Skip Beijing & Shanghai: 11 best attractions in China

When we think of a China holiday, many people might immediately think of visiting modern Shanghai or bustling Beijing.

One of the world's oldest civilisations, China is not only vast in terms of land area, but it also has many historic and cultural attractions across the country.

Other than the iconic Great Wall and The Forbidden City, travel sites and Smarter Travel listed many other spots which keeps tourists coming back - namely its ancient caves, giant Buddha sculptures, majestic mountains and preserved cities.

The Italian city of Venice is not the only city in the world with canals instead of streets.

Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai, is a beautifully preserved water town which can make tourists can feel transported back in time as they cross the many stone-arched bridges and walk through its classical Chinese gardens.

The city has over 50 gardens and nine of them are recognised by UNESCO. The gardens date as early as the 11th century and reflect natural beauty in Chinese culture, according to UNESCO.

Another beautiful place to explore is the Potala Palace, located on the Red Mountain 3,700 m above sea level, in the centre of the Lhasa valley in Tibet.

The 170m-tall palace was a winter residence for the Dalai Lama and was first constructed in 1645 during the reign of its fifth spiritual leader.

Throughout the years, the Potrang Karpo (White Palace) and Potrang Marpo (Red Palace) were added. The contrasting red and white facade of the Potala Palace is a sight to behold.

The holy sanctuary gets high volume of visitors during May to October, according to tourist resource site, Travel China Guide, and tourists are advised to apply for free reservation tickets.

Huangshan (Mount Huang) is known as the "loveliest mountain of China", according to UNESCO, and has been immortalised in art and literature throughout history.

Even today, the dramatic landscape of the mountain still captures the fascination of tourists, poets, painters and photographers who come from all over the world to put its beauty down in ink, paper and film.

If you are not afraid of heights, the mountainous region can be explored by taking a telpher (a small travelling car), according to Website Travel China Guide. There are four routes to choose from and the rides start as early as 6am.