China's attractions are endless and you will never run out of things to see. Especially near the coastal areas, if you run out of things to see in one city, the next one is usually just a short train ride away.

Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover or someone who just wants to relax on a nice beach, China has it all from the majestic Forbidden City in Beijing, to the breathtaking scenery of Jiuzhaigou. Even if you live in China for many years, you'll find that there's always something new to discover in another part of the country. Perhaps unsurprising due to its sheer size and long history, China has the third largest number of UNESCO World Hertiage Sites, after Italy and Spain.

revolutionary pilgrimage sites

Shaoshan 韶山 - First CCP Chairman and Chinese leader Mao Zedong's hometown

Jinggangshan 井冈山 - The first CCP rural base area after the 1927 crackdown by the KMT

Ruijin 瑞金 - Seat of the China Soviet Republic from 1929 to 1934

Zunyi 遵义 - Site of the Zunyi Conference where Mao Zedong joined the Politburo Standing Committee

Luding 泸定 - Site of a famous forced crossing of a high mountain river

Yan'an 延安 - Primary base area for the Communist Party from 1935 to 1945

Wuhan - Site of the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that led to the fall of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China

Guangzhou - Site of the Whampoa Military Academy where both KMT and Communist leaders Chiang Kai Shek, Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong trained and led troops and political study groups before the Northern Expedition of 1926-27.

karst scenery

The gumdrop mountains and steeply sloping forested hills with bizarre rock formations favored by traditional Chinese artists are not creative fantasy. In fact, much of southern and southwestern China is covered in strangely eroded rock formations known as Karst. Karst is type of limestone formation named after an area in Slovenia. As limestone layers erode, the denser rock or pockets of different stone resist erosion forming peaks. Caves hollow out beneath the mountains which can collapse forming sinkholes and channels leading to underground rivers. At its most unusual Karst erodes to form mazes of pinnacles, arches and passageways. The most famous example can be found in the Stone Forest 石林 Shílín near Kunming in Yunnan. Some of the most famous tourist areas in China feature spectacular karst landscapes — Guilin and Yangshuo in Guangxi, and much of central and western Guizhou province.

sacred sites

For sacred mountains, see the next section.

Several sites in China have famous Buddhist art:

Yungang Grottoes in Shanxi Province - more than 51,000 Buddhist carvings, dating back 1,500 years, in the recesses and caves of the Yangang Valley mountainsides

Mogao Caves in Gansu province - art and manuscripts dating back to the 4th century

Dazu Rock Carvings near Chongqing - dating from the 7-13th century

Longmen Grottoes near Luoyang - 5-10th century