China Guide

Shandong Henan – Guide to the Attractions of Shandong and Henan, China

Shandong and Henan Holiday Guide

Shandong and Henan lie on the east coast of the People’s Republic of China, Shandong bordering the Bohai Sea to the east while Henan sits further inland. These two provinces aren’t worlds apart, though each has its own treasure.


The name, appropriately meaning East Mountain, recognises its location in proximity to the Taihang Mountains. This area of Shandong was once a fundamental cultural and religious area, home to important Buddhist temples and influencers. It holds one of China’s leading Buddhist sites situated in Shandong’s capital, Jinan, as well as being the birthplace of the great influencer Confucius, arguably one of China’s greatest thinkers and educators. Later on it would also be home to Mencius, a well known philosopher and Confucian, thought to have been taught by a descendent of Confucius himself. Ultimately it has been deemed the birthplace of Chinese civilisation with a history spanning over five thousand years.

Today Shandong is both prosperous and populous with one of China’s highest GDP’s coupled with China’s third largest populations exceeding well over 90million. Shandong’s development is largely the result of its key location at the junction of prime trading routes which has facilitated its thriving economic centre.

A large part of Shandong’s success has been through its developing tourist market with steady increases in inbound tourism. The year 2000 alone saw a 16.3% increase. These increases are likely to be due to the ease of getting into the province with its two domestic airports and one main international airport and its many attractions, both natural and historical. Some of the most popular attractions in Shandong include the 72 springs located in the capital Jinan, the well known Thousand Buddha Mountain with its many Buddha images carved into the rock faces, Lingyan Temple which is one of the principle Buddhist temples, the remains of the Great Wall of Qi that was built to defend against an invasion, and the ruins of Longshan City thought to be the earliest city of China.

Shandong also has two world heritage sites, the temple, cemetery and mansion of the legendary Confucius and the Tai Shan, the sacred mountain of Tai’an.

See also Qufu, Qingdao, Weihai and Tai Shan.


Meaning ‘South of the River’, Henan is conveniently found just south of the famous Yellow River. Being the second most populous province in China under Guangdong, Henan, sitting just inland from the east coast, enjoys a semi prosperous economy.

Housing some of the most historical of relics, Henan is largely visited by those wanting a glimpse of history. The three ancient capitals of Anyang, Kaifeng and Luoyang are worth checking out, each with their own selling point. Alternatively you can head to the famous Longmen Caves with their fantastic carvings, or the Songshan Mountain, one of China’s sacred Buddhist Mountains.

Getting to Henan can be done through one of its three domestic airports; otherwise if you are travelling from an international destination, you can usually get a domestic flight from one of the main city centres such as Beijing or Shanghai.

See also Kaifeng, Anyang, Luoyang and Longmen Caves.