Here’s a list of over 50 unique destinations in China, from temples to remote villages, that will hopefully open things up a bit as to how unique, diverse and numerous the tourism attractions are that the country offers.
I can’t stress that enough, there are so many unique experiences in China. The country is so large and so diverse, it really is like a whole collection of worlds in one with over 50 minority ethnic cultures, history, and natural wonders. When itinerary planning for a China journey, you can shape any kind of experience that you want, it’s up to you.
For most people, they are happy to stick to the safety of standard tour-book experiences and the well developed, and well known major attraction destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macau. The slightly more adventurous will fit in Xi’an and the Terracotta Army, or Chengdu and its Panda Base, mountains and so on. All of these are awesome and great places to get started, but, China offers so, so much more.
Let’s try and list some unique & amazing attractions that we haven’t mentioned so far:
Hailuogou Hot Spring – Sichuan
Located among virgin forest and ice glaciers in Hailuogou Glacier Park.
Mount Emei – Sichuan
Mount Emei is a mountain in Sichuan Province, China, and is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China. Read more
Jiuzhaigou – Sichuan
Jiuzhaigou National Park is a network of valleys in China’s Sichuan province. It is most well known for its picturesque lakes.
Leshan Giant Buddha – Sichuan
The Leshan Giant Buddha is an ancient 71-metre tall stone statue carved from the side of a mountain. Read more
Guilin & Yangshou – Guanxi
Guilin, located in the northeast of Guanxi Province, is famous for its stunning karst landscapes, the Li River, and ethnic minority culture.
Lijiang & Dali – Yunnan
The region is home to the Naxi and several other ethnic minority groups. The Lijiang Old Town is one of China’s famous ancient cities. Read more
Shangrila – Yunnan
Shangrila is famed for its natural landscapes, Napaihai Natural Reserve, Blue Moon Valley, Meili Snow Mountain, and Songzanlin Monastery.
Tiger Leaping George – Yunnan
Tiger Leaping Gorge, near Lijiang Old Town, is a scenic canyon on the Jinsha River and is part of the UNESCO listed Three Parallel Rivers.
YuanYang Rice Fields – Yunnan
The terraced rice fields are a visual wonder and man-made wonder. Read more
Dongchuan Red Land – Yunnan
Dongchuan Red Land is a unique natural wonder with its mountainous terrain covered with red, gold, white and brown due to soil minerals.
Tengchong Rehai Hot Springs – Yunnan
Rehai is located west of Tengchong County. In addition to its hot springs, the place also boasts spectacular natural scenery and an ancient temple.
Hakka Tulou – Fujian
The tulou are Chinese rural dwellings unique to the Hakka minority located in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China. Read more
Longtan Valley – Henan
The 12km Longtan Grand Canyon is part of Dai Mei Mountain World Geopark in Luoyang.
Guoliang Tunnel – Taihang Mountain – Henan
The Guoliang Tunnel is carved along the side of and through the Taihang Mountains of Huixian, Xinxiang, Henan Province.
Spring Temple Buddha – Pingdingshan – Henan
The Spring Temple Buddha is a colossal statue depicting Vairocana Buddha located in the Zhaocun township of Lushan County, Henan. It was completed in 2008.
Nanjie Village – Luohe – Henan
Widely reported as being the last Maoist village in China. Join in and paint the town red 🙂
White Horse Temple – Luoyang – Henan
White Horse Temple is a Buddhist temple in Luoyang which was established in 68 AD and is believed to be the first Buddhist temple in China.
Hanging Temple – Shanxi
The Hanging Temple is built into a cliff near Mount Heng in Hunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province. It was originally built by a monk over 1400 years ago.
Zhangjiajie – Hunan
Zhangjiajie, a city in the northwest of China’s Hunan province, is home to the famed Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Read more
Fenghuang Old City – Hunan
Hunan Fenghuang (Phoenix) Ancient Town, is a riverside town of traditional style built in the Qing Dynasty. Read More
Three Gorges – Hubei
Three Gorges reservoir region is a mountainous stretch along China’s Yangtze River, between Chongqing and Yichang cities.
Mogao Caves – Gansu
The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, form a system of 492 temples located near Dunhuang in Gansu Province.
Crescent Lake – Gansu
Yueyaquan is a crescent-shaped lake in an oasis, 6 km south of the city of Dunhuang in Gansu Province.
The Maijishan Grottoes – Gansu
The Maijishan Grottoes are a series of 194 caves cut in the side of the hill of Majishan in Tianshui, Gansu Province which date back to the ancient Qin era (384–417 CE).
Jiayuguan Fortress – Jiayuguan – Gansu
Jiayu Pass or Jiayuguan is the first frontier fortress at the west end of the Ming dynasty Great Wall, near the city of Jiayuguan in Gansu province
Mount Taishan – Shandong
Located north of the city of Tai’an in Shandong province, it is one of China’s Five Sacred Mountains.
