Experience China’s Top 6 Most Iconic Landmarks

From the Giant Panda Breeding Base to the Forbidden City, China has plenty of iconic landmarks to offer visitors. Here are 6 that you should add to your bucket list!

1. Mount Everest


Mount Everest, also known as Mount Qomolangma, straddles the border of Nepal and China and is considered a holy mountain for the local Tibetan people. There are more than forty mountains taller than 7,000 meters in the Mount Everest area.

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The magnificent scenery at the peak attracts hundreds of mountaineers each year who dream of conquering the awe-inspiring summit. If you want to hit the peak the best time is from early September to late October.

2. Bifengxia Giant Panda Base


When it comes to wildlife preservation, China’s Bifengxia Giant Panda Base has become one of must-see attractions of China, alongside the Li River, the Terracotta Army, and the Great Wall. Located in Chengdu, the Bifengxia Giant Panda Base is one of the best places to see the giant pandas, and their volunteer programs allow close contact with these magnificent creatures.

Because of hunting and deforestation, the giant panda has become an endangered animal.  At present, this lovable, cuddly animal lives nowhere else in the world (outside captivity) except China. The number of giant pandas has been rapidly reduced, with only a little more than 1,000 in the world.

3. The Terracotta Warriors Museum

terracotta army

Another star attraction in China is the astonishing underground army of Xi’an. Buried in 210 BC with the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, the Terracotta Army sat underground for over 2,000 years before it was uncovered by farmers in 1974. Little did these farmers know that they had discovered one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world. An interesting fact is that all the terracotta soldiers were created to face east towards the enemies of Emperor Qin.

The terracotta army is on display at The Terracotta Warriors Museum, which was built at the site of their excavation. It has three pits and covers an area of 22,780 square meters. Over 10,000 bronze weapons and 8,000 terracotta horses and soldiers were discovered in these three pits. It raises interesting questions about why it was made and is a mystery that astounds visitors to this day.

4. The Forbidden City

forbidden city

The Forbidden City, also known as the Palace Museum, is one of the most spectacular attractions for travelers to China. It used to be an imperial palace in the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. It has housed 24 emperors and is now a large museum that houses thousands of historical relics.

The theory of Chinese Fengshui was strictly followed when laying out China’s best-sustained royal palace. It is also the largest ancient regal structure in the world (720,000 square meters, and more than 9,000 halls), and the culmination and essence of customary Chinese architectural achievement.

5. The Great Wall


Another star attraction in China is, of course, The Great Wall. Together with the Communist flag and Tiananmen Square, The Great Wall is a well-known symbol of China.

The best section to visit the Great Wall of China is at Mutianyu, as it has good walking conditions, less crowds, and has been refurbished with breathtaking scenery. If you are looking for a challenge then be sure to visit the section near the “Mao’s Loyalty Ridge,” which takes about 30 minutes to climb the steep steps.

A large stone with the inscription “忠于毛主席,” which translates into the saying “Be loyal to Chairman Mao,” sits on a hill at the Mutianyu’s section of the Great Wall and acts as a landmark. When you stand on the ridge in this area, you get a bird’s eye view of the Great Wall.

6. The Li River


Capturing the heart of artists from all over is the karst landscape along the Li River. Chinese poets and painters throughout the generations have gained inspiration by the beauty of nature there, using their brushes and pens to capture the stunning natural scenery.

Today it is a popular destination for photographers. When travelers to China seeks a place of natural beauty, Yangshuo and the Li River are the first places they think of.

The 83-kilometer-long section of the Li River between Yangshuo and Guilin is the most beautiful. The river landscape is lined with bamboo groves, farming villages, steep cliffs, and startling hills.

America’s National Geographic Magazine listed The Li River as one of the “World’s Top Ten Watery Wonders.” Several world famous figures have visited the Li River, including former US Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush (senior), and Bill Gates.

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Lesley Daunt

Lesley Daunt is a travel writer that has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Huffington Post, Examiner, Digital Journal and more.
Lesley Daunt