Eastern China

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Eastern China - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Bazi Bridge

    In a city of bridges, the Bazi Bridge is the finest and best known. Its long, sloping sides rise to a flat crest that looks like the character for eight, an auspicious number. The bridge is more than 800 years old, built in the Southern Song Dynasty, and is draped with a thick beard of ivy and vines. It sits in a quiet area of old stone houses with canal-side terraces where people wash clothes and chat with neighbors.

    Bazi Qiao Zhi Jie, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Sheng, 312035, China
  • 2. China Tea Museum

    Surrounded by tranquil tea plant fields, this engaging museum explores all facets of China's tea culture. Galleries contain fascinating information about the varieties and quality of leaves, brewing techniques, and gathering methods, all with good English explanations. A shop offers a wide range of teas, without the bargaining you'll encounter at Dragon Well Tea Park.

    88 Longjing Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310003, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Tues.–Sun., 8:30–4:30
  • 3. Evening Sunlight at Thunder Peak Pagoda

    On the southeastern shore of West Lake is the Evening Sunlight at Thunder Peak Pagoda. Local legend says that the original Thunder Peak Pagoda was constructed to imprison a snake-turned-human who lost her mortal love on West Lake. The pagoda collapsed in 1924, perhaps finally freeing the White Snake. A new tower, completed in 2002, sits beside the remains of its predecessor. There's a sculpture on each level, including one that depicts the tragic story of the White Snake. The foundation dates from AD 976 and is an active archaeological site, where scientists uncovered a miniature silver pagoda containing what is said to be a lock of the Buddha's hair; it's on display in a separate hall. The view of the lake is breathtaking, particularly at sunset.

    15 Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310000, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y40, Daily 8 am–8:30 pm
  • 4. Lingyin Temple

    One of the major Zen Buddhist shrines in China, Lingyin Temple (Temple of the Soul's Retreat) was founded in AD 328 by Hui Li, a Buddhist monk from India. He looked at the surrounding mountains and exclaimed, "This is the place where the souls of immortals retreat," hence the name. This site is especially notable for religious carvings on the nearby Peak Flown From Afar (Feilai Feng). From the 10th to the 14th century, monks and artists carved more than 300 statues in and around these grottos. Uprisings, revolutions, and wars have changed the face of the shrine. The main temple was restored in 1974 following the end of the Cultural Revolution. About 5 km (3 miles) west of West Lake, the temple and carvings are among the most popular spots in Hangzhou and as such are positively teeming come weekends. To avoid crowds, visit on weekdays.

    End of Lingyin Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310012, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Carvings Y45, temple Y30, Park daily 5:30–5:30, temple daily 7–5:30
  • 5. Tianyi Pavilion

    Down a peaceful alley off Changchun Lu, the Tianyi Pavilion is the oldest private library in China. Built in 1596 and founded by politician Fan Qin, this spiritual place features gold-plated, wood-paneled buildings, bamboo groves, pools, and a rockery. The scholarly setting, worth a visit for the architecture alone, preserves an atmosphere of seclusion and contemplation.

    10 Tianyi Lu, Ningbo, Zhejiang Sheng, 315192, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y30, Daily 8–5
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  • 6. Bright Moon Garden

    This sculpture garden on the southeastern tip of Gulangyu Island is a fitting seaside memorial to Zhen Chenggong, also known as Koxinga, a famous Ming general who fought to protect China from the invading Manchus. A massive stone statue of him stares eastward from a perch hanging over the sea.

    3 Zhangzhou Lu, Gulangyu, Fujian, 361002, China
    No phone

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15, Daily 7:30–6
  • 7. Cathay View Foot Massage


    Reward yourself with a heavenly foot or full-body massage at Cathay View Foot Massage. For a quick respite, try the 45-minute foot massage (Y158), or settle in for a 90-minute body massage (Y228) that includes a generous spread of tea, fruit, and snacks in a cozy, dimly lit private room. This spot is just off Nanshan Lu, down a small street near the

    7 Qingbo Jie, off Nanshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China
  • 8. Catholic Church of St. Joseph

    Near the Bazi Bridge is the bright pink Catholic Church of St. Joseph, dating from the turn of the 20th century. A hybrid of styles, the Italian-inspired interior is decorated with Bible passages written in Chinese calligraphy.

    Bazi Qiao Zhi Jie, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Sheng, 312035, China
  • 9. China National Silk Museum

    From worm to weave, the huge China National Silk Museum explores traditional silk production, illustrating every step of the process. By the end, you'll comprehend the cost of this fine fiber made from cocoons of mulberry-munching larvae. On display are looms, brocades, and a rotating exhibit of historic robes from different Chinese dynasties. The first-floor shop has the city's largest selection of silk, and sells it by the meter. The museum is south of West Lake, on the road to Jade Emperor Hill.

    73–1 Yuhuangshan Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310002, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Daily 9–4:45
  • 10. Ding'aozai Cat Street

    In 2014, Xiamen-based artist Guo Mingming decided that the Ding'aozai area, a short walk from the university district attractions, was boring and launched a project to liven it up with a plethora of paintings and statues of cats. Now the stretch is a fun, feline-filled, selfie mecca--filled, with little coffee shops and restaurants. Also, don't miss the Xiamen Cat Museum (400 Siming Nan Lu), which is more of a shop, really, but which has a gang of cats living in a weird train carriage–like house.

