“How many days are needed to travel to China?”
Well, our answer to you may be “UNLIMITED”.
China is a vast country with so much diversity in history, culture, gastronomy, people. Besides Shanghai and Beijing, if you have more time to stick around, here we have listed five other popular Chinese cities to visit with great travel tips!
Xi’an – the Birthplace of Chinese Civilization
Located in central-northwest China, Xi’an（西安） is a city full of cultural heritage and has over 3000 years of history in Shaanxi Province. Historically known as Chang’an, this ancient capital city was the eastern terminal of the Silk Road and played a very important part in Chinese history. That’s why Xi’an is often called the birthplace of Chinese civilization. If you are a Chinese history and culture enthusiast, this is your place.
Top places to visit:
Terracotta Warriors and Horse Museum （兵马俑）
Ever since the Terracotta Warrior was accidentally discovered by local farmers digging a well, this Eighth Wonder of the World has been drawing millions of travelers across China and around the world as one of the greatest archaeological sites. The Terracotta Army is a huge collection of life-size terracotta sculptures made to accompany and guard the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BC), China’s first emperor.
Official Website: http://www.bmy.com.cn
Xian City Wall（西安城墙）
At the center of Xi’an downtown locates the ancient Xi’an City Wall, which is the best-preserved city wall in China. It was originally built in the Tang Dynasty (618 -907), and the existing city wall was built from 1370 to 1378 in the Ming Dynasty. The rectangle city wall is 13.75km long, 12m long. You can walk or rent a bike to cycle on the wall.
Official Website: http://www.chinaxiancitywall.com/?m=pc&2
Xian Muslim Quarter and the Great Mosque (回民街 大清真寺)
The Great Mosque in Xi’an is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China. The Muslim Quarter near the mosque is a great place to find food and souvenir.
Bell & Drum Towers (钟鼓楼)
The Bell Tower and Drum Tower of Xi’an locate in the center of the city were built in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). As the old saying goes “morning bell and dusk drum” (晨钟暮鼓), the bell tower and drum tower were originally used to signal the time and alarm for emergency occasions. Now, these two towers are the tourist sites, and you can climb on the towers to enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
Official Website: http://e.sxhm.com
Top local food to try:
Crumbled Flatbread in Mutton Stew 羊肉泡馍
This is a very traditional and local dish in Xi’an. You need to break the flatbread into pieces by yourself and ask the chef to pour the soup and mutton into the bowl. Imagine when the crumbled bread gets soaked in mutton gravy, what a rich and tasty flavor it can offer.
Chinese Pork Burger 肉夹馍
Rou Jia Mo, a Shaanxi style sandwich/pork burger, is a toasted wheat flour bread stuffed with braised and chopped pork. It is almost the most signature food of Shanxi.
Cold Noodles 凉皮
Liangpi is a popular street food made from wheat or rice flour. This chewy noodle is usually served with vegetables (sliced cucumber and carrots), sesame and seasoned with chili oil and vinegar. It has a spicy and sour taste and is a good choice to eat in summer.
Xi’an is heaven for noodle lovers. Except for cold noodles, you can also try the Biang Biang Noodles(Biángbiáng面), oil splashed noodles (油泼面), hand-pulled noodles (手扯面) and so on.
Spicy soup with meatballs 肉丸胡辣汤
Spicy soup with beef meatballs is a local Muslim dish and a popular breakfast choice. The thick spicy soup is made with beef bones, carrots, potatoes, cabbages, and beans. You will surely sweat after you finish the soup.
How to get to Xi’an:
Xi’an is an important hub in central-northwest China, it’s very convenient for you to go there by flights or trains from any other major cities in China. It takes 7 hours from Shanghai to Xi’an by high-speed train, and 2 hours by flight.
Chengdu – the City of Panda and Hotpot
Chengdu（成都）, the main city of China’s southwest Sichuan Province, is famous for lovely pandas and hotpot. If you’re a spicy food lover, come to Chengdu and you will never regret it. Life in Chengdu is very relaxing, you can enjoy tea and Mahjong in the daytime; watch Sichuan opera and delicious food in the night. Be prepared, this is the city that will make you fat because you’re gonna eat too much!
Top places to visit:
Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding （大熊猫培育基地）
A trip to Chengdu is not complete without seeing a panda! Giant Panda is one of the rarest animals in the world, we call it our “National Treasure”. Chengdu Panda Base is one of the best places to see these cute babies!
