Holidays to Kaifeng, China

At the heart of Henan Province, the city of Kaifeng is one of the oldest and most important in China. This fascinating place has thrived for more than 2,700 years, but it’s most famous for being the birthplace of calligraphy.

Kaifeng was the capital of the Kingdom of Wei, Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou, the Five Dynasties, the Northern Song Dynasty, and the Jin Dynasty. Those with a keen eye for maths will understand why Kaifeng is also known as ‘the Capital of Seven Dynasties’.

You may notice that the city is somewhat lacking in skyscrapers that now dominate so much of China. That’s because Kaifeng is built on the ruins of the ancient Song Dynasty city and new buildings with deep foundations are forbidden. Happily, it means Kaifeng is a flat city of pretty lakes, verdant parks and ancient architecture.

Among the oldest attractions is the Iron Pagoda, a must visit for any adventurer in Kaifeng. Despite the name, this impressive tower is made of bricks. In all its 13-storeys of glory, it rises more than 55 metres into the sky. To think it’s nearly 1,000 years old is astonishing, it’s indeed one of the architectural masterpieces of the Song Dynasty.

Among Kaifeng’s other sightseeing spots, the Dragon Pavilion stands resolutely, having been destroyed and rebuilt more times than we enjoy counting. On a clear day, with its iconic silhouette reflected in the Yangjia Lake of Millennium City Park, there are few places more picturesque in the city, although the Daxiangguo Temple gives it a good run for its money. It was once one of the most important Royal Temples of the Song Dynasty but dated back much further to 555 AD and the reign of Emperor Wenxuan. It was rebuilt in the Qing era and is now most famous for its seven-metre high Bodhisattva statue with a thousand hands.

Kaifeng is pleasant to visit at any time of the year, but if you’re here in October or November, you get to see something extraordinary. The water town’ becomes filled with an abundance of chrysanthemums, the city flower of Kaifeng. There are five huge displays throughout the city, with more than 200 different types on show. It’s an absolute delight for photographers and horticulturalists alike.


  • Discover the incredible history of one of the seven ancient capitals of China

  • Tick off Kaifeng’s top attractions, including the famous Daxiangguo Temple

  • Take the opportunity to see China’s famous Yu Opera

  • Visit in autumn to see the city abundant with chrysanthemums

Senior Travel Designer
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I became fluent in Mandarin during my time living, studying and working in China. From there I travelled to every corner of China. Beijing is my favourite city, I love finding amazing places to eat and trying new dishes.

Kaifeng trip ideas

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Map of Kaifeng

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