Things to Do in China for 2024
Are you planning a trip to China for the approaching year 2024? Are you being puzzled by having no idea what to do for your China tour 2024? Well, things are changing every day. But some classic experiences are always there, and never change, such as the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, etc.
1. Hike the Great Wall of China in Beijing
The Great Wall is the most famous attraction in China as well as the symbol of China on the International stage. Your China tour is not completed without having a hike on the Great Wall. It costs only about a half day or a full day to hike the Great Wall. If you are a fan of the Walls, you can have an in-depth Great Wall Exploration to see both the restored walls and wild walls.
As you may know that the Great Wall stretches from far western China to the east. The part in Beijing, Tianjing and Hebei Province is the most highlighting part, including some of the most famous sections - Mutianyu Great Wall, Jinshanling Great Wall, Simatai Great Wall, Jiankou Great Wall, Huanghuacheng Great Wall, Badaling Great Wall, etc. Mutianyu, less crowded and preserved well, is the most popula among foreign tourists, and can be visited in a half day. Jinshanling, Jiankou, Simatai and Huanghuacheng are more suitable for in-depth Great Wall hiking.
Great Wall Hiking is usually covered in a classic Beijing city tour: Day 1 visit Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace; Day 2 hike Mutianyu Great Wall or other sections of Great Wall near Beijing; Day 3 visit the Temple of Heaven and Hutong, and leave Beijing.
2. Explore Ancient Imperial History and Culture at Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing
China has an imperial history of over 2000 years during which Beijing was the capital city for three major dynasties – Yuan (1271~1368), Ming (1368~1644) and Qing (1644~1912). Having preserved many palaces, temples and other sites of ancient imperial dynasties, the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing are two best places to explore the history and culture of ancient China Imperial History. Forbidden City is a huge palace complex of more than 9,000 rooms where 24 emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties lived.
Passing through various doorways in this magnificent structure, you will see the beautiful and well preserved buildings decorated with yellow-glazed tile roofs, white marble bases and splendid colorful paintings. It is also the most important museum in China where thousands of national treasures are preserved. The Temple of Heaven is one of the most brilliant ancient architectures in China. The UNESCO listed the Temple of Heaven in the World Heritage Sites List with description as “a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations...”. It used to serve as the holy place for emperors to pay homage to Heaven and to pray for a year of rich harvest.
3. Go to Witness the Underground Wonder of Terracotta Warriors in Xian
Visiting the Terracotta Warriors in Xian is one of the Must-to-do in China. You will definitely be shocked by this eighth wonder of the world, also one of the greatest archeological finds in 20th century in the world. More than 8,000 life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses were made under the command of Qin Shi Huang, (259~210 BC), the first imperial Emperor of China, to protect him in his afterlife. These figures which were beautifully sculptured and paint, and had buried underground for more than 2,000 years until uncovered by a local farmer in 1974, form an ancient military army with complete battle units of infantry, cavalry, etc. Standing in front of these figures, one can’t help being amazed not only by the ambition of Emperor Qin Shihuang but also by the fabulous artistic skills of ancient Chinese artisans. Terracotta Warriors Site is selected by Trip Advisor as the top 25 museums in the world, the only Asian museum on the list, also is listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
To visit the Terracotta Warriors, one can take a flight or bullet train from Bejing, Xian, Chengdu and other cities to Xian city first, then drive about 40km from the city to get to the site. Usually it takes about a half day to explore the Terracotta Warriors and nearby sites.
4. Visit the Giant Panda and Join in the Memorable Giant Panda Volunteering Program in Chengdu
How could you make it to say NO to the invitation from the Giant Panda? Don’t you agree the Giant Panda is the most adorable creature in the world? You may also visit pandas in many counties, like US, Japan, UK, etc., but you will only see one or two pandas. While in Chengdu, you are lucky to see a lot of pandas in a green and large panda base, including beautiful adult pandas as well as the cutest panda babies, at a very close distance. The exact place is Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding which is located outskirt of Chengdu city (about 12km to the city center). There are about 120 Giant Pandas living in the base. You are suggested to visit the panda base in the early morning when the pandas are more energetic and active.
