East China is a world in itself. It is rich in history, some towns dating back 6000 years. It has an environment designed to calm and relax the soul. From picturesque water towns crisscrossed by slow-moving water-filled canals to spectacular mountain views, eastern China is a delight for all the senses. Once you visit it, you will understand why some of the most visited tourist destinations in China are located in this region.
There are three things (at least) that you can’t stop doing when visiting Shanghai, China’s largest city. First of all, you must visit the fabulous Shanghai Museum, with thousands of artefacts spanning thousands of years of Chinese history. Second, you have to take a walk along the Bund, the city’s most famous promenade. The Bund rises above the Huangpu River teeming with ocean-going vessels; if you can, try a night cruise, when Shanghai lights up like a Christmas tree. Third, you can’t miss the Oriental Pearl Tower, an iconic landmark of Shanghai that rises 468 meters into the sky and offers extraordinary views of the city and its surroundings.
There are many western lakes, but the most famous is Hangzhou. Hangzhou is the eastern end of the Grand Canal which begins 1,100 km (700 miles) in Beijing. The city has many temples, including one to Confucius, which are located near the lake. Hangzhou can be reached by train or plane from Shanghai, but the Hangzhou Bay Bridge is a unique way to get there. The 35 km long bridge dramatically shortens the travel time between the two cities, making day trips more feasible.
Suzhou is without a doubt the most famous water city in China. At the time, it was one of the largest cities in the world. It can be hard to believe today, as the old town is a picture of serenity, with typical Chinese houses lining the canals which are spanned by even more picturesque bridges. Suzhou is not only the silk capital of China, but it is also famous for its gardens, including the Evergreen Garden, an important classical garden, and the Humble Administrator’s Garden, which took 18 years to build and the rescue of a silver emperor. Take a walk along the ancient Ping Jiang Road, made of hand-cut stones.
A visit to a water city is simply a must for anyone visiting Shanghai and its surroundings. Just 140 km from Shanghai, Wuzhen is a good option, as it is a typical water town. Wuzhen is a pretty town, with black, white and gray stone houses and blue flag lanes. This small town is very picturesque, with many bridges spanning the canals. Keep an eye out for the bridge into a bridge, where two bridges meet, each visible through the arches of the other. You’ll pass under bridges as you cruise the canals, where you can see older women doing their laundry.
5. Mount Huang
If you want to impress the locals, refer to Mount Huang by its Chinese name, Huangshan (Yellow Mountain). Huangshan is one of the most picturesque mountains in China; He is heavily photographed and the subject of many paintings. Mount Huang is not a single mountain, but a mountain range with 72 peaks. The main ones are the Lotus, the Celestial and the Luminous. If you are an early riser, you can take a cable car up to one of the peaks to see a beautiful sunrise. If the sun is not shining on this day, you can contemplate the Sea of Clouds, which gives a different beauty to the landscape.
Qingdao is a beautiful tourist city in Shandong Province, by the Yellow Sea. It is a green city with beautiful parks and the largest swimming beach in China. Because it was once a German concession, the oldest part of town has cobbled streets and buildings that would blend in perfectly with the old country. If you love beer, Qingdao is the place to drink it. Tsingtao (old name of Qingdao) is located here; It is the second largest brewery in China. You will want to see the Zhan Chao beer pavilion as it is the logo of the factory. A huge red sculpture in Plaza del Cuatro de Mayo dominates the cityscape.
Zhouzhuang, a water city located 30 km (18 miles) southeast of Suzhou, is considered one of the top tourist attractions in eastern China. You’ll want to ride a gondola through the canals to see the old, well-preserved houses with weeping willows towering above them. It is likely to pass under the twin bridges (Shule and Yang an), the most famous of the 14 bridges that cross rivers; the bridges are considered symbols of the city. You can also pass under the Fu’an Bridge, an arched bridge with two towers that are now tea rooms. The Taoist temple of Chengxu is one of the most important in the region.
If you are visiting Xitang, plan to explore this water city in – what else! – For water. And it is that nine rivers cross the city. Water, not streets, is the best way to get around the older part of town. This picturesque city, with its well-preserved buildings from the Ming and Qing dynasties, is best known for its covered corridor. This covered walkway stretches over half a mile along the river and protects pedestrians from the elements. Curiosity Fans: If you’ve seen Mission Impossible III, you’ll have seen Xitang as he appears for the last few minutes.
9. Mount Putuo
Mount Putuo, located on an island in the East China Sea, is an important site for Chinese Buddhism. Known as Putuoshan in Chinese, it is one of the four sacred mountains of Buddhism; It is a popular pilgrimage destination. Temples abound on the island, though only around 30 are considered significant temples, including the 10th-century Puji Temple and Fayu Temple, the second largest on the island. If you are tired of visiting temples, Putuo has some great beaches, Hundred Step and Thousand Step. Putuo can be reached by ferry or, since bridges now connect Shanghai and Ningbo to Putuo, by bus.
Centuries ago, Yangzhou, near Nanjing, was one of the wealthiest cities in China. Yangzhou is another scenic water city, where the Yangtze River and Grand Canal intersect, connecting Beijing and Hangzhou. In addition to the Grand Canal, attractions include the 5th-century Daming Temple, rebuilt after the Taiping Rebellion, and Slender West Lake, which mimics the buildings of Hangzhou’s most famous West Lake. Also, don’t miss the Hnanlinyuan Museum, which is the tomb of a former ruler; contains a coffin on wheels. In addition to the merchant families, Yangzhou was famous for its scholars, so take a look at the Scholar Garden, He Yuan.