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Wonders of China

Travertine pools in Huanglong Valley, one of the wonders of China
Travertine pools in Huanglong Valley / 一元 马, Flickr / CC BY 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

China has got it all – more than one billion people, large area, great and very long history, very distinct and at the same time – very diverse cultures, great and varied nature.

Thus Wondermondo even has a problem – to limit the list of the most outstanding landmarks and wonders of China to a sensible amount: see the result in this page.

By the way: Republic of China (Taiwan) and Tibet (in the borders of Tibet Autonomous Region) are reviewed as separate countries by Wondermondo. Just because Wondermondo considers this to be right.

Provinces of China

China is divided into 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 special administrative regions. Here below they are listed in alphabetical order:

  • Anhui
  • Beijing Municipality
  • Chongqing Municipality
  • Fujian
  • Gansu
  • Guangdong
  • Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region
  • Guizhou
  • Hainan
  • Hebei
  • Heilongjiang
  • Henan
  • Hong Kong (Special administrative region)
  • Hubei
  • Hunan
  • Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
  • Jiangsu
  • Jiangxi
  • Jilin
  • Liaoning
  • Macau (Special administrative region)
  • Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region
  • Qinghai
  • Shaanxi
  • Shandong
  • Shanghai Municipality
  • Shanxi
  • Sichuan
  • Tianjin Municipality
  • Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • Yunnan
  • Zhejiang

Map with the described wonders

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of China

Geological wonders

Qinlong tiankeng

Chongqing Municipality

One of the most impressive complexes of natural attractions in the world. Very impressive, enormous sinkhole, up to 276 m deep, up to 520 m wide, volume 31.7 million m³. With the giant Qinlong natural arch connected to nearby Shenying tiankeng – up to 285 m deep, 300 m wide. Both tiankengs have two more exits through natural arches – Qinlong tiankeng can be exited through two Tianlong Natural bridges, Shenying tiankeng – through Hailong natural bridge.

Three Natural Bridges of Wulong

Chongqing Municipality

Giant, very impressive natural bridges – Tianlong Bridge, Qinglong Bridge (with waterfall over it), and Heilong Bridge. Their average height is 200 meters. Part of larger, Wulong karst area. One of the most dramatic landscapes worldwide with deep canyons and gorges natural bridges, giant sinkholes, and extensive cave systems.

Huanglong Valley


Possibly the largest travertine terraces in the world, they extend for 3.6 kilometers and are deposited by mildly thermal springs.

The unusual beauty of Huanglong Valley, China
The unusual beauty of Huanglong Valley / Culantor Lin, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Guilin – Lijiang Karst

Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

This beautiful karst landscape along the Li River consists of numerous steep, conical limestone pinnacles. The sights of this landscape represent one of the most famous sights of China.

Karst landscape at Li River, China
Karst landscape at Li River / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Xiaozhai tiankeng

Chongqing Municipality

Largest sinkhole (tiankeng) in the world, up to 662 meters deep, 625×535 meters across.

World's deepest sinkhole - Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible
World’s deepest sinkhole – Xiaozhai tiankeng, with tourist route visible / Brookqi, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
Tushuk Tash (Shipton’s Arch)

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

Possibly the highest natural arch in the world and one of the most impressive ones. Height – some 360 – 370 m, width – some 65 meters.

Zhijin Cave


Colossal cave, length of explored passages – 12.1 km, ceiling up to 150 m high. Here is located an approximately 70 m tall stalagmite that could be the tallest in the world.

Jiuzhai Valley (Jiuzhaigou)


Valley with impressive tufa formations – terraces, waterfalls, and deep blue-green lakes. Includes the impressive, 40 m tall, and 162.5 m wide Pearl Shoal Waterfall and beautiful, 20 m tall and 320 m wide Nuorilang Falls that are also falling over tufa formations. Here are also Shu Zheng Lakes – 19 lakes divided by tufa walls and Nuorilang Lakes – a group of 18 such dammed lakes. Especially beautiful is Fairy Pool – a group of impressive tufa terraces.

Er Wang Dong Cave (Erwan Dong)

Chongqing Municipality

This 42 139 m long cave is one of the most impressive caves in the world, with its own climate and clouds inside.

San Wang Dong Cave

Chongqing Municipality

67 825 m long cave with some of the most impressive cave passages and rooms in the world. Cloud Ladder House is the seventh largest cave room in the world, it has its own clouds.

Archaeological wonders

Great Wall of China

Gansu, Hebei, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Liaoning, Shandong, Beijing Municipality

The largest series of fortifications in the world with a total length of 8,852 km, including 6,259.6 km of the actual wall. Constructed in the 5th century BC – 16th century AD by the Chinese to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire against intrusions by northern nomads.

Great Wall of China
Great Wall of China / Jakub Hałun, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0
Terracotta Army


Unique monument of culture: buried terracotta sculptures – army soldiers near the mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, made roughly in 210 BC. In total there have been buried more than 8,000 sculptures of soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses, all made in live size and bigger, all depicting individual people.

Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, Shaanxi
Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, Shaanxi / , Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0
Mogao Caves


This group of rock-cut chambers consists of 492 Buddhist cells and temples. Built for approximately 1000 years since 366 AD. Contain many art values but is especially valued due to the enormous amount of murals, covering 42 thousand m².

Longmen Grottoes


One of the most impressive monuments of rock-cut architecture in the world – two cliffs with a rock-cut complex of Buddhist cells and shrines. 2,345 rock cut chambers, more than 100,000 statues made in 316 – 907 AD.

Architecture and legendary wonders

Forbidden City

Beijing Municipality

World’s largest palace complex – Chinese imperial palace that takes a sizeable part of the city. This complex of buildings for some 500 years was the center of the Empire of China. Constructed in 1406 – 1420, includes 980 buildings. Contains art collections of very high importance.

Forbidden City, Beijing
Forbidden City, Beijing. / R Boed, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Shaolin Monastery


Located on sacred Mount Song and founded in 477, this monastery was destroyed and rebuilt many times. It is renowned in the Western world for its association with Chinese martial arts, but the temple is also the birthplace of Zen Buddhism, it has the largest collection of stupas in China.

Hanging Monastery


Wooden monastery buildings, first built in 491, are situated in a unique place – on the cliffside of sacred Mount Heng. The 40 buildings are supported by wooden poles. Latest rebuildings in 1900.

Hanging Monastery, China
Hanging Monastery, China / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Tài Shān (Mount Tai)


This 1545 m high mountain is one of the five sacred mountains in the Tao religion, often regarded as the most important of them. A pilgrimage site for 3000 years, it is covered with numerous temples and other monuments. The largest temple, Dai Miao, dates from the 3rd century BC.

Summer Palace (Beijing)

Beijing Municipality

A masterpiece of the Chinese landscape garden design – a hilly forest park at the lake. It was developed since 1750 AD and includes numerous buildings – temples, palaces and garden architecture.

Summer Palace, Beijing
Summer Palace, Beijing./ Anja Pietsch, Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Nanchan Temple


An ancient temple, rebuilt in 782 AD, the wooden structures from this rebuilding are among the oldest wooden structures in China. It is one of numerous monasteries of sacred Mount Wutai.

Kanas Lake Monsters

Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region

According to legends in this lake live giant fish or similar creatures that are some 10 – 15 m long. These animals have been caught on video, including an aerial that shows a group of some 15 creatures crossing the lake (2012).

Some of most frequently seen and most filmed are Kanas Lake Monsters in China. Spectacular movie was made in 2012
Some of most frequently seen and most filmed are Kanas Lake Monsters in China. Spectacular movie was made in 2012 / Screenshot from CCTV news.
Temple of Confucius


The largest and oldest temple of Confucius, established in 478 BC and expanded since then.

Temple of Heaven

Beijing Municipality

Beautiful Taoist temple – temple of emperors of China, built in 1406 – 1420. Architecture and planning of the temple and even minor details are full with symbolism.

Temple of Heaven, The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Beijing
Temple of Heaven, The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Beijing / Maros Mraz, Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5
Leshan Buddha Statue


Giant, 71 m tall rock-cut statue of seated Buddha, made in 713 – 803 AD. It was made to pacify the roaring river that took lives of many people. After construction of statue river really became more quiet – possibly due to debris loaded in the river.

Leshan Giant Buddha, China
Leshan Giant Buddha, China / , Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Chengde Mountain Resort


The largest existing imperial garden in the world. In the garden is an enormous complex of administrative and ceremonial buildings. Developed in 1703 – 1792. Includes Putuo Zongcheng Temple modeled after the famous Tibetan Potala Palace and Puning Temple – an enormous temple complex constructed in 1755. It also contains the world’s tallest wooden sculpture, 22.28 meters tall.

Chengde Mountain Resort
Chengde Mountain Resort. / Ana Paula Hirama, Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

WorldYellow Recommended books

The Seventy Wonders of China

As China emerges as a great world economic power, this book shows what makes it such a special country and civilization, with topics ranging from the natural wonders of mountains and rivers to the Silk Road, from the arts and great monuments of the past to the booming cities of today.

China’s artistic achievements are unparalleled in scope. Calligraphy, jade, silk, ceramics, lacquer work, paintings, bronzes, furniture, and gardens are dealt with in highly expert but succinct entries. Monuments like the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Great Wall are celebrated around the world, but the book also presents lesser-known yet breathtaking buildings, palaces, tombs, and monasteries.

China Survival Guide

An ideal, pocket-sized, 264-page compendium packed from cover to cover with practical advice, insightful commentary, and invaluable tips on places to go, things to see, what to do, and what to avoid. . . . China Survival Guide should be considered an essential ‘take-along’ for anyone visiting China for business or pleasure.

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