8 Unique and Weird Places to Visit in China!

When you study in China, there’s more to see than just classrooms and campus: there are some very interesting and weird places to visit in China that you won’t find in a textbook!

Take a visit to some of China’s most interesting destinations from China’s “Jurassic Park” to a traditional matchmaking market.

1. Fake European Towns

Living in China, but missing Europe? When you visit Shanghai, make sure to stop by the bizarre fake Western-style towns on the outskirts of the city. 

Thames Town weird site Shanghai China
Is this a tiny British town? Think again – it’s on the outskirts of Shanghai, China.

Thames Town is the most famous, a model English town with a church, a pub, and a fish and chips shop (it’s a popular wedding photo location for Chinese couples who can’t make the flight to the real England). But there are also model towns from other countries: Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish, Canadian, Dutch, and German. 

2. Chinese and Mongolian Jurassic Park

If you want to try to survive Jurassic Park, visit China’s very own “Dinosaurs Fairyland” park. Located in Inner Mongolia, see giant dinosaur sculptures and gigantic skeletons roaming among the sand dunes. For a more romantic trip, take a cute photo under the Kissing Dinosaurs that guard the Inner Mongolian town of Erlian. 

Photo from Atlasobscura.com

3. Beijing’s Watermelon Museum

This strange museum in the nation’s capital is all about China’s favorite summer fruit: the delicious watermelon. This unusual Beijing destination is far on the southern edge of the city, but might be worth a trip if you want to see this incredibly specific museum to satisfy your curiosity. 

Visit weird Beijing Watermelon Museum China

4. Chinese God Hotel

While you’re in Beijing, you can’t miss seeing this weird place to visit in China. Head about an hour east to northern Hebei province to visit the gargantuan and eye-catching Tianzi Hotel! The building is made up of three traditional Chinese folk gods that represent the ingredients needed for a good life.

weird places to visit in China 2021 2022

From left to right, the gods are Shou (寿) (longevity), Fu (福) (fortune), and Lu (禄) (prosperity). 

5. A Frozen Fairyland

Harbin, located in the north of China, has dry and freezing-cold winters, which makes it an ideal winter destination.

Harbin’s Ice and Snow Festival in northeast China is one of the most popular winter destinations. But tourists will need to contend with extreme cold, snow, and ice! Bundle up, put heating packets in your fur-lined boots, and see how long you can survive in the magical ice palaces, sculptures, slides, and castles of Harbin. 

See huge snow sculptures in Harbin, China.

6. Medieval Chinese Battle in Kaifeng

Dress your best for the Song dynasty.

Ancient China was no easy place to be! Travel back to the Song dynasty at the Millennium City Park in Kaifeng, the former capital of this ancient dynasty. Dress in Song dynasty clothes, boat down the river, munch on Song snacks, and witness a recreation of a military battle complete with cannon fire. You can even watch a mock Song dynasty joust on horseback, see fire-eaters, and witness a recreation of a noble wedding. 

See this recreation of an ancient naval battle.

7. Shanghai Marriage Market

An artifact of traditional marriage culture, the Marriage Market at Shanghai hosts dozens of parents “advertising” their marriageable sons and daughters to passerby and each other. Signs will list their children’s biographical information, career, and education, as well as their hopes for a spouse. It may seem unusual, but everyone needs a little help in the dating world!

visit interesting China
A woman looks at dating profiles taped to umbrellas at the Shanghai Marriage Market.

The Marriage Market is a hot topic among young Chinese as well. The location was the filming site for a commercial by makeup company SK-II about the situation of single women. 

8. Party at Shenzhen’s Sea World

No, it’s not an aquarium. After all this traveling, settle down in a giant grounded cruise ship to have a drink and eat at the ship’s many bars and restaurants. This is a popular destination for foreigners in Shenzhen. Embrace your best sailor life without needing to deal with seasickness!

interesting place for students in Shenzhen China Sea World bar
Visit the bars and restaurants of this docked ship in Shenzhen, China.

There’s more to studying abroad here than just weird places to visit in China. China has thousands of years of history, so there are plenty of fun facts and interesting destinations to learn about! Watch more here:

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Savannah Billman has a master's degree in Chinese Law and Society at the Yenching Academy of Peking University. She holds a B.A. from NYU Shanghai and has also written for The World of Chinese, TechNode, SupChina, and Sixth Tone.
Savannah Billman
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