Are you thinking about going to China, but you’re not sure what to see and do there? There is so much more to discover than the typical tourist attractions! The list of fun activities to indulge in is endless next to the typical kind of sightseeing. Check out these fun things to do in China that will surely make up for some good holiday stories and unforgettable memories. We listed the best ones that we got to experience ourselves during our time abroad in China. We got to scratch off so much from our own bucket list, but there are just so many great activities and places for you to check out.

Whether you are moving abroad to China for a while or planning a holiday, these 20 fun things to do will surely inspire you to some incredible off-the-beaten-path kinds of adventures. Let us know whether you had a chance to experience any of these yourselves or some new ones that you can recommend to us!

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The 20 Most Fun Things to Do in China

1. Bobsledding off the Great Wall of China

Hiking the Great Wall of China has always been at the top of our travel bucket list. There is however an even more thrilling way to experience this world’s wonder. You can beat the big crowds if you head over to less touristy parts like the Mutianyu section. Here you can zoom down the wall in a zig-zagging slide and enjoy the most wonderful view along the way. We had absolutely an amazing time, and it was well worth the extra drive up north.

Fun things to do in China ideas - Drive a scooter through the rice fields in Yangshuo

2. Drive a scooter through the Chinese rice fields

What better way than to enjoy the magnificent views of Yangshuo’s limestone hills while driving a scooter through the rice fields with the sun on your face? You can cruise along the many sights at your own pace. Take a break by the river to have some refreshments (fresh coconuts!). This activity was really one of our favorite fun things to do in China. We can highly recommend it when visiting the area of Guilin. The hotel we stayed at, Tea Rhythm House, rents out e-bikes, with possibilities for a full or half-day. In the center of Yangshuo and surrounding villages, you can find rental shops for scooters and bikes in abundance.

Raft Down the Li River in Yangshuo China

3. Raft Down the Li River in Yangshuo

Want to admire the picturesque areas in Yangshuo from a different perspective? Rent a bamboo raft and sail down the Li River at sunset. It’s the perfect ending to a full day of exploring with an even more spectacular backdrop. The Li River is rather a peaceful water stream, so don’t expect any wild rafting here. A small drop once in a while makes it still an exciting, fun activity to do in China.

Going out in Bar Rouge Shanghai China

4. Going out to Shanghai nightclubs

Ready for a night on the town? Shanghai is without a doubt the place to be with its wide range of clubs and bars. Here you can experience nightlife like no other. As a tourist, you will be able to get into the most exclusive clubs for next to nothing. The iconic Bar Rouge is most known for its magnificent view of the city’s skyline and is a favorite amongst ex-pats. The city also offers some fun-themed nightclubs like the Mint where you can dance surrounded by sharks. One night we ended up in a club with a trampoline dance floor. Safe to say crazy memories are going to be made when going out in China.

Skywalk over the World’s longest and highest glass bridge Zhangjiajie China

5. Skywalk over the World’s longest and highest glass bridge

If you plan to visit Zhangjiajie, the place that inspired the movie Avatar, make sure to count in a day to go to Zhangjiajie’s Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. Here you can go on the world’s highest and longest skywalk. Walking this glass bridge is quite a spectacular activity, giving a wonderful view of the green valley and streams below. Our trip to Zhangjiajie was mainly filled with foggy weather, but this gave all the more a mystical vibe to these fun attractions in China.

The big bonus to the skywalk bridge comes the moment you descend the canyon. Down the gorge, you will wander through the bluest waters and lush greenery. The Grand Canyon gets really popular during high season, so it’s recommended to book a ticket a few days upfront. We stayed at the 1982 Chujian International Youth Hostel, where the staff was super helpful with all the bookings and arrangements. They even outlined the best off-the-beaten-path walking routes in the surrounding national parks.

Sichuan opera in Chengdu China

6. Enjoy a fun evening at the Sichuan Opera

In case you have Chengdu on the itinerary, we highly recommend spending an evening at the Sichuan Opera. One of China’s oldest opera forms and a beloved cultural activity. It’s less of an opera in the traditional meaning of the word, but more of an entertainment show with musical performances, acrobatics, comedy, and puppetry. The big highlight is the Face Changing act for which the opera is known. Skilled artists in traditional costumes change their masks in a blink of an eye. Quite a show!

