Henan, a landlocked province in Central China, is famous for being the origin of Chinese civilization. This province is also known as Zhongyuan, which literally means “midland.” With a recorded history of 3000 years, Henan Province was the cultural, economic, and political center of China about 1000 years ago. In addition to being the third-most-populous province of China with 94 million people, if Henan were a country, it would be the globe’s 14th largest. This region is also home to a large number of heritage sites.
Planning to visit China later this year? We have arranged a list of 10 must-do things in Henan Province for you. These to-do things are more of must-visit things which you should not overlook at all if you want to make the best out of your trip to china!
The Yellow River – Experience China’s Mother River
Topping the list is the iconic Yellow River, where many ancient and splendid civilizations were born and died. The world recognizes the Yellow River for originating the Chinese civilization on its shores in 2,800 BC. Henan Province is a fertile land which is situated right there in the scenic valley area of the Yellow River.
Above all, the river is home to China’s most ancient leaders, the Yellow Emperor and the Yan Emperor. That’s also one of the reasons why it holds an unshakable position in the heart of every Chinese and also why you shouldn’t miss this awe-inspiring destination.
With an estimated length of 5,464 kilometers, the Yellow River is China’s main north-to-south and east-to-west artery. You will be thrilled by this marvel situated in the heart of the People’s Republic of China. The top attractions of The Yellow River in Henan Province are Zhengzhou Yellow River Scenic Spots, grasslands, Suyukou National Forest Park, Five Springs Mountain, Hukou Waterfall, and the Loess Plateau.
Luoyang – Henan, China, A City Of 13 Dynasties
With over 5000 years of civilization history, Luoyang is home to 13 dynasties. With mountains and hills comprising 80% of the total area of Luoyang, it’s located on the north bank of the Luo. In the south of the city, it features The Longmen Grottoes, a series of temples, which are also a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Honestly, the provinces in China are filled with deep-rooted cultural complexity and diversity, and Luoyang is the plethora of it all. In order for you to truly appreciate the culture, art, music, and exquisite cuisine of traditional Chinese of Luoyang, you’ll have to experience it for yourself. For you, some of the many things to do in Luoyang are: visiting The Shaolin Temple famed for Kung-Fu, The White Horse Temple of Buddhism, the Luoyang Museum, The Longmen Grottoes for its carved-cliff sites, Guanlin Temple, and Mount Laojun.
Kaifeng – City In Central Henan Province
Like Luoyang, Kaifeng is also a city of Henan, situated in east-central Henan, and home to 10 dynasties on the south of the Yellow River. The city features a 55m-tall octagonal structure known as Iron Pagoda, and its construction is dated back to 10-12 centuries ago. Iron Pagoda features an iconic architecture that depicts the pure traditional aesthetics and roots of ancient Chinese.
That is just a start. If you’re about to visit Henan, the number of valuable cultural relics in Kaifeng is massive. From the top of my head is the Dragon Pavilion Park, which covers multiple sites of former imperial palaces of the 10 dynasties. The place also has lakes, a historical museum, a botanical garden, and a center for Kaifeng’s annual fair.
Additionally, some other places for you to visit in Kaifeng are Qing-era Daxiangguo Temple — recognized for featuring a 1000-handed bodhisattva statue, Song Du Yu Jie — an imperial street of the Song dynasty, and Millennium City Park — a theme park home to shows, gardens, and palaces.
Zhengzhou – The Capital Of Henan Province
The capital of east-central China’s Henan province, Zhengzhou, is the most significant economic center, situated in the basin of the Yellow River. Its history dates back to the Neolithic times and the city also happens to be home to the notable Shang dynasty.
Apart from being the economic and business hub of Henan province, this metropolis city also features a pyramid-shaped museum. It’s an enlightening treat if you’re fascinated by cultural relics and history.
Although, for the Chinese, the most significant attraction of Zhengzhou is the massive sculptures of Emperors Yan and Huang. The people of China, even today, take pride in being the descendants of these emperors.
Some of the many things to do in Zhengzhou include Visiting City God Temple, Antique Market, Mount Song, Zhongyuan Tower, Yellow River Scenic Area, Novotel Tower, and Orient Shopping Center — to satisfy your shopping needs.
World Cultural Heritage Sites – Henan Province
If you’re about to visit Henan, you have to double-check these sites in your bucket list. There are three of them in Henan Province, which are recognized by UNESCO. These three sites are declared as World’s Cultural Heritage Sites. Believe these words, you do not want to miss these.
