A pleasure palace during the Tang Dynasty and later the living quarters of General Chiang Kai-shek during the Chinese Civil War, this destination gets mixed reviews from visitors. Despite the name, the hot springs are often out of action, leaving visitors to wander around the garden. You'll probably be happier spending your time on Lishan, the small mountain directly behind Huaqing Hot Springs. It was on these slopes that Chiang was captured, and it has China's first beacon tower and a number of small temples. It was also thought to be the spot where the Emperor Xuanzong and his consort Yang Guifei came for their romantic escapes. If you are here in the evening (8:30 pm), catch the light and sound show that uses the mountain as a backdrop. The attraction is 30 km (19 miles) east of Xian.