    Xiamen, Fujian, China
    0592-2084–065-to Xiamen Cat Museum
  • 11. Donghu National Park

    Wuchang District | Park (National/State/Provincial)

    This sizeable park is a slice of tranquility in an otherwise chaotic city. There are a number of well-maintained walking paths around the lake and throughout the park. If you're feeling intrepid, you can climb up to the top of 120-meter (390-foot) Mo Hill, where the air is cleaner and there's an expansive view of the lake. It's also possible to hire a taxi or golf cart to drive you to the lookout point (expect to pay around Y150 per hour). The park's East Lake is more than five times larger than Hangzhou's famous West Lake, and it's possible to hire small boats here (Y100-200 for a 45 minute ride depending on size). The park is a popular spot for families who come to stroll around the lotus ponds and, in spring, take photos under the cherry blossom trees.

    Enter at intersection of Donghu Lu and Mudanyuan Lu, Wuhan, Hubei, 430077, China
  • 12. Dragon Well Tea Park

    This park is named for an ancient well whose water is considered ideal for brewing the famous local longjing (Dragon Well) tea. Distinguishing between varieties and grades of tea can be confusing for novices, especially under high pressure from the eager hawkers. It's worth a preliminary trip to the nearby tea museum to bone up on what's what. The highest quality varieties are very expensive, but once you take a sip you will taste the difference. Prices are intentionally high, so be sure to bargain.

    Longjing Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310003, China
  • 13. Dreaming of the Tiger Spring

    According to legend, a traveling monk decided this setting would be perfect for a temple, but was disappointed to discover that there was no source of water. That night he dreamed that two tigers had ripped up the earth around him. When he awoke he was lying next to a spring. On the grounds is an intriguing "dripping wall" cut out of the mountain. Locals line up with jugs to collect the water that pours from its surface, believing that the water has special qualities—and it does. Ask someone in the temple's souvenir shop to float a coin on the surface of the water to prove it.

    Hupao Lu, Hangzhou, Zhejiang Sheng, 310011, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y15, Daily 6–6
  • 14. Drum Tower

    This large yellow pavilion, complete with a medieval clock tower, was built in AD 821. Climb to the top for a bird's-eye view of the city. The tower marks the entrance to Gulou Pedestrian Street, lined with restored Ming Dynasty–style buildings. Here you'll find tiny shops, makeshift stalls, every kind of local snack imaginable, as well as, of course, McDonald's. It's an ideal spot for people-watching.

    Gongyuan Lu and Zhongshan Xi Lu, Ningbo, Zhejiang Sheng, 315192, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Daily 8–4
  • 15. East Lake

    The narrow East Lake runs along the base of a rocky bluff rising up from the rice paddies. The crazily shaped cliffs were used as a rock quarry over the centuries, and today their sheer gray faces jut out in sheets of rock. You can hire a local boatman to take you along the base of the cliffs in a traditional black awning boat for around Y50.

    Yundong Lu, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Sheng, 312035, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Daily 7:30–5:30
  • 16. Former Residence of Cai Yuanpei

    The city's quiet northern neighborhoods are great places to wander, with several historic homes and temples that are now preserved as museums. The largest is Cai Yuanpei's house. Once the president of Peking University, Cai was a famous democratic revolutionary and educator during the republic, and his family's large compound is decorated with period furniture.

    13 Bifei Nong, Shaoxing, Zhejiang Sheng, 312035, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y5, Daily 8–5
  • 17. Gude Si (Gude Temple)

    Jianghan District | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Well off the tourist circuit is this quite stunning temple, built in 1877 towards the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is the only Buddhist temple in the entire country that combines Gothic, Roman, Indian, Chinese, and Burmese styles (the main hall was designed to look similar to Ananda Temple in Bagan), and the result is quite striking. The temple was visited by Sun Yat-sen in 1912 and Indian Prime Minister Nehru in 1954. It suffered destruction during the Cultural Revolution and did not re-open until 1996, though many of its buildings remain damaged and unopened. The temple is less than 10 minutes' walk from the Todai Jie metro stop.

    Gudesi Lu, just off Gongnongbing Lu, Wuhan, Hubei, 430010, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y8, includes three incense sticks
  • 18. Hakka Roundhouses

    Legend has it that, when these huge doughnut-shape residential structures were first spotted by the American military, fear spread that they were silos for some massive unknown missile site. Many were created centuries ago by the Hakka, an offshoot of the Han Chinese who settled all over southeastern China. Peppering the countryside of Yong Ding, 225 km (140 miles) northwest of Xiamen, these beautiful examples of Hakka architecture are made of raw earth, sand, brown sugar and glutinous rice, reinforced with bamboo and wood. Joining a tour group or hiring a private car is your best option for getting to one.

    Yong Ding, Fujian, China
  • 19. Hongshan Park

    Built into a hillside, Hongshan Park has a small Buddhist temple, a lovely waterfall, and beautiful views of the city and the harbor. The steep park shoots straight up from a busy street, so wear comfortable shoes if you're eager to explore.

    Siming Nan Lu, Xiamen, Fujian, 361005, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 20. Huaijiu Gulangyu Museum

    Throughout its various exhibition spaces, the truly unique Gulangyu Nostalgia Museum highlights the history of Fujian and Taiwan and showcases furnishings, decorative arts, curios, and curiosities.

    38 Huangyan Lu, Gulangyu, Fujian, 361002, China

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Y60, Daily 8–6

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