I might be partial since I’m an early-2000 baby, but the early 2000s were a significant time in history, and I daresay the aftershocks still ripple in our societies decades later.
And for cinema, this was a golden time for the Chinese drama industry as loads of unforgettable, high-quality materials were put out on an almost monthly basis.
In this article, I’ll be listing 15 of my favorite Chinese dramas of the 2000s that I genuinely believe everyone should give a chance.
So, whether you’re nostalgic and you want a drama that would remind you of simpler times or you’re in the mood for a super dramatic and sprawling watch that’s just as engaging, you’re in the right place.
Here are 15 of the best romantic Chinese dramas of the 2000s you need to binge this weekend:
1. The Legend Of The Condor Heroes – 2008
Two pregnant women, Li Ping and Bao Xi Ruo, sought refuge in foreign lands after their husbands were killed by the Song army.
Li Ping’s son, Guo Jing, grew up with Temujin’s family, while Bao Xi Ruo’s son, Yang Kang, was raised by a Jin Empire leader.
Their martial arts masters brought them together, and when they found out the truth about their fathers’ deaths, they set out on a path to get their justice.
But, while Guo Jing embraced a noble cause, Yang Kang descended into darkness, causing destruction in this bonkers historical Cdrama of the 2000s that’s still as epic.
2. Chinese Paladin – 2005
Li Xiao Yao, a young adventurer, goes on a journey in magical ancient China to find a cure for his sick aunt.
He then meets and falls in love with Ling’er on Dream Island, but trouble arises when he realizes he’s been tricked by a bad group.
After a strange turn of events, he saves his aunt, rescues Ling’er, and learns kung fu, and together they face challenges, uncover secrets, and rekindle their love.
3. My Bratty Princess – 2005
Situ Jing, a clever and adventurous lady, disguises herself as Xiao Long Xia to help refugees while unaware of her royal heritage.
Emperor Zhu Yun seeks solutions for his empire’s troubles and befriends Xiao Long Xia, who secretly aids refugees.
They then form an unexpected friendship along with Bai Yun Fei, and they soon get entangled in palace intrigue and hidden identities.
This is yet another must-watch Chinese romance drama of the 2000s that will keep you hooked from start to finish – don’t miss it!
4. The Little Fairy – 2006
This drama retells the story of Goddess Xiao Qi who loses her powers and is sent to the mortal realm as punishment for a crime.
To regain her divine status, she must do 100 good deeds, and Dong Yong helps her adapt to mortal life and they fall in love, even though it’s against the rules for gods and mortals to love each other.
When their love is discovered, heavenly guards try to separate them, but they fight to stay together.
5. Love At First Sight – 2007
Mrs. Wu pretends her tenth daughter, Shi Lang, is a boy because she fears her husband will leave if she doesn’t have a son.
Now, Shi Lang’s dad wants her to win a martial arts competition.
Shi Lang likes her friend Li Ya Shou, but Ya Shou wants to marry a rich girl and to stop this, Shi Lang beats him in a fight.
Then Lei Xiao Yu, a rich girl, wants to marry Shi Lang, but things get tricky when Xiao Yu’s brother, Lei Sheng Da, falls for Shi Lang.
This makes Shi Lang run away, and Sheng Da follows, but she finds herself growing closer to Ya Shou even as Sheng Da’s love also touches her heart.
6. Butterfly Lovers – 2007
Zhu Ying Tai pretended to be a boy so she could go to school in Hangzhou.
Along the way, she met a friend named Liang Shan Bo, and they became like brothers.
They studied and lived together for three years, but Liang didn’t know Zhu was actually a girl.
This girl-pretends-to-be-boy trope was very, very common in the early days of Asian entertainment, and if you want a nostalgic blast from the past, this 2000s Chinese romantic drama is the perfect place to start.
7. Love In The Forlorn City – 2008
In this touching Chinese drama, a determined and lovely girl from humble beginnings finds love with the carefree son of a wealthy clan.
Together, can they defy fate’s trials, including poverty, illness, loss, and deceit, and let their genuine love prevail?
