Backpack On A Budget Through The Largest Cities In China

Cities In China
Image by WikiCommons

The People’s Republic of China is the globe’s most populous country, with a population of over 1.386 billion. Regarding the area, China is the 4th largest country in the world. Have you been planning to visit China recently? If your answer is yes, then lucky for you! We have arranged a list of the largest cities in China. The list contains detailed mentions of the top attractions in each city. So get ready to read about an all-inclusive vacation plan with us and backpack through the largest cities in China.

Shanghai – One Of The Largest Cities In The World

Image by Martin Pilát on VisualHunt

Shanghai is one of the largest cities in the world. It is also a global financial hub, located in China’s central coast. Shanghai is spread over an area of 4000 square kilometers and happens to be the wealthiest city in the country. Shanghai offers high-octane, thrill-packed, and pulsating nightlife in addition to the business routine of the morning. Its tall buildings and skyscrapers touch the sky at awe-inspiring heights which are destined to fill you up with awe.  

The heart of Shanghai is the Bund, a famed waterfront esplanade surrounded with buildings having colonial-era architecture. Besides this, the Pudong district’s modernistic and celestial sight features the Shanghai Tower and Oriental Pearl TV Tower. If you’re backpacking across the largest cities in China in minimal budget, you should fill up your plans of Shanghai with maximized sightseeing with occasional leisure.

Some other excellent attractions of the city are Nanjing road – a shopping thoroughfare brilliantly illuminant at night, People’s square – featuring the Shanghai Museum, Longhua Temple – known for Song Dynasty Pagoda, The French Concession, and more. Lastly, don’t forget to take small bites from native Chinese cuisines in the city.

Beijing Tour Guide For Backpackers

Cities In China
Image by cattan2011 on VisualHunt

By area, Beijing is probably the largest city of China, with an area of 4100 square kilometers. The word Beijing means “Northern Capital” in contrast to Nanjing, which actually means “Southern Capital.” Beijing, the sprawling capital of China, has its history dating back to 3 millennia. As one of the six most ancient cities, Beijing has always been the heart and soul of China when it comes to politics. Also, Beijing is now the cultural, educational, and industrial center with its industries dominating all over the world.

Backpackers should know that the city is known for its modern and futuristic architecture, along with ancient sites. In the middle of its 6-ring-road circle layout, lies the ancient Forbidden City Complex, which was the imperial palace during the famous Qing and Ming dynasties. The city is also home to the world’s largest airport and an even more extensive and updated subway train system. The transport system should be ideal for you as a backpacker because of its minimal expenses. 

As a part of your plan on what to do in Chinese cities, you may get a lot of it done in Beijing. Starting from being the best location to admire the Great Wall of China. You can also find the massive Tiananmen Square pedestrian plaza and Mao Zedong’s mausoleum there. The National Museum of China exhibits a vast collection of cultural relics. Some other top tourist attractions are Beijing Zoo, Ming Tombs, Temple of Heaven, Hutongs, Yonghe Temple, Summer Palace, and the National Stadium. In other words, Beijing is an itinerant’s heaven, also offering many of the tastiest native cuisines.

Cities In China: Tianjin

Cities In China
Image by Trey Ratcliff on VisualHunt

Situated over an area of 2800 square kilometers on the Bohai Gulf, Tianjin is a grand port and manufacturing center having a significant history. This major port city in northeastern China is home to several western concessions. European-styled houses, municipal buildings, and some churches in Five Great Avenues (Wudadao) are some of the remnants of the Western concessions. 

If you’re a bunch of backpackers fond of the pulsating nightlife, Tianjin is an excellent spot with celestial night sceneries reflecting in the turquoise waters of the Grand Canal. Some other attractions of the city are famous shopping thoroughfares. Some of them are Binjiang Dao and Guwenhua Jie. An ancient culture street surrounded with faux Qing Dynasty Architecture. For the passionate ones among you, there’s the Tianjin Museum which exhibits the cultural history and classical Chinese art. 

Many of the tourist attractions in Tianjin are situated south of the Hai River, for which you can rent boats and guided tours. For your list of what to do in Chinese cities: visiting the Huangyaguan Great Wall and Dule Si – A Buddhist temple. You can also see some selections of the Liao Dynasty. For a complete tour of the largest cities in China, Tianjin should be in your list.

