Top 10 Places for Second-Time Visitors in China
When queried about their first impression of China, many people would say the country is grand in scale. That's true, especially when it comes to tourism. The vast land area has endowed China with a diverse array of places to visit, each with their own distinct features. Therefore, you may have missed some hidden gems if you've visited China only once. If you are considering revisiting China and don't want to repeat your previous itinerary, here are the top 10 destinations we have picked for your second trip.
Zhangjiajie, which historically means "boundary of the Zhang family", is a city located in the northwestern part of Hunan province in China. Known for its breathtaking natural scenery, Zhangjiajie is home to Wulingyuan Scenic Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscape of the area is characterized by sandstone pillars, lush forests, and clear streams, making it a perfect destination for anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature.
With the release of Avatar 2, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park once again became one of the most talked-about scenic spots in China. The towering mountains in the park inspired the director Mr. James Cameron, who designed the floating mountains in Avatar based on the trees and mountains in Zhangjiajie and amazed the whole world. This has contributed to the boom of international tourism in Zhangjiajie, so the city is well-equipped to welcome foreign visitors.
It doesn't matter whether you are a fan of the movie or not, because this place is a heaven of pristine natural beauty that will always leave you in awe. Additionally, there are many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and river rafting, which will surely add more exciting elements to your visit.
Sandstone Forest in Zhangjiajie
Huangshan, also known as Yellow Mountain, is a mountain range located in the southern part of Anhui province in China. Renowned for its stunning natural beauty and unique rock formations, Huangshan is a famous tourist destination of outdoor adventure and natural scenery.
Rising to over 1,800 meters (5,906 feet) above sea level, the peaks of Huangshan are often shrouded in mist, which makes the mountain range ethereal and mysterious. In addition to the mist and towering peaks, Huangshan is also known for its pine trees. Bizarrely shaped with gnarled trunk, the pine trees grow along the cliffs and can withstand harsh conditions. In traditional Chinese belief, pine trees symbolize hospitality. Therefore, these pine trees are affectionately called "welcoming guest pine (Ying Ke Song)".
When visiting Huangshan, you can hike along its many trails, take in the breathtaking views of the peaks and valleys, and enjoy the hot springs that are dotted throughout the area. If the weather is good, you can feast your eyes on the sunrise and sunset on the mountain, which are a big draw for many visitors. The colors of the sky and mist will be stunning, with orange, red, and yellow blending together to create a breathtaking display.
Hangzhou, a city in the province of Zhejiang, is located in the eastern part of China. It is emerging as one of China's new first-tier cities, and is a popular tourist destination in the country. The must-visit attraction in Hangzhou is West Lake, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With lush green hills and scenic gardens around it, West Lake is considered one of China's most beautiful natural attractions. In addition to taking a stroll by the lake, you can also enjoy boat rides while having a relaxing sip of Hangzhou's local Dragonwell tea, which is considered one of the finest green teas in China. There are also many temples, pagodas, and museums located around the lake's shore, which can offer you a glimpse into the city's history.
The city was the capital of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), and as such, it has a wealth of historical sites and cultural landmarks. The Lingyin Temple, or the Temple of Soul's Retreat, is one of the largest and sophisticated Buddhist temples in China. With a history that spans over 1,700 years, the temple has over 470 stone carvings and statues, representing the epitome of Buddhist art in China.
Aside from its natural and cultural attractions, Hangzhou is also a thriving modern city with a dynamic economy and a vibrant urban center. The city is home to many high-tech companies, such as Alibaba, as well as many shopping malls, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
Suzhou is a highly regarded tourist destination for foreigners. Located in the eastern part of China, the city is often referred to as the "Venice of the East" due to its beautiful canals and bridges. The city also boasts many classical gardens dating from the 11th and 19th century, which have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites. With meticulous and elegant design, these gardens embody China's architectural craftsmanship and artistry.
Beyond its well-preserved ancient architecture and waterways, Suzhou is also known for its rich cultural heritage, including a vibrant craft tradition that gave rise to its silk weaving and embroidery industry in the past. You can learn about the city's long history and cultural traditions at its museums and historical sites, such as the Suzhou Museum and the Humble Administrator's Garden.
Tongli Water Town
Lhasa is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region in China. With an altitude of 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) above sea level, it is one of the highest cities in the world and is considered as the spiritual and cultural center of Tibetan Buddhism.
Lhasa is best known for its cultural legacy, with many magnificent palaces and temples. The city is home to famous landmarks, including the Potala Palace, which was the former residence of the Dalai Lama and is now a museum. The Jokhang Temple, which is the spiritual heart of Tibet, is also a must-visit for tourists. In addition, you can walk along the Barkhor Street, which is a bustling market street and an excellent place to purchase traditional handicrafts while observing local Tibetan culture.
Additionally, Lhasa is surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, including the Himalayan Mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rolling hills. Some popular scenic spots around Lhasa include the Yamdrok Lake and Namtso Lake, which will impress you with their scenic beauty. Moreover, the locals in Lhasa are known for their hospitality and friendliness, making it a great place for you to visit. Your trip to Lhasa will be full of healing moments.
Guizhou is a province in southwestern China and is home to many renowned scenic spots. Known for its beautiful karst landscapes, waterfalls, and terraced rice paddies, Guizhou is a destination that you cannot miss in your second trip to China.