You may know the Giant Panda is an endangered animal species which needs efforts from all of us to protect them as well as their habitats. In Chengdu, you have chance to make your own contribution to help save the Giant Panda - joining in the Panda Volunteering Program. It’s a full day program, starting from 9AM to around 4pm. Cleaning panda enclosures, carrying bamboo, making cakes… there are a lot of jobs to do. Dujiangyan Panda Base, about 65km from Chengdu city downtown, is the best place to join the Volunteering Program.
5. Enjoy the Surreal Avatar World Landscape in Zhangjiajie National Park
Being impressed by the surreal landscape in the famous movie Avatar? Come to Zhangjiajie to enjoy the real Avatar World. You really can’t miss it in 2017 as this park was the most popular and magnificent attractions in the past two or three years. The Park has become one of the most fascinating national parks in the world, beloved by tourists for its magnificent natural wonders of more than more than 3,100 tremendous tall pillars of quartzite sandstone reaching to the clouds to the idyllic streams flowing beneath to the lush wild forests.
The main attractions in Zhangjiajie National Park include Yellow Stone Village (Huangshi Village), Golden Whip Stream, Yuanjiajie, Tianzishan, Yangjiajie, Yaozi Village and Pipa Stream and so on. A classic Zhangjiajie highlights tour goes as below:
Day 1: arrive and visit Huangshi Village and Golden Whip Stream;
Day 2: visit Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain;
Day 3: visit Tianmen Mountain (about 23.2km from Zhangjiajie National Forest Park);
To visit Zhangajie National Park, one can take a flight to Zhangjiajie city first from Shanghai, Bejing, Xian, Guilin, then drive about 35km from the city to get to the park.
6. Have a Thrilling Sky Walking on the World’s Longest and Highest Glasses Bridge
Since its opening on August 1, 2016, Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge has become one of the most popular attractions in 2016 and 2017. It is the “world highest and longest glass bridge” with the full length of 430m and a respectively height of about 400 m above the valley bottom, and has won 10 WORLD MOST prizes. CNN also listed Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge as the “12 Most Spectacular Bridges in the World” by CNN.
Walking on the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, you may feel stressful and frightened, but you can have the fabulous view of the silver streams and green valley under 400 m. Besides, the azure sky as well as the milk white clouds reflecting on the glass will add more magic and mysterious feeling into your walk, making you confused about whether walking on the clouds or above the lush plants in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
Since this awestruck but charming glass bridge is so hot and has been long expected by numerous people from home and abroad, the Canyon officials stipulate that there are 8000 people per day and 600 per time at most to visit the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge. And if you want to have this new try in Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, it is recommended to book the ticket earlier for at least 3 days.
Only about 25km from Zhangjiajie National Park, you can visit the Glass Bridge with the National Park and Tianmen Mountain, which can be done in 3 full days. Check suggested itinerary as bellow:
Day 1: Visit Zhangjiajie Grand Canyan and walk the Glass Bridge, then go to visit Yellow Dragon Cave.
Day 2: Visit Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain;
Day 3: visit Tianmen Mountain (about 23.2km from Zhangjiajie National Forest Park);
7. Cruise Leisurely along the Li River to Yangshuo Town in Guilin
You may have seen many photos of the stunning kart landscape of Guilin on the Internet or Magazines. Now it’s the time to set your feet on this land of Kast. The beautiful Li River and Yangshuo Town are waiting for you!
Imagine you are sailing a ship or a bamboo crafter along the picturesque Li River while dazzling green limestone karst mountains, fascinating farmlands, small villages, friendly buffalos, boats of fishingman overwhelming into your eyes like a vast endless Chinese painting. This is the famous Li River Cruise, about 84km long, relaxing and scenic.
After about 4 hours’ cruise, disembark in Yangshuo Town. Take a short break, immerse yourself into the stunning countryside views and relaxed atmosphere and be enthralled by the patches of paddy fields nestling under green hills and near the mirror-like river, with farmers cultivating the soil with their water buffalos.
