The Top 10 Sights of China

Travel to China completely without tourist traps! Here you will find a list of the top 10 sights of China! Which highlights and attractions should you not miss on your holiday in China?

China's adventurous mix of unspoilt nature and bustling business, shopping temples and rice terraces, rugged mountains and imposing skyscrapers attracts visitors from all over the world to the fantastic Middle Kingdom.


Terracotta Army

At up to 1m80, the figures are somewhat larger than the average "real" Chinese; a terracotta soldier weighs around 300kg, China - © Hung Chung Chih / Shutterstock
© Hung Chung Chih / Shutterstock

The gigantic Terracotta Army in Xi'an Province consists of an incredible 7,000 original-sized statues of soldiers and horses, no two of which are alike. They were created to guard the tomb of Emperor Shǐhuángdì for all eternity - who, by the way, began planning his imposing mausoleum at the age of 13 and also ordered the construction of the famous Great Wall.

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Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China at sunrise - © chungking / Shutterstock
© chungking / Shutterstock

China's "Great Wall" is around 9,000 kilometres long and was built over a massive period of 2000 years. Construction began around 500 BC to protect China from hostile nomadic tribes from the north. Today, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is only maintained on a length of around 500km around Beijing - mainly for tourists.

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Forbidden City in Beijing (Beijing)

The Forbidden City in Beijing used to be reserved for the emperor and his entourage and was strictly closed off to the public, China - © ReSeandra / Fotolia
© ReSeandra / Fotolia

In China's capital Beijing, the Forbidden City on Tiananmen Square is one of the main attractions. The former imperial palace was reserved for the emperor and his entourage until 1924. In the meantime, the "Gugong" behind its 10m-high wall is no longer off-limits, but reveals its spectacular architectural and craft masterpieces to visitors.

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Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing (Beijing)

The Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing is considered the pinnacle of Chinese architecture and landscape design. It stands for relaxation, harmony and beauty, China - © Doug Stacey / Shutterstock
© Doug Stacey / Shutterstock

Speaking of imperial residences: The 18th-century Imperial Summer Palace covers a gigantic area of almost 3 square kilometres. Picturesquely situated between Kunming Lake and the Hill of Longevity, its palaces, gardens and pavilions are considered the pinnacle of Chinese architecture and landscape design.


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Shanqing Shan National Park

Beautiful view in Sanqing Shan National Park (Sanqing Mountain) in Jiangxi Province, southeast China, at the western end of the Huaiyu mountain range - © Micro.lee / Fotolia
© Micro.lee / Fotolia

The Shanqing Shan National Park has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and impresses with its extraordinary rock formations. With a little imagination, animals, humans and mythical creatures can be recognised in the granite mountain peaks that rise into the sky between mystical rainforests.

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Yu Yuan - Garden of Joy in Shanghai

Traditional Chinese pavilion in the Yu Yuan (Garden of Delight) southeast of the Shanghai metropolis from the 16th century, China - © Mario Savoia / Fotolia
© Mario Savoia / Fotolia

The Garden of Delight was built in the 16th century in the southeast of Shanghai. The masterpiece of garden design contains the largest and oldest rock monument in southern China - the gigantic "Great Artificial Rock" - in addition to unparalleled plant splendour.

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Mogao Caves

The approximately 1,000 Mogoa Caves are grottos carved out of the sandstone along the Silk Road by Buddhist monks, China - © Valery Shanin / Shutterstock
© Valery Shanin / Shutterstock

On the edge of the famous Silk Road lie the fascinating Mogao Caves, carved into the sandstone by Buddhist monks over 6 centuries. They used the caves as a library, hideout and retreat for meditation and decorated them with thousands and thousands of rock paintings. This technical and logistical masterpiece is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Article: The most famous stone carving sites in China 

Rock sculptures in Dazu

The rock sculptures in Dazu were mainly created between the 7th and 13th centuries in the Tang and Song dynasties and combine Buddhist, Confucian and Daoist influences, China - © Volker Haak / Fotolia
© Volker Haak / Fotolia

Just as spectacular as the Mogoa Caves are the approximately 60,000 rock sculptures in Dazu. Here you can admire not only Buddhist, but also Confucian and Daoist figures - and all in colour. The statues, created between the 7th and 13th centuries, also depict everyday scenes and are therefore also of great archaeological importance.


Article: The most famous stone carving sites in China 

Limestone terraces in the Huanglong valley

The calcareous terraces in the Hualong Valley were formed over thousands of years by the erosion of rainwater, China - © modestlife / Fotolia
© modestlife / Fotolia

The limestone terraces in the Huanglong Valley can be described as almost unearthly beautiful. The numerous pools and caves in the northwest of Sichuan province were washed out by rainwater over thousands of years and today shine in every conceivable shade of blue and green. The almost 4km-long valley amidst snow-covered mountain peaks is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Lu Shan National Park

A lake in the famous Lu Shan National Park in Jiangxi province in southeast China - © chungking / Fotolia
© chungking / Fotolia

Lu Shan National Park stretches around the mountain of the same name, which is one of China's most famous peaks. Due to its mild summer climate, numerous politically important events have taken place in the landscape, which is characterised by austere beauty. Over 200 historical buildings bear witness to the various religious communities that have settled in the misty climes since the 1st millennium.

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