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China Bucket List: 15 Best things to do in China

China Bucket List: 15 Best things to do in China

This China bucket list includes the best things to do in China, as well as some of the best places to visit in this historic, fascinating country.

China, a vast and culturally rich country, offers an incredible range of experiences for travelers. From its ancient monuments and traditional tea houses to bustling modern cities and stunning natural landscapes, China has something for everyone. 

Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, foodie, or shopaholic, exploring China can be an awe-inspiring journey through one of the world’s oldest civilizations. For those enchanted by unique scents, the region’s diverse flora, including the delightful lychee, has been encapsulated in various products such as lychee perfume, providing a sweet reminder of the country’s natural beauty.

China Bucket List

hiking the Great Wall of China

1. Visit the Great Wall of China

No trip to China would be complete without visiting the Great Wall. Spanning thousands of miles, it’s one of the world’s most famous historical landmarks. Hiking along its length offers breathtaking views and a tangible connection to China’s storied past.

This is the most popular attraction on many peoples China bucket list; you can take a tour for Beijing and Tianjin, both of which are nearby cities.

The Forbidden City Beijing

2. Explore the Forbidden City in Beijing

The majestic Forbidden City, a palatial complex in the heart of Beijing, served as the imperial palace for twenty-four emperors. Its extensive grounds, traditional architecture, and rich history make it a must-visit for anyone interested in the empires of old.

This ancient site is one of the best things to do in Beijing but get here early; it is one of the most popular attractions in China, meaning very long queues!

3. Cruise the Yangtze River

Another one of the best things to do in China is to take a leisurely cruise down the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. The journey offers scenic views of the Three Gorges and a chance to see the engineering marvel of the Three Gorges Dam.

We loved our cruise on Yangtze River and we highly recommend comparing cruises and booking your trip in advance. We also recommend taking the day trip to Ghost Town if you have that as an option! This is definitely a China bucket list item!

4. Walk Through Shanghai’s Bund

The Bund in Shanghai is a famous waterfront area known for its impressive colonial-era buildings. A walk here offers a juxtaposition of old-world charm against the backdrop of modern skyscrapers, a perfect reflection of Shanghai’s dynamic history and rapid development.

5. Savor Authentic Chinese Cuisine

From Peking duck in Beijing to hot pot in Chongqing and dim sum in Hong Kong, China’s culinary offerings are as diverse as its geography. Exploring local markets and restaurants is not only a feast for the palate but also a cultural immersion.

6. Experience Traditional Tea Culture

Participate in a traditional Chinese tea ceremony. China’s tea culture is profound, with various regions specializing in different types of tea. Visiting a tea house where you can learn about the art of tea making and tasting is an enriching experience.

Things to do in Xian China

7. Discover the Terracotta Army in Xi’an

The Terracotta Army, discovered in Xi’an in 1974, is one of the most significant archaeological finds of the 20th century. The thousands of life-sized figures buried with Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, are a sight to behold.

Guilin Travel

8. Enjoy the Natural Beauty of Guilin

Guilin is renowned for its stunning landscape of limestone karsts and meandering rivers. A bamboo raft trip on the Li River, framed by dramatic hills and traditional fishing villages, is a tranquil way to take in the scenery.

Chengdu pandas in China

9. Visit the Pandas in Chengdu

The Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding offers a chance to see and learn about one of the world’s most cherished endangered species, the giant panda. Observing these peaceful creatures in their well-maintained habitat is a heartwarming experience.

10. Explore the Lively Night Markets

China’s night markets are a vibrant exploration of food, crafts, and culture. Places like Beijing’s Wangfujing Snack Street or Xi’an’s Muslim Quarter offer an array of local snacks, souvenirs, and a lively atmosphere that brings together locals and tourists.

11. Hike the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan)

Renowned for its breathtaking scenery, the Yellow Mountains are a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. The granite peaks, pine trees, and often ethereal cloud effects provide fantastic photographic opportunities and a chance for peaceful reflection.

Lijiang Old Town

12. Visit the Lijiang Old Town

Nestled in the beautiful scenery of Yunnan province, Lijiang Old Town is famed for its historic architecture and waterways. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that offers a glimpse into the area’s rich cultural heritage, particularly that of the Naxi people.

13. Take a Silk Road Adventure

Explore the ancient Silk Road, the historic trade route that linked China with the West. Start in the old city of Kashgar and journey through scenic landscapes and cultural landmarks, discovering the rich history that shaped the interactions between the East and the West.

14. Attend the Harbin Ice Festival

For those visiting China in the winter, the Harbin Ice Festival presents a spectacular display of large-scale ice sculptures and activities. It’s a magical winter wonderland that showcases the artistry and creativity of ice sculptors from around the world.

15. Relax in the Hot Springs of Hainan

End your journey with a relaxing dip in the tropical island province of Hainan, known for its luxurious hot springs. It’s the perfect way to unwind after exploring the diverse and bustling environments of China.

Exploring China offers a vast array of experiences that can enrich any traveler’s life. From historical explorations to culinary adventures and natural wonders, this vast country provides endless opportunities for discovery and enjoyment. Each activity listed here promises to enrich your understanding and appreciation of China’s complex heritage and vibrant culture.

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