As one of the largest countries in the world, China is home to countless attractions and experiences. Here is the ultimate China bucket list with ten things to do in China before you die.
A country that should be on everyone’s bucket list is the vast and beautiful country of China. Home to a population of over one billion people and spanning five time zones, this incredible country has much to be explored.
From ancient traditions, yummy food, and mesmerising architecture, the list of things to see and do while exploring the Red Dragon are endless.
We have made it easier for you by compiling the ultimate China bucket list with our ten things to do in China before you die!
The World Bucket List’s top tips for visiting China to complete the China bucket list
- Before travelling to China, ensure you have all necessary documentation such as your passport and relevant visa.
- If possible, to enhance your experience in China try and learn a few basic phrases for when speaking with locals.
- Make use of the public transportation system in China, which is extremely efficient and widespread across the country.
- Test out the local Chinese cuisine and get a true taste of what the country has to offer.
- If travelling outside the major cities, make sure to bring enough cash for use, too.
10. See the Terracotta Army in Xi’an – marvel at history
Xi’an is such an interesting city so it is a must visit if you are in China.
Constructed by China’s first emperor, this impressive collection of a life-sized terracotta army was to serve as his guardians in the afterlife.
Having remained undiscovered up until fifty years ago, this is amongst one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.
With thousands of individual warriors, ranging from members of the infantry, crossbow team, cavalry, and chariots, this truly is a sight to behold.
As the site is still under excavation, you will have the opportunity to watch history come to life as archaeologists restore some of the infamous statues.
Be sure to add this spot to your Xian Itinerary if you are visiting.
9. Visit the infamous Tiananmen Square – home to the Forbidden City
This famous landmark is a must-visit on anyone’s China bucket list. The square is a national symbol which represents a monumental gate of valour, dedicated to the martyrs who revolted against the country’s oppressors.
Tiananmen Square is one of the largest public squares in the world, holding up to a million people at once.
Head here in the morning to enjoy the daily flag-raising ceremony amidst a cheering crowd.
Within Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a stunning palace complex home to historic art and precious artefacts.
8. Experience a Beijing opera performance – witness culture in person
This cultural tradition keeps the history of China alive through intrinsic costumes and magical voices.
Created over 150 years ago to entertain the Qing emperors, this intriguing art form mesmerises people from across the world.
Admire the unique costumes and use of face painting that is used throughout the art form to depict characteristics. Beijing Opera performances happen daily across the capital.
7. Admire the Leshan Giant Buddha – the tallest of its kind
As the tallest stone Buddha in the world, standing at an impressive 71 metres high, this remarkable monument is worth a visit!
Originally built to calm the turbulent waters that were common in the area, the Buddha sits on the bank of the Leshan River.
The Buddha can be admired by boat for beautiful panoramic views, or else you can explore the area on foot.
Admire the scenery of this statue that is carved into the cliff face; however, this attraction gets extremely busy with tourists, so the earlier in the day you visit, the better!
6. Eat Peking duck in Beijing – taste the real China
No trip to China would be complete without trying one of China’s national dishes, Peking duck.
Trust us when we say, no Peking duck from a Chinese restaurant will compare with the duck on offer in Beijing.
Served with thin, savoury pancakes, sweet bean sauce, and spring onion, this crispy duck dish is absolutely mouth-watering.
If duck isn’t quite your cup of tea, be sure to enjoy the wide variety of Chinese dumplings!
5. Hike the Zhangjiajie Mountains – the inspiration for alien planets
Said to be the inspiration for the movie Avatar, these scenic peaks are absolutely breathtaking. With 243 peaks and more than 3,000 pinnacles and spires, this really is like the Hallelujah Mountains from Avatar.
Situated amongst beautiful scenery, this national forest park is an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Ascend the 999 steps to Heaven’s Door above the deep valley on the world’s longest cable car ride to get spectacular views of the surrounding area.
4. Visit the giant pandas in Chengdu – China’s cutest natives
Visit the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu where you can see the pandas being cared for before being released into the wild.
Native to southwest China, these bamboo-consuming and extremely-sleepy creatures are increasingly under threat.
Therefore, the environment in which these pandas can be admired at the Giant Panda Breeding Centre is necessary for their survival.
3. Walk on the Great Wall of China – one of the top sights on any China bucket list
No China bucket list would be complete without walking on the Great Wall of China.
Spanning over 20,000 km, the most impressive man-made structure ever built will capture your heart and leave you awe-struck.
To walk the whole length of the Great Wall, it would take you about 18 months, luckily for those who haven’t 18 months to spare, there are various shorter routes and trails.
Clinging to high green peaks that border Mongolia, the views of the wall are absolutely jaw-dropping.
2. Watch a kung fu performance at the Shaolin Temple – see martial arts in action
Become enthralled by the skill and concentration that is required by the young boys who practice kung fu in the performance hall.
While this UNESCO World Heritage Site dates back over 1,500 years, the temples have been destroyed and rebuilt over the years.
Admire temples which are dedicated to heavenly kings, a pagoda forest, and incredible hiking trails.
1. Raft down the Li River in Guilin – for spectacular views
There is a Chinese saying that Guilin has the most beautiful landscapes under the heavens, and you would be hard pushed to find someone who disagrees with you.
The mystical landscape is covered in a haze of mist which winds its way up between the impressive limestone mountains.
Explore the breathtaking scenery by embarking on a bamboo river raft down the Li River, which passes by beautiful bamboo forests and striking waterfalls.
Meander your way between the limestone mountains, while also enjoying a once in a lifetime experience!
Your questions answered about the China Bucket List
If you have read our article on the China Bucket List and still have some questions you would like the answer to, this section is for you. As here, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions put to us and from online about this topic for your benefit.
What is very famous in China?
There are many famous monuments and places in China, which itself is an extremely historic country. However, perhaps the most famous would be the Great Wall of China.
What places in China are most visited?
Beijing is the most visited place in China, while the likes of the Great Wall of China and the Imperial Palace would be some of the most visited monuments.
What is special to China?
Culture, tradition and history is very important to the Chinese people, stamped in its ancient history. China, however, has also embraced modern culture, such as its skyrises in key cities.
What are the three most popular cities in China?
These would be Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.