10 Ancient Towns You Should Visit in China

10 Ancient Towns You Should Visit in China

There is no better way to experience the history of China than scanning its ancient towns. From north to south, these beautiful architects reflects perfectly the Chinese regional culture and local characters. 
kai feng
                                                                           Photo: Fred Jansohn


Just south of the Yellow River, this city in central Henan province, had been one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China. The city’s Qing era Daxiangguo Temple is known for a 7 m high bodhisattva statue with approximately 1,000 hands. This historic city is also known as the City of Calligraphy since several styles have been developed here. Some of the historical and cultural landscapes that cannot be missed are Iron Pagoda, Dragon Pavilion, Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden, and Imperial Street of Song Dynasty, Memorial Temple of Lord Bao, and Kaifeng Yamun.

                                                                                  Photo: Jimmy Wong


Located by the Puhui River with traditional Chinese architecture and a number of attractions, including museums and street food; the old town of Qibao can be traced back to the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, to the Northern Song Dynasty.
Some of the noteworthy attractions in this old town are Bell Tower, Cricket House, Zhou's Miniature Museum, Calligraphy Arts Room, Shadowgraph Museum and the Pawn Shop. The arched stone footbridges over the Puhui River forms major landmarks to this beautiful town.

phoenix ancient town

Phoenix Ancient Town

Even after 300 years, this old town built up in Qing Dynasty, is still being kept in its original form. Surrounded by the majestic Tianmen Mountains, this ancient town embedded in Hunan Province is of huge tourists’ interest. The wooden houses and stone roads are the typical scenes here that creates a visual charm. A misty morning on a rainy day appears to be like a painting than a real world.



Located at the confluence of Luo River and Yellow River, Luoyang is the cradle of Chinese civilization, as it was a capital city of 13 ancient dynasties of China. Boasting the heritage site of Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang is Central China’s popular destination. Baima Si, China’s first Buddhist temples, founded in 1st century, and thousands of Buddhist rock carvings dating back to 5th century, are some of the must visit sites here.



China’s sprawling capital is not only one of the world’s populous city but has a history stretching back to 3 millennia. It is known as much for modern architecture as for its preserved historic structures like the Great Wall of China, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, Tian’anmen Square with Mao’s Memorial Hall, and the Ming Tombs. Siheyuans, the city's traditional housing style, and hutongs, the narrow alleys between these houses are major tourist attractions and are common in urban Beijing.

Read more : Top Things to see in China



Located on the southern bank of the Yangtze River, Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, is one of the most delightful destinations in China. Having served as the capital of various Chinese dynasties, kingdoms and republican governments dating from the 3rd century to 1949; this city features many attractions, including Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang’s Tomb, and the Confucius Temple.

xi an


This capital city of Shaanxi province is one of the oldest cities in China, and is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to some major attractions like Terracotta Army, the City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum, First Emperor’s Tomb and the Forest of Stele Museum. Xi’an is famous for the impeccable Qinqiang opera style that will definitely leave the visitors spellbound.

Did you know that Xi an is also listed in list of Foodie Cities in Asia

shang hai old city

The Old City of Shanghai

The area inside the ancient walled city of Shanghai is a bustling warren of narrow alleys with shops selling antiques and jewellery, as well as centuries old City God Temple. A walk around traditional Chinese buildings or through a large open-air market or enjoying the delightful Yuyuan gardens with classical pavilions, rock gardens and arched bridges; are some of the popular activities among tourists here.

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ping yao
                                                                                Photo: Rich

Ping Yao

Founded in 14th century, this is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional Han Chinese city. Retaining its urban layout from the Ming and Qing dynasties, Ping Yao conforms to a typical ba gua pattern with streets and storefronts largely having their historical appearance. A stroll along the narrow medieval streets of this walled city is truly romantic. The wonderful sculptures and paintings at the Temple of the City God is worth visiting.

daxu town


This unique, antique and non-commercialized town, 18 kms southeast of Guilin at the banks of Li River is a hidden ancient gem. The town’s cobbled streets, Longevity Bridge, ancient buildings and the century old docks are worth a visit. The single-arched Longevity bridge built during the Ming Dynasty, is where one can enjoy stunning views of Li River, Millstone Hill and Snail Hill open. The wooden architectures standing along the river with colourfully decorated eaves, elegantly carved doors and windows, are something which even an amateur photographer would want to capture.

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