China’s Golden Triangle

Yellow Mountains

China has a rich cultural and economic history. It is also a large country so finding time to visit the whole thing is often difficult. In recent years, an area known as the “Golden Triangle” has become more and more popular. The points of the triangle are made up of three major Chinese cities: Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. Some say, that if you can’t visit any other part of China these are the “must-see” to experience the history and culture of this great country.

If you do choose to focus your travels on this area, there are many beautiful photo-ops for you to take advantage of that are in or near the triangle points.


Within the walls of this ancient city are a number of beautiful, historic structures. Many visitors are drawn to famous sites such as Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace. Just outside the city lies one of the area’s most desired destinations – the Great Wall.

A popular entrance point to the Great Wall is Badaling. It is home to one of the most well preserved portions of the Wall. It also lies near the entrance to Badaling National Forest Park. The National Park hosts countless varieties of local flora and fauna and creates a stunning natural contrast to the ancient wall. 


Xi’an is one of China’s most popular destinations and is a city that boasts thousands of years of history – it is often thought to be the “birthplace of Chinese civilization”. As the eastern end-point of the Silk Road, the city itself was a power center for thousands of years. It was once home to a number of dynasties and emperors, many of which created some of today’s most popular tourist sites. 

One of the most famous cultural sites within the city walls is the Terracotta Army. The sheer volume and expanse of the figures is awe inspiring. Beyond the walls, the region has many beautiful natural wonders to offer. Approximately 250 miles from Xi’an is  China’s second largest waterfall, Hukou Waterfall. Its impressive currents draw visitors from around the world to see it. Another popular natural destination is Mount Hua. There are a number of ways to reach the views at the top, one of the most recommended being to hike. Those who hike get a unique (and slightly scary) experience of the mountain’s true beauty.


Completing China’s Golden Triangle is Shanghai. Some say this is the city where east meets west with its impressive modern skyscrapers and rich cultural history. Historically, it has been an important port city and has more recently become a financial hub for the region.

For those looking to explore beyond the busy city streets of Shanghai there are some popular alternatives. The area is home to a number of waterways and canals that inhabitants have built their homes around for years. One of the most popular “water towns” is the Zhujiajiao Water Town. It is also one of the closest to Shanghai and awes visitors with its nearly 40 bridges and traditional style architecture. For those looking to venture a little farther, the inspiring Yellow Mountains are recommended. Just a train ride away from Shanghai, the trees, rock formations and cloud waves have been inspiring Chinese artists and writers for hundreds years.

China is a huge country and it can be difficult to fit everything you want to see in just one trip. If you’re looking to get a mix of both city and nature then the Golden Triangle may be for you.


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