7 destinations in China worth exploring


Jinyun Mountain is located in Chongqing, which is known by locals as ‘mountain city’. — Photos: Pixabay

China is witnessing a travel boom during this year’s five-day May Day holiday (which ended on Wednesday), the first such holiday since the country optimised its Covid-19 response measures.

Domestic travel bookings for the holiday, which started on April 29, surged more than 700% from last year, the latest data from online travel agency Trip.com Group shows.

Here are seven cities in China that are among the top holiday travel choices for tourists, both domestic and international. Apart from first-tier cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, smaller ones like Zibo of Shandong Province are gaining prominence due to their various attractions.


As a historic and cultural city, the Chinese capital is undoubtedly one of the most popular destinations. This year, Beijing recommends 16 tourism routes highlighting the city’s ancient relics, royal gardens, parks, museums and venues for the Olympic Games and Winter Olympics (which the city hosted in 2008 and last year, respectively).

The Great Wall, the Palace Museum, the Summer Palace and the National Stadium, also known as Bird’s Nest, are covered by the routes.

Nearly 300 plays and 1,170 performances were put on during the May Day holiday, including symphonies and dance dramas, providing a cultural feast for audiences.


Boasting the Bund (a waterfront promenade), the Oriental Pearl Tower and Shanghai Disney Resort, Shanghai is listed among the top 10 destinations in China by multiple online travel platforms.

As an emerging means of travel following Covid-19, more and more tourists prefer a city walk, enjoying the historic buildings and street views along various interesting roads, such as Wukang Road and Anfu Road.

Located in the core area of the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai has also witnessed a growth in regional tours radiating out from the city. You can also get train tickets from Shanghai to nearby tourist cities such as Suzhou, which is famous for its traditional gardens, and Hangzhou, where West Lake is located, for day trips.

Guangzhou is just a four-and-a-half-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur.Guangzhou is just a four-and-a-half-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur.


Xi’an, a city with over 3,100 years of history, is home to the Terracotta Warriors, Weiyang Palace and the ancient city wall of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

After visiting the cultural ruins in the daytime, tourists can dress in traditional Chinese costumes to immerse themselves in the historic city in the evening and strolling through ancient buildings. They can also have a taste of local snacks and watch the acrobatics and lion-dance shows in the street imitate the ancient street scenes of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).


The southern city of Guangzhou attracts tourists with its landmark Guangzhou Tower, old and famous Cantonese restaurants, street night markets and night-cruise tours along the Zhujiang River.

The Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Resort is a must-see destination for families with children. Visitors can find some 20,000 precious wild animals, including the giant panda triplets, in the safari park.

A fair featuring Chinese traditional costumes and an electric music night party were also held in the resort during the holiday.


Known as a “mountain city”, Chongqing in southwest China attracts people with its beautiful scenery, such as uneven roads and architecture built on hills and along the Yangtze River. Among the famous destinations are two Unesco World Heritage sites: the Wulong Karst Scenic Area and the Dazu Rock Carvings. The former is famous for its giant sinkholes, natural bridges and caves, while the latter features an exceptional series of rock carvings dating from the 9th to the 13th century.

In the city proper, the ancient town of Ciqikou, dating back some 1,000 years to the Song Dynasty, the temple fair and night tours allow tourists to enjoy the culture in the mountain city.

Sanya is becoming more popular among international tourists.Sanya is becoming more popular among international tourists.


Nicknamed “Oriental Hawaii”, Sanya, in the island province of Hainan, has long been on the list of hot destinations for tourists in China.

In the past, the site mainly relied on its sea views to attract visitors, but nowadays, it offers a variety of tourism programmes, as Sanya increasingly looks to refine its tourism sector. Tourists can ride a motorboat, sip coffee while reading in a seaside bookstore, enjoy a candlelight dinner and simply unwind with some self-brewed tea on the beach under the starry night sky.


Zibo, in east China’s Shandong Province, has become a new choice for travellers due to its iconic barbecues.

The city shot to national fame earlier this year after social media influencers hyped up the unique local barbecue – grilled meat wrapped in pancakes with shallots. Initially popular among college students due to its unique taste, DIY-style and affordability, the dish has now attracted swarms of tourists to the city.

While sparing no efforts to rein in hotel price hikes and implement tourist-friendly policies to cater to the holiday fervour, the city’s authorities issued a letter noting that the influx of tourists has exceeded the reception capacity and asked visitors to travel off-peak or consider other cities in Shandong.

Other places

In addition to the above-listed cities, tourists also flock to Chengdu to watch giant pandas, to Xiamen to hear the sea breeze lying on the beach at Gulangyu Islet, and to Changsha to taste some yummy snacks at the night fair. – XinhuaTravel notes

There are a few airlines that fly either direct or with stopovers from Malaysia to some of these cities in China. The government and other relevant parties in the country are working to reinstate more direct flights soon. In the meantime, if you’re planning to visit multiple cities in China, check out the bullet trains or overnight sleeper trains if you’re not keen on using the buses.

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