One of the main attractions of Guizhou is the Huangguoshu Waterfall, which is one of the largest waterfalls in Asia. It is surrounded by lush vegetation and is most known for its rainbow-filled mist and thundering falls. The area surrounding the waterfall is also home to many unique caves, most notably the Dragon Palace Cave, which is among the largest karst caves in the world.
Guizhou's diverse ethnic cultures are also fascinating. The province is home to over 40 ethnic minority groups, each of which has its own customs and traditions. When visiting the villages of these ethnic groups, you will be immersed in their well-preserved cultures, and have the chance to appreciate their costumes and celebrate traditional festivals with locals. This will be a unique experience the leaves you with beautiful memories about China's ethnic cultures.
Guizhou Minority People
Dunhuang is a city in the northwestern province of Gansu. Dating back to the Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), the city has played a key role in the cultural and economic exchange along the ancient Silk Road and is now a popular tourist destination.
One of the most famous attractions in Dunhuang is the Mogao Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Mogao Caves is a vast collection of Buddhist art and manuscripts, containing over 492 caves filled with colorful frescoes, intricate sculptures, and other sophisticated works of art. The Western Thousand-Buddha Cave is another well-preserved cave complex on the outskirts of Dunhuang, with a large number of Buddhist sculptures and frescoes preserved from the time when Buddhist culture thrived in this area.
Apart from its cultural attractions, Dunhuang is also known for its natural beauty. The Singing Sand Dunes are a must-see for visitors, as these sand dunes can produce a unique whistling sound when the wind blows across them. Apart from that, if you can climb to the top of the dunes, you will see the breathtaking views of the vast desert. Also, for those interested in in the history of the Silk Road trade routes, they can visit the remains of Yumen Pass, a former border post, and learn about its historical role in connecting China with the wider world.
Zhangye is a city located in the northwestern part of China's Gansu Province. It is known for its rich cultural and natural heritage, and is an important tourist destination in the region.
One of the main attractions of Zhangye is the Zhangye Danxia Landform. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is a unique rock formation that features a range of colorful cliffs and peaks, and is considered one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in China. You won't regret a trip to Zhangye as you can hike in the area, take scenic drives, and admire the stunning views.
Steeped in history, Zhangye is also home to a number of important historical and cultural sites, including the Giant Buddha Temple. Inside the temple, there is a large statue of the Buddha that's considered one of the largest of its kind in China. As you wander the city, you can also appreciate its traditional architecture, such as the Great Buddha Temple, which is known for its 35-meter reclining Buddha statue made in about 1100. With so many ancient buildings and walls to see in Zhangye, you can have the chance to travel back in time as the history of China unfolds in front of you.
Located in the southwestern province of Sichuan, the city of Leshan is known as a popular tourist destination. The most famous landmark of Leshan is the Leshan Giant Buddha, which is the largest stone Buddha statue in the world and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Carved into the side of a cliff while facing the confluence of three rivers, the statue is over 71 meters tall and has a history of over 1,200 years, which took over 90 years to complete. The Leshan Giant Buddha is considered to be one of the greatest masterpieces of ancient Chinese art, and has become a symbol of peace and prosperity.
Apart from the Leshan Giant Buddha, the city is also known for its natural scenery. The city is surrounded by mountains and is located at the junction of three rivers, making it an ideal starting point to explore the nearby mountains. Among them, Mount Emei, one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in China, offers spectacular mountain scenery and waterfalls that will make your trip worthwhile.
Yunnan (Lijiang, Dali, Shangri-La)
Yunnan is a province in southwestern China and is known for its diverse culture and geography. Culture-wise, it is home to many ethnic minority groups in China, making it a destination with vibrant and dynamic ethnic cultures. Geography-wise, it is famous for its picturesque landscapes, including forests, lakes, and rolling hills. Among the many places to visit in Yunnan, three highlights stand out.
Lijiang. This city in southwestern China is known for its well-preserved traditional architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Different from the imperial palaces in Beijing, the architecture in the Old Town of Lijiang presents a more subtle and elegant style with a distinct ethnic element. It also has a night market along its cobbled street, where you can get a taste of the authentic local culture while enjoying delicious cuisines.
Dali. It is a city in the western part of Yunnan province that features serene landscapes. The tranquil Erhai Lake and the towering Cangshan Mountains are two must-see destinations for visitors, which will not only offer you gorgeous views, but also bring you inner peace. Dali used to be a major hub of the Bai ethnic minority group, which is why it preserves many cultural and historical sites, such as temples and pagodas, for visitors to explore.
Shangri-La. Located in Yunnan's Tibetan region, the city is a blend of wonderful natural beauty and Tibetan culture. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Shangri-La is nature in its finest, with Napa Lake lying in the valley of a high-altitude mountain plateau. Therefore, it is a popular destination that attracts adventure-seekers and nature lovers. Moreover, many are also drawn to Shangri-La by is cultural heritage. There are several important Buddhist monasteries and temples, including the Songzanlin Monastery and the Ganden Sumtseling Monastery, which are significant pilgrimage sites for Tibetan Buddhists. The harmonious combination of nature, architecture, and spiritual significance is what makes Shangri-La a unique destination.
Interested in these places but have no idea how to plan your itinerary? Can't wait to visit China again but don't know which place to start with? Don't worry, our private and tailor-made service will provide you with a customized itinerary within 24 hours. Feel free to contact us!
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