8. Da Li Princess – 2009
In 1911, at Nanshan Manor, wealthy Duan Muhai’s kind-hearted daughter Aiyue meets Liu Bo’en and his friend Long Chulai.
Aiyue falls for Bo’en but keeps it a secret and her servant, A Ci, also likes Bo’en.
When the 1911 Revolution hits, Aiyue faces challenges, including an arranged marriage and a difficult situation with an opium lord.
With determination and Wang Kun’s support, Aiyue starts a tea garden, and you guys, this is hands down one of the best romantic Chinese dramas of the 2000s that stands out.
9. Ripening Orange – 2002
Da Ma, unable to have children, learns of her husband Rong Yao Hua’s affair with Yan Hong.
She decides to change her destiny by arranging for Xiu He, a farmer’s daughter, to marry into their family as a concubine, hoping she’ll bear a child.
But, Yao Hua’s cousin Yao Hui replaces him as the groom and falls in love with Xiu He, and this leads to unexpected complications.
10. Treasure Raiders – 2002
Xiao Shiyi Lang is a carefree thief who crosses paths with Shen Bi Jun, the martial world’s most beautiful woman, during a brawl over the legendary Deer Carver sabre.
Despite their growing affection, Shen is set to marry martial artist Lian Cheng Bi, and Xiao’s lowly status seems to doom their love.
Xiao’s friend Feng Si Niang loves him, but he sees her as a sister, and meanwhile, Yang Kai Tai adores Feng, unaware of his father’s dark secrets tied to the Deer Carver.
Their lives then become entangled in a complex story of love, greed, jealousy, hatred, and vengeance.
11. Yu Guan Yin – 2003
This Chinese drama released in the 2000s explores love, career, and life’s purpose through the relationship between a man and a woman who meet at a Taekwondo training centre.
As their love deepens, the man discovers her troubled history with men.
Together, they must confront her past and allow time to heal the lingering scars.
12. Legend of Love – 2009
The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl is a cherished Chinese folk tale of forbidden love between Zhi Nv (the weaver girl, representing Vega) and Niu Lang (the cowherd, symbolizing Altair).
Their love led to their separation on opposite sides of the heavenly river, represented by the Milky Way.
Once a year, on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, magpies form a bridge to reunite them for a single day.
This ancient story dates back over 2600 years and is celebrated in festivals like Qixi in China, Tanabata in Japan, and Chilseok in Korea, and it’s the primary plot of this drama.
13. The King Of Shanghai – 2008
In 20th-century China, Xiao Yue Gui, a rural girl fleeing famine, rescues Yu Qi Yang, a member of Shanghai’s powerful Pujiang Association.
This fateful encounter leads her to the association’s leaders, and she chooses to work in their brothel which changes her destiny.
Xiao Yue Gui’s journey unfolds alongside three generations of Shanghai’s influential figures, and all this positions her to become the fourth “King of Shanghai”.
14. Da Tang Lotus Garden – 2007
This drama tells the story of Yang Gui Fei, a famous beauty in ancient China.
She was originally married to Prince Shou but was later forced to divorce him by Emperor Xuan Zong, who fell in love with her.
The emperor’s obsession with Yang Gui Fei led to him neglecting his duties, and this caused a power struggle in the government.
This struggle eventually resulted in a rebellion, and Yang Gui Fei was blamed, and this forced the emperor to make a difficult decision.
This romantic Chinese drama of the 2000s is based on the life of an actual person, and it’s heartbreaking and soulful in all the best ways.
15. Beautiful Life – 2007
When Yan Yang was little, her mom had to leave her to marry someone else secretly.
She got adopted by a family with a naughty brother and a grumpy dad.
As she grew up, she met her real family again, and even though things got tough, Yan Yang faced them with a smile.
If you’ve watched even one of the dramas on this list, you probably understand what I mean when I say they’re so, so good.
You can start with any of the dramas on this if you want a romantic Chinese drama of the 2000s that’s engaging and very, very interesting.
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