A Prefecture is the next level of Administrative Division below the provincial level. Each Prefecture is made up of several counties. Prefectures can be rural or urban. We use them to divide the country into manageable chunks as they form a complete set with predefined boundaries.
The following is a list of every prefecture, grouped by alphabetical province or autonomous region, then displayed alphabetically. Those prefectures that we have covered in some detail have a link to the relevant page. Others will follow so bookmark this page and return later. You can always email us if you have specific queries.
Municipalities and Special Administrative Regions are governed as a single entity and do not have prefectures.
, renamed after the nearby Yellow Mountain, this area has been home to rich merchants for generations and therefore has some very special architecture
, is the provincial capital of Fujian Province. It is located on the lower reaches of the Minjiang River and faces out towards Taiwan
, has a natural harbour par excellence and therefore has a long history as the country's maritime gateway
, previously known as Amoy, Xiamen is still one of the country's most important ports
- Gannan (Tibetan)
, most visitors coming to Jiayuguan aim to see the western End of the Great Wall in this bleak desert setting
, there are few sites of great interest in Jiuquan but the city has a pleasant atmosphere and makes for a worthwhile excursion from Jiayuguan which has seen rather too much development
, sits at the gateway to the Gansu Corridor and therefore really marks the start of the Silk Road
- Linxia (Hui)
, once an important stop along the Silk Roads, this area is now largely forgotten and therefore definitely under-rated
, considered by many to be nothing more than an industrial and commercial centre, this city has a long history and much of interest to visitors
, as the old saying goes: "The Scenery in Guilin is the finest under Heaven"
, is a rural prefecture being the south-eastern corner of Guizhou Province rather than the area around any one major city
- Qiannan (Buyei & Miao)
- Qianxinan (Buyei & Miao)
, lying to the north-east of Beijing is most famous for its Summer Palace, built close to the Imperial hunting grounds
, graced with important structures from the Song Dynasty when this was the capital but now largely neglected in favour of better-known alternatives
, another neglected capital, more famous for the Buddhist grottoes at Longmen
- Enshi (Tujia & Miao)
, located at the eastern end of the Yangtse Three Gorges this city is most often included in itineraries with a Yangtse Cruise. A visit to the Three Gorges Dam Project is usually included.
- Xiangxi (Tujia & Miao)
- Bayan Nur
- Xilin Gol
, means 'southern capital' and, at various times throughout history, Nanjing has been the political centre of the whole country
- Yanbian (Korean)
- Golog (Tibetan)
- Haibei (Tibetan)
- Hainan (Tibetan)
- Haixi (Mongol & Tibetan)
- Huangnan (Tibetan)
- Yushu (Tibetan)
, the importance of Xi'an throughout Chinese history is reflected in a wealth of top-class sites for visitors
, provincial capital, home of the pandas and gateway to Tibet
- Garzê (Tibetan)
, is most often visited as a day excursion from Chengdu, and primarily for a visit to the Big Buddha or Dafo.
- Liangshan (Yi)
- Ngawa (Tibetan & Qiang)
, home to one of the most important fossil sites in China and to other lesser-known attractions
We do not offer any services in the Republic of China and do not intend to cover its attractions until we do.
- Chamdo (Qamdo)
, the most important city in Tibet by far, home to the magnificent Potala Palace
- Shannan (Lhoka)
, the hub for travel to western Tibet and Nepal, though that remains difficult because of the geography and politics - as ever
, was an important stop along the northern branch of the ancient Silk Road. Today it has an administrative role but is generally bypassed by tourists.
- Changji (Hui)
, located on the southern Silk Road route this city has always been an important source of China's favourite gemstone, jade
- Ili (Kazakh)
, is perhaps one of the most famous cities of the whole ancient Silk Road. It is still very remote being located almost as far west as it is possible to travel within the mainland. Most visitors to Kashgar time their arrival to coincide with the Kashgar Sunday Market
- Kizilsu (Kirgiz)
, the modern city of Turfan is not the most interesting place to visit. However, with a history stretching back over 2000 years and more there is a wealth of interest around the city that justifies a stay of several days
, first time visitors will enjoy wandering the streets of Urumqi and just experiencing the strong Muslim influence without necessarily having any particular tourist attraction in mind
- Chuxiong (Yi)
- Dali (Bai)
- Dehong (Dai & Jingpo)
- Diqing (Tibetan)
- Honghe (Hani & Yi)
, lies close to the Tropic of Cancer but at altitude. It therefore enjoys a delightful climate being neither too hot nor too cold throughout much of the year, giving rise to its title 'The City of Eternal Spring'
, is the home-town of the Naxi ethnic minority group. The delightful Old Town is a maze of alleys now lined with shops and cafes to keep visitors entertained for days
- Nujiang (Lisu)
- Wenshan (Zhuang & Miao)
, this sub-tropical corner has a distinctive SE Asian feel, complete with elephants. It is also an important tea-growing area
, is one of the Ancient Capitals. One of the most distinctive features of the city is the gorgeous West Lake.