Three Natural Bridges – Chongqing
The Three Natural Bridges are a series of natural limestone bridges located in Xiannüshan Town, Wulong District, Chongqing Municipality, China.
Mount Danxia – Guangdong
Danxia Mountain is a geopark, containing many unusual landforms along with the largest and most beautiful scenic area in Guangdong Province.
Huashan Teahouse – Shaanxi
Mt. Huashan is one of the five sacred mountains and on one of its peaks sits a traditional tea house.
Longyou Caves – Quzhou
Found after draining a pond, these deep ancient caves are a complete mystery.
Shi Cheng – Hangzhou – Zhejiang
China’s Atlantis, yes, it’s a submerged ancient city for all you diving fans with a bent for history.
Fangweng Hanging Restaurant– Hubei
Located in a cave and along the cliffside of Xiling Mountain, it offers a truly unique dining experience.
Wudang Mountains – Hubei
The most sacred Taoist mountain in China, featuring several temples, including the palatial Nanyan Temple.
Kangbashi (the ghost city) – Ordos
Kangbashi is a futuristic town built on a wasteland in Ordos that became a famous ghost city although nowadays it’s starting to fill up.
Buxian Bridge Huangshan – Anhui
Buxian bridge is a fairy tale like bridge located in Huangshan Scenic area. Read more
Chinese Pyramids of Xianyang – Xian
The mysterious burial mounds of ancient Chinese emperors located near Xi’an.
The Giant Buddha of Guifeng – Jiangxi
Measuring 470m in length and 60m tall, the gigantic sleeping Buddha is part of the Guifeng Scenic Area. It was constructed in 2004.
West Xia Imperial Tombs – Ningxia
The Western Xia mausoleums at the foot of the Helan Mountains in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of northwestern China includes nine imperial mausoleums and 250 tombs of imperial relatives and officials.
Haohan Qiao — Brave Men s Bridge – Hunan
The ancient bridge was a wooden plank bridge and has been upgraded to a glass bridge spanning 300m across a canyon in Shiniuzhai National Geological Park. More Glass Bridges
Jiaohe Ruins – Tulufan Diqu – Xinjiang
Jiaohe or Yarkhoto is a ruined city in the Yarnaz Valley, 10 km west of the city of Turpan in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China. It was the capital of the Jushi Kingdom.
Kanas Lake – Xinjiang
Located in Kanas Nature Reserve, also known as Xinjiang Kanas National Geopark, is located in Burqin County of Altay City within the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
Kaiping Dialous – Jiangmen – Guangdong
Diaolou are fortified multi-storey watchtowers in village countryside, generally made of reinforced concrete. They are a living remnant of East-Meets West fusion.
Yan Huang Plaza – Zhengzhou – Guangdong
The sculpture of Emperors Yan and Huang was carved from a mountain on the Yellow River near the city of Zhengzhou. It stands 106 metres tall with a 55-meter base platform and 51-meter busts on top. The construction lasted 20 years and was completed in 2007.
Hallstatt China – Huizhou – Guangdong
A perfect clone of an Austrian Village.
Zhujiajiao Water Town – Shanghai
Located in Shanghai with a history of 1700 years it is one of the best-preserved water towns in Shanghai. Read More
Zhenyuan Ancient Town – Qiandongnan – Guizhou
Zhenyuan Ancient Town is located in the Qiandongnan, in the east of Guiyang and features more than 160 scenic spots including traditional architecture, caves, palaces, pavilions, temples, and rivers.
Congjiang – Qiandongnan – Guizhou
Home to the Miao and Dong minorities, a journey into local folk customs and traditions.
Huangguoshu Falls – Guizhou
Huangguoshu Waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in China and East Asia located on the Baishui River in Anshun, Guizhou province.
Wuyuan – Jiangxi
Wuyuan is reputed as the most beautiful countryside in China featuring rape flower fields and numerous villages.
Mati Temple – Gansu
Mati Temple Grottoes are Buddha grottoes located in Linsong Mountain of Gansu Province.
Longwu Monastery, Tongren, Qinghai
Rongwo Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai, China
Sanya Phoenix Island – Hainan
Phoenix Island is a new island resort in Sanya – Hainan
Dashiwei Tiankeng – Guangxi
A giant sinkhole of sorts at 613 meters deep the primitive forest at the bottom of Dashiwei Tiankeng is the largest of its kind around the world.
China is packed with endless attractions and experiences, including historical, modern and natural. There is also a large number of World Heritage Sites. For me, the most unique experiences are well off the beaten path. The more regional you go and the smaller the city, the further back in time you go, and the more fascinating things get.