Best Things To Do In China
From impressive landscapes ranging from lush forests and temple-topped mountains to urban cities and picturesque fishing villages, it is no secret that China is blessed with diversity, natural wonders, and a long, rich history. To make the most out of your stay in this lovely country, I’ve handpicked some of the best things to do in China.
1. Walk The Great Wall of China, Beijing
As one of “the Seven Wonders of the World”, the Great Wall is indeed number one among the best things to do in China. The Great Wall stretches thousands of miles from east to west and it was built over 2,000 years. Most people choose to see the famous site in Beijing, but there are renovated sections of the wall all throughout northern China. The Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall in Beijing are the most famous and best preserved sections.
2. Play With A Panda, Shiqiao
No visit to China would be complete without at least one panda experience. Volunteer for a day at the Dujiangyan Panda Base one of the only placens in the world where you can actually interact with a panda. After a physical exam to ensure you’re safe to work with the fragile bears, you’ll be outfitted in work garments and work alongside dedicated panda experts to observe and record animal behavior, clean enclosures, prepare food for the pandas, and simply explore the base.
3. Visit The Water Cities, China
Canal cities might be more closely associated with Europe’s Venice, but China has a long history of settlements built on or around the water. These water cities offer a charming glimpse into simpler times, and while some have become tourist traps, many retain much of their old world charm after hundreds of years. Hongcun is arguably the most famous of the water cities, but Tai’erzhuang in Shandong and Zhouzhang near Shanghai are also popular options. If you’re looking for something a little more authentic, Tongli, Xitang, and Nanxun near Shanghai are better options.
4. Take Your Chance At Gambling, Macau
With annual gambling revenue seven times that of Las Vegas, Macau is the true sin city when it comes to games of chance. A former Portuguese colony, the city still very much wears its colonial history on its sleeve, Macau offers a charming contrast of historic European buildings and glitzy casinos catering to the world’s largest gambling market. Like Las Vegas, Macau is more than just gambling with bungee jumping, shopping, live entertainment, greyhound racing, and a number of historic sites also worth your time.
5. Check Out The Giant Buddha, Chengdu
Located just a short bus or train ride from Chengdu, Leshan is home to the world’s tallest stone Buddha in the world and the largest pre-modern statue in the world. Like something out of ancient fiction, this towering (71 meter) representation of Maitreya sits solemnly on the banks of the Qingyi River.
6. Learn Kung Fu, China
Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan province is often regarded as the birthplace of Chinese Kung Fu. Over the temple’s 1,500-year history, its monks have mastered the unique combination of Zen Buddhism and martial arts. The monks still practice to this day, and you can practice with them. Book here or directly with the temple or at for a once-in-a-lifetime lesson or two.
7. Visit The Donghuamen Night Market, Wangfujing
Donghuamen Night Market and Wangfujing Snack Street offer common and exotic street food with some Chinese specialities and delicacies. The food is on display at both markets and they are very popular for tourists and locals. Most of it is raw food which is grilled, fried, or tossed in a wok upon order. Candied fruit on a stick and chicken satay are favorites but they also offer things like cooked beetles, snake, and tarantulas. You don’t necessarily have to have an adventurous appetite to appreciate the food stalls here and it’s worth checking out regardless.
8. Wander Through The Forbidden City, Beijing
China's largest and most important building, the Forbidden City, also known as the Imperial Palace is situated in the very heart of Beijing. It's a must-see when visiting the country. It was built between 1406 and 1420 as the residence of 24 Ming and Qing Emperors, whose presence forbade the entry of anyone other than the imperial family and their courtesans. Today it welcomes millions of tourists each year.
9. Go Bamboo Rafting, Li River
There isn't a more traditional Chinese moment than taking a bamboo raft down the Li River. Surrounded by beautiful karst formations of Yangshuo, you drift through the mist and take in the scenery as fisherman fish as they have for thousands of years. The karstic landscape of the southern Chinese city of Guilin will make you feel like you’re in another world. And through those karsts run two rivers: the Li and the Yulong.
10. Visit A Street Market, China
Walk through Mong Kok on a weekend and it’s quickly apparent that life in Hong Kong happens on the streets. While the Temple Street Night Market doesn’t offer much in the way of worthwhile shopping, it’s a great place to dine thanks to a string of outdoor dai pai dong cafes. Tsim Sha Tsui is the Flower Market, and Wan Chai’s traditional indoor wet market. If you’re looking for souvenirs head to the Cat Street Market in Sheung Wan for antique shops, vintage posters, Chinese pottery, and even a jewelry boxes. Or try one of these markets.
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