Top 10 Greatest Museums in China - Best China History and Culture Discovery

Time changes, history advances day by day, and then the world evolves. Without reliable evidence, no one knows about the original life and society during the past 5000 years of China. Luckily, although we are unfamiliar with the historical processing, certain answer lies in the great museums we will introduce below. Follow the footprint of history, authentic and vivid scenes of ancient life and economy ultimately come to light along with more understanding of the gorgeous history and culture we had.

Every cultural heritage left from ancient time is a genetic code recording vein of Chinese nation; every museum is a genetic treasure guarding Chinese civilization. To protect and inherit the essence of human culture, the museums are the significant bridge connecting the past, the present and the future. Like the history tells authentic stories about the past, relics of museums are the best witness to unlock the mystery of ancient China. Here are the winnners of Top 10 Greatest Museums in China, which promise every visitor profound culture and unprecedented enlightenment. Besides, if you are a history lover, you can explore China's great ancient capital cities and gear up ultimate Chinese Culture and History Tours!

1. The Palace Museum (故宫博物院), Beijing - Biggest Royal Palace Complex

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: October 10, 1925

Area: more than 723,600sqm (Width & Length: 753m X 961m)

Collection: 1,862,690 pieces (sets)

Masterpieces: Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival, Picture of The Ode of the River Goddess, Penta- Bull Map of Tang Dynasty (the earliest paper painting), Picture of Steps from Tang, Sketch of Rare Birds from the Five Dynasties, Han Banquet Map, wonderful paintings from Tang Yin...

Open Hours: 08:30~17:30 (April~October) & 08:30~17:00 (November ~March); closed on Mondays.

Ticket: 60 RMB in High Season(April ~ October) & 40 RMB in Off Season (November ~ March); 10 RMB per person for Treasure Hall (entrance from Palace of Peace and Longevity) and the Clock Museum (Fengxian Palace) separately; Children under 1.2m are free of charge.

Location: No.4 Jingshan Front Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing City.

Recommended Visiting: 2hrs ~ one day

Built on the largest and most well-reserved wooden structure palace complex - Forbidden City of Ming and Qing Dynasty, the Palace Museum is a special World Cultural Heritage, the biggest comprehensive art museum of ancient Chinese culture and the one and only pride for Chinese nation, precious cultural legacy for all human beings. Today, the huge royal palaces are giant treasury with countless valuable gems from Ming & Qing Dynasty, also the living fossil of Chinese imperial history. Both served as the protection administration of the Forbidden City and collecting, researching and exhibition institution of all ancient Chinese cultural and historical relics from Ming & Qing Dynasty and etc, the Palace Museum has the most complete and best quality collections of 25 main categories up to over 1,800,000artifacts, 8,000 first grade items.

After five hundred years of vicissitudes of history, the imperial palaces finally opens to the public. Most recommended tour route is follow the central axis and visit palaces or halls on both sides. The Period Halls(时代大厅), a popular exhibition method, are the unique presentation of royal palaces in original forms, Cining Palace Garden (Garden of Compassion and Tranquility), Shoukang Palace( Palace of Longevity and Health), Taihe Palace(太和殿) (Hall of Supreme Harmony), Qianqing Palace (Palace of Heavenly Purity) and more are the perfect integration of delicate preserved-relic and ancient architectures. Apart from palace visiting, there are ten permanent galleries exhibiting various types of treasure, including Gallery of Ceramics (陶艺馆), Calligraphy & Painting, Bronze, Treasure, Qing Imperial Opera, Jade (closed now), Sculpture, Historic Architecture, Hall of Clocks, Digital Gallery and Kulangsu Gallery of Foreign Artifacts from the Palace Collection. Besides, Palace Museum holds some excellent temporary exhibitions on special cultural themes, out-of-town exhibitions to display marvellous collections of Palace Museum, make culture exchange with other cities.

Moreover, rightly located at the center of Beijing City, Forbidden City is very close to Tiananmen Square. You could easily find it and get there by taxi, subway, bus, bicycle, etc. With 2 or 3 full days, which is available for to 72 Hours Visa-free for Transit in Beijing, you can explore the best highlights of Beijing such as the Badaling Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Hutongs, Ming Tombs, and Bird Net etc. As the most popular transportation hub in China, you can easily travel from Beijing to any other hot travel destinations in China by flight or train, such as Xian, Shanghai, , Yangtze River, , Guilin, Chengdu, Tibet and other popular destinations in China by flight or train. China Discovery has designed many great China tour packages from Beijing for you. Please make your choice from our collections or let us customize one for you.


1. Since July 2, 2011, the Palace Museum operate south-north one way tour route, only entrance is the Meridian Gate (South Gate) and exit from Shenwu Gate in the north or Donghua Gate in the east.

2. No smoking within any place in Palace Museum, no scribbles, and no flashlight and tripod when taking photos in exhibition halls.

