Covering most of the country, China’s standard provinces are large geographical areas each with their own capital city and provincial government. Countries like the United States, Canada and Australia have a similar set-up.

Similarities with the West, however, end there. China’s long and rich history, as well as its huge population, has resulted in a unique situation whereby travelling from one province to another can feel like you’ve stepped foot in another country.

This is great for ESL teachers who enjoy traveling - you can have a host of different experiences while staying put in the one country. It’s more bang for your buck!

China's standard provinces at a glance

Province Highlights
  • Huang Shan, or Yellow Mountain, is a major tourist drawcard (and for good reason – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Step back in time at ancient villages Xidi and Hongcun in southern Anhui
  • Take a raft past the Wuyi Mountains
  • You’ll love Xiamen’s beaches, Piano Island and cool culture
  • Sweet and sour pork is always on the menu in capital city Fuzhou
  • The largest and most intact entrance to the Great Wall can be found in Gansu
  • Imagine what it was like for Marco Polo as you travel along the historic Silk Road
  • Admire Buddhist art the Mogao Caves
  • Locals speak Cantonese
  • Guangdong’s capital and largest city Guangzhou is enormous – over 12 million people
  • Migrants from all over China come to Shenzhen for work
  • Huangguoshu Waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in China
  • Home of the famous Mou Tai liquor – it’ll knock your socks off!
  • Travel across the world’s highest railway bridge, Beipanjiang
  • Lovely island province by the South China Sea
  • Sanya is the country’s increasingly popular summer playground
  • Yalong Bay is regarded as one of Hainan’s best beaches, now home to international hotels and resorts
  • Anji Bridge, a bus ride away from capital city Shijiazhuang, is China's oldest standing bridge
  • Imperial tombs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties date back hundreds of years
  • Chengde Mountain Resort houses a large complex of imperial palaces and gardens
  • Located in the northeast, it has a strong Russian influence
  • Capital city Harbin embraces the cold by focusing on winter tourism, like the world-renowned Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival
  • Regional cuisine, like the Harbin sausage, that you can’t find elsewhere
  • The birthplace of Chinese civilization
  • If it were its own country, Henan would be the twelfth most populous in the world!
  • Get your kung fu on at the Shaolin Temple
  • Be awed by the Longmen Caves and brave the Zhangjiajie Skywalk Footbridge
  • Capital city Wuhan is the powerhouse of central China
  • Tennis anyone? Wuhan is Grand Slam winner Li Na’s hometown
  • The Yellow Crane Tower is a must-see attraction
  • Hungry? Take a seat in the 5000-seat capacity West Lake Restaurant in Changsha
  • Keep your eyes on the sky – there are plans for the world’s tallest skyscraper, Sky City, to be built in Changsha
  • A rich and densely populated province, Jiangsu is the economic stalwart of China
  • Nanjing used to be the nation’s capital
  • Cute canals are everywhere in Zhouzhuang, endearingly known as ‘Water Town’
  • Want to see China’s most beautiful people? Visit Suzhou
  • Mount Longhu, or Dragon Tiger Mountain, is said to be the birthplace of Taoism
  • Enjoy the views from lovely Mount Lu in Lushan National Park
  • The fifteenth series of American TV show Survivor was filmed just 25 miles (40 km) from the capital Nanchang
  • Borders North Korea in the northeast
  • A leading automotive manufacturer
  • The capital Changchun means ‘long spring’ – despite it having a relatively short spring!
  • Like Jilin, it borders North Korea
  • Seaside city Dalian attracts plenty of tourists
  • Mukden Palace in capital city Shenyang shares UNESCO World Heritage Site status with the Forbidden City in Beijing
  • Xining boasts one of the most pleasant summer temperatures in China
  • Home to a fusion of different ethnic groups, resulting in an interesting mix of cultures and cuisines
  • The Lanqing railway connects Tibet to the rest of China
  • The Terracotta Army is one of the country’s most visited attractions
  • Capital Xi’an is enveloped by an ancient city wall which you can walk along the top of
  • Try local delicacy mutton soup
  • Visit all 72 springs around capital city Jinan
  • Qingdao is a crowd favourite – marvel at the German-era architecture, relax at the beach or drink its famous export beer Tsingtao (or do all three!)
  • Climb sacred mountain Tai Shan
  • Famous for its delicious noodles
  • The ancient city of Pingyao is surrounded by the well-preserved, imposing city walls
  • The Datong area is rich with history – the Yungang Caves and Hanging Temple are just a few examples
  • If you love spicy food, you’ll love Sichuan
  • Sichuanese is the local dialect
  • Fancy meeting a panda? Head to Chengdu’s panda sanctuary
  • The Mount Emei scenic area, including the Leshan Giant Buddah, is a must-see
  • Borders neighboring countries Vietnam, Laos and Burma
  • The Old Town of Lijiang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Capital city Kunming has one of the mildest climates in China due to its low latitude and high elevation
  • Hangzhou is one of China’s greenest and most beautiful cities
  • Hire a bike and ride around the lovely West Lake
  • The Yandang Mountains feature vertical rock faces and lush forests


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