Leshan Giant Buddha （乐山大佛）
Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha statue in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction started in 713 and was finally completed in 803. It is 71 meters high and 24 meters wide, and everyone is amazed by its huge size.
www.leshandafo.com (in Mandarin only）
The Wenshu Monastery （文殊院）
Located in downtown Chengdu, the original Wenshu monastery was built between 605 – 617, while the current complex we can see now was reconstructed in 1697 upon the ruins of the original one. It is famous for its delicate buddha sculptures and has over 300 in total. A must-see is the precious ten Buddhist guardian god iron statues.
Mount Emei （峨眉山）
Mount Emei is revered by Chinese Buddhists as one of the four Holy Mountains. Over 30 temples are located on the mountain. Here is a popular travel destination for its great scenery and religious attractions.
Jinli Pedestrian Street （锦里古街）& Kuanzhai Alley （宽窄巷子）
Jinli Pedestrian Street is “The First Street of Shu Kingdom (221-263)”. Now it is a famous commercial street but still presents in a historical look. It is especially pretty in the night as the lanterns are lit up. Here, you can find traditional market food stalls, bars, gift shops and so on. What’s more, you can enjoy the legendary face-changing show (bian lian变脸) at the teahouse here.
Kuanzhai Alley, also known as “Wide and Narrow Alley”, is similar to Jinli Street. It is an old street built in the 1700s in the Qing dynasty. You can find delicious Sichuan snacks, street food, handicrafts here.
Chengdu People’s Park （人民公园）
This is the city park where you can enjoy a local Chengdu life. You will find people singing and dancing in the park, and practicing calligraphy with water. But what makes really “Chengdu” is the Mahjong corner and the ear-cleaning place.
Topl local food to try:
Note: Sichuan people can cook anything in chili oil! ANYTHING!
Apparently Hotpot is popular nationwide in China while Sichuan holds the reputation of the best and hottest hotpot in China (and in the world!), basically it is a big pot with spicy soup at the table center, surrounded with the raw meat and vegetable slices you order. Put the meat and vegetables into the hot soup to boil them, then dip them into the sauce, you will be impressed by the spicy and numb taste. If you are not a spicy food lover, you can ask the restaurant to lighten the spicy level of the soup.
Chuanchuan: Food on Skewers （串串）
You may find a lot of food stalls selling food on skewers along the street, try one! You need to order your skewer ingredient by yourself, the server then will boil them in the spicy hotpot and hand to you. You can choose to eat with a traditional dipping sauce with peanuts and chili powder.
Mapo Toufu (麻婆豆腐)
This is a traditional Sichuan dish. The tofu is cooked with minced pork, and seasoned with bean paste, spicy oil, and Sichuan peppercorn. When the dish is served, you can smell the special aroma of the peppercorn. And be careful, tofu is really hot inside!
Sliced beef and ox organs in chili sauce （夫妻肺片）
This is a signature Sichuan cold dish. The ingredients included beef, beef heart, beef tongue, and beef tripe. They are all sliced and then mixed with chili oil, peppercorn, sesame, peanut, and other spice. This dish is packed with flavor.
Sichuan Boiled Fish （水煮鱼）
The fish fillet in the seasoned water is cooked with peppercorn, dried red chili peppers, and soybean sprouts. Although the dish looks heavy on the oil, the soybean sprouts will make it fresh, and the spicy-numb taste of tender fish fillet will get you addicted.
Dan Dan Noodles (担担面)
It is wheat noodles with pork, chili and seasoned with garlic, sesame, and vinegar. The spicy and sour taste is unforgettable – don’t miss it if you are a noodles lover!
Bang Bang Chicken (棒棒鸡)
Bang Bang Chicken is a cold dish of sliced chicken mixed with spicy oil, peanut paste, vinegar, and garlic. The taste is a combination of a little sweet, sour, spicy and salty.
How to get to Chengdu:
As the important city of southwestern China, Chengdu has well-developed airports and railway stations and is connected with all the major cities in China. It takes about 3.5 hours to fly from Shanghai/Beijing to Chengdu.
Nanjing – Ancient Capital of Six Dynasties
Nanjing, lying on the south bank of the Yangtze River, was the capital city of six dynasties in ancient Chinese history. This is a city of delightful scenery and rich cultural heritage.