☛ 3 Days Beijing Essential Short Stay Tour (Transit Visa Free)

☛ 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour with Great Wall Hiking

☛ 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package

☛ 5 Days Experience the Real Hutong Life of Beijing

2. Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum (秦始皇兵马俑博物馆) - The Legacy of China's First Emperor

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: October 1, 1979

Area: Approximately 56,000 sq m

Collection: Over 3,000 pieces (sets)

Masterpieces: Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Bronze Chariots and Horses, Jade Artifacts, and Bronze Weapons

Open Hours: 08:30 AM to 6:30 PM (April to October), 08:30 AM to 6:00 PM (November to March); closed on Tuesdays

Ticket: 150 RMB per person

Location: Qinling North Road, Lintong District, Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province

Recommended Visiting: Half a day to one day

Located in the heart of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province and established in 1979, the wonders of ancient China at the magnificent Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum Museum, spans approximately 56,000 square meters and is home to over 3,000 priceless artifacts. Step back in time as you marvel at the museum's most famous treasures, including the awe-inspiring Terracotta Warriors and Horses, the majestic Bronze Chariots and Horses, and exquisite jade artifacts and bronze weapons. These masterpieces offer a fascinating glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the Qin Dynasty.

In addition to its impressive collection of artifacts, the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum Museum offers visitors a comprehensive understanding of the Qin Dynasty and its legacy through various interactive exhibits and educational programs. Explore the museum's multimedia displays, where state-of-the-art technology brings ancient history to life, allowing visitors to virtually experience key moments in Qin Dynasty's history, from the unification of China to the construction of the Great Wall. Marvel at the museum's crown jewel: the world-renowned Terracotta Army, an awe-inspiring display of over 8,000 life-sized clay soldiers and horses, each meticulously crafted to guard the emperor in the afterlife.

Stand in awe before the majestic bronze cauldrons and marvel at the intricate craftsmanship of ancient artisans, whose skill and ingenuity continue to captivate visitors from around the globe. Also, the museum is a living testament to the enduring spirit of Chinese culture. Throughout the year, the museum hosts a variety of cultural events and exhibitions, celebrating China's rich heritage and fostering dialogue and exchange among scholars and enthusiasts. With its dedication to scholarship, innovation, and public engagement, the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum Museum is not just a repository of ancient artifacts, but a vibrant hub for cultural exploration and discovery. Whether you're a seasoned historian, a curious traveler, or simply someone with a passion for learning, a visit to this renowned wonder promises to be a truly enriching experience.

After Terracotta Warriors and Horses, Xian has considerable attractions to visit. Take a stroll or rent a bike on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China, to enjoy panoramic views of modern Xi’an. Then try some local snacks at the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. On the next day, you can go to visit Da Cien Temple (大慈恩寺) and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda to feel the Buddhist culture, then get a deeper understanding of the past of this city in Shaanxi History Museum. If you are interested in mountain climbing, don’t miss the challenging Mount Huashan which is famous for lofty peaks and steep paths.

☛ 2 Days Xian City Break

☛ 3 Days Classic Xian Tour

☛ 4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

3. National Museum of China (中国国家博物馆) - Second to None in Global Rankings

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: August, 1959

Area: about 200,000 sq m

Collection: over 1,300,000 pieces

Masterpieces: Basin with A Fish Pattern with A Human Face, Da Yu Ding, Jade Dragon, Jade Showing A Stork with A Fish and A Axe, Zilong Cauldron (Ding), Houmuwu Square Cauldron (Ding), Tiger Pattern Chime Stone and more ancient national treasures...

Open Hours: 09:00~17:00; Closed on Mondays (including public holidays).

Ticket: Free Visiting (from west gate), except special exhibitions.

Location: No.16 East Changan Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing City (East side of Tiananmen Square).

Recommended Visiting: 3 ~ 4 hrs

Merged from the Chinese History Museum and Museum of Chinese Revolution in 2003, National Museum of China is the largest museum of single building area in China and the world’s top popular cultural architecture rich in profound historic and cultural heritages. Famous for the comprehensive status with collection, exhibition, research, archaeology and public education, the National Museum has become the ancestral hall for Chinese Civilization, the Cradle of Chinese Dream where records over 5000 years' history and culture of China and preserve countless national treasures, the sublime spiritual homeland Chinese people inherit history and develop future. It is an important dialogue channel with the world, a magnificent palace showing brilliant achievements of historical and cultural arts and social development of the entire human civilization.

As one the Chinese museums with affluent relic collections, the 5-storied building highs 42.5 m with 48 exhibition halls, and huge Lecture Hall, Theatre, library and public leisure space. Except permanent exhibitions including Ancient China and The Road of Rejuvenation , National Museum of China holds plenty of long-term theme exhibitions, like Ancient Chinese Buddhist Sculpture and Ancient Chinese Bronze Art (both in No.2 Central Hall on F3), Exhibition for Fan Painting of Ming & Qing Dynasties, Collection of Architectural Design, Ancient Chinese Jade Art, Ancient Chinese Money and etc in North and South Galleries.

