AAAAA Tourist Attractions of China
Tourist attractions or scenic areas rated as AAAAA (5A) are the most important and best-maintained tourist attractions in the People's Republic of China, given the highest level in the rating categories used by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. As of 2018, there are 248 tourist attractions listed as 5A.
The origins of the rating system for tourist attractions are based on criteria first set out in 1999 by the China National Tourism Administration (predecessor to the current Ministry of Culture and Tourism) and revised in 2004. The criteria includes quality and management factors like ease of transportation links, site safety, cleanliness, etc. and also takes into account the uniqueness and recognition of the sightseeing offering. Tourist attractions were graded according to the criteria on a scale initially from A to AAAA with AAAAA or 5As added on later as the highest rating. A group of 66 tourist attractions were certified as the first set of AAAAA rated tourist attractions in 2007. The first batch included many of the most iconic historical sites in China including the Forbidden City and Summer Palace. Additional batches of additional sites have been added including 20 new 5A sites in February 2017. On rare occasions a few locations have been downgraded from the highest rating category for deficiencies in visitor experience.
|Province||Prefecture||Name||Date of Inclusion||Description||Image|
|2007||A .72 km² compound of 980 buildings, initially constructed by the Yongle Emperor from 1406 to 1420, used as the main palace of the Ming and early Qing dynasties, converted into a public museum in 1925. Its southern Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tian'anmen) displays a famous portrait of Mao Zedong and has been the scene of numerous important events in modern Chinese history, including the 1 October 1949 celebration of the founding of the PRC and the Tian'anmen Square protests of 1989.|
|Beijing||Dongcheng||Temple of Heaven||2007||A 2.73 km² compound of 92 buildings, initially constructed by the Yongle Emperor in 1420, used for the traditional worship of Heaven during the Ming and Qing dynasties, converted into a public park in 1918.|
|Beijing||Haidian||Summer Palace||2007||A 2.97 km² compound surrounding Longevity Hill and Kunming Lake, initially constructed by the Qianlong Emperor from 1750 to 1764 to represent other famous sites of China and Chinese mythology in miniature, used as the unofficial main palace for the rest of the Qing, infamously razed by European troops in 1860 during the Second Opium War, rebuilt by the empress dowager Cixi and a center of late Qing government, damaged and looted by foreigners again in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion, converted into a public park in 1924, and extensively restored since 1953.|
|Beijing||Yanqing||Badaling Great Wall||2007||A 3,741 m section of the Great Wall initially constructed in 1505 to protect the Juyong Pass, restored after 1952, and opened to tourists in 1958. It has received scores of foreign leaders, most notably US president Richard Nixon during his 1972 visit.|
|Beijing||Changping||13 Ming Tombs||2011||A 34.35 km² necropolis constructed between 1409 and 1644 in a hollow of Yanshan Mountain, used as the resting place for 13 of the 16 emperors of the Ming.|
|Beijing||Xicheng||Prince Gong Mansion
("Prince Kung's Mansion")
|2012||A 6 ha (15 acre) compound with an expansive garden, initially constructed in 1777 by the Qianlong Emperor's notoriously corrupt official Heshen, used as a residence for members of the imperial family including the diplomat Yixin during the rest of the Qing, repurposed as the women's campus of Fu-Jen Catholic University under the Republic and as residences for leaders of the Ministry of Public Security under the People's Republic, restored after 1982, and opened as a museum in 1996. It is one of the few surviving Qing palaces, out of the 74 still used by imperial princes at the fall of the empire.|
