Photos & Places on Chinese Bills

You’ll see it every day in China just by opening your wallet… and no, we’re not just talking about the face of Chairman Mao. If you haven’t noticed, every monetary note has a shot of China’s most recognizable landmarks, and they’re all places you can visit. If you’re curious and would like to trek across the country to personally check them out, wait no more. Listed below are the money shots depicted on the RMB.

 

1 RMB – West Lake (Xī Hú; 西湖), Hangzhou, Zhejiang
A Chinese saying describes Hangzhou perfectly: “Above is heaven, below is Hangzhou.” (Hey, it even rhymes in English.) This picture on the back of the 1 RMB is of the three gourd-shaped stupas bobbing on the water at the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon in Hangzhou’s world famous West Lake. Now you have one more reason to visit Hangzhou, one of China’s nicest cites.

 
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5 RMB – Taishan (Tàishān; 泰山), Taoist Holy Peak, Shandong
An old saying goes, “There’s no need to visit other mountains when you’ve been to the Five Sacred Mountains.” In fact, Taishan just isn’t part of the fantastic five, it’s actually the principal one of the group. Fortunately, whipping out your 5 RMB note to purchase a Tsingtao beer from 7-11 doesn’t count as actually visiting Taishan, so you’ll have to hike to the top at 1,532 m (5,029 ft) and gaze at the surreal sunset to get the true holy experience.


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10 RMB – The Three Gorges (Sān Xiá; 三峡), Yichang, Hubei
And you thought the Three Gorges was just a gigantic dam clogging up the arteries of China’s heartland, right? Well, you’re right if you add the word “dam” to the end, but really the Three Gorges is a glorious Yangtze River valley that belongs in Lord of the Rings. For an unforgettable experience, take a Yangtze River cruise through the Three Gorges.

 

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20 RMB – Lijiang River (Lí Jiāng; 漓江), Guangxi
You’ve probably heard of Guilin, and if you check the 20 RMB note you can see a picture of it too. Often considered by locals, tourists and expats to be the most beautiful sight in all of China, Guilin and nearby Yangshuo definitely have some incredible natural scenery with lush summits shooting straight out of the water into the heavens. This particular picture on the 20 note is of the Li River, and if you visit Guilin or Yangshuo, taking a hike, bike, raft or kayak down this magical river is a must.

 

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50 RMB – Potala Palace (Bùdálā Gōng; 布达拉宫), Lhasa, Tibet.
The Potala Palace was built in the 7th century CE and is considered a great wonder of the world. The 13-story palace, situated on a cliff right in the middle of downtown Lhasa, was built for the Han Princess Wencheng who, according to some accounts, introduced Buddhism to Tibet. Unfortunately for many, the picture on the back of the 50 RMB is as close as you can get to the real thing, given the government’s tight restrictions on tourists entering Tibet.


 
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100 RMB – Great Hall of the People (Rén Mín Dà Huìtang; 人民大会堂), Beijing
C’mon now, did you really expect not one communist symbol to be on the back of the RMB? Of course you didn’t! Located just south of Beijing’s Tian’anmen Square, this hall is where members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hold national conferences and meet with foreign emissaries. You can take a guided tour of the Great Hall of the People almost any day of the week, unless there is a governmental conference or some other special event.

 

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