China is so big and diverse as you already know but have you ever wondered how many provinces and autonomous regions it has? Have you ever wondered how China is administratively divided? If you want to have a more clear picture of how China is regionally divided you are on right place. If you want to know what are top attractions, biggest cities and much more in each province and region you are on right place. It will really ease you to understand what is located in which part of China and ease you to travel to different parts of China. About political competences and further divisions of provinces and regions wont be here as it will be in chapter about modern development and politics of PRC. Here will be basic info about each province.
Lets start from the north,
Heilongjiang- is northern most province of China famous for cold weather, Amur river and was former part of Manchuria. During winter temperature drops to -40C. Its capital is Harbin city where you can find Orthodox Church and Ice Festival every winter.
Liaoning- Is a province that has access to Yellow Coast and borders North Korea. Its capital city is Shenyang famous for Mukden Palace. One of largest cities is Dalian located on the coast a big port and very developed city.
Jilin- is a province famous for Korean minority. Its capital is Changchun. Changbaishan is a big famous snow mountain which is worth visiting.
Hebei- Its capital is Shijiazhuang. It is most developed city in the province. Most famous spot is Chengde Mountain Resort and 8 outer temples built during Qing dynasty. Also a must visit is a spot where Great Wall enters Yellow Sea at Qinhuangdao town. Ancient Handan city is there too.
Shandong- Its capital is Jinan a very developed city. Another large coastal city is Qingdao. Province is famous for sacred Taishan mountain, Qufu a birthplace of Confucius and Qingdao beer. It is one of culturally richest provinces with many attractions, palaces, gardens and temples.
Shanxi- Its capital is Taiyuan. Province is famous for very ancient history, Pingyao ancient town and other attractions such as temples and Yungang grottoes. There is also located Buddhist Wutaishan mountain.
Shaanxi- is one of historically richest provinces. Its capital is Xian and largest city what was capital of China for many centuries. In Xian there are old imperial palaces, temples, pagodas and ancient quarter. Also in the province there is famous site of Terracotta Warriors which date from 3rd century BC.
Qinghai- is a vast territory of grasslands. Its capital is Xining. Province is famous for Mongol, Tibetan and Hui minority. Biggest attraction is large Qinghai Lake which is salted and very clear.
Gansu- Its capital is Lanzhou one of very old cities but quite developed today. Famous yellow river passes through Lanzhou. Ancient Silk Road was passing here too. Most famous sites are Mogao Buddhist Caves and Bingling Thousand Buddha cave.
Jiangsu- One of culturally and historically richest provinces where Yangtze river passes. Its capital is Nanjing today a very modern city and in past was capital for several times. One of most famous locations is Suzhou water town famous for gorgeous gardens. Other water towns such as Tongli and Zhouzhuang are here too. There are really a lot sites to see here.
Henan- Its capital is Zhengzhou. This province offers really a lot such as Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang ancient city which was capital several times, Kaifeng a very ancient and beautiful city which was capital during Song dynasty and Shaolin Temple one of most famous martial arts temples.
Anhui– its capital is Hefei a fast developing city. Its most famous spot is Mount Huangshan one of most dangerous mountains in the world. Province is also famous for Hongcun ancient village.
Hubei- its capital is Wuhan. This province is one of provinces where Chinese people settled indigenously. Most famous spot is Wudangshan mountain famous for Taoist monks and Tai Chi.
Sichuan- is one of largest and culturally richest provinces of China. Its capital is Chengdu one a most developed city in western China. Chengdu offers also a lot of cultural spots. In Sichuan you can find mount Emeishan a sacred Buddhist mountain, mount Qingchengshan a sacred Taoist mountain, Leshan Buddha a giant carved Buddha, sanctuaries of pandas and valley of azure lakes and Tibetan villages. Province is famous for most beautiful girls in China and spicy food.
Zhejiang- is one of richest culturally, historically and economically province. Its capital is Hangzhou which was capital of China under South Song dynasty. Hangzhou offers a lot of attractions such as West Lake and Feilai Feng nearby Hangzhou. Another most famous city is Ningbo which is developed today but offers a lot of old sites.
Jiangxi- its capital is Nanchang with a 1000 year old pavilion. Other famous cities are Fuzhou and Jingdezhen( famous for porcelain). There are also natural spots such as Mount Lushan and Mount Longhushan a Taoist sacred mountain.
