China is a country full of wonders – both natural and manmade – for you to discover. Given the huge size of the country, it can be difficult to work out what to prioritise – especially if it’s your first visit. Here are our top four must-see wonders of China to get you started:
1. The Great Wall of China
It might seem a little obvious, but no tour of China would be complete without it. The wall is over 13,000 miles long – stretching from Dandong in the east to Jiayuguan in the west.
It travels through nine provinces in total, so you will have plenty of options when it comes to visiting the Great Wall.
If you’re heading to Beijing, this is your most obvious choice. You can access some of the best-preserved sections of the wall from here, with several tour options available. We recommend an overnight stay close to the wall for the best experience. You will be able to skip the massive crowds by visiting when the majority of tourists have left for the day. Plus, watching the sunset from the wall is something special.
2. Huangguoshu Waterfall
Although many of the wonders of China are man-made, it’s also a country packed full of natural beauty.
One of our favourite places to experience this is the Huangguoshu National Park, located just outside Anshun City in Western China.
The central attraction in the park is the magnificent Huangguoshu Waterfall – the largest in Asia. There are several spots to view the waterfall inside the park, and you can also see some of the smaller (but equally impressive) falls as you make your way around.
With so much to see, we recommend you plan to spend at least four hours in the park to make the most of your time here. It’s a spectacle not to be rushed.
3. The Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
If you’re going to be stopping by in Xi’an, the Terracotta Warriors are a wonder not to be missed. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to an army of terracotta warriors and horses complete with bronze weapons. First discovered in 1974, the site is still being excavated – with more warriors discovered each year.
The army dates back to around 210 BC when it was created as part of the funerary for the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Qin Shi Huang. Photos of the site do not do it justice – so we recommend visiting if you get the opportunity.
4. Leshan Giant Buddha
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Leshan Giant Buddha in Sichuan should be on everyone’s China bucket list. This huge sculpture was carved into the hillside way back in the 8th century.
Standing at 71 metres tall, it’s the largest Buddha sculpture in the world – and really has to be seen to be believed! Whilst you’re there, it’s likely you will hear the local saying:
“The mountain is a Buddha, and the Buddha is a mountain.”
If you get the opportunity, try to view the entire mountain range from the river that runs behind it. The local saying refers to the fact the range is shaped like a sleeping Buddha, with the ancient sculpture sitting right in the middle of it all.