7. Posing with strangers at popular sightseeing spots

This is one of the things you won’t be able to escape even if you want to. Chinese people will come up to you and ask you to participate in a group picture or selfie with them. This comes purely from their curiosity towards foreigners since a lot of them are tourists themselves coming from rural areas. Afterward, they often love sharing pictures with friends and family back home through WeChat (the Chinese WhatsApp). Sometimes you are even asked for your QR code as a friend request. We had so a lot of fun and sweet encounters this way.

Mount Huangshan, Yellow Mountain in Anhui China

8. Relaxing hot springs at the foot of a mountain

Huangshan (or Yellow Mountains) is known for its picturesque mountainous landscapes. It is said to be the most beautiful mountain of them all in China, inspiring many poets and artists’ work. Next to praising its natural beauty, this part of Anhui Province is also known for its hot springs. At the end of your hiking trip, you can head over to the hot springs at the foot of the mountain. Nothing better than ending an active day in a relaxing pool while enjoying the views of the mountain range, you just conquered earlier.

9. Join a typical Chinese tea ceremony

Tea-drinking customs go hand in hand with Chinese traditions. Since the country is a renowned producer of tea, wherever you go, you will find traditional tea houses or shops. Here you will be shown how to properly brew and drink tea in order to experience the full tea culture. As well as the health benefits that go along with it. Make sure to find a reputable one and don’t fall for the tourist traps in the old towns. Otherwise, you just might end up with a huge bill.

Eating dumplings or xiao long bao at midnight in Shanghai a city that never sleeps

10. Indulge in midnight dumplings

This one goes hand in hand with a night out on the town. Nothing better than ending up in a small cozy dumpling place in the middle of the night. Shanghai is one of those cities that never sleeps. Here you will always be able to find a spot for a late-night or early-morning snack. We stuffed ourselves more than once with these amazing Soup dumplings Xiao Long Bao – 小籠包 as seen in the picture. This Shanghainese delicacy is small dumplings, filled with meats, like pork or shrimp, and gelatine that dissolves into soupy goodness while cooking on bamboo steamers. Best enjoyed with some vinegar and ginger. Bite a little hole in the dumpling and suck out the soup, but be careful – it’s hot!

Sip cocktails on a rooftop bar in Shanghai China with a view on the skyline

11. Sip cocktails on a rooftop bar

If you want to experience the full Shanghainese metropolitan vibe, you can end the day in style by sipping a well-deserved cocktail at one of the many rooftop bars in the city. The Captain’s bar was one of our first and favorite to try out. This place treats you to a perfect view of the city’s skyline. Other popular rooftop bars are the Wet bar, Kartel wine bar, Vue bar at the Hyatt hotel, and Bar Rouge. Since these bars are located in the more touristy areas, expect a higher price tag. It’s a fun, unforgettable view of China.

Take a cruise along the Li River in Guilin China

12. Take a cruise along the Li River

You have probably seen various images of the stunning landscapes of Guilin and Yangshuo with their green limestone mountains. An amazing way to immerse yourself in this gorgeous countryside is by taking a cruise that sails along the Li River between Yangshuo and Guilin. Sit back and soak up the relaxing atmosphere from the surrounding areas. You will pass by farmlands, authentic villages, fishing men on their rafts, and endless paddy fields between the green hills. You can even order a cocktail while at it ;).

13. Spotting monkeys in the wild

I guess I will always have this love-hate relationship with monkeys. In Thailand, I experienced some minor monkey attacks around temple sites in the past. In India however, I got the chance to observe more laid-back ones occupying ancient forts. I guess the difference lies between the ones that are used to tourists and don’t hold back until they get that cookie in your pocket and the ones in the wild that can’t be bothered by our presence. There is something beautiful about spotting wild ones jumping from tree to tree, holding their baby monkeys. While descending between the floating mountains of Zhangjiajie, we got to spot some monkey families. We truly enjoyed observing them for a while and seeing them behave in their natural habitat. Monkeys can be such a fun thing to do in China!

View over Shanghai city from Shanghai Tower by night

14. Go to the top of a skyscraper

You can’t visit Shanghai without going up to one of the famous skyscrapers. The most famous ones must be the Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai Tower (the second tallest building in the world), Jin Mao Tower, and the Shanghai World Financial Tower (also known as the bottle opener for its looks). We went up to the Shanghai Tower and Jin Mao Tower. If you only have time to visit one, go for the first one. The Shanghai tower offers you the best view of the surrounding towers and an all-around bird-eye on Shanghai. Not to forget you get the most spectacular pictures of the all-star tower: the Oriental pearl tower. As soon as the sun sets and the light show begins you will be treated to quite a shiny performance.

