7 Chinese Cities for Culture

These seven cities serve up the most intoxicating sample of what China has to offer.

Home to nearly one in five humans – and one of Earth’s oldest civilizations – China can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been. It’s not just the unique traditions and norms of the so-called ‘Middle Kingdom’, either – the physical demands of traveling China, from the crowding, to the frequently polluted air, to perpetual sensory overload can be, well, demanding. Indeed, it is only by leaning into the cultural quandaries of China that you rise above the rest of the noise (literally, in some cases) and see the world’s most populous nation as its most wondrous one, as well.

Whether you visit during the frigid Manchurian winter or when the summer heat causes steam to rise between the limestone karsts of Yangshuo, a trip to China is a delightful celebration of culture. If you arrive with an open mind (and, to be sure, an empty stomach), you’ll depart with a well of awe and appreciation as deep as the Great Wall is long. The only question now is which of these cities to visit, and how long to stay!

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