|Beijing||Chaoyang||Olympic Green||2012||An 11.59 km² Olympic Park constructed for the 2008 summer games, now featuring the Bird's Nest stadium, the National Indoor Stadium, the Water Cube aquatics center, the Olympic Forest Park, and national science & technology and the ethnic museums.|
("Ancient Culture Street")
|2007||A 560 m street lined with imitation Qing shops opened in 1986, selling traditional wares and snacks beside Mazu and Taoist temples (originally dating to 1326 and 1368, respectively) and a folklore museum.|
("Panshan Scenic Area")
|2007||A 105 km² forest park surrounding 850 m Mount Pan, whose temples were first built in AD 25 during the Han. The four surviving temples include a 13-story dagoba and have all been renovated since the 1990s.|
|2007||The largest lake in northern China, although growing urban and agricultural water use after 1950 reduced its size from more than 1000 km² to almost nothing in the 1980s. It is presently composed of 143 smaller lakes around 366 km² and is used for nature tourism, but its size is now maintained by unsustainable use of highly polluted groundwater.|
|Hebei||Chengde||Chengde Mountain Resort
("Imperial Summer Resort and the Surrounding Temples")
|2007||A 6.1 km² compound initially constructed from 1703 to 1792 during the Qing, with an imperial summer resort surrounded by areas of mountains, plains, and lakeshore mimicking China's overall topography, serving as a culmination of traditional Chinese gardening and an influence on landscape gardening worldwide. The palace was a particular favorite of the Kangxi and Qianlong emperors, and its intermixed ethnic architectural styles consciously affirmed their government's commitment to a multicultural state, and it.|
|Hebei||Baoding||Yesanpo National Park||2011||A 334.8 km² park at the intersection of the Taihang and Yan chains, comprising three main scenic areas—the Baili Gorge, the Longmentian Pass, and Fodongta Peak with Yugu Cave.|
|Hebei||Shijiazhuang||Xibaipo||2011||A village including a museum and other memorials reconstructing its role as the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party and People's Liberation Army in late 1948 and early 1949, an important period of the Chinese Civil War. (The original sites are underwater as a result of local hydroelectric projects.)|
|Hebei||Tangshan||Eastern Qing Tombs||2015||A 78 km² necropolis of 508 buildings constructed between 1661 and 1908 in a hollow of Changrui Mountain, used as the resting place of 5 emperors of the Qing, as well as the dowager empress Cixi.|
|Hebei||Handan||Nüwa Imperial Palace
|2015||A 1.7 km² compound beside Phoenix Mountain (Fenghuangshan) honoring the goddess Nüwa, who temples were first built under the Han. The surviving palaces and temples were initially constructed under the Wanli Emperor of the Ming, were restored in the 1990s, and include one of China's most impressive rock carvings: 130,000 characters of Buddhist scripture engraved into the mountains from the Northern Qi onward.|
|Hebei||Handan||Guangfu Ancient City||2017||A 1.5 km² town in the center of Yongnian Marsh, first settled during the Spring and Autumn Period and serving as the capital of Dou Jiande's and Liu Heita's short-lived principalities of "Xia" and "Handong" during the late Sui, with city walls initially constructed under the Tang and modern construction mimicking the town's appearance under the Ming. It has museums to locals Yang Luchan and Wu Yuxiang, the founders of the two largest schools of tai chi.|
("Whitestone Mountain Scenic Area")
|2017||A forest park surrounding 2096 m Mount Baishai, the northern end of the Taihang Mountains and site of the 1937 Battle of the Great Wall during the 2nd Sino-Japanese War.|
|Shanxi||Datong||Yungang Grottoes||2007||An 8.5 km² area of 252 caves in the Wuzhou Mountains with 51,000 niches filled with Buddhist statues and 18,000 m² of carved wall space, initially constructed under the Northern Wei in the 5th & 6th century, expanded by the Liao in the 11th, and restored since 1952. There is also a ruined Ming fortress and beacon tower over the caves.|