The first site is the Mountain Songshan, which is also known as the central sacred mountain of China. Around the hill, under a 40km circle lies a cluster of buildings and relics, which includes three Han Que Gates — oldest religious edifices of China, the Zhougong Sundial Platform, the Dengfeng Observatory, and temples. These buildings are also titled as the Centre of Heaven and Earth.
The second is the Longmen Grottoes of Luoyang with carved-sculptures in the hills. The third is the Ruins of Yin Dynasty, situated in the ancient city of Yin.
These archeological remnants are a great way to spend some productive vacations, especially if you’re in Chinese history and culture.
Experience The True Essence Of Kung-Fu & Martial Arts
In the long history of Chinese civilization, experiencing martial arts and Kung-Fu in their true essence may make you feel that unique Chinese characteristics are all around you, and more importantly, within you. Kung-Fu also reflects the very same thing to a large extent. We all know that Kung-Fu and Martial Arts can only be mastered through hard work and practice.
According to the Chinese monks and sorcerers, it’s the mind that plays the central role when learning Kung-Fu and Martial Arts. This contains vibrant, yet strong Chinese philosophy—whether it’s curing diseases and improving mental and physical health, or in subduing the enemy and preventing conflict.
All styles and schools of Martial Arts originated from the Shaolin Temple situated in Luoyang. In order to learn the philosophy of Chinese, you should experience this window of Chinese culture to the world. Tai Chi or Shadow Boxing is another school of the Chinese Martial Arts culture and another area worth experiencing.
Longtan Valley – Henan, China
About 60 km away from Luoyang, Longtan Valley is located in the north of the county of Xin’an. With splendid waterfalls and beautiful landscapes, the Longtan Valley is also regarded as the most beautiful valley in China. The valley stretches for 12 kilometers and features red-purple quartz sandstones with water flowing over the stones.
The place is always covered with wispy clouds while you enrich your soul with pulsating landscapes. The sounds of humming waterfalls and nature’s songs give you peace. While swerving through the provinces in China, stop by this place for a quiet evening or early morning; it’ll be an experience of a lifetime. The valley’s scenic spots are also supported by excellent geographical locations and the means of transportation to get there are swift as well.
Funiu Mountain Geopark – Henan, Province
This park is situated in the city of Xixia, which is located in the southwest of Henan Province. The mountain is the central reserve of nature for Chinese. The highest peak of the Mountain Finiu happens to mark the sky at a height of 2200 meters.
This major attraction of Xixia also serves as the geographical division between Southern China and Northern China. The unique geographical location of this geopark, the sub-tropical and warm temperature combined with less human interaction helps to preserve its bio-diversity.
Some more attractions of this region: National Mine Park, Fossilized Dinosaur Eggs, 2879 types of vascular plants, wild animals like leopard and giant salamander, more than 3000 kinds of insects, a reserve of the biosphere, and more. In other words, this park will act as an excellent reboot for you if you’re a nature-freak.
The Birthplace Of Huangdi — Xinzheng
The Chinese take great pride in being descendants to their ancestors. The Chinese have a total of 5 legendary ancestors. One of them, called The Yellow Emperor, is Huangdi. The Chinese also believe that Huangdi reigned between 2697 BC–2597 BC. Even now, Chinese Mythology credits the Yellow Emperor as the cultural hero of all Han Chinese.
The real name of the Yellow Emperor is believed to be Gongsun Xuanyuan. His birthplace is now considered a worship destination for his descendants. Many visit the Emperor’s birthplace each year on the third day of the lunar year to pay their worship-offerings. Visiting this marvel should be on top of your list, as it will not only please your aesthetic sense, but it will also help you diversify your intellect.
Yuntai Mountain – Jiaozuo, Henan
The area around Yuntai Mountain has been at the receiving end of multiple titles. This includes the National Geologic Park, National Macaque Natural Reserve, National 5A Grade Tourist Attraction, and National Forest Park. It is in the county of Xiuwu. It lies at a distance of 18.6 miles from Jiaozuo City.
This place is famous for its mountainous landscapes and turquoise water sceneries. The site has long been identified as one of the most popular tourist resorts. The last Emperor of the Han Dynasty stayed here. This, coupled with the roots of the Wei Dynasty, Jin Dynasty, and Tang dynasty, the place has deeply-embedded historical roots.
Also, some other attractions of this area would be its long terrains, sky-high mountains, beautiful turquoise waters, parks, and grasslands.