On basement level one, the permanent Exhibition of Ancient China including eight periods of Ancient Time, Xia & Shang & Western Zhou, Spring & Autumn Period, Qin & Han Dynasties, Sui & Tang & Five Dynasties… presents the long development of Chinese Civilization via 2026 valuable exhibits, 521 first grade cultural relics along with the ancient dynasties alternation. Major heritages of Ancient China encompasses various antiques used by Yuanmou Man, Peking Man in far Stone Age, masterful bronzes from early dynasties of Xia, Shang and Western Zhou, Langya Caved Stones, Painted terracotta warriors from powerful Qin and Han, and sophisticated typical artifacts in all kingdoms. Public Service area, Lecture Hall and Theatre, Broadcasting Room are on the same location.

Up to the first floor, there are North Galleries (N1~N4), South Galleries (S1~S5) and another permanent Exhibition of the Road of Rejuvenation on both sides of the Central Hall 1. Modern China and Contemporary China are the two basic displays which retrospect the general development during the 100 years history of China from the First Opium War in 1840 to the establishment of PRC in 1949 with more than 2300 objects, literatures, restored sites.

Exhibition of the Road to Rejuvenation continues in larges galleries on the 2nd floor, and more North Galleries (N8~N11) and South Galleries (S6~S10) are set up here. On the 3rd floor, there are Central Hall 2, North Galleries (N16~19) and South Galleries (S11~S14). Besides, the Experts Building for professional researchers stands in the specialized floor with Lecture Hall and Theatre.

More Popular Theme Exhibitions in National Museum of China:

1. A Review of Li Baorui’s Art on 80th Anniversary of His Bir

Date: December 10, 2017~December 20, 2017

Venue: Gallery S1 on basement one

2. Stone Sculpture Art of the Song Dynasty

Date: Theme Exhibition (Permanent)

Venue: Public Area on F3

3. Ancient Chinese Porcelain Art

Date: On Regular Display

Venue: Gallery N17

4. Splendid Artwork in Wood – Chinese Ming & Qing Furniture

Date: On Regular Display (opened from September 26, 2013)

Venue: Gallery N9

As the capital city of China for centuries, Beijing is an internatinal metropolis with numerous historic scenic sites. Besides National Museum of China, you can also visit the Forbidden City to witness the royal buildings of the ancient China empire, hike on the incredible Great Wall, and wander along the traditional hutongs to experience the authentic local life...all of your dreams about Beijing can be tangible in our Beijing tours. In only 2 or 3 days, you can have a trip in Beijing which will cover the most popular attractions - Forbidden City, Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Hutongs, which is available for to 144 Hours Visa-free for Transit in Beijing. If you have more time, you can go for an in-depth Great Wall hiking or photography tour, and explore more attractions in the city.

Notice: No flashlight, tripods are forbidden to use when taking photos. Photo permission for introduced temporary exhibitions will be reminded with clearly signs at entrance and within the exhibition halls.

☛ 3 Days Beijing Essential Short Stay Tour

☛ 4 Days Classic Beijing Tour Package

☛ 6 Days In-depth Great Wall Experience Tour

4. Shanghai Museum (上海博物馆) - Half of China’s Cultural Heritages

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: October 12,1996

Area: 39,200 sq m

Collection: 120,000 pieces, 717 first grade cultural relics.

Masterpieces: Big Grams Tripod, Shangyang Fangsheng (measuring vessel in middle Warring States Period), Silk Painting of Ducks Swimming in Lotus Pond, De Ding, Mao Ding and Tiger Gui from Western Zhou, Ancient Copper Coins, Pottery, Jades...

Open Hours:09:00~17:00; closed on Mondays.

Ticket: Free Ticket

Location: No.201 Renmin Avenue, Huangpu District, Shanghai City.

Recommended Visiting: 3 ~ 4hrs

Enjoying a high reputation at home and abroad, Shanghai Museum is a large gallery of ancient Chinese arts with more than one hundred thousand cultural treasures, features in fantastic collections of bronze, chinaware, calligraphy and paintings. Situated in the south of downtown People Square of Shanghai, the newly built dome-shaped building with square base looks magnificent artfully merging the traditional culture and contemporary style, there are three exhibition halls and twelve special halls in the four floors above and two underground.

A exhibition hall and Exhibitions of Ancient Chinese Bronze (1200sq m) and Sculpture (640sq m) are located on the first floor where more than 400 exquisite bronzes displayed in elegant wooden cabinet under deep green ambience and over 120 figurines of woodcarvings, pottery sculptures, gold and bronze Buddha statues from Nothern Wei, Sui and Tang Dynasty. Most precious artifact is the stone Buddha statue without one arm from Tang Dynasty, imperfect but praised as Oriental Venus. On the second floor, there is another exhibition hall and Gallery of Ancient Pottery (1300sq m), the later presents more than 500 porcelains in different types and dynasties including polychrome pottery and grey pottery from the Neolithic Age, celadon in Eastern Han, tri-color glazed ceramics during Tang and imperial ceramic in Song, Jin and Liao Dynasty and highlighted part - ancient blue china during Shang, Zhou, Spring & Autumn Period and Warring States Period. Get up to floor three, there goes to the Art Gallery of Ancient Chinese Painting (1200sq m), Seals (380sq m) and Calligraphy. Writings from Wang Xianzhi, Tang Gaoxian and Huai Su are the masterpieces, drawing of Tang Sunwei, Song Liangkai among the 120 relics are rare treasures of China. Gallery of Ancient Chinese Seal is the pioneer pavilion specialized in more than ten thousand classic and artistic seal boutiques.

