Traveling to China and looking for places to visit? Here are the most famous landmarks in China that you shouldn’t miss. From Chinese monuments to the natural wonders of China, these are the must-see places.

Officially the People’s Republic of China, it is the most populated country in the world, with around 1.3 billion citizens. China is also one of the largest, at around 9.6 million square kilometers – yet, its sheer size is not the only thing to note about the country.

You’ll need a visa to visit and will likely have to work hard to overcome the language barrier once there, but once you’ve overcome these minor obstacles, you will experience some of the amazing Chinese landmarks that the country has to offer.

China is home to some of the world’s most famous sites, and while this article may not show all of them, you’ll be able to discover some of the famous Chinese landmarks plus the most beautiful places in China that every traveler should visit. But before you go, be sure to get some of these China essentials.

Must have essentials as you plan a visit to the famous landmarks of China

– Book a private airport transfer from Beijing capital airport to any Beijing hotel around town

-Stay connected on the internet while in China. Book your 4G portable wifi device before you go

-You can’t go to China and miss the Great Wall. Opt for a self-guided tour of the Great wall of china by booking a ticket here or go for a guided tour with a bus transfer from Beijing.

– Taking a train in China is almost a must. Book all your train tickets around China before you reach.

– For an amazing trip in China, make sure that you book your tours with Klook

– Travel insurance is a must-have while traveling in China. The travel insurance I recommend that will protect is World Nomads.

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Famous landmarks in china that you should visit

1. The Summer Palace, Beijing

summer palace

Lying a few kilometers away from Beijing, rising gloriously in the Chinese sun, the Summer City sits atop 700 acres of beautiful landscape.

It consists of a palace built in the mid-12th century that sits beside a lake, which was added in the 14th century to enhance the vast imperial gardens. No wonder it is one of the most beautiful landmarks of China and also one of the most visited.

Visit the summer city and experience the hall of longevity and well-being, the throne, and the Great Theatre. The imperial family has had a long love for theatre and Opera and the theatre’s structure is still used when performing various traditional Chinese dances and plays.

Other attractions here include the hall of happiness and various other beautiful, long pathways and trails.

History buffs might also be interested in the old summer palace ruins, once one of the most elaborate and well-built locations in the country (which was sadly destroyed in the 1800s).

So if you’re looking for what to do in China, visiting the summer palace should be added to your China itinerary.

Related post: Cheapest Asian countries to visit

2. River Li, Guangxi Province


Those who crave peace of mind and relaxation should head to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The River Li, which flows through Guilin town, is famous for its picturesque nature.

The backdrop of the surrounding karst mountains makes it not only one of the most beautifu natural landmarks in china but also one of the most unique sceneries in the world.

It has attracted poets and writers who have used it as an inspiration for hundreds of years. Tourists from all across the world travel to the town to experience the tranquil boat rides along the river, particularly the region between Guilin and Yangshuo.

This is a stretch of about 80 kilometers where the river meanders peacefully within caves and different rock formations.

This beautiful and romantic place is enough to move anyone. What’s more, there are many different tour options to explore, from cruise ships to small authentic bamboo punts.

These trips can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. Make sure to book your River Li cruise online for great discounts.

Related post: Most beautiful places to visit in Asia

3. The Terracotta Army, Linton District

The Terracotta Army

It would be a shame to visit China without exploring its more combative tradition. The Terracotta Army is the perfect illustration of this: life-size sculptures built to guard the tomb of the first emperor.

The stone army consists of approximately 8000 soldiers and more than 500 horses and chariots, along with a host of non-military characters.

While a significant part of the army was destroyed, many of the remaining soldiers have been restored and still stand to this day as a testament to the importance the Chinese put on the afterlife.

So if you’re interested in history or you just want to learn more about Chinese history, then the Terracotta Army is one of the famous monuments in China that you should visit.

And if you don’t want to waste time while queueing for the ticket, you can purchase it online or book a full-day tour to learn all the history surrounding the Terracotta Army

4. Stone Forest (Shilin), Yunnan Province

stone forest china

The stone forest, a UNESCO world heritage site is a spectacular set of limestone formation located in the Shilin Yi county in southern China.

When seen from a distance, the limestone rocks rise as though they are petrified trees creating an illusion of a forest made of stones and hence the name “stone forest”.

The trees growing from underneath the stones add a greenery life to the rocks creating an amazing scenery and making it one of the beautiful landmarks in China that has seen a number of tourists travel from all around the world to take in the beauty of this great Chinese landmark.

Other than taking in the spectacular scenery of the tree rocks, there are a number of activities that can be done at the stone forest from hiking, looking at underground rivers and caves to enjoying the waterfalls.

And since the stone forest is near Kunming city, a day trip from there is possible by either taking a train or a bus that takes approximately 2 hours or 20 minutes if you use a high-speed train.

5. The great wall of China, Beijing

great wall of china-famous landmarks in china

The great wall of China is indubitably one of the most famous landmarks in China. Covering over 6000 kilometers, the great wall of China is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built over the last 2000 years.

Tourists that approximate to over 10 million every year flock to this place making it the most visited China landmark that almost every traveler has on his/her travel bucket list.

