Top 4 things to do for first-timers in Xuzhou, China

The birthplace of the Han dynasty, Xuzhou is steeped in history. But it offers so much more.

Yun Long Lake
  • Sihan Lee
  • January 2020

Located in the Jiangsu province, Xuzhou opens in new window is one of China’s largest and most vibrant cities. Here are the best ways to experience its ancient history, rich culture and natural beauty.

1. Take in the city’s natural scenery at Yunlong Mountain

Yun Long Lake bridge
After conquering Yunlong Mountain, unwind at the scenic Yunlong Lake (above) nearby.

Of the 72 hills in Xuzhou’s urban area, Yunlong Mountain is one of the most popular. Make the easy hour-long hike through beautiful ravines lined with green pine and cypress trees, and be rewarded at the top with panoramic views of the city and its surrounding lakes.

Address: Heping Road, Quanshan District, Xuzhou City

READ MORE: 12 of the most breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Southeast Asia opens in new window

2. Feast on local specialties

Di Guo Ji
Di guo ji translates to “ground pot chicken". You can also find fish, pork and beef variants of this unique dish.

Sha tang — a thick, peppery soup made with eel and chicken meat and beans — is one of Xuzhou’s most famous dishes. Di guo ji is another must-try speciality. A wood-fired cauldron is used to braise chicken in a spicy sauce. Flattened bread is then pressed against the sides of the cauldron so the top half is singed and the bottom half soaks up all the sauce.

3. Check out China’s other Terracotta Army

Terracotta Army of Guishan Tomb
The 4,000-strong terracotta statues of Xuzhou are significantly smaller than their Xi’an counterparts — most are around just 50cm tall.

The Guishan Tomb of the Han Dynasty might not be as famous as the burial site in Xi’an but it’s an impressive spectacle in its own right. Discovered only in the 1980s, the final resting place of the sixth king of Chu and his queen comprises 15 connected, cavernous rooms including a music room, dance hall and kitchen, bedrooms and stables, as well as a complete drainage system … all of which was hand-carved from mountain rock.

Address: 1 Bingmayong Rd, Yunlong Qu, Xuzhou Shi, Jiangsu Sheng

4. Discover traditional folk art

Folk Custom Museum
The Folk Custom Museum is located along the hills of the historic Hubu Mountain.

Xuzhou has a rich artistic tradition, particularly in the realm of calligraphy, opera, painting and the intricate art of paper cutting that continues to be a part of Chinese festivities to this day. At Folk Custom Museum, a sprawling compound of residential complexes dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) has been converted into exhibition rooms that showcase the sweeping diversity of Xuzhou’s folk art.

Address: No. 2, Cuijiaxiang, Hubushan, Yunlong District, Xuzhou City