In the evening, go to have a leisure walk leisurely on the ancient West Street to experience how the western culture and Chinese culture perfectly and peacefully coexist here. Whether you want to enjoy a cup of drink in bar, taste some local food, or just experience the relaxing atmosphere, you get it here.
8. Take a Yangtze River Cruise of Luxury 5-star Ship to Enjoy the Majestic Sceneries of Yangtze River and Three Gorges Dam
Yangtze River Cruise, the most famous and popular river cruise experience in China, is the most relaxing and enjoyable vacation in China to enjoy the beautiful sceneries along the majestic Yangtze River, and discover culture and history of the central part of China.
The major cruise mainly locates between Chongqing and Yichang. If you cruise from Chongqing to Yichang (downstream), it will be a 4 days / 3 nights’ cruise. If you cruise from Yichang to Chongqing (upstream), it will be a 5 days / 4 nights’ cruise. On the cruise, you will pass through the fabulous Three Gorges, witness the world great project - Three Gorges Dam, and have some free time for shore excursions. While onboard the cruise, you will spend really leisure time on a luxury 5-star ship to release your body and mind - meeting people from different countries and regions, relaxing yourself on the ship, having fun with many interesting activities, tasting rich kinds of cuisines, and being good taken care of by the friendly crews and cruise managers, etc.
For visitors who are going to have a long vacation in China to destinations, like Beijing, Xian, Shanghai, Tibet, Guilin, the Yangtze River Cruise provides an opportunity to release you from the tiring caused by the long journey.
9. Board a Train to the Holy Land Tibet via the World’s Highest Railway - Qinghai Tibet Railway
It is reported that there are about 2,000 tourists who take trains to Tibet from different cities in China to go to Tibet, via the world’s highest railway - Qinghai Tibet Railway. Why is it so popular to take a train to Tibet?
Because the Qinghai Tibet Railway is so extraordinary and beautiful. It is regarded as a world engineering miracle that has created 9 magnificent world records (the highest railway – 5072m, highest railway station - 5072m, the longest plateau railway -1976kkm, longest rail bridge – 11.7km, longest plateau tunnel in permafrost – 1686m …). You can’t imagine how much hardship the engineers and worker had overcome during the construction, such as widespread frozen earth, high altitude sickness, etc.
The breathtaking plateau landscape along the railway is the best reward for your train ride - specatacular Qinghai Lake, vast Qarhan Salt Lake, mysterious Hoh Xil Depopulated Zone, Tibetan Antelope, stunning Tanggula Mountains, Blue Diamond - Tsonag Lake, plains dotted with yaks and herder’s tents…
Currently there are many cities you can go to take a train to Tibet, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Lanzhou and Xining, Nanjing, Xian, Taiyuan, etc.
10. Travel Overlanding from Kathmandu to the Holy City Lhasa via Mount Everest
Kathmandu Lhasa Overlanding is one of the most classic adventures in the world. Their connection can be traced back to more than 1,300 years ago. The famous Buddhist master Padmasambhava trekked from Kathmandu, cross the border, and got to Lhasa to teach Buddhism in the 8th Century. Today it is much easier to travel overlanding from Kathmandu to Lhasa as the construction of Sino Friendship Highway. You can go to Gyirong Port from Kathmandu, then travel northeastward to Lhasa, via Mount Everest, Lhatse, Shigatse and Gyantse, with a total distance of about 950km.
It usually takes about 7~8 days to travel from Kathmandu to Lhasa. There are a lot of attractions to visit along the road, including Mount Everest, Everest Base Camp, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Palcho Monastery, Yamdrok Lake, Potala Palalce, Barkhor Street, etc. If you want to travel at a slower pace, you can extend the trip to 9~10 days.
There are several travel documents required for Kathmandu Lhasa Overland, including Tibet Group Visa, Tibet Entry Permit, Border Pass, Alien Travel Permit, etc. We will take care of all these permits for you.
11. Have Fun on the 19th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is the biggest winter event in China. It is held annually in Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China. During Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, you can not only admire various ice sculpture, snow sculpture, ice lantern, wonderful performance, but also watch or take part in different kinds of ice or snow sports. The 35th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival will be held during late December of 2024, and last to later February of 2024. It’s better to plan your trip in advance.