The highest location on floor four offers most galleries of National Craft (700sq m), Ancient Chinese Jade, Ming & Qing Furniture (700sq m), Chinese Ancient Currency (730sq m) to have a fast acquaintance of diversity of ancient livings. About 600 exotic ethnic handcrafts, clothes, silk embroideries, metalwork, carvings, pottery, lacquer, bamboo weaving and masks are shown in the Gallery of National Craft (民族工艺美术馆). And the Ancient Coin Room of Silk Road (丝绸之路古币室) are presented with more 7000 distinctive coins of various material and dynasties to reveal the processing of Chinese currency and history of economic exchange between China and foreign countries. In the furniture hall, more than 100 sets of delicate ancient house furnishings from two noble family of Wang Shixiang, Chen Mengjia during Ming & Qing Dynasty are the top level of decoration in appearance, taste and skill for Chinese housing.

In addtion, most travelers continue to explore Shanghai, the world-famous tourist destination. Usually, they spend 2 days on sightseeing the most famous landmarks, including the Bund, Yu Garden, skyscrapers like Shanghai Tower, World Financial Center, Wukang Road, etc. With one extra day, you can enjoy family fun in Disneyland Park or visit Zhujiajiao Water Town in the suburb. Don't miss the Shanghai Maglev Train, wonderful nightlife and Shanghai Cuisine.

Notice: Daily visitor of Shanghai Museum is limited within 5000.

☛ 2 Days Classic Shanghai City Tour

☛ 3 Days Shanghai Past and Present Contrast Tour

☛ 6 Days Shanghai Yellow Mountain Tour with Water Town Visit

☛ 8 Days Best of China Tour (Beijing/Xian/Shanghai)

5. Shaanxi History Museum (陕西历史博物馆) - Glory of the mighty Han and Tang Dynasties

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: June 60,1991

Area: 650,000 sq m

Collection: 370,000 pieces(sets), 762 class A cultural heritages.

Masterpieces: 18 national treasures - The Empress'Jade Seal, Agate Cup with Gold Animal Head, Yu Tripod, Wei Ding, Duoyou Tripod from Western Zhou, Gold and Silver Bamboo Censer from Western Han, Silver Pot with Dancing Horse from Tang Dynasty, previous paintings from Tang Dynasty...

Open Hours: 09:00~17:30 (November 15~March 14) & 08:30~18:00 (March 15~November 14); closed on Mondays and Chinese New Year’s Eve, except public holidays.

Ticket: Free for the permanent exhibitions,daily free ticket is limited to 4,000, 2500 before 2500 and 1500 for rest time.

Location: No.91 Xiaozhai East Rd, Yanta District, Xian City, Shaanxi Province.

Recommended Visiting: 3 ~ 4 hrs

Located in western of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, the Shaanxi History Museum, a integrative history museum, is a national first-class museum and the first large modern national museum of China. Co-build by central and local governments, it was rewarded as the architecture heritage of 20th century in China with ancient capital history for 13 glorious ancient dynasties. The abundant cultural legacy, profound cultural accumulation in special Shaanxi history and culture make Shaanxi History Museum a bright pearl, treasury of China and art palace presenting the ancient Shaanxi and Chinese civilization. In the museum, superb collected antiques that on over 1 millions years time scale covers numerous cultural relics in various types, high grade and significant value, including pristine stone implements used by ancient human ancestors, different artifacts of ancient bronze wares, pottery figurines, gold and silver works and unrivaled murals.

To convey the wealthy cultural connotation, Shaanxi History Museum runs multiform exhibitions to unfold the great achievement of Chinese nation in ancient times, which divided into Preface Hall, Permanent Exhibition, Topic Exhibition, Temporary Exhibition and international gallery in central hall five parts. Shaanxi Ancient Civilization, Tang Tombs Murals and Treasures of Great Tang Dynasty are the three must-see of Shaanxi History Museum.

Initially opened in 2008, the basic exhibition of Shaanxi Ancient Civilization reveals development of ancient social civilization through combinations of display of classic relics from each age in the halls covering 4600sq m. Seven parts of prehistory, Zhou, Qin, Han, Wei & Jin & Southern & Northern Dynasty, Sui & Tang, Song & Yuan & Ming & Qing in three halls highlights the top level of ancient Chinese economy with more than 2,000 valuable exhibits, including painted pottery, bronzes in Zhou, ancient weapons, architecture components from Qin, and gorgeous gold and silver wares in Tang. With an area of 4200sq m, the Tang Tombs Murals Hall (唐墓壁画馆) on the first floor underground of east gallery shows about 600 fresco boutiques to 1000 sq m, which 18 (5 sets) paintings are noted as national treasure, 82 (69 sets) are first grade. Murals paintings unique style buildings, vivid figures and characteristic utensils, lively landscape here are important literature to research noble life of Tang Dynasty. Another major permanent exhibitions - Treasure of Great Tang Dynasty displays more than 30 sets of jades and jewelry found in Hejia Village in 1970, 466 Chinese coins made in gold, silver, copper and ancient Japanese silver coins, gold coins of Eastern Rome, including the well-known national treasure Agate Cup with Gold Animal Head from, wine vessel of Tang Dynasty.

