You’ve probably heard of Tibet, but did you know there are four other areas that comprise China’s autonomous regions?

Guangxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Xinjiang, as well as Tibet, all have their own local government – just like the standard provinces do. However, due to the higher proportion of ethnic minorities in the autonomous regions, they have more legislative rights.

With the exception of Guangxi, which borders Vietnam and the South China Sea, the autonomous regions are located inland. All have a lower standard of living than the provinces dotted along the eastern seaboard.

Although there are fewer teaching roles available, if you do happen to secure a teaching position in one of the autonomous regions you're guaranteed of a unique and unforgettable experience.

China's autonomous regions at a glance

Autonomous region Highlights
  • Home to the Zhuang people
  • Guilin’s breathtaking scenery is a tourist favorite
  • Surrounded by peaks and a river, the town of Yangshuo is a delight
  • Marvel at the Longsheng rice terraces carved into the mountains
Inner Mongolia
  • Home to the Mongol people
  • Visit capital city Hohhot’s many temples
  • Enjoy the open space of the grasslands
  • The Hui people make up about one-third of the region
  • Mostly desert region
  • The Great Wall of China cuts through its north-eastern boundary
  • The Western Xia tombs, which are still being excavated, are just 19 miles (30 km) from the capital Yinchuan
  • 9 out of every 10 people in the region are native Tibetans
  • Only open to tourists since the 1980s
  • Steeped in rich history and culture
  • Harsh and rugged terrain
  • World’s biggest mountain, Mount Everest, borders Nepal
  • The iconic Potala Palace, perched on top of a hill in capital Llhasa, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The Uyghur comprise almost half of the region’s people
  • Majority of the people adhere to Islam
  • Borders eight countries including Russia, Afghanistan and India
  • Extreme weather conditions in summer and winter
  • Ecologically diverse and home to China's largest desert


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