There are three major sites for travelers to have fun during the festival. They are International Ice Sculpture at Ice and Snow World, International Snow Sculpture Art Fair on Sun Island, Ice Lantern Garden Party at Zhaolin Park. Among three sites, the International Ice Sculpture at Ice and Snow World is the biggest highlight. You can admire gorgeous ice and snow structures, savor the exquisite arts, enjoy the ice and snow performance and join interesting ice and snow activities.
You can take flights to Harbin from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Kunming, Chengdu, etc. Beijing also operates 6 high speed bullet trains to Harbin each day. During Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, the average temperature of Harbin is -18℃ and it may fall to below -30℃ at night, so wear more clothes and warm shoes to keep you from being freeze. Done coat, thick jacket, mouth-muffle and gloves will also be helpful.
12. Hike the Most Beautiful Mountain in China - Yellow Mountain
“Trips to China's Wuyue Mountains (five greatest mountains) render trips to other mountains unnecessary and a trip to Huangshan renders the trips to Wuyue unnecessary", this is how a famous Chinese old saying goes. It is agreed by majority of travelers that Huangshan (the Yellow Mountain) is the most beautiful mountain in China. Quite different from the usual type of green and tall mountains or snow mountains you can see in Europe and America, Huangshan’s beauty is the way of Chinese traditional style, like a Chinese painting - Odd-shaped Pines, Spectacular Rocky Peaks, Sea of Clouds, Hot Spring and Winter Snow, which are the so-called Five Wonders of Yellow Mountain. Having such many incredible landscapes, Huangshan was listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. So why not to put Huangshan on your list for 2024?
Huangshan is located in the south of Anhui Province, only about 3 hours’ bullet train ride from Shanghai, and 7~8 hours from Beijing by bullet train. There is also an airport near Huangshan, operating flights to Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, etc.
One has hike on the stone paths from a peak to another because there is no vehicle road up to the mountain. As rewards for your hard hiking, incredible landscapes of peaks and pines can be enjoyed along the roads. For regular tourists who want a leisure way to explore Huangshan, they can take cable car up to the mountain for sightseeing, then take cable car down the mountain. Two days are needed.
Hongcun and Xidi, regarded as two of most beautiful ancient villages in China, are recommended to be added into your trip if you can spare out an extra day. There are only about 1 hour’s driving from Huangshan.
13. Explore the Greatest Art Treasures House at Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang
It is said in China, the ancient relics are not only preserved in the museums, but also in grottoes, the paintings were not only paint on the papers, but also on the walls in the grottoes, the Buddhist culture is not only kept in the temples, but also in the grottoes. Thinking it is hard to believe? This is true and quite common in northwestern region of China, such as Gansu, Hennan, Xinjiang, etc. Among all these grottoes, Mogao Grottoes is the famous famous one. It is known as the “Louvre of East”.
Mogao Grottoes is outstanding for its exquisite mural paintings and statues. There are now 492 grottoes in which about 45000 square meters mural paintings and 2100 colorfully painted statues from which you can trace the development of Chinese art over 1600 years from one dynasty to the next because each dynasty built own caves to record its own features.
More than 50,000 collections emerged from the discovery of the so-called “Library Cave” in 1900, and were dispersed around the world. So far, most of the its manuscripts and relics are collected by museums and libraries in Beijing, London, Paris, Paris, St . Petersburg and Japan.
In 1987, the UNESCO listed the Mogao Caves as the World Heritage Sites. It declared -“As evidence of the evolution of Buddhist art in the northwest region of China, the Mogao Caves are of unmatched historical value. These works provide an abundance of vivid materials depicting various aspects of medieval politics, economics, culture, arts, religion, ethnic relations, and daily dress in western China.”
Tips: 1) During peak seasons (May to October), there are usually a lot of visitors to Mogao Caves, so it is recommended to make a reservation in advance for at least 7 days. 2) If you want to see the Special Caves (excluded in the regular visit, and only open for limited individual visitors or small groups with reservations), you can contact our travel consultants or your tour guide to arrange for you, but you have to pay the separate admission fee for each cave. 3) It is not allowed to take photos inside grottoes.