READ MORE | The best 15 things to do in Shanghai, China

Visiting a water town like Zhujiajiao near Shanghai and go on a gondola

15. Take a Gondola Through One of China’s Ancient Water Towns

Europe has Venice with its famous canals and gondolas, but also China is known for its historic water towns. You can find many preserved water towns on the outskirts of Shanghai. When traveling to the Pearl of the Orient, make sure to count on a day to visit one of them. We suggest Zhujiajiao which is only an hour away from the city center when taking the metro. Stroll down the many cozy little streets and bridges with shops along the way. Try out delicious street food and jump on one of the many Chinese gondolas to take in the surrounding beauty.

16. Bring out your inner sing star at karaoke

Chinese love their karaoke, and wherever you go, you will be able to find a bar or club that offers karaoke. Pick up a mic and feel like a rockstar for the night thanks to the buzzing Tsingtao (Chinese beer). When you order one of the popular towers of one of these, you won’t feel shy anymore. We found karaoke is quite the icebreaker and a perfect way to bond with locals. Definitely one of the most fun things to do in China!

17. Go shopping at a fake market

We already mentioned in our “11 reasons why you should visit China” post that China is a true shopping paradise. It’s also not a hidden secret that China is known for counterfeit products. So if you’ve been eying that one designer bag for a long time, you can try your luck here. We went several times to the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum’s fake market, a big underground market. Here you can shop for everything, from all the family souvenirs you want to take back home to electronics and luxury items. Passing through the market is quite the attraction itself and trying out some bargaining can end up in funny anecdotes for later.

18. Try out the local specialties 

Maybe an obvious one, but we can’t emphasize enough to get out of your comfort zone and try out as many local dishes and street foods as possible. You won’t regret it, and the prices are affordable anyways! Of course, there are known dishes like Sichuan Hot Pot when in Sichuan province, Peking duck when in Beijing, and Xiao Long Bao when in Shanghai, but there is so much more.

Try out hot pot in China

When we were in Suzhou we bought all the different street food snacks that caught our eyes, just give them a shot. You will find a variety of sweet snacks with jujube or red bean paste filling here. We didn’t like them all but it was a fun experience playing food critic for the afternoon. When in Beijing go for dinner to one of the night street food markets, like Wangfujing Snack Street. Here you might run into some more exotic snacks like scorpions as well. Moritz tried one and described it as something just fried and crunchy, nothing special at all. Still didn’t convince me to eat one though. Or choose out a small local food place and just point at anything on the menu to be pleasantly surprised.

Join in on morning Tai Chi or line dancing with the locals in China

19. Join in on morning Tai Chi or line dancing with the locals

Is there anything better than starting off the day fresh with some morning exercise? Whenever you step foot into a public park in China, you will be certain to bump into a group of people gathering to dance or practice traditional tai chi or qi gong. The older generations, being very collectivistic, still spend a lot of time outdoors among peers and participate in games and other group activities. We have been invited multiple times to join in on a dance along with them. If you care to join you can always politely ask, this way you immerse yourself more in the Chinese culture. If you don’t feel like it, it’s always entertaining to just watch the show, sit back and relax.

20. Eat rice out of bamboo surrounded by rice terraces

Plan a day trip from Guilin to the Longji Rice Terrace fields, where you can hike between scenic farmer’s villages and the glittering rice terraces. When getting hungry, keep your eyes open for a food place that serves Zongzi or bamboo tube rice, a delicacy from these regions. They cook this sealed bamboo tube over a fire, filled with glutinous rice, dried meat, and corn or peanuts. Delicious!

Zhujiajiao Ancient Water Town near Shanghai China

20 Fun things to do in China: Unique & unforgettable activities…

We hope to have inspired you to tick off some fun things to do while in China. Please let us know below which ones you are planning to do or have done! You can show some ❤ and support for the blog and help us share more adventures! Our travels are entirely self-funded, so any show of support is greatly appreciated. It allows us to keep writing helpful travel guides and gather information to make it easier for people to discover the world.

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