Topic Exhibitions are mainly irregular displays on technical and professional themes. As a supplement for basic and topic exhibitions, the short but refreshing temporary exhibitions introduced in each year serves as an culture exchange and a cultural window for the society. After visiting this great essential museum, most tourists usually want to have a deeper exploration, beacause it's located in Xi'an City, quite accessiable and easy to get to Terracotta Warriors and Horses and more capitaviting highlights of Xi'an such as Ancient City Wall, and Muslim Quarter, etc. Besides, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, only one kilometer from Shaanxi History Museum, and nearby Grand Tang Dynasty Ever Bright City are highly recommended to feel the profound Chinese history and culture.

Notice: Paid services include the temporary exhibition, guide interpretation, the audio guide rent, parking, souvenirs, the book sales, catering services and so on.

☛ 3 Days Classic Xian Tour

☛ 4 Days Xian Highlights Tour with Mount Huashan Hiking

☛ 10 Days Classic Silk Road Tour

6. Nanjing Museum (南京博物院) – The Oldest National Museum of China

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: 1933

Area: 84,800sq m

Collection: more than 430,000 artifacts (sets)

Masterpieces: 18 national treasures - tringed jade ornament during Neolithic period, precious reticulated bronze pot, old coin of Chu during the warring states period, old beast in the Western Han Dynasty, ade Seal of Prince Guangling and cattle light with silver ornaments in the Eastern Han Dynasty, bronze inkstone bronze decorated with fine gold mosaic beasts in the Eastern Han Dynasty, celadon beast-shaped jar in the Western Jin Dynasty, seven hermits in the bamboo grove and Rong Qiqi pictorial molded brick in the Southern Dynasty, underglazed red vase with bamboo, pine and Chinese plum in Ming Dynasty and etc.

Open Hours: 9:00~12:00 (Monday) & 9:00~17:00 (Tuesday ~Sunday), opens on full Monday if it is public holiday, closed on Chinese New Year and New Year’s Eve

Ticket: Free of Basic Permanent Exhibitions and temporary exhibitions are charged.

Location: No.321 Zhongshan East Rd, Xuanwu District, Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province.

Recommended Visiting: 2 ~ 4 hrs

The former National Central Museum in 1933, the oldest museum of China, is the previous existence of Nanjing Museum - one of the Top three museums of China and the first large national comprehensive museum in China. It belongs to the eight national museums co-built from both central and local, where collections rank top three of China. Relics from Palaeolithic Age to contemporary era covers stoneware, crockery, jades, bronze ware, porcelain, painting and calligraphy, embroidery, folklore and art articles in high value of history and culture, cover 1,062 cultural relics higher than first national grade.

With over 80 years’ advance, now the Nanjing Museum forms a feature of six distinctive galleries within one museum building through adding the four galleries of Temporary, Republican Period, Intangible Heritage, and Digital Gallery based on the two galleries of Art and History. Every year, Nanjing Museum holds more than ten temporary exhibitions besides the basic, including theme exhibition of collection, essence exhibition of cultural relics from other provinces, modern art exhibition.

Gallery of History is composed of six exhibition halls, three on the first floor and three on the second. The Display of Jiangsu History is the basic exhibition in Gallery of History with nearly 3,000 archaeological and ethnological relics and literatures exhibiting political, economic and cultural processing of Jiangsu Province. The newly built Gallery of Temporary is aimed at temporary display and special shows to exchange between various cultures and arts within the ten halls. In the eights halls of Gallery of Art, there are classified themed exhibits of ancient painting, calligraphy, sculpture and special halls for famous artists, such as the great Chinese Painting artist Fu Baoshi (傅抱石), claborate-style painter Chen Zhifo (陈子佛) and oil painting master Su Tianchi. Themed architectures of old restaurant, tea house, newspaper office, post office, theatre and railway station in Galley of Republican Period make the visitors pass across the time and space to see the original people living during the Republican Period. Turn to the Gallery of Intangible Heritage, apart from the intangible cultural heritages of Jiangsu Province, some dynamic show of popular folk activities, traditional handicraft and verbal performance are still valuable cultural legacy should get attention and well protection. If you wants tour Nanjing Museum anytime, the Digital Gallery consisting of two parts in reality and online creates a virtual pavilion like the real one but never close, making the ancient civilization of Jiangsu exhibited online.

You can never get bored in Nanjing as there are so many places you can go, no matter you prefer historical sites, temples, or local parks, mountains, etc. Fortunately, most of Nanjing's popular attractions are coveniently located in downtown area, which make it possible for travelers to explore all in 2~3 days. For a perfect Nanjing tour with best highlights, we highly recommend you to visit Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, Confucius Temple, Ancient City Wall, Qinhuai River, and Confucius Temple, etc.

