What Is China Famous For? 21 Must-do Activities In China

I`m just doing some research into China as I plan on taking my family there soon. I decided to share with you some of the insights I got about this fascinating place.

Before I visit a new country, I always do thorough research as I possibly can to familiarize myself with the place and learn about ways to maximize my time there.

What is China famous for? China is regarded as the mother of inventions. From acupuncture, printing press, and gunpowder, numerous world-changing innovations were born in China, and the country has now emerged as an economic superpower. Immense culture, rich heritage, vast history, and grandest mountain ranges are among the few things responsible for the country`s worldwide fame.

It is a country that is bound to be on the bucket list of any wanderer or traveler.

In this blog post, I share a list of exceptional items that China is most famous for, some of its most amazing locations, as well as some exciting facts about the country you may not have heard before.

The Great Wall of China

According to most travelers, you haven’t been to China if you haven’t visited and climbed the Great Wall. 

It’s the most highly ranked tourist destination of the nation, which is a magnificent structure that was built to prevent intruders from getting into the mainland.

The Great Wall stretches for 8,851 kilometers, crossing grasslands, plains, and mountains from the east to west of the nation. 

Its historical significance and architectural grandeur makes it one of the most appealing attractions in the world. An interesting fact is that It`s the only monument in the world visible from the moon.

Rising as high as 16 meters and averaging six to eight meters in height, the wall boasts many watchtowers and battlements, with some dating back as far as the 7th century BC. Badaling is the most famous section and has been visited by hundreds of heads of state and VIPs. The wall also receives visits from over 10 million people every year.

The Forbidden City

Situated at the very heart of Beijing and enclosed by 3.5km of citadel, the Forbidden City is a must-see when you visit China. 

It is the nation’s largest, most important, and best-preserved collection of ancient buildings. It is large enough to comfortably host the over 15 million visitors it receives every year. 

NOTE: The UNESCO-listed Forbidden City is considered the world’s largest imperial palace as its approximately three times larger than France’s Louvre Palace.

This unique palace was the reclusive residence to two dynasties of imperial rule, sharing over 900 buildings with a group of servants, eunuchs, and concubines until the last Qing emperor was overthrown in 1911.

China is popularly known for its robust historical architectural backgrounds, and the Forbidden City is the most beautiful one.

Potala Palace

This great palace has the honor of being the world’s highest ancient palace. It was built in 1645 as the center of the Tibetan government. This awe-inspiring palace perched above Lhasa is the city’s landmark. 

Even by modern standards, it’s still an architectural wonder, and your first sight of its towering, fortress-like walls is a moment you’ll cherish for years.

It is a spectacular castle-like building complex that served as the unification center for the religions and politics of Tibet. 

It is famous for its holy atmosphere, splendid, artworks, complicated constructions, and grand buildings. 

Pilgrims and tourist alike shuffle open-mouthed across its three stories and dozens of golden stupas, magnificent chapels, and prayer halls.

Leshan Giant Buddha

The remarkable Leshan Giant Buddha was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1996. 

It’s an enormous statue sculptured into the side of Lingyun Mountain. 

This Buddha is taller than the standing Buddha in Afghanistan by 17 meters making it the largest and tallest Buddha in the world.

The statue overlooks the river that it was designed to appease. It’s sculpted entirely from a stone cliff-face and is considered as one of the country`s must-visit attractions.

NOTE: The Giant Buddha is situated inside a bigger scenic park that is worth exploring. Allocate sufficient time in your itinerary to visit this location.


Hangzhou, located in Eastern China, lies at the top of Hangzhou Bay. It’s the country’s most illustrious tourist location with astounding scenic views and enthralling panoramas.

The area`s impressive West Lake and dramatic landscapes saw it earn the name `Heaven on Earth.’ It has blended modernism and traditionalism, which has seen it rank among the best places in the world worth visiting. You`ll be enthralled with its breathtaking background of hills and lakes.

After you spend your daytime sightseeing, be prepared for miraculous nightlife. Hangzhou is a city offering vibrant nightlife with incredible night show, and a fantastic blend of art, music, drama, and dance.

Hangzhou permanently hosts the China International Micro Film Festival, the World Leisure Expo, and the China International Animation Festival.