Top places to visit:
Confucius Temple (夫子庙)
Located along the Qinhuai River, the Confucius Temple in Nanjing is a place to worship Confucius, a great philosopher and educator of ancient China. This architecture was built in 1034 in the Song Dynasty and has suffered repeated damage. The temple now we see was rebuilt in 1984. Now this area has become a popular market full of food and souvenirs.
http://www.njfzm.net/index.php (In Mandarin Only)
Purple Mountain (Zijin Mountain 紫金山)
The whole mountain is covered with forest and is a great place to go hiking/biking. You will find Xiaoling tomb of the first Ming Dynasty emperor, Sun Yat-Sen Mausoleum (the provisional first president of the Republic of China), temples and so on.
Linggu Temple (灵谷寺)
This is a famous Buddhist temple in Nanjing located in the Purple Mountain Scenic Area. It was originally built in the Liang Dynasty (502-557). Summer is a great time to visit this temple as on the night of July and August, you will find numerous fireflies in the temple. Remember to bring anti-mosquito spray in the summer!
Xuanwu Lake (玄武湖)
Xuanwu Lake Park is a great place in central Nanjing to enjoy a natural scene. It was the largest imperial lake garden in China. You can take a boat on the lake and enjoy a sunset.
Official Website: http://www.xuanwuhu.net (Chinese Only)
Jiming Temple (鸡鸣寺)
As a renowned Buddhist temple, Jiming Temple was built upon the hill in the Ming Dynasty in 1387. When you climb to the top, you can enjoy an overview of the Xuanwu Lake, the Yangtze River, the city wall and the Purple Mountain.
Top local food to try:
Duck Soaked in Brine (盐水鸭)
As a city located along the waterways —— the Qinhuai and Yangtze Rivers, duck dishes in Nanjing definitely worth a try. Duck soaked in brine is a classic Nanjing cold dish featuring juicy and tender duck meat.
Duck Blood Soup (鸭血粉丝汤)
Yes, duck again. This soup comes with coagulated duck blood cubes, vermicelli, duck soup, deep-fried tofu and duck organs such as liver and gizzard. This is a very popular dish you can eat at any food stall.
Pan-Fried Beef Dumpling (牛肉锅贴)
Your appetite will be aroused when you smell the minced beef stuffed dumpling. The crispy dumpling coat outside and tender beef inside makes it a tasty breakfast choice.
Shredded Dried-Tofu in Chicken Broth (鸡汁干丝)
Dried-tofu slices boiled in and fully absorbed the chicken broth with bamboo shoots, ham, and shrimps. Imagine the strong flavor it can taste.
How to get to Nanjing:
Nanjing is an important train transport hub in Eastern China. By high-speed train, It takes only 1 hour departing from Shanghai, 4 hours from Beijing.
Hangzhou – A Leisurely Water City
Famous for the West Lake, historic temples and Longjing tea, Hangzhou is a city with beautiful scenery and rich cultural heritage. No wonder it is called “Heaven on Earth”. If you want to explore the tranquil and nature scene of a water city in China, Hangzhou is the top choice.
Top places to visit:
West Lake (西湖)
Surrounded by hills and temples, West Lake is a must-see of Hangzhou. You can take a boat cruise to enjoy the beauty of the lake. There are Top 10 Scenes of West Lake, which originate from the aesthetic tradition of the 12th century. A sunset view here is unforgettable.
Lingyin Temple (灵隐寺)
Lingyin Temple is one of the oldest and most significant ancient Buddhist temples in China. It has nearly 2000 years of history. Here, you can enjoy precious Buddha stone carvings and relaxing hiking uphill to Lingyin Temple. If you are hungry after the hike, try the noodles of the temple vegetarian restaurant at the exit.
Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔)
Although the building now is totally newly built, the history of this pagoda is about 1000 years old. Get on the top of it, you can have a great overview of the West Lake.
China National Silk Museum （中国丝绸博物馆）
Hangzhou is well known for its excellent silk and satin. The silk museum, located close to West Lake, is a great place for you to have a deeper understanding of silk manufacture, history, and culture.
Top local foods & drinks to try:
Longjing Tea (龙井茶)
Hangzhou is well-renowned for its local Longjing tea with over 1200 years history, which is a variety of pan-roasted green tea, named after the small village three kilometers southwest of West Lake where it’s grown. We recommend you try Longjing tea either in a local teahouse so simply with some local friends, you will be impressed by its strong fragrance and sweet flavor!
West Lake Vinegar Fish (西湖醋鱼)
This sweet and sour fish is a traditional Hangzhou dish and has a history of over 700 years. The tender carp is simmered with vinegar, wine, soy sauce, and sugar. Be careful with the fish bones when you eat.
