Here are 6 majestic cities in China that will transport you to another time period

by June Ngooi

Given how big China is, there is no shortage of picturesque scenic spots in various parts of the country. Personally, I have only been to China twice and that is definitely not enough to fully appreciate the beauty of that region as a whole. 

Sure, we have all heard of the Great Wall of China and it is magnificent, but have you heard of these China cities that practically transport you to another time period? 

1. Chengdu

china cities chengdu
Photo: Tripadvisor

My first ever trip to China brought me to the gorgeous city of Chengdu in the Sichuan province and so I have decided to start the list off with it! Kuan Zhai Alley stands as one of the more popular attractions, spanning three alleys that make up the ancient block of the Qing dynasty. 

Photo: JonasCN/tripadvisor

If you want to feel more immersed in the past, the Wuhou Shrine dedicated to Zhuge Liang and the Kingdom of Shu in the Three Kingdoms period provides for a more detailed look into ancient China’s architectural system. Just a stroll within the grounds of the temple already gives the Chinese period drama feels! 

Photo: Masahito1970/tripadvisor

Just a stone’s throw away from the Wuhou Temple, the narrow street of Jinli Pedestrian Street is a blast from the past where you’ll be able to find yourself surrounded by old-world stores selling embroidery, lacquer products, handicrafts, and even calligraphy.

2. Wuhan

Photo: Xing Tang/tripadvisor

I cannot begin to tell you how underrated Wuhan is as a China city. Situated in the Hubei province, Wuhan is home to the Yellow Crane Tower — one of the famous landmarks of Wuhan — that boasts stunning sights of the garden and impressive 360 views of this city.

Photo: Denosaur89/tripadvisor

There’s even a tower-shaped fudgesicle ice cream that you are able to purchase to savour only at this place, how adorable is that!

china cities wuhan
Photo: Ricardo Magalhaes/tripadvisor

Situated next to the East Lake, Mount Mo is a mountain of historical and cultural significance. Most of the scenic areas are natural, and also include many buildings that are reflective of the Jingchu culture from the Zhou Dynasty.  

3. Hangzhou

Photo: Aden Lao/unsplash

Known as one of the seven ancient capitals of China, Hangzhou’s history stretches back 2,200 years back to the Qin dynasty. Whilst its natural beauty of West Lake is utterly mesmerising, the limestone mountain of Fei Lai Feng will definitely capture your eye. 

Photo: Eva Simonyi/tripadvisor

This famous peak is well-known for its several hundred Buddha carvings embedded into the rock. As you take the journey to ascend up the 500 steps, there will be a Buddha carving accompanying you almost every step of the way. Even if you’re not a religious or spiritual person, the incredible detail of the carvings is enough to whisk you back in time and feel like you’re on a pilgrimage. 

Photo: Zarzas Travels/tripadvisor

And if you’re wondering where the 500 steps lead you to, the end of that journey leads you to Lingyin Temple that stands tall and proud at the top. The grandeur of this structure is even more pronounced with the enormous gold statues of various deities residing in the temple that make it even more breathtaking. 

4. Huangshan City

Photo: Travelear/tripadvisor

Tunxi Ancient Street located in Huangshan City is a street that retains its traditional architecture, and is filled with food stalls and other shops. As you walk down the street, it is sooo easy to lose track of time and feel as if you have been transported to ancient China with many of the buildings retaining their original facades. 

china cities huangshan
Photo: Deanosaur89/tripadvisor

What is a trip to Huangshan City if you do not drop by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mount Huangshan?

Being the inspiration behind much of Chinese cultural and art significance for centuries, Mount Huangshan is home to scenic areas surrounding its landscape. It is almost like there is no shortage of photogenic spots and its unique landscape makes you feel like you’re dancing amongst the clouds. It definitely is one of the cities in China with more natural beauty.

5. Chongqing 

Photo: Flippo Cesarini/unsplash

If you have been active on TikTok recently, then you might have come across some of the really pretty videos of Chongqing that look just spectacular. Although the city has its beauty during the day, the real glamour only comes out at night. 

china cities chongqing
Photo: Harrison Qi/unsplash

A heavenly concoction of traditional architecture against skyscrapers, the city of Chongqing lights up at night to give rise to an almost cyberpunk vibe. Truly one of the rare cities in China that brings you into the future! This is definitely going into my to-visit list. 

6. Suzhou

Photo: Ailton007/tripadvisor

Besides being a major centre for silk production and manufacturing, Suzhou is also well-known for its canals, bridges, pagodas, and beautiful gardens, since it is a major city on the lower Yangtze River.

china cities suzhou
Photo: Kevin F/tripadvisor

Tongli Town is an ancient water town and one such spot where you can experience the ambience of the quaint town with its canals and bridges. It is like stepping into a traditional painting with the Yangtze River’s green waters and the grey concrete stones of the ancient architecture. 

And there you have it, here are six cities in China that will make you feel like you have stepped into another era! 

Which do you think you are going to visit first? 

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