architecture, the South China Sea, and 140-million-year-old volcanic rocks make this one of Hong Kong's most breathtaking places. High Island Reservoir East Dam is the most easily accessible part of Hong...

Top ChoiceViewpoint in The Peak & Northwest Hong Kong Island

Victoria Peak

Victoria Peak

Standing at 552m, Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It is also one of the most visited spots by tourists, and it’s not hard to see why. Sweeping views of the metropolis, verdant woods and...

Top ChoiceNational Park in Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Among China’s crop of surreal landscapes, Zhangjiajie has got to be a contender for one of the most impressive. A forest of spectacularly weathered spires rises up out of a verdant valley that's filled with...

Top ChoicePalace in Lhasa

Potala Palace

Potala Palace

The magnificent Potala Palace, once the seat of the Tibetan government and the winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, is Lhasa's cardinal landmark. Your first sight of its towering, fortress-like walls is a moment...

Top ChoiceIce Sculpture in Harbin

Harbin Ice & Snow Festival

Every winter from early December to late February (officially the festival opens 5 January), Harbin dons a fur-lined, technicolour dreamcoat of ice, snow and neon and gets down, Narnia style – no matter that it's...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Monastery in Dzongsar Valley

Dzongsar Monastery

One of the oldest, most important and certainly most visibly impressive monastery complexes in Kham, the remote Dzongsar Monastery sits on a sharp ridge above the main village of the Dzongsar Valley. The...

Top ChoiceTaoist Temple in The Peak & Northwest Hong Kong Island

Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple

One of Hong Kong’s oldest temples and a declared monument, atmospheric Man Mo Temple is dedicated to the gods of literature (‘Man’), holding a writing brush, and of war (‘Mo’), wielding a sword. Built in 1847...

Top ChoiceGardens in Shanghai Old City

Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar

Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar

With its shaded alcoves, glittering pools churning with fish, plus pavilions, pines sprouting wistfully from rockeries, and roving packs of Japanese tourists, the Yuyuan Gardens is one of Shanghai's premier...

Top ChoiceBuddhist Site in Pingyao

Shuanglin Temple

This fascinating Buddhist temple houses many incredibly rare, sublimely carved Tang, Song and Yuan painted statues. Rebuilt in 1571, it’s a mesmerising complex of ancient halls: the interiors of the Sakyamuni...

Top ChoiceArchitecture in The Bund & People's Square

The Bund

The Bund

Symbolic of concession-era Shanghai, the Bund was the city’s Wall Street, a place of feverish trading and fortunes made and lost. Originally a towpath for dragging barges of rice, the Bund (an Anglo-Indian term...

Top ChoiceArts & Crafts in Lhasa

Dropenling

This impressive nonprofit enterprise aims to bolster traditional Tibetan handicrafts in the face of rising Chinese and Nepali imports. Products are unique and of high quality, and they are made using traditional...