14. Appreciate Brilliant Skills and Arts of Classical Gardens in Suzhou
The ancient Chinese people were maybe the best architecture engineers who created some of the most brilliant architectures, such as the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, etc. Well, these architectures are more related to the emperors’ palaces, towers, and temples. Well in Suzhou, you can see the masterpiece of civilian’s architectures – Suzhou Classical Gardens.
The Classical Gardens of Suzhou was listed in the World Cultural Heritage Sites by the UNESCO who declares that the gardens “represent the development of Chinese landscape garden design over more than two thousand years," and they are the "most refined form" of garden art. Most of these gardens were constructed by scholars, and succeed in recreating natural landscape in miniature – to create all classic landscapes in the garden, including mountains, rivers, lakes, rocks, flowers, trees, etc. Only having the landscapes is not enough, the gardens have to be poetic, romantic, historical and cultural. So different halls, pavilions, pagodas were built in the garden with paintings, poems and couplets. In the classical gardens of Suzhou, even the flowers, grasses, bricks and stones are telling the happiness, pity and sorrow in the long history.
There are many Classical Gardens in Suzhou. The most famous one include Humble Administrator’s Garden (Archetype of Imperial Gardens), Lingering Garden (Poetic and Picturesque Garden), Tiger Hill (The First Sight in Suzhou), Master of the Nets Garden (Perfect Garden in Pocket Size), Lion Grove Garden (Kingdom of Rockeries), etc. Got inspired by the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, I.M. Pei (贝聿铭), one of the world’s greatest architects, designed Suzhou Museum which is now a must-visit site in Suzhou.
15. Shoot the Masterpiece of Nature at Xiapu Mudflat in Xiamen
Xiapu is a very small county in Fujian Province in southeastern China. Less people know about this place. While for the shutterbugs, Xiapu is one of the Top 10 best photography bases in China. For travelers who have visited this small place, they all recommend Xiapu as the most beautiful coastal line in China. What does it offer? Mudflats, spectacular mudflats formed by beach, sunrise, sunset, mists, mountains, fishing-boats, local “sea gypsies”, laboring scenes, etc., create amazing sceneries of lights and shadows.
To enjoy the features of Xiapu Mudflat to the fullest, you are suggested to spend about 3~4 days at different villages to record different scenes, such as Xiaohao Village, Weijiang Village, Andong Island, Dongbi Village, Huazhu Village, Bachimen, Yantian Village, Huyu’ao Village, Beiqi Village , Yangjiaxi Village. The driving distance are not very long between the villages. You can shoot two or 3 villages in a day.
April to December is the best time to visit Xiapu Mudflat. For the photographers, you can shoot the scenes of reaping kelp, fishing and other laboring activities on the mudflats and shores in April, May and June. While from July to September, you can chase the changing of lights above and on the mudflats. The sea shores are also clearer during this period of time. October to December is the season when the local farmers seed nori. November is the beautiful time when the maple trees in Yangjiaxi and Tailaoshan turn to golden and red.
Useful Tips: 1) To catch the best views, you need to find a professional local guide who knows the best location and time to take photos; 2) Prepare a pair of comfortable shoes for you need to climb mountains to get more beautiful photos.
Discover REAL China with China Discovery
During the past years, we have managed to organize thousands trips to different destinations in China for our clients. Our aim is to create ideal itineraries which are tailored to match your individual needs, interests, and budgets and make sure that you are taken care of every step along the way while you are in China. So please make your move and go to discover the REAL China with China Discovery now!
Top China Things to Do
- Mutianyu Great Wall
- Terracotta Warriors
- Forbidden City
- Dujiangyan Panda Valley
- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- Li River
- Yangtze River Cruise
- Yellow Mountain
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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.
Beijing / Xian / Shanghai
Beijing / Xian / Guilin / Yangshuo / Shanghai
Shanghai / Yichang / Yangtze Cruise / Chongqing / Guilin / Yangshuo / Xian / Beijing
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