Since the Great wall covers an incredibly large area, it has different sections and different hiking trails. It’s paramount that you choose a hike that you can handle physically and according to what you would like to experience.

Some of the sections that you could explore include but not limited to; Mutianyu which is the most fully restored, Jiankou which is the steepest, Simatai which is the only section open for a night tour, Huanghuacheng which has a water view, Jinshanling which is the most common hiking route at the Great Wall, Shanhai the section where the wall meets the sea and many other sections.

Pro tip* If you want to experience China like a local,  book your activities tickets and tours from Klook for unbelievable discounts.

6. Leshan Giant Buddha, Leshan

Leshan Giant Buddha-china landmarks

The Leshan Giant Buddha is the tallest stone statue of Buddha in the entire world at 71 meters (233 ft) tall and 24 meters (78 ft) wide.

The Buddha’s head is 14.7 meters (48 ft) long, 10 meters (33 ft) wide with 1021 buns in the coiled hair, the fingers are 8.3 meters (27 ft) long, and the shoulders 28 meters wide.

To put it into perspective, the in-step of the statute is so big that it can accommodate 100 people, the small toenail can seat one person and the shoulder is wide enough to fit a basketball court.

The impressive size of the Leshan Giant Buddha not only makes it one of the Chinese famous landmarks but also one of the major landmarks in Asia.

The Buddha which is located inside the park on the East of Leshan city statue is carved out of the rock face and its face overlooks Mount Emei with rivers flowing below its feet.

The charm of the Leshan Buddha not only lies in its magnificent size but also the architectural marvel it showcases to millions of travelers that visit it every year making it one of the China famous landmarks.

7. Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province

jiuzhaigou china

Jiuzhaigou is a nature reserve and national park in the southwest of China. With the most beautiful and amazing scenery in the world, it’s no wonder that some scenic spots are considered sacred by the local Tibetan and Qiang people.

Besides the beautiful scenery, the valley is home to over 100 lakes and waterfalls that led Jiuzhaigou to be named a UNESCO world heritage site. The lakes in the National park are in different sizes and shapes and are called the spirit of Jiuzhaigou.

The beautiful lakes that change color almost every day all year round formed from a combination of algae and calcified rocks found at the bottom of the lake plus the reflection of the surrounding landscape present a natural beauty and wonder that cannot be found anywhere else.

There is also a saying in China that goes, ” After visiting Jiuzhaigou, you can never enjoy any other water”- which is absolutely true as there are no other lakes as beautiful as the ones at Jiuzhaigou. With all that, it’s evident why this place is one of the most beautiful natural landmarks in China.

8. Forbidden city, Beijing

Famous landmarks in china

Sitting on a total area of 720,000 square meters (180 acres) in Beijing, the Forbidden City is the largest imperial palace in the world and one of the most famous buildings of China.

The palace complex whose name was given due to the fact that no one could enter or leave the palace without the authorization of the emperor was home to 24 emperors both from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Apart from the historical significance it holds, the Forbidden City is an architectural wonder to marvel at. From the grandiose outer court that depicts Chinese architecture and the huge wall that was used as a protective fence to the interior where you’ll be welcomed by a big block of marvel carved with dragon designs.

Every small detail was perfected! Whether it is the animal statues on the roof, the woodwork done throughout the city, or the perfection of the imperial colors, the Forbidden City is truly one of the beautiful monuments of China.

The Forbidden city also houses a museum known as the Palace Museum which is one of the largest cultural museums in the world. The museum has a vast majority of the Chinese historical artifacts in the world that have been gathered over the years.

It is a true Chinese landmark that leaves all the its 14 million annual visitors in awe because of its strong cultural importance and its impeccable beauty.

9. The Potala Palace, Tibet

chinese landmarks

Located in the city of Lhasa in Tibet, The Potala Palace is an ancient fortress constructed in 1645 at the top of the Red mountain. Though it was initially constructed as a gift to the bride-to-be of King Songtsan Gampo, its reconstruction and enlargement turned it into one of the current famous China monuments.

The overall building stands at an altitude of 3,700 meters with 117 meters above the mountain making it the highest ancient palace in the world. And as a sign of respect, no other building in the region is allowed to be taller than the Potala Palace.

Though the palace was transformed into a museum as its current state, it used to be the official residence of 10 Dalai Lamas for over 317 years until when the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India.

Since then, the palace has been a major place of pilgrimage and a popular Chinese monument among locals and foreigners alike.

From its mesmerizing beauty when seen from afar to the impressive details when seen up close, Potala Palace is truly one of the most beautiful Chinese historical places.

10. Mount Everest, Tibet

famous Chinese landmark

Located on the Nepal – China border, Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world above sea level with a current elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft.).

But the most interesting thing is that the mountain keeps growing every century at a height of about 40 centimeters (16 inches) creating a whole new elevation every century.

The Mountain which provides challenging trails to climbers is not only a famous landmark in China but also one of the famous Asian landmarks.

However many of the climbers end up not making it to the summit so many of them choose to stay at the base camp to be able to experience this famous Chinese landmark at least once in a lifetime.

There you have it, those are some of the most famous landmarks in China that you should check out before you leave the country. Have you been to any of these Chinese landmarks? Which one of them was your favorite? Let me know in the comment section.

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