Chongqing is a huge and one-of-a-kind Chinese city that has the largest concentrated population in all of China. (It's about twice the size of Taiwan with twice the population of Beijing!)
It is known for its rich ethnic diversity, reflected in a wide array of museums and cuisine. A modern port city, Chongqing has a wealth of water reserves, mineral resources, dense forests and natural beauty. While its agriculture remains significant, Chongqing is rapidly growing as a modern exciting city.
Located along the southeast coast of China in Fujian Province, the island city of Xiamen is a popular tourist resort, famous for its beautiful seascape. It's also an historic city known for a gorgeous water harbor surrounded by natural scenery.
A unique mixture of old and new, Xiamen is home to an illustrious cottage industry devoted to hand-painted oil paintings. It's also the world's leading manufacturer of sunglasses, exporting of some 120 million pairs annually. Often referred to as "The Garden on the Sea," and with a strong international presence, Xiamen is a little paradise for both locals and tourists alike.
Mianyang is Sichuan's second largest city and a thriving metropolis. Comparatively small, with a population of five million, it's known for its charming and local feel. The city has changed enormously from its agricultural past and is now one of the fastest growing hi-tech capitals in the country (it's even nicknamed the "Silicon Valley of China). It is a cool city, with friendly people and a comfortable life-style.
Easy to get around and a good base to travel to other cities, it's also home to the famous Wanglang National Nature Reserve, which has giant and red pandas, monkeys, sambars and other rare animals. With a mild though humid climate and rich ethnic diversity, Mianyang is simply a beautiful place to live.
Qingdao (Tsingtao), Shandong
Qingdao (Tsingtao) is a Western-influenced city having been a German concession until 1949. The German legacy can be seen in the city's European architecture, and, even more famously, in the Tsingtao Pilsner Brewery.
The city is surrounded by water and has the largest swimming beach in Asia. With its red roofs, luscious greenery, blue sea and perfect skies, it's known for being a bright and colorful city, sometimes called the Switzerland of Asia.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics held its sailing competitions here, and the city is home to numerous festivals, world-class museums and parks. With an open, relaxed and beautiful atmosphere, Qingdao is undoubtedly one of China's most livable cities.
The capital of the beautiful Yunnan Province, Kunming, is China's top summer resort city. With a pleasant climate all year round, the city is home to more than one third of China's ethnic minorities, and over half of the country's plant and animal species. Taking advantage of its location in Southwest China, the city is an economic and cultural gateway to South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Kunming's cuisine is distinctly Yunnanese, and the people are famously laid-back and welcoming. Known also as the "City of Flowers," (it's the largest flower exporter in Asia), it's an ideal place for leisure, travel, vacationing and living.
Chengdu is one of the most famous and interesting places in Western China. Known as a center of urban sophistication and entertainment.
Home to an estimated 15 million people, Chengdu is known for its easygoing and laid-back vibe. It's also home to some of the most exquisite Chinese cuisine, so if you're a foodie, Chengdu is definitely for you.
The city is surrounded by mountains in a large fertile plain that gives it its other name, "The Land of Abundance". Home to the iconic Giant Panda Center, Chengdu is a vibrant and beautiful city to live, to explore, and to teach in.
Guiyang is the capital of China's southwestern Guizhou province and is famous for being a huge commercial hub. Many Chinese and foreign retailing giants have major operations there.
Full of ethnic diversity, cuisine and festivals, Guiyang is renowned for its colorful culture. Surrounded by mountains and forests, its pleasant climate has made it a popular summer resort city. Local people in Guiyang are known for going to bed late and getting up late, perhaps because the nightlife is bustling and non-stop.
Dubbed as the "Land of Rice and Fish" Hunan is famous throughout the country for its agricultural production. Changsha, the capital, is known as the essence of Chinese civilization, with a rich history and culture.
The beautiful city is surrounded by hills, water and islands, with an abundance of historical sites such as old wall remains, tomb sites, and religious temples. Hunan cuisine is revered, characterized with spicy "hot and sour" dishes. Even with all of its history, Changsha has a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.
Guangzhou (Canton) is a world-renowned and historic city and one of the largest in the country. It has a subtropical climate with hot, wet summers and mild winters with long monsoon rains falling mainly between April and August. It's very cosmopolitan with a large expat community, and is close to Hong Kong and Macau.
Rightly famed for its culture, breathtaking ancient and modern architecture, and cuisine (notably the delicious Dim sum), it has more restaurants and teahouses than any other city in China. This, combined with a bustling city life on the Pearl River which flows through it, and some of the best shopping locations imaginable, makes Guangzhou very special.
Meaning "Southern Peace", Nanning is the political, economic and cultural center of the Guangxi region. Bordering Vietnam, its beautiful subtropical scenery and culture have been attracting tourists for centuries. With a history of nearly 1,700 years, it is known as "The Green City" because of its abundant lush tropical foliage. The streets are lined with fruit and flower trees, and when night falls, colorful street lamps light up the city spectacularly.
It's often rainy but always warm, even in the winter. Nanning cuisine shares many similarities with that of Cantonese cuisine but local specialities such as "Old Friend Noodles" and "Nanning Lemon Duck" are found nowhere else. Delicious.
Xi'an, the capital of Shanxi Province, is one of the largest cities in central China. The famous historical city was home to the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties, and is filled with thousands of hand-molded and life-sized figures buried with China's first emperor. Xi'an is known for its rich cultural presence, with theater, opera, and cinema being at the forefront of city life. Xi'an is also known for its religious diversity, with Muslims, Christians, Taoists and Buddhists living side by side in harmony.
Nanchang is a beautiful city in southern China surrounded by rivers, lakes, and luscious nature. Known for its rich history and cultural presence. Nanchang is filled with a wide range of cuisine and local specialities. Nanchang locals pride themselves on their beautiful city with clear waters, fresh air, and a friendly atmosphere.
Haikou is the most populated city within Hainan province, which is China's second largest island. Nicknamed "The Coconut City".
Haikou is known for its crystal clear waters, soft sand, and nonstop sunshine. One of the most popular vacation spots in China, Haikou is filled with tourists and locals alike who enjoy the city's beaches, windsurfing, sailing, diverse cuisine, and holiday vibe.
The southeastern city of Shenzhen is a modern metropolis that links to Hong Kong to China's mainland. Although the city is mostly known for its incredible shopping (specifically its faux designer handbags), it's also famous for its array of contemporary buildings, amusement parks, and other forms of entertainment.