Riverside Promenade

Shanghai`s Riverside Promenade is found along the Huangpu River in Pudong. It is the best stroll in Pudong. On the other side of Riverside Promenade is the famous Bund of Shanghai. 

The promenade offers you beautiful dusk and night views of the Bund across the way. Families go out for strolls in the evenings, and it’s the time when the promenade livens up.

The promenade’s superior geographical position makes it the best spot to enjoy the ships and the river. 

It is also a great place to look around the stunning sites like the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium and the Shanghai International Convention Center. 

It is not only a scenic avenue, but buy it also has a couple of coffee houses, ice cream shops, and restaurants on the road for you to enjoy.

The Li River

Li River is a bright pearl that can’t miss on the list of China’s tourist attractions as it’s the highlight of any sightseeing tour in Guilin.

NOTE: It is ranked among the world’s top 10 watery wonders’, according to National Geographic. 

The 83km-long cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo boasts the most spectacular scenery. It is decorated with cliffs, leisurely boats, rolling hills, and lines bamboos that love relishing in a harmonious symphony.

There are numerous ways to tour the Li River. You can take a bamboo raft trip, hike alongside the Li River, or take a relaxing cruise. If you want a relaxing trip, then take a boat cruise.

The Yellow Mountains

In East China, close to Hangzhou and Shanghai, you`ll find the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area that woos visitors with its five wonders: seas of clouds, sunrises, hot springs, oddly-shaped rocks, and twisted pine trees.

The Yellow Mountains are the most popular and most beautiful mountainous areas in the nation. They`re characterized by granite peaks as well as pine trees jutting out at odd angles.

They did not get the name because they are yellow but because the location was named after the famous Yellow Emperor. The area has since risen to become an inspiring landscape such that there`re Taoist influences and constructions in the area, offering tranquility to a beautiful region.

Victoria Harbour

If you visit China and want to discover the heart of Hong Kong, then Victoria Harbour is the place to be. Victoria Peak is the best spot if you want to have a bird’s eye view of Hong Kong.

Viewed from the peak, both night and day, the harbor offers scenes that are worth taking in. You can see high-rise buildings enclose the busy Victoria Harbour and stretch out towards Mainland China. 

Night scenes are gorgeous as the Symphony of Lights of the various building dance in unison.

Giant Pandas

Everyone loves panda, and China offers you the chance to get up-close and personal with this cute fluffy animal.

China is home to giant pandas, and since they are one of the rarest species, they are given provisions to keep them safe. 

They are considered a national treasure, and they’re only 2,000 of them in the whole world. A trip to China will not be complete without at least one panda experience.

Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army is a top attraction among visitors, and the history associated with these warrior statues is one of the items China is famous for. 

Farmers digging wells stumbled across this important archeological find in the 1970s, and it went ahead to be declared a World Cultural Heritage in 1987. 

NOTE: The Terracotta Army has been lying underground for over 2,000 years.

Visit this location and experience a bit of Chinese history. The Terracotta Army is significant because the hundreds of life-size models represent the army that triumphed over all other Chinese troops in the Warring States period (475-221 BC).

The soldiers are placed according to rank, their armors vary according to rank, and their expression changes from soldier to soldier.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is a traditional art and science that got formalized over 3,000 years ago. Feng means `wind,’ and shui stands for `water.’

In Chinese culture and heritage, wind and water are linked to good health. As such, good feng shui signifies good fortune. 

Conversely, bad feng shui indicates misfortune or bad luck. Feng shui is based on the understanding of nature and Taoist vision.

The Mausoleum of Light

In China’s mountainous north-east region lies Shenyang, an old city and important center for culture and trade, and home to the Mausoleum of light also referred to as the Imperial Tomb. 

It is one of the region’s most important historical sites and has been included on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

The tomb is famous for its unique architectural style, which is a combination of castle-like buildings of the ancient Qing period and traditionally arranged Chinese burial sites.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

When you get to China, make sure you visit Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and experience the location that inspired the movie, Avatar.

This location is a must-visit for its out-of-this-world scenery. The park is full of beautiful areas so plan well in advance to maximize your time in as many different scenic spots as possible. It is a nice place to explore as part of an organized tour.