Dongpo Pork (Chinese name:东坡肉)
Dongpo is a revered poet (1037 – 1101) in the Song Dynasty, famous not only for his poems but for his incredible professionalism in cooking and eating. This is one of his best inventions: The pan-fried and then braised pork belly. If you’re a meat-lover, go check it out and eat like a poet!
Beggar’s Chicken (叫花鸡)
Beggar chicken gets the name from the way it is cooked: the ancient Chinese beggars used to wrap their stolen chicken in lotus leaves covered with mud then roast it in the open fire for hours. Imagine when you crack the mud-shell of the chicken, unwrap it from the lotus leaf, the well-cooked chicken tastes amazingly tender, you may not stop yourself eating it!
Sister Song’s Fish Broth (宋嫂鱼羹)
This is a traditional Hangzhou style broth. This is a thick broth made with fish, ginger, wine, ham, and vinegar.
How to get to Hangzhou:
Hangzhou has direct and frequent flights with major cities in China. By the high-speed train, Hangzhou is only 1 hour away from Shanghai.
Wuhan – The City of Hero
Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei Province in central China, located at the plain crossed by the Yangtze River and Hanjiang River. Thus, the city is divided into three parts as Hankou and Hanyang on the west bank, and Wuchang on the east of the Yangtze River. Nowadays, this city is famous for fighting with Coronavirus. It has witnessed people suffering and surviving from this virus, and created numerous city heros inspiring the city, China, and the entire world.
Tops places to visit:
Yangtze River Bridge (长江大桥)
This bridge was built in 1957 and is the first highway-railway bridge over the Yangtze River. You can walk on the bridge to overlook the Yangtze River and the hills along the bank.
Yellow Crane Tower (黄鹤楼)
The original tower was built in AD223 but was destroyed during the repeated wars, the one we see right now was reconstructed in 1985. Even though this is a newly built tower, the Yellow Crane Tower is always a symbol of Wuhan. Located at the top of the Snake Hill (蛇山), you can enjoy the beauty of nature and a panorama view of the city and the Yangtze River.
Hubu Alley (户部巷)
Hubu Alley is a famous snack street where you can enjoy Wuhan local food like Hot and Dry Noodles, Doupi, duck neck and so on.
East Lake Park (东湖公园)
East Lake is the biggest inner-city lake in China. It is dotted with many islands and surrounded by mountains and flowers. Here, you can enjoy the natural scenery and a slow lifestyle.
Hubei Provincial Museum (湖北省博物馆)
The current Wuhan is a main industrial and commercial center, but in fact, it has a history of over 3500 years. Thus, the museum here is a must-see for you to better understand the ancient central China culture and Yangtze River civilization. The most precious collections are bronze wares, chime bell, lacquer wares, and bamboo slips.
Huoshenshan Hospital 火神山医院
The two-story, 366,000-square-foot Huoshenshan Hospital is an emergency specialty field hospital constructed from 23rd January 2020 to 2nd February 2020 (10 days in total) in response to the Coronavirus.
Top local food to try:
Hot Dry Noodles (热干面)
This is perhaps the most well renowned Wuhan food. The dry noodles are mixed with sesame paste, soy sauce, shallots, and chili. You can find this delicacy sold by numerous street vendors all across the city.
It is sticky rice combined with meat, egg, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and coated with soy skin. This will be fried into golden color, when you taste it you will find it crisp outside and soft inside.
Steamed Wuchang Fish（清蒸武昌鱼）
This famous Wuhan dish is that local freshwater fish steamed with mushrooms, bamboo shoots and chicken soup. The tender fish fully soaked the flavor of the ingredients, you will find it really tasty.
Duck Neck (鸭脖)
This is a signature snack of Wuhan. Duck neck is soaked in various spices and then air-dried. The taste of it is sweet, salty, chewy and spicy.
Hutang Rice Noodle （糊汤粉）
The Hutang rice noodle is made of fish soup cooked with peppers and chives, and rice noodles are added. Local people like to order an extra deep-fried dough stick (youtiao 油条) to dip it into the fish soup after they finish the rice noodles.
How to get to Wuhan:
As the capital city of Hubei province, Wuhan is a transportation hub for central China. It is conveniently connected with major cities in China with flights and trains. By the high-speed train, It takes 4 hours from Shanghai to Wuhan; and 4.5 hours from Beijing to Wuhan.