Notice: Only the basic permanent exhibitions and themed exhibitions of collections are opened to the public free of charge, organized temporary exhibitions and shows are excluded in the free tour of Nanjing Museum.

☛ 3 Days Best of Nanjing Highlights Tour

☛ 4 Days Nanjing History & Culture Tour

☛ 5 Days Shanghai Nanjing Highlights Tour

☛ 8 Days Shanghai Hangzhou Suzhou Nanjing Tour

7. Hunan Museum (湖南省博物馆) – Top 8 National First Class Gallery

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: 1951

Area: 91,000 sq m

Collection: over 180,000 relics

Masterpieces:seven treasures - Plain Unlined Gauze Gown & T-shaped Silk Painting from Western Han, Silk Painting with A Figure Driving a Dragon, Boar-shaped Bronze Zun, Coffin with Painted Designs on Black Lacquer Coating, Bronze Ding with Human-mask Design, Copy of Preface to the Poems Composed at the Orchid Pavilion in Tang Dynasty.

Open Hours: 9:00~17:00 (Tuesday ~ Sunday); Closed on Mondays and Chinese New Year’s Eve except public holidays.

Ticket: Free Ticket, daily capacity up to 15,000 visitors.

Location: No.50 Dongfeng Rd, Kaifu District, Changsha City, Hunan Province.

Recommended Visiting: 2 ~ 3 hrs

Five years’ quality expansion brings us a brand new Hunan Museum, the largest historical museum of fine arts of Hunan expressing ancient culture. In the afternoon on November 29, 2017, the Hunan Museum - one of the eight national museums co-constructed by central and local governments reopened to the public, again people get good accesses to know about the civilization development of Hunan and appreciate the profound culture mystery.

Layout of Hunan Museum contains five floors and one basement underground with two permanent exhibitions (Mawangdui and Hunanese) and four themed exhibitions (about bronze, ceramics, calligraphy and paintings, crafts) to present excellent human cultural heritages. The Top is the Multi-function Hall, and visitor restaurant and roof garden is on the fourth floor. Themed Exhibition and Changsha Mawangdui Han Dynasty Tombs Exhibition is on the third floor. Three old tombs from West Han Dynasty were unearthed from 1972 ~1974, the highly complicated tomb structure and rich burial objects including silks, manuscripts, silk paintings, lacquer, pottery, seals, Chinese herbal medicines and etc. up to over 3000, making it one the most significant archaeological finds in 20th century.

On floor 2, the Hunanese Exhibition next to Education center is the special local history and culture exploration of natural livings and civilization process. It comprises of five parts, Home, Where Do I (Hunan) Come from - Huzhua Mountain Ruins, Wealth of Lake Dongting, Trace of Everyday Life - Minfang Lei Urn-shaped Bronze Wine-Vessel, a national treasure reunited with pieces bought from overseas in 2014 and Spirit of Hunan showing the heptachord of Tan Sitong. There two temporary exhibition galleries on the left and middle front facing the main entrance, Mawangdui Tombs Exhibition and academic auditorium, book store, VR experience area and shop on the first floor.

Hunan boasts a lot of amazing tourist destinations among which Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang located in its northwestern part are the must-visits. Besides, Shaoshan, the birthplace of Chairman Mao, is also popular among visitors. Some visitors also prefer to visit its bustling capital Changsha with one of the Four Famous Ancient Academies in China - Yuelu Academy and the nearby Yueyang with famous Yueyang Tower.

Notice: The best visiting route is go to the Hunanese Exhibition on 2rd floor firstly and then the Mawangdui Exhibition on the third floor.

☛ 5 Days Amazing Zhangjiajie & Fenghuang Ancient Town Tour

☛ 6 Days Best Hunan Highligts Tour with Zhangjiajie

☛ 7 Days Hunan Discovery Tour from Changsha

8. Hubei Provincial Museum (湖北省博物馆) - The Largest Exhibition of Ancient Chime

China's Top 10 BGreatest Museums in 2024

Built in: 1953

Area: 81,909 sq m (8000sq m for exhibitions, 5717 sq m for Chime Hall)

Collection: over 240,000 pieces (sets), about one thousand national first grade relics.

Masterpieces: four boutiques – The Sword of Goujian, Chime-bells from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of the Zeng State (曾侯乙墓), Human Skull Fossil from Yun County, Blue and White Plum Vase of the Four Loves in Yuan Dynasty.

Open Hours: 9:00~17:00 (Tuesday ~Sunday); Closed on Mondays, Chinese New Year’ Eve except public holidays.

Ticket: : Free Visiting (from west gate), except special exhibitions.

Location: No.160 Donghu Rd, Wuchang District, Wuhan City, Hubei Province.

Recommended Visiting: 2 ~ 3 hrs

Once named by the Vice President Dong Biwu in 1960, Hubei Provincial Museum is a national first-class museum and one of the eight state museum jointly built by central and local governments. It is an AAAAA scenic area, key scientific research base for lacquerware protection and the largest museum with the most collections and the superior scientific strength.