Cities In China: Shenzhen 

Cities In China
Image by VisualHunt

This metropolis city is situated in southeast China that also links Hong Kong to China’s mainland. Shenzhen is mainly known for its shopping destinations. As a tourist in China, this city must be a part of your tour so you can gather some ornaments to enlighten your memory later. Besides the shopping centers, Shenzhen also features a bunch of tall buildings and skyscrapers kissing the sky at mighty heights.

Feeding off the success of its neighbor cities, the city had sprung overnight and is now ranked 4th for China’s Industrial output. The shopping destinations of Shenzhen include Dongmen, KK Mall and Luohu Commercial City. These destinations are specially for your faux designer bags and custom tailor’s clothing.

The city of Shenzhen is also home to some world-class amusement parks and top-notch tourist attractions. The Shenzhen Museum exhibits fossils and cultural handicrafts. The Xiangning Art Museum displays modern works of local and international artists. For those of you who are into sky open destinations in daylight, there’s a Fairy Lake Botanical Garden. Also, there’s Dameisha Beach Park, Petrified Forest, and Dapeng Fortress. Lastly, if you’re an artist or a painter, don’t forget to drop by Dafen Painting Town, where artists regularly reproduce classical paintings.

Guangzhou: 5th Largest Cities In China

Cities In China
Image by wallace_Lan on VisualHunt

Guangzhou, with an area of 3,800 square kilometers, is a vast manufacturing base of China. The industrial area attracts thousands of people from the countryside to work in its factories. If you’re a business expert, the city also hosts biannual Import and Export fairs in China.

Guangzhou is also sometimes known as Canton, and it’s situated in the northwest of Hong Kong on the Pearl River. Apart from business attractions, the city also provides all kinds of watersports. If you’re an architect, the city features avant-garde architecture, such as Zaha Hadid’s Guangzhou Opera House, the box-shaped Guangdong Museum, and the exemplary Canton TV Tower Skyscraper.

One of the top attractions Guangzhou has to offer is the The Museum of the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King. Also there are the resting place of a Dan Dynasty ruler, the sandbar Shamian Island, and Chimelong Paradise. Baiyun can also be found there, which is an amusement park. There’s also a cable car ride. Also, the city of Guangzhou has a thriving and full-fledged food scene which you shouldn’t miss.

Cities In China: Chengdu

Cities In China
Image by JianEnYu on VisualHunt

Unlike the other metropolis large cities of China, Chengdu is a magnificent exception. The city does not only have a high-octane nightlife, but it’s also known as a natural habitat for animals such as pandas. Moreover, Chengdu is the capital of southeast China’s province, Sichuan. Being a research base of Giant Panda breeding, visitors and travelers can experience giant pandas in their natural habitat.

For your list of what to do in Chinese cities, Chengdu offers Shufengya Yun Sichuan Opera that exhibits fire-breathing and face-changing performances. Du Fu Thatched Cottage display works of a famous Tang Dynasty’s poet. There’s also a New Century Global Center which is a humongous shopping complex consisting of hotels, waterparks, and numerous teahouses scattered throughout.

The following are some more visiting spots of the city for you to visit: 

  • Mount Qingcheng
  • Dujiangyan Irrigation System
  • Wenshu Yuan Monastery
  • People’s Park
  • Wanjiang Pavillion Park
  • Culture Park
  • Mingshuwangling Station
  • Qingyang Palace
  • Picturesque – An old-world pedestrian street with arts and crafts


Cities In China
Image by shizhao on VisualHunt

Dongguan is a cosmopolitan city, hugging China’s Pearl River. This city has low wages-ratio as compared to the other large cities in China. A little-known, but still is a large manufacturing city. Tourism wise, the town is not top-notch or renowned, but still features a couple of tourist spots. If you’re a backpacker going swerving through the largest cities in China, your stay in Dongguan should be no longer than 2-3 days and relatively cheaper.

Dongguan features a river bridge standing high, which is an old yet firm piece of architecture. While adding more things on your list of what to do in China’s cities, you should also include a night’s stay in the serene mountains of Yixian Resort. Moreover, there’s an Opium War Museum that exhibits artifacts from the 19th century Opium Wars.

Following are some more attractions the city of Dongguan has to offer:

  • South China Mall – To satisfy your shopping needs (relatively cheaper)
  • Songshan Lake – With some boat rental activities and water sports
  • Keyuan – A historic and beautiful scenic garden
  • A bunch of Buddhist Temple and Statues
  • Humen Naval Battle Museum
  • Hermit Villa
  • Local cuisine of this city


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here