The park features stunning natural beauty thanks to its numerous, unique pillar-like rock formations that look like some incredible alien landscape form a sci-fi movie.

One of the tallest pillars stands at the height of 1,080 meters and has been named “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.”

BONUS: In addition to its numerous natural wonders, the park also boasts a couple of new man-made attractions like the Bailong Elevator.

The Hong Kong Skyline

Hong Kong Skyline, featuring thickly dotted skyscrapers, prides itself as the world’s most Beautiful Skyline. Widely considered one of the most dramatic city skylines in the world, it offers an experience you wouldn’t want to miss.

The skyline is such an incredible skyline that will provide you with a lifelong lasting impression even at your first sight.

Being Hong Kong`s landmark and boasting one of the highest numbers of skyscrapers worldwide, it never disappoints when it comes to showing the beauty of the most beautiful skyline in the world.

You can get one of the most scenic views from Victoria Peak, where the skyscrapers display the city’s huge harbor, which is a great treat after nightfall. 

The view from Victoria Harbor itself is equally stunning.

Chinese Cuisine

Many people across the world embrace Chow Mein, munchurian dimsums, and chilly potatoes. The mouth-watering snacks come from Chinese Cuisine. This cuisine is reputable for its exotic blend of spices and is among the world’s `three Grand Cuisines.’

Some of the famous dishes you can enjoy while in China include tofu, moon cake, gao, wontons, peking roasted duck, pawn crackers, sun cake, and sweet and sour pork.

Besides these, the country is also famous for pine patterned eggs or century eggs. These are preserved eggs that contain the pungent smell. Make sure your visit to China doesn’t end without a taste of their finger locking and highly nutritious food.

The Yangtze River

Referred to as Chang Jiang (Long River) in China, the great Yangtze River extends to over 6,000 kilometers, making it not only the longest river in the country but also the most important. 

It is also the world’s longest river after the Amazon and the Nile.

Its immense length ensures that it can be visited at numerous points, and the stunning Three Gorges Wu, Xiling, and Qutang are by far the most popular for visitors. 

The Three Gorges represent a mighty valley with a splendid landscape, and it’s among the ten most famous scenic locations in China.

There are numerous sightseeing options for you to choose from, such as luxurious riverboat cruises focusing on the region’s diverse historical attractions and areas of scenic beauty to breath-taking adventure tour along the most dramatic sections of the Yangtze River.

Martial Arts

Chinese martial arts is one of the top things that come to mind when you think about China. From the tales about monks from the ancient Shaolin Monastery to the recent movies featuring Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, martial arts are an important and irreplaceable part of the rich Chinese cultural heritage.

The country has developed numerous fighting styles over the years, gung fu, wushu, kung fu to name a few.

NOTE: Even in traditional chine sculptures and paintings, people were depicted practicing their different fighting moves. Do learn some moves when you visit the country.

Chinese Architecture

Multi inclined roofs have been a trademark of Chinese architecture. Inclined roofing also came with major and minor carpentry as well as masonry and stone masonry, which are still used in construction in rural areas of the country. 

This decorative style of Chinese architecture makes it stand out all over the world. If you visit China, you`ll find plenty of this style in their traditional Chinese homes.

It has now emerged as a style featuring timberwork coupling rammed earth construction, stone carving, bucket arch buildings, and many other techniques. While there, remember to click a picture of it and store it in your phone forever.

Wuhzen Water Town

Wuzhen is among the six famous ancient water towns situated on the south of the Yangtze River and has a lot to offer when you visit.

Streets in the town are filled with water, and transportation is usually done with boats. It is a charming and exciting town. 

Water bridges and its rich cultural history make the town one of its kind. It also has plenty of nightlife. Once you get there remember to taste the town`s distilled rice liquor.

The Summer Palace

A relaxing 15-minutes commute from Beijing will take you to the sumptuous Imperial Summer Palace that sits on over 700 acres of stunning parkland and is one of the country’s most visited locations. 

The palace was built in 1153, and then its large lake was added in the 14th century to improve the Imperial Gardens. 

Its highlights include the magnificent Great Theatre and a Hall of Happiness and Longevity.

If you like exploring ancient civilizations, take a look at our article about Greece.

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