Apart from the great tour treasures, there collects large number of relics discovered, distinctively local and present the ancient society of Hubei, such as the precious eggshell painted pottery of spindle wheel from Qujialing Culture in Neolithic Period, Jade human and hawk from Tianmen Shijia Ruins, the large jade Ge and bronze tripod excavated in Panlong City.

Currently, Hubei Provincial Museum opens about 10 permanent exhibitions, each year introduce some temporary exhibitions like the Buddha Exhibition of Buddhist Art of Gandhara, and occasional domestic or foreign exchange exhibitions. Extension cultural performance of Chime Pay and Dance won high compliment since it shows to the public the grand ancient royal singing and dancing scene reproduced on the modern stage.

Found in 1978, Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng is the emperor tomb with 2400 years, and over ten thousand of well-reserved relics were discovered here, quite a stir in the world then. Exhibition of Chu Culture is the quintessence exhibition of the Chu tombs, presents a full picture of the splendid material and ideological culture of the Chu people. A gold ingot exhibited in the Tomb of Prince Liangzhuang is the treasure proved the story of Zheng He travelling to West Ocean. More 7 exhibitions includes lacquered articles in the Qin & Han Dynasties, luminaries of Hubei during a century, porcelain, Jiuliandun, Panlong City and etc all explain the marvelous ancient culture in writing, ceramic, lacquer, bronze.

Hubei, the roof of central China, located in the middle reaches of Yangtze River, has beautiful natural landscapes, advanced water transport systems and abundant culture heritages. You’ll delight more by visiting Yellow Crane Tower of Wuhan, exploring Wudang Kung Fu in Wudang Mountain, world cultural and natural Heritages, taking Yangtze Cruise to Three Gorges from Yichang, standing at Jingzhou Ancient City Wall to dig out the Chu Culture and prosperity in old days.

Notice: The museum offers some free of charge seasonal Rites and Music lessons for people interested in.

☛ 2 Days Essential Wuhan City Tour

☛ 5 Days Wuhan & Wudangshan Tour by High Speed Train

☛ 7 Days Wuhan & Yichang Yangtze Cruise Tour

9. Henan Museum (河南博物院) - Birthplace of China's Most Ancient Capitals

China'a Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: 1927

Area: 100,000 sq m

Collection: about 140,000

Masterpieces: Nine Treasures - Bronze Wares (Lotus and Crane Rectangular Pot, "Fuhao" Owl-shaped Zun, Duling Rectangular Ding, Cloud Design Jin) & Gold slip for Absolving Sin, Iron Sword with Jade Haft, Jiahu Bone Flute (the earliest musical instrument), Mural Painting of Four Animals in Clouds, Sky Blue Glaze Ru Kiln Vase.

Open Hours:9:00~17:30 & 9:00~17:00 in Winter; Closed on Mays except public holidays.

Ticket: Free Ticket

Location: No.8 Nongye Rd, Jinshui District, Zhengzhou City, Henan Province.

Recommended Visiting: 3 ~ 4 hrs

Henan Museum is one of the oldest museums of China and a first national museum constructed by central and local government. The brand new site was removed several time from Kaifeng to Zhengzhou and reopened in May 1 1998 as one of the great comprehensive museum in China, collecting more than 5000 pieces of First and Second Grade Cultural Relics.

All architecture of the museum is well-constructed in grandiose, primitive and elegant shape with unique artistic style, excellent embodiment of Central Plain Culture. Such as the pyramidal main pavilion in the center location is the most important exhibition gallery, other buildings for comprehensive service and business, training and relics storeroom lies in the neighborhood.

In 2009, the former exhibition halls get upgrade into a permanent exhibition hall Ancient Astronomy and four theme galleries and special exhibitions. In the Ancient Astronomy, there are eight exhibition halls, the four of Primitive Society, Xia & Shang Dynasty, Western Zhou and Eastern Zhou are on the floor one, the rest four including Western Han and Eastern Han Dynasty Hall, Han Jin Dynasty Hall, Sui & Tang Hall and Song & Yuan Dynasty Hall are on the second floor.

The four theme exhibition halls are the gallery showing multiple relics. The Chu State Bronze Hall (楚国铜殿) largely display the bronze treasures founded in the nobles tombs during Chu of Henan. Cloud Design Jin here is the earliest cast article made in method of cire purdue. Jades from the Ancient Jade Article Hall express the rich Central China's jade culture during Xia, Shang, Zhou Dynasties for thousands of years. Porcelain, embroidery, ivory carving, lacquerware, gold and silver qntiques in the Ming & Qing Treasure Hall is the glorious development of ancient China. Ancient Stone Carvings Hall reserves attractive stone portraits of Han Dynasty discovered in Nanyang and Shangqiu of Henan.

