China’s Hidden Gems: 7 Must-Visit Places for International Students

For international students lucky enough to spend some time here, China is abundant with exciting experiences and cultural discoveries. The country is not just about bustling cities and famous landmarks; it’s a land of hidden gems waiting to be explored. Join us on this virtual tour as we unveil 7 must-visit places in China.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

A Breathtaking Natural Wonderland

Nestled in the heart of Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a mesmerizing UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known for its towering quartzite sandstone pillars, lush vegetation, and mist-shrouded mountains, this park served as an inspiration for the breathtaking landscapes in the movie “Avatar.” Explore the park’s numerous hiking trails, glass-bottomed skywalks, and take a thrilling cable car ride for panoramic views that will leave you in awe.

Jiuzhaigou Valley

Nature’s Masterpiece in Sichuan Province

Prepare to be enchanted by the spellbinding beauty of Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan Province. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its crystal-clear turquoise lakes, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant alpine forests. Immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance as you stroll along wooden boardwalks, capturing the picturesque scenery with every step. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the breathtaking Nuorilang Waterfall, one of China’s most stunning natural wonders.


A Oasis of History and Culture in Gansu Province

Located along the ancient Silk Road, Dunhuang is an oasis city that offers a captivating blend of history and culture. Explore the renowned Mogao Caves, a treasure trove of Buddhist art and murals dating back over a thousand years. Marvel at the majestic sand dunes of the Mingsha Mountain and take a camel ride through the vast desert landscape. Experience the charm of Dunhuang’s night market, where you can savor local delicacies and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere.

Pingyao Ancient City

Step Back in Time in Shanxi Province

Step into the past as you wander through the ancient streets of Pingyao, a well-preserved walled city in Shanxi Province. This UNESCO World Heritage Site showcases traditional Chinese architecture, with its ancient city walls, towering watchtowers, and ornate temples. Explore the bustling streets lined with traditional shops and sample local snacks. Visit the Rishengchang Exchange Shop, the first draft bank in China, and gain insight into the city’s significant role in China’s financial history.

Qinghai Lake

Serenity and Splendor in Qinghai Province

Discover the tranquility and natural splendor of Qinghai Lake, the largest saltwater lake in China. Located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, this breathtaking destination offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. Marvel at the azure waters reflecting the surrounding snow-capped mountains and endless grasslands. Explore the lakeside trails, enjoy a leisurely bike ride, or embark on a boat excursion to fully appreciate the beauty of this hidden gem.

Mount Emei

A Sacred Mountain of Spiritual Significance

Embark on a spiritual journey to Mount Emei, one of China’s Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains. Located in Sichuan Province, this majestic mountain is home to numerous temples, monasteries, and stunning natural landscapes. Hike through lush forests, encounter mischievous monkeys along the way, and reach the Golden Summit, where you can witness a breathtaking sunrise or sunset. Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere and gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism’s profound influence in Chinese culture.

Guilin and Yangshuo

Postcard-Perfect Landscapes in Guangxi Province

Prepare to be captivated by the postcard-perfect landscapes of Guilin and Yangshuo in Guangxi Province. Cruise along the Li River and marvel at the iconic karst peaks rising majestically from the water. Explore the surreal beauty of the Yulong River in Yangshuo, where bamboo rafts gently glide through the picturesque scenery. Take a cycling tour through the countryside, passing by rice paddies, traditional villages, and limestone formations. Don’t forget to capture the famous scenery immortalized in countless Chinese paintings and poems.

From awe-inspiring natural wonders to ancient cities steeped in history, each destination provides a unique glimpse into China’s fascinating heritage. Take the opportunity to join excursions organized by your university or student clubs. It’s also easy to organize local trips by yourself, so make sure to scout out some of the wonders near your university.

To visit these as soon as next year, begin preparing your applications for the 2024 intake as soon as possible.

Kay is a marketing assistant at China Admissions. A "third-culture kid" based in Thailand, she has had lifelong exposure to international communities and has worked with top global brands. Having studied abroad herself, she encourages young minds to invest in their self-development and foster an appreciation for new countries and cultures.
Kay Marlowe

Join 180,000+ international students and get monthly updates

Receive Admissions, Scholarships & Deadlines Updates from Chinese Universities.
Unsubscribe anytime.