Hunan- its capital is Changsha. Except Changsha a must visit are Zhangjiajie national partk and Fenghuang water town. It is famous for spicy food too.
Guizhou- its capital is Guiyang a city of contrasts between old and new. Province offers several ancient villages, Anshun area of mountains, caves, waterfalls and ethnic minorities.
Yunnan- Its capital is Kunming. Is one of naturally and culturally most beautiful provinces. Top attractions are Dali ancient town, Lijiang ancient town one of most romantic towns in China, Erhai Lake, Lugu lake and Cangshan mountain. Province is famous for more than 20 ethnic minorities.
Taiwan- Is officially province of PRC but has different political system. Capital is Taipei and there are a lot of mountains to visit. PRC aims to reunite with Taiwan under principle One Country Two Systems.
Fujian- Capital is Fuzhou. Other famous cities are Xiamen and Zhuhai. Wuyishan is most famous natural spot. There are many Hakka villages worth visiting.
Guangdong- is one of most developed provinces. Its capital is Guangzhou one of most developed cities in China. Except Guangzhou there is large and very developed Shenzhen city.
Hainan- is an island province. Its capital is Haikou which is together with Sanya one of most developed cities on island. Its famous for tropical climate, beautiful nature and as most popular summer resort in China.
Are mostly different from provinces as they are regions of ethnic minorities. Here ethnic minorities play big role in choosing their governor.
Inner Mongolia- Its capital is Hohhot. There lives large Mongolian minority. Most famous spots are Mausoleum of Genghis Khan, Wanbu pagoda and Dazhao Temple. There are vast grasslands.
Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region- Its capital is Yinchuan. It is region of Hui people a Chinese Muslim minority. You can visit there West Xia Tombs, Sand Lake, ride a camel, Haibao pagoda and many mosques. You can try there halal food. You can experience authentic life of Chinese Muslims.
Xinjiang Autonomous Region- is westernmost region of China with capital in Urumqi. It is region of Uighurs a minority of Turkic origin. Other important cities are Kashgar and Turpan. You can really feel there a Turkic influence in architecture, cuisine and traditional clothing. There are many beautiful mountains and deserts.
Tibetan Autonomous Region- located on plateau on high altitude. Its capital is Lhasa. This region is region of Tibetan minority people. It is homeland of Tibetan Buddhism where Dalai Lama formerly resided. Most famous locations are Putuo Palace, Samye monastery, Jokhgang monastery, Mt. Everest and much more…
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region- Is a region of Zhuang people. Its capital is Nanning. Region is famous for natural beauties and ethnic diversity. Most famous locations are Guilin, Yangshuo, Detian waterfall…
Municipalities- are 4 cities which are directly under control of central government and have status similar as those of province but instead of local it is under governance of central government. More about them will be in last historical chapter.
Beijing- a capital city and municipality. It includes urban, suburban and rural areas in total 16 districts. I wrote a lot already about scenic spots in and around Beijing city.
Tianjin- is also one of most developed Chinese cities. It is 30min by train from Beijing. Is composed of 16 districts includes city and area around it. Most famous spots are, Dule Temple, Section of Great Wall, Water Park, Da Bei Temple, Old Culture Street. Modern landscape predominates in the city. There are quarts held by foreign troops during their invasion of China.
Shanghai- is a most developed city in China and one of most developed cities in world. It has 3 times more skyscrapers than New York. Shanghai is composed of 16 districts. Most famous spots are The Bund, Yu Garden, Jade Buddha Temple, Nanjing Road, Disneyland Park and Xin Tian Di an early 20th century area.
Chongqing- is a city and municipality surrounded by Sichuan province. It is composed of 26 districts and is one of largest and most modern Chinese cities. Yangtze river passes among urban area full of skyscrapers. Three Gorges, Dazu carvings, Jiefangbei and several more.
Special Administrative Regions
Are regions which exercise high degree of autonomy but are officially part of China under principle One Country Two Systems. More about their governance will be in last historical chapter about modern China.
Hong Kong- is a city and SAR region. It is one of worlds most developed cities. In past it was occupied by Britain and was returned to China in 1997. There are many modern areas and famous Lantau island and several Buddhist and Taoist temples.
Macau– was reunited with China in 1999 after several centuries of being leased to Portugal. It is famous for casinos and is often called Las Vegas of China. There is famous Catholic cathedral which shows heritage of Portuguese presence.
ENjoy China 😉