|Shanxi||Xinzhou||Mount Wutai||2007||A 423.12 km² area surrounding the five peaks of Mount Wutai (3,061 m), considered holy since at least the Han (1st century AD), the site of imperial pilgrimage since the Northern Wei (5th century), and the seat of the Buddhist bodhisattva Manjushri (Wenshu) since the 7th century, and now hosting 53 monasteries in architecture spanning over a thousand years, including a timber hall from the Tang.|
|Shanxi||Jincheng||House of the Huangcheng Chancellor||2011||A 10 ha (25 acre) walled estate with 9 gates, 19 gardens, and 640 rooms, initially constructed in 1633 for Chen Changyan and expanded in 1703 for Chen Tingjing, tutor to the Kangxi Emperor and chief editor of the Kangxi Dictionary.|
|Shanxi||Jinzhong||Mount Mian||2013||A 75 km² area surrounding the peak of Mt Mian (2,440 m), considered holy since at least the Spring and Autumn Period (8th–5th centuries BC), most famed as the scene of Jie Zhitui's supposed immolation by Duke Chong'er of Jin c. 636 BC and thus the home of China's Cold Food and Tomb-Sweeping Festivals, the site of imperial pilgrimage since the Tang (7th century), when Li Shimin won an important victory nearby and constructed a temple for the Princess Changzhao to retire to as a Buddhist nun.|
|Shanxi||Jinzhong||Qiao Family Compound
("Qiao's Grand Courtyard")
|2014||A 1.1 ha (2.6 acre) courtyard house comprising six large courtyards and 313 rooms built in the shape of a 囍, the character for "double happiness", initially constructed in 1755 for the tofu and tea merchant Qiao Guifa, rebuilt twice, including for the financier Qiao Zhiyong, converted into the Qixian Folk Museum in 1986, and the setting for Zhang Yimou's 1991 Raise the Red Lantern and over 40 other movies.|
("Pingyao Ancient City")
|2015||A 2.25 km² walled town of about 4000 buildings in central Shanxi, first protected by earthen ramparts c. 800 BC, thoroughly reconstructed and fortified c. 1370 under the early Ming, serving as the financial center of the region from the 16th century and of the entire Qing Empire during the late 19th century. The town exemplifies Ming & Qing urban planning, with over a hundred streets and lanes lined with 17th–19th century shops criss-crossing the town. Organized restorations have been undertaken periodically since the 15th century, the most recent phase beginning in 1979. The World Heritage Site also includes the nearby Shuanglin and Zhenguo Temples.|
|Shanxi||Xinzhou||Yanmen Pass Scenic Area||2017||A cluster of fortifications which once guarded the 1 km Yanmen Pass beside Mt Gouzhu, protecting "China Proper" from the nomads of the Eurasian steppe, initially constructed around 306 BC during the Warring States Period and taking most of its present form from Lu Ting's work in 1374 during the early Ming, when it formed part of the "inner" line of the Great Wall. Its strategic importance made it the site of numerous major events, most famously the 980 battle which formed an important element in the Chinese legends, plays, &c. about Yang Ye and the other Generals of the Yang Family.|
|Inner Mongolia||Ordos||Xiangshawan||2011||Desert resort|
|Inner Mongolia||Ordos||Mausoleum of Genghis Khan||2011||A 225 km² area surrounding a compound of 4 buildings constructed between 1954 and 1956 to house relics used in the veneration of Genghis Khan, Tolui, and their wives since the Yuan, repurposed as a salt depot in 1968, restored in the early 1980s, and now the world center of Genghis Khan's cult, despite having only replicas after its desecration during the Cultural Revolution. The site also includes an expansive prairie, an equestrian sports center, a hot air balloon area, and a village showcasing traditional Mongolian culture.|
|Inner Mongolia||Hinggan League||Mount Arxan and Chaihe River scenic area||2017||An amalgam of the Arxan National Forest Park and Geopark, the Zhalantun Scenic Area, and Rose Peak.|
|Liaoning||Shenyang||Shenyang Botanical Garden|
|Liaoning||Dalian||Tiger Beach Ocean Park, Tiger Beach Polar Museum|
|Liaoning||Dalian||Golden Pebble Beach||Jinshitan Scenic Area or Golden Pebble Beach National Resort|
|Liaoning||Benxi||Benxi Shuidong National Park||Benxi Water Caves|
|Liaoning||Anshan||Qianshan National Park|
|Jilin||Changchun||Changchun World Sculpture Park||2017|
|Jilin||Changchun||Museum of the Imperial Palace of Manchukuo||2007|
