Deciding where to visit in China is no easy feat. It’s a large country entrenched in history, culture, and religion, with each region and city offering something unique and special. Dynamic, cosmopolitan, and vibrant with energy, Shanghai is the largest city in China and a popular destination for travelers. Not to mention taking the bullet train from Shanghai can get you to the beautiful destinations of Suzhou and Hangzhou in under two hours, making them great day trips. If you’re looking to visit this expansive country and wondering what destinations to visit in China, here’s why Shanghai and the surrounding area should make your list.
Shanghai — whose name means “Upon the Sea,” Shanghai is the country’s largest city situated on China’s central coast dating back to the Yuan dynasty in 1291. However, archaeological records date back 4000 years. Shanghai is a vibrant, fascinating, modern city of finance, transportation (bullet train), and abounding in numerous historical and contemporary wonders.
Travel the Huangpu River viewing Gothic, Romanesque and Baroque Architecture known as The Bund. Walk through the old city visiting teahouses, temples, ancient pagodas and beautiful Southern gardens such as Yuyuan. Across the river, you will observe an ever-expanding skyline which includes the Oriental Pearl Tower, Jin Mao Tower, and the World Financial Center, renown for fashion, design, arts, and culinary specialties. Shanghai one of the wealthiest cities, also home to Disneyland. If you are a foodie, you will not want to miss The Old City God Temple connected to YuYuan Mart, feasting on Nanxiang Steamed stuffed buns, Chop rice cakes with Beef Vermicelli Soup. Next visit Zhujiajiao a historic city representing a typical water town on the Yangtze River travelers may choose to experience via foot or waterways exploring the ancient buildings and customs.
Suzhou — called the “Venice of the Orient,” Suzhou dates back to 514 BC with 2500 years of history to explore. The Bullet train is the best access in and out of the city. The culinary style of Jiangsu is a blend of sweet flavors. Silk embroidery known as Su Embroidery has a worldwide reputation and tourist do not want to miss visiting the museum. So, hop on a boat and leisurely navigate the waterways visiting beautiful gardens. Suzhou is an ancient city you will not want to skip.
Hangzhou — “Old Town,” Hangzhou was designated as one of China’s seven ancient capitals. Dating back 2000 years to the Qin dynasty 221 BC. Hangzhou is only an hour journey by bullet train from Shanghai. The city is home to two World Heritage Sites the West Lake and the Grand Canal. West Lake with a combination of temples, pagodas gardens is a perfect combination. The Grand Canal is the longest canal running from Beijing. A boat trip is an absolute must to experience some of China’s oldest history. Finish your visit touring Hangzhou’s beautiful tea plantations the birthplace of Dragon Well (Longjing) tea, one of the world’s top ten green teas. Stay an extra day and consider a one-day tour at the Dragon Well Tea Plantation. Learn the art of tea making and when to cultivate the leaves. Complete your tour of Hangzhou regarded as the Silk City, like Suzhou, visiting merchants browsing their silk designs. Many travelers visit Hangzhou to select exquisite silk embroideries as a remembrance.
With so much to see and so much to explore, China is a destination that will evoke awe and wonder within its travelers, no matter which cities they should choose to visit.