The Best Cities In China For The First Time Visitor

The world’s most populated country, has some of the best cities in China with its timeline divided from the ancient Shang Dynasty through the Imperial Qin Dynasty to the Red China post establishment of People’s Republic of China. This vast country poses immense opportunities to travel and explore around from the Hainan Island to the Harbin.

cities in china - shanghai

The country encompasses vast landscapes that are diversified from grassland, desert, mountains, lakes and rivers to thousands of kilometres of coastline. Beijing mixes modern architecture with historic sites such as the Forbidden City palace complex and Tiananmen Square. Shanghai is a skyscraper-studded global financial center. The iconic Great Wall of China runs east-west across the country’s north.

Lets take a look at those must visit cities in China Mainland.


Over the last two decade the Shanghai city on the central coast has seen a huge jump in the number of tourists visiting annually. Depending upon the traveler’s interests and time in hand the city has a lot to offer from the classical Chinese architecture at Yuyuan Gardens to the signature five arch bridge of the Zhujiajiao Water village.

Also the Ancient Bronze is an attention grabbing sight of the Shanghai Museum. Of the many temples Jade Buddha Temple, Jing’an Temple and the Longhua Temple are some not to be missed. Lined with the colonial-era buildings is the famed waterfront, Bund.

Rising across the Huangpu River is the futuristic skyline of the Pudong district with Shanghai Tower and Oriental Pearl TV Tower waiting for their reflections in the water to be captured.


With over 3 millennia old history the city is still famed for its modern architecture. The modernity not only reflects on the today’s construction but also on the ancient sites like the Grand Forbidden City Complex which during the times of Ming and Qing dynasties was the imperial palace. A vast collection of cultural relics are displayed at the Mao Zedong’s mausoleum and the National Museum of China.


Sprawling by the Pearl River northwest to the Hong Kong is the port city of Guangzhou, on of the most famous port cities in China. The shining features of the city include its avant-garde architecture of Zaha-Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House also known as the double pebble and the iconic Canton TV Tower. For the Folk Arts lover is The Chen Clan Ancestral Hall that houses within it the Guangdong Folk Arts Museum.


A modern metropolis linking Hong Kong to China’s mainland is the city of Shenzhen. The city is a hub for shopaholics, including Luohu Commercial City, a massive mall with a vast array of options to choose, from tailored clothing to designer bags. Also featuring on the travellers lists are the contemporary buildings and a number of amusement parks.


The north-eastern port city of Tianjin in China boasts its European-style houses, municipal buildings. The churches in Wudadao (Five Great Avenues) are legacies from the old days. In complete contrast to this old architecture are the city’s modern skyscrapers, including the iconic 415m-tall Tianjin Radio and Television Tower.


Encompassing a densely populated urban center and surrounding prefecture is this industrial hub of Dongguan built in the Pearl River Delta. Of the vast green spread included is the Keyuan Garden featuring local architecture, and the mountainous Yinxian Resort having a Buddhist temple and statues within the property.

Explore the 19th-century Opium Wars at the Opium War Museum and the striking suspension bridge at the town of Humen.

All in all China is a vast country and this puts the tourists in a vacillating situation as to from where to start and what all to cover. But make sure you have a travel insurance before visiting China.

One this is for sure that wherever you go you will fall in love with the city.

Mohit Agarwal

Mohit Agarwal is a civil engineer by profession & started travel blogging to share his experiences while traveling to new places without any planned itinerary, as it adds up to more adventure & exploring more about the city. He also loves photography to capture natural views with no or minimal filters.

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