China Expat & Travel Blogger. ATTRACTIONS & THINGS TO DO IN CHINA. See My Fun TRAVEL Adventures in China!
There's just something about China and statues that just goes hand in hand. They're everywhere--from small, 10-meter tall molds of prominent Chinese nationals in busy downtown areas to larger-than-life sculptures of religious deities perched on rural mountainsides and tourist beaches. They're eye-catching, they're symbolic, and as I've come to discover, worth every penny of the adventure you'll take just to see them. Here are the 10+ coolest statues in China you need to see ASAP:
They're probably China's most infamous statues. You've likely seen them plastered across every tourist website, brochure, and list of top attractions to see. Yep, they're the Terracotta Army statues of Xi'an, which is also one of the oldest cities in the country. They belong to Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, and were built to protect him in the afterlife. By the way, this was back in 210–209 BCE! Can you believe they're still standing!?
So you pay a visit to Chongyun Temple in Suzhou. You're walking around, taking in the scenery and exploring the grounds when you stumble upon a 33-meter tall bronze standing statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy hidden inside one of the buildings. That's right--it happened to me, and I've never forgotten it. It was huge, well decorated, and one of the best all-around giant statues I had ever seen. C'mon, how often do you see something like that?
It may not be on the "Mainland", but the Tian Tian Big Buddha Statue of Hong Kong's Lantau Island has got everything a grand Chinese statue embodies: It's 34-meters tall, weighs 250 metric tons, sits atop of a mountain, and well, you've got to take some steps--268 to be exact--to reach it. It's also one of Hong Kong's most prominent landmarks, which means you can't leave the region without snapping an HDR ridden Instagram pic in front of it.
Ever heard of Guan Yu? He's this popular historical figure in China renown for his bravery, loyalty, and righteousness during the Three Kingdoms Period. He's also known as the Chinese God of War. And yes, there's this colossal statue of him in Jingzhou. This one's 58-meters tall (190 ft.) and 1,320-tons, but what's really cool is that this Guan Yu statue looks like something out of an anime. He's got a fiery look, is holding a weapon, is draped in a swooshing 'cape', and is standing in a killer martial-arts striking pose. How cool is that!?
After you're done frolicking on the beach in Sanya, why not head over to see the Guanyin of Nansha? This 108-meter tall statue has 3 faces--one of which looks inland towards China, while the other two peer out over the South China Sea. This one's as scenic as it gets, extending out into the water and overlooking a beach and lush green mountainside. It's the total package!
Who hasn't heard of Bruce Lee? In fact, make a list of the most well-known figures throughout history and he's probably in the top 50. And that's why Hong Kong's got a 2.5-meter tall bronze statue of him in his iconic fighting stance located on its Avenue of Stars, a promenade honoring the region's most distinguished celebrities. Plus, the statue sits directly in front of arguably the most beautiful harbour in the world. You just can't go wrong with this one.
It's a 32-meter tall head sculpture of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1925 at 32 years old. It was reportedly built to capture a young, determined, and hopeful Mao around the time he composed a famous poem about Changsha. It may be one of the smallest, giant statues you'll find across China, but it very may well be one of the most well-crafted. This one gets lots of cool points for that alone!
It's the first statue I saw in China, and the first towering, building-sized monument I ever saw in my life. It's 88-meters tall, weighs 700-tons, and depicts an Amitabha standing Buddha. You want one of those "Holy crap, I'm in China!" moments like I had, then you'll definitely want to skip the bars and clubs for the weekend and pay a visit to Wuxi. Not now, but right now!
It's the Leshan Giant Sitting Buddha, and in my opinion, it's the best statue China has to offer, and here's why: First up, at 71-meters tall and 24-meters wide at the shoulders, it's massive. Two? It's actually carved inside the edge of a cliff, which makes one ask, "Just how in the hell did they do that!?" Three? There's a stairway that wraps alongside the cliff, meaning that you can get an up-close look at the statue from the top to bottom. You can't do that with most of the others. And last? There's a river that runs directly in front of statue, and they've got boats that take visitors pass it for an awesome vantage point. Yep, add this one to your bucket list and don't look back.
So there you have it! My list of the 10+ coolest statues in China you need to check out ASAP. Have anymore that you recommend? Well, let the world know down below. Safe & happy travels!