|Jilin||Changchun||Changchun Movie Wonderland||2015|
|Heilongjiang||Yichun||Stone Forest Scenic Area||2013||Located within the Tanwanghe National Park.|
|Heilongjiang||Harbin||Sun Island||2007||One of the main exhibition areas for ice sculptures during the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.|
|Shanghai||Pudong||Oriental Pearl TV Tower||2007|
|Shanghai||Pudong||Shanghai Wild Animal Park
("Shanghai Wildlife Park")
|Shanghai||Pudong||Shanghai Science & Technology Museum||2010|
|Jiangsu||Nanjing||Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum||Located on Purple Mountain|
|Jiangsu||Suzhou||Classical Gardens of Suzhou (Humble Administrator's Garden, Lingering Garden)||Located on Tiger Hill|
|Jiangsu||Suzhou||Zhouzhuang||Located on Kunshan|
|Jiangsu||Suzhou||Jinji Lake||Located in Suzhou Industrial Park|
|Jiangsu||Wuxi||CCTV Wuxi Film/TV Studio|
|Jiangsu||Nanjing||Qinhuai River||Located in Nanjing Fuzimiao|
|Jiangsu||Yangzhou||Slender West Lake|
|Jiangsu||Zhenjiang||Three Mountains of Zhenjiang (Jinshan, Jiaoshan and Beigushan)|
|Jiangsu||Changzhou||Oriental Jurassic Park|
|Jiangsu||Taizhou||Qin Lake Scenic Area|
|Jiangsu||Huai'an||Former Residence of Zhou Enlai|
|Jiangsu||Yancheng||Dafeng Milu Nature Reserve|
|Zhejiang||Ningbo||Xikou-Tengtou scenic spot||Located in Fenghua|
|Zhejiang||Jinhua||Hengdian World Studios||Located in Dongyang|
|Zhejiang||Hangzhou||Xixi National Wetland Park|
|Zhejiang||Shaoxing||Lu Xun's residence|
|Zhejiang||Quzhou||Root Palace Buddhist Cultural Tourism Zone||Located in Kaihua County|
|Zhejiang||Huzhou||Nanxun Old Town||Located in Nanxun District|
|Zhejiang||Taizhou||Shenxianju||Located in Xianju County|
("Mount Huangshan Scenic Area")
|Anhui||Huangshan||Xidi and Hongcun||2011|
|Anhui||Huangshan||Huizhou Cultural Area||2014|
|Anhui||Huangshan||Sanhe Ancient Town||2015|
|Anhui||Wuhu||Fantawild Adventure Wuhu||2016|
|Jiangxi||Shangrao||Jiangwan Village||Located in Wuyuan County.|
|Jiangxi||Jingdezhen||Ancient Kiln Folk Customs Museum|
|Jiangxi||Ganzhou||Cradle of the People's Republic of China|
|Shandong||Jining||Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu|
|Shandong||Zaozhuang||Taierzhuang Ancient Town||Located in Tai'erzhuang District.|
|Shandong||Linyi||Yimeng Mountain||Located in Yishui County.|
|Shandong||Weifang||Qingzhou Ancient Town||2017|
|Henan||Zhengzhou||Mount Song and Shaolin Monastery||2007|
|Henan||Kaifeng||Qingming Riverside Landscape Garden||2011||Cultural theme park that recreates the painting Along the River During the Qingming Festival.|
|Henan||Anyang||Yinxu||2011||Site of the archaeological discovery of oracle bones and oracle bone script, which resulted in the identification of the earliest known Chinese writing.|
|Henan||Pingdingshan||Mount Yao and Spring Temple Buddha||2011|
|Henan||Luoyang||Mount Laojun and Jiguan Cave||2012|
|Hubei||Wuhan||Yellow Crane Tower|
|Hubei||Yichang||Three Gorges Dam|
|Guangdong||Guangzhou||Chimelong Tourist Resort|
|Guangxi||Guilin||Jingjiang Princes' Palace|
|Hainan||Sanya||Nanshan Buddhism Cultural Zone|
|Chongqing||Yunyang County||Longgang Geological Park||2017||Longgang Geological Park is characterized by peculiar landforms such as karst, deep karst caves, grasslands and stalagmites. The world's longest cantilever bridge can also be found here.|
|Chongqing||Nanchuan||Jinfo Mountain||2013||Jinfo Mountain is an isolated mountain with cliffs up to 300 m surrounding its relatively flat top, surrounded by forest. With its outstanding karst features and superb biodiversity, Jinfo Shan has been listed as a tentative World Heritage site since 2001.|
|Chongqing||Qijiang||Black Valley Scenic Area||2012|
|Guizhou||Anshun||Longgong National Park Scenic Area||2007|
|Guizhou||Bijie||Baili Dujuan National Forest Park Scenic Area||2013|
|Guizhou||Qiannan Buyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture||Zhangjiang Scenic Area||2015|
|Guizhou||Guiyang||Qingyan Ancient Town||2017||Originally built in the year 1378, during the Ming Dynasty. Qingyan's pig's feet is a local delicacy found in the town. The pig's feet symbolize good luck. Located in Huaxi District.|