After amazing Henan museum visit, most visitors choose to further explore Henan, a formidable land full of profound history and rich culture, such as culture of Shaolin Kung Fu, Buddhism, folk customs, food, fantastic bronze accomplishment of Shang Dynasty and numerous original historical heritages in different dynasties. In addtion, it boast so many attractions such as Dengfeng (Shaolin Temple), Luoyang, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Anyang, Jiaozuo and Xinxiang, etc.


1. In order to make the best protection of visitors and relics, the maximum daily capacity is limited up to 5000, 3000 in the morning and 2000 in the afternoon.

2. Chinese Guide Interpretation is charged 100 RMB or 80 RMB based on the working experience of interpreter, and English Guide Interpretation is 150 RMB.

☛ 3 Days Zhengzhou Highlights Tour with Shaolin Temple

☛ 5 Days Henan Cultural Tour to Luoyang and Kaifeng

☛ 6 Days Henan Highlights Tour

10. Sanxingdui Museum (三星堆博物馆) - One of the Greatest Archaeological Discoveries in the 20th Century

China's Top 10 Greatest Museums in 2024

Built in: November 18, 1986

Area: Over 60,000 sq m

Collection: 7,000 pieces (sets)

Masterpieces: Bronze Masks, Ivory Carvings, Gold Ornaments, and Ceremonial Vessels

Open Hours: 09:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Tuesday to Sunday); closed on Mondays

Ticket: 50 RMB per person

Location: No.1 Sanxingdui Road, Guanghan City, Sichuan Province

Recommended Visiting: 2 hours to half a day

Nestled in the heart of Guanghan City, Sichuan Province, the Sanxingdui Museum stands as a testament to the ancient civilization that once thrived in the region. Established in 1986, this cultural treasure trove spans over 60,000 square meters, housing a rich collection of over 7,000 artifacts. With its extensive collection, encompassing everything from intricate bronze artifacts to majestic ivory carvings, the museum offers a rare glimpse into the artistic and spiritual world of the Shu people. In addition to its remarkable collection of artifacts, the Sanxingdui Museum offers visitors a deeper understanding of the ancient Sanxingdui culture through various interactive exhibits and educational programs. Explore the museum's interactive displays, where cutting-edge technology brings ancient artifacts to life, allowing visitors to virtually explore archaeological sites and gain insights into the excavation process. Additionally, the museum collaborates with local schools and community organizations to promote awareness and appreciation of cultural heritage, ensuring that the legacy of Sanxingdui continues to resonate with future generations.

Finally, immerse yourself in the mysteries of the past as you explore the museum's galleries, each meticulously curated to showcase different aspects of Sanxingdui civilization. From the enigmatic Bronze Age artifacts to the awe-inspiring relics unearthed from archaeological excavations, every exhibit tells a story of innovation, creativity, and cultural richness. Experience the wonders of Sanxingdui firsthand and uncover the secrets of one of China's most fascinating ancient civilizations. Don't miss the chance to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of ancient Chinese history at the Sanxingdui Museum. With its dedication to scholarship, innovation, and public engagement, the Sanxingdui Museum is not just a repository of ancient artifacts, but a vibrant center for cultural exploration and discovery. Whether you're a seasoned archaeologist, a curious traveler, or simply someone with a passion for history, a visit to the Sanxingdui Museum promises to be a truly enriching and unforgettable experience.

Next, we highly recommend a 2-day Chengdu city tour, beginning with a heartwarming visit to the Chengdu Research Center of Giant Panda Breeding, home to over 100 Giant Pandas. Relax in Renmin Park, sipping Chinese tea and enjoying folk entertainment. Explore the nostalgic ambiance of Wuhou Memorial Temple and stroll through the vibrant Jinli Ancient Street. If you have more time, we highly recommend visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha and Mount Emei, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites offering a glimpse into Chinese Buddhism amidst stunning natural landscapes.

Notice: Optional services like irregular guide explanation, books and souvenirs needs to be paid within the museum.

☛ 2 Days Chengdu & Sanxingdui Tour

☛ 4 Days Chengdu Culture & History Tour with Panda Base

☛ 7 Days Sichuan Discovery Tour (Chengdu / Leshan / Emei / Chengdu / Jiuzhaigou)

Explore More China Museums with China Discovery

Actually, China has thousands of museums, including massive of fantastic museums for you to discovery, whether you are a Chinese ancient history lover, or a huge fan of Chinese culture, you can always find a best museum to get all you want. Except the above top 10 best-known museums in China, there are more themed culture galleries located in different Chines cities, such as the specialty museums - Suzhou Silk Museum, China National Tea Museum, Chongqing Three Gorges Museum and significant local museums - Zhejiang Provincial Museum, Anhui Musuem and Gansu Provincial Museum, historical museum on ruins - Yin Ruins Musuem, and etc.

Suzhou Silk Museum in Jiangsu Province

Recommended Tours

Top 3 tours chosen by most customers to explore in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.

Start planning your tailor-made holiday to China by contacting one of our specialists. Once inquired, you’ll get a response within 0.5~23.5 hours.

Customize a Trip

Have a question? Get answers from our travel experts or guests

  • Your Question:
  • Your Name:
  • Your Email:
  • Submit