aerial rendering of chengdu

5 Underrated Cities in China

Millions of tourists flock every year to Beijing and Shanghai in hopes to experience China’s history and culture, but these 2 mega cities can only give you a small peek into China’s unique history and culture. Here are 5 unique places that you should definitely check out on your visit to China!

1) Chengdu


Source: Telegraph

A city that is quickly getting more well known for their own unique culture influenced by its Sichuan roots. Chengdu is home to 14 million people and has a rich teahouse culture. The Himalayan tea plantations are a great influence as they are not far away, making Chengdu the ideal place to sample some of the best tea in the country.

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Home to over 40 000 restaurants there is no shortage of the authentic spicy Sichuan cuisines for you to try. Of course, one of the most internationally known attractions of Chengdu is the giant pandas, so make sure to take a look while you’re there and there are also some great trekking adventures.

2) Zhouzhuang


Source: Wikipedia

Better known as the Venice of China for its canal that winds through the town. Zhouzhuang is the oldest water town in China. Its buildings have been well preserved and can date back to the Ming dynasty. Of the bridges in this town there are 2 well know ones; the twin bridges and fuan bridge, known for not only their architecture, but their historically significance.

3) Nanjing


Source: CNN

Another great underrated city in China is Nanjing. Previously known as Nanking, it has many well-known historical sites such as the tomb of Sun Yat Sen, the Confucius temple and of course, being the site of the Nanking massacre; the Nanjing massacre memorial hall. There is a lot to see and learn in Nanjing, but there are also a lot of unique food that is native to Nanjing you can try such as chicken embryo!

4) Harbin

Source: ChinaDaily

Source: ChinaDaily

Well known in China as an Ice City. Harbin has fierce winters and heavy snow fall, making it an ideal destination for winter sports and celebrations. A must do in Harbin is to attend the annual Harbin Ice & Snow Festival, enjoy masterfully crafted ice sculptures and various winter activities. However, if you can’t make it in time for the festival, it is still definitely worth a visit to see the Russian influenced architecture of the city as its history is deeply influenced by Russia.

5) Kaiping

Source: UNESCO

Source: UNESCO

Kaiping is an interesting place to see a mix of Chinese and Western influences. It was the home to many overseas Chinese who brought back architectural ideas from the west to build what is seen today. Today the Kaiping diaolou and villages are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites.  Showing the significant achievements of emerging Kaiping people.

Any other amazing cities in China we missed?

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Monica Guan

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in beijing, nanjing, guangzhou, shenzhen, hangzhou,and xitang, shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.
Monica Guan