|Tibet||Shigatse||Tashi Lhunpo Monastery||2017||Founded in 1447, it is a historic and culturally important monastery that is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama. The monastery is located on a hill in the center of the city. The full name of the monastery in Tibetan means "all fortune and happiness gathered here."|
|Tibet||Nyingchi||Tsozong Gongba Monastery||2017||A small Tibetan Buddhism monastery founded in the 1400s in the Nyingma tradition, it is located on Tashi Island in the middle of Pagsum Lake in the Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains|
|Tibet||Lhasa||Jokhang Temple||2013||Located in Barkhor Square in Lhasa, the oldest part of the temple was built in 652 by Songtsen Gampo. Tibetans, in general, consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple is currently maintained by the Gelug school, but they accept worshipers from all sects of Buddhism.|
|Tibet||Lhasa||Potala Palace||2013||The 5th Dalai Lama started construction of the Patala Palace in 1645, and it served as the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. The palace consists of thirteen stories of buildings —containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues— that soar 117 metres (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the "Red Hill", rising more than 300 metres (980 ft) in total above the valley floor.|
|Shaanxi||Xi'an||Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, Terracotta Army||Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum|
|Shaanxi||Yan'an||Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor|
|Shaanxi||Xi'an||Giant Wild Goose Pagoda|
|Shaanxi||Shangluo||Golden Gorge Scenic Area|
("Resort Kanasi Lake")
|Xinjiang||Changji||Heavenly Lake of Tianshan
|Xinjiang||Ürümqi||Tianshan Grand Canyon||2014|
Tourist sites found deficient by the China National Tourism Administration (merged into the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2018) have lost their 5A accreditation due to deficiencies in visitor experience. In 2015, Shanhai Pass in Hebei was the first tourist site to be downgraded from 5A. The next wave of downgrading occurred in 2016 with the removal of Orange Isle in Hunan and Shenlong Gorge in Chongqing for "security concerns, overpricing, poor environmental management and poor facility maintenance, as well as bad service mainly resulting from a lack of staff members."
|Province||Prefecture||Name||Date of Inclusion||Date of Delisting||Description||Image|
("Shanhaiguan Scenic Area")
|2007||2015||A cluster of fortifications which once guarded the 10 km Shanhai Pass between Horn Mountain in the Yan chain and the Bohai Gulf, protecting "China Proper" from Manchuria, initially constructed in 583 during the early Sui dynasty and taking most of its present form from Xu Da's work in 1381 during the early Ming, when it became the eastern end of the Great Wall. Its strategic importance made it the site of numerous major events, most famously the 1644 battle that directly led to the establishment of the Qing.|
|Inner Mongolia||Hulunbuir||Manzhouli China-Russia Border Tourist Area||2016||The area includes the Matryoshka Resort, a cultural resort with a matryoshka theme, and National Gate Resort, a huge border gate with an observation deck at the top for visitors to overlook the border area between China and Russia. Other attractions at the scenic area include the No 41 Border Monument, Locomotive Square and the historical site of the Sixth National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in 1928.|
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- "The Great Wall at Shanhaiguan: First Pass under Heaven", China Highlights, Guilin: China Highlights, 5 Apr 2017.
- "Qinhuangdao", English Service, Beijing: China Radio International, 30 July 2008.
- "Shanhaiguan Pass", China.org, Beijing: China Internet Information Center, 25 July 2007.
- Moore, Patrick (26 Apr 2017), "Great Wall of China Guide: Shanhaiguan & Laolongtou", Time Out Beijing, London: Time Out.
- "Manzhouli China-Russia Border Tourist Area". China Daily. December 12, 2017.
- Complete list of AAAA tourist attractions (Chinese) at the website of the central government of the People's Republic of China