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The 5 Laziest Cities in China

Written by GavinUpdated Mar. 29, 2024

Every city has its own cultural features. To some extent, "lazy" can be understood to mean a leisurely life in Chinese culture. If you have always led a fast-paced and busy life, you might dream of a lazy city to relieve from your life's stress and to try a slow lifestyle.

Here China Highlights lists five of China's laziest cities as choices for tourist destinations. They have several common features: famous tourist destinations, various local snacks, splendid nightlife, and the most outstanding feature: being full of artistic inspiration. If you are interested in traveling to these cities, you can consult us about tour arrangements for free or have us tailor make a tour for you.

1. Lijiang: Time Seems to Stand Still There

Lijiang Ancient TownLijiang Ancient Town

The lazies city is Lijiang, especially on winter days when day breaks late (at 7am, it is still dark outside), which makes the locals in Lijiang Ancient Town feel it's ok to get up las ate as 10am. People there also go to bed early — most go to sleep at 10pm. And so we can infer that many Lijiang people spend 12 hours a day sleeping, especially in the winter. Isn't Lijiang a lazy city?

Top attractions in Lijiang: It might be because of this kind of laziness that Lijiang can preserve and show its classical and plain elegance to everyone who stays there. Every attraction in Lijiang is really worth a visit, including Lijiang Ancient Town, Shuhe Ancient Town, Lugu Lake (about 280 kilometers from Lijiang, with plenty of hotels near by), Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (about one-hour drive), Baoshan Stone Village (a village built on a large mushroom-shaped rock), and Tiger Leaping Gorge (a great hiking destination).

Many shopkeepers (especially café and bar owners) in Lijiang City are not local people. Some of these people traveled to Lijiang once upon a time, and then decided to stay in this peaceful and graceful city, to enjoy a leisurely and "lazy" life.

Recommended tour: Three-Day Essence of Ancient Lijiang Tour

2. Chengdu: A Leisurely City Relaxing World-Class Attractions

Chengdu Kuan-zhai LaneChengdu Kuan-zhai Lane

The locals in Chengdu regard themselves as fishes, swimming in the water of life. Mahjong, a Chinese dominoes game played by four people, is Chengdu residents's favorite activity.

The Wide and Narrow Alleys (a special area combining with elements of old Chengdu and modern Chengdu is full of artistic inspiration) and Jinli Old Street (an old-time street quite near Wuhou Temple) must be the two most leisurely attractions in Chengdu. There you can appreciate the architectural style of ancient Chengdu, as well as taste plenty of street snacks.

Top attractions in Chengdu: Together with experiencing Chengdu's leisurely human life, we highly recommend seeing the leisurely pandas in the main Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base or in Bifengxia Giant Panda Base. Visit the magnificent Giant Buddha in Leshan and Mount Emei (both about 130 kilometers from Chengdu) with their elegant landscapes and profound religious culture, and China's fairyland — Jiuzhaigou, to top off a peaceful tour of Chengdu's main attractions.

Recommended tour: Five-Day Scenic Tour to Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong 

3. Xiamen: A Coastal City with Slow-Paced Life

Gulangyu IslandGulangyu Island

Xiamen is a graceful coastal city with a slow-paced life. Leisure could be the most attractive characteristic of this city, especially on Gulangyu Island, where there are numerous small shops selling unique art works, snacks, and souvenirs, as well as nice camera angles on charming of seascapes and romantic and affordable family hotels for travelers.

Mount Wuyi, South Putuo Temple, and the Taining Danxia Landfors are another three of the top attractions in the Xiamen area. Cycling along Huandao Road (环岛路), a coastal road with a cycle lane, is one of the great things to do in Xiamen. Xiamen University, the most beautiful university in China, is also worth a visit.

Among Xiamen's numerous snacks, shacha noodles (沙茶面, noodles cooked with satay sauce) and sandworm jelly (土笋冻, jelly made from the gelatin of boiled sandworms) are the most famous two.

Recommended tour: Four-Day Essence of Xiamen Tour

4. Hangzhou: A Place of Poetic Living

the West LakeWest Lake

Since ancient times Hangzhou has been a prosperous city, which has gifted the city with a great and profound culture. In Chinese history has proved that Hangzhou was a city without superiority of being an imperial capital but a cultural center. Hangzhou has attracted numerous scholars, officials, and poets in the past thousand years or so, which added to the elegant and leisurely atmosphere of this city.

Top attractions in Hangzhou: Hangzhou, like Suzhou, is reputed to be a paradise on earth. There you can experience China's splendid culture, including its water culture (West Lake and Ancient Watery Village of Wuzhen), tea culture (Meijiawu Tea Plantation and Hangzhou National Tea Museum), silk culture (Hangzhou National Silk Museum), religious culture (Mount Putuo and Lingyin Temple), and canal culture (the Grand Canal, regarded as the watery version of the Great Wall of China).

Greenery, fresh air, a temperate climate, and profound culture make Hangzhou a place of poetic living. The locals there are more leisurely or "lazier" than those in many other prosperous cities, especially Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen.

Recommended tour: 2-Day Hangzhou Highlights & Grand Canal Heritage Tour

5. Kunming: Spring All the Year Round


The weather in Kunming all the year round is nice: the average yearly temperature is about 15 °C (59 °F), with the lowest temperature in January (average low in 2 °C or 36 °F) and the highest temperature in July (average in 24 °C or 75 °F). Maybe because of the mild weather, most people in Kunming are good-tempered and unhurried.

In this permanent spring-like city, we recommend strolling around the flower markets to make your trip more memorable.

Why is it said that Kunming is a lazy city? Many Kunming people get up late at 10 am to have their breakfast, and many local restaurants close early at 9pm.

The most leisurely area in Kunming is by Green Lake (翠湖), the area that represents the Kunming style of life the most. Comfortable and well-furnished cafés, restaurants, teahouses, and bars make the area a great place for a get-together. The Military Academy (陆军讲武堂), the main building of a two-floor bright yellow quadrangle courtyard, is a nationally protected historical site. You can have a "lazy" walk and learn to do tai chii there.

Top attractions in Kunming: Kunming is the capital city of Yunnan, so it should be your first stop if you are traveling to Yunnan Province. The highlights of Kunming's attractions are: Dongchuan Red Land, the Stone Forest, and Yuanyang Rice Terraces.

If possible, you can extend your tour to Dali, and to Lijiang (which is famous for Lijiang Ancient Town, Baoshan Stone Village, and Lugu Lake), or to Shangri-La (which is mentioned in James Hilton's novel). You can appreciate scenery and minority customs on our popular Kunming tours, which might also give you some inspiration tailor-making your own tour.

Recommended tour: Memories of Kunming Tour

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