Due to the vastness of the country, touring China can offer many different experiences within relatively short distances from each other. Compiled is some of the most beautiful and remarkable scenery that China has to offer. Here are the 7 most scenic and beautiful places to visit in China.
Set against a scenic landscape that features vibrantly colored forests, tiered waterfalls, and snow-capped mountains, Jiuzhaigou is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the major cities. Located in the northern portion of the Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is most scenic and best to visit during the autumn months, as the colors will really be exploding during this time.
Note: The entrance fee for the Jiuzhaigou Valley is about 200 yuan during peak season.
How to Get There: Jiuzhaigou is fairly easy to get to by either plane or a long-distance bus. Planes depart regularly from both Chengdu and Beijing, as well as the buses. Trains are not an option to get to Jiuzhaigou until the end of 2020 when a high-speed train will be completed between there and Chengdu.
Early morning shot of Jiuzhaigou Lake in Autumn © JuliePink / pixabay
Most widely known as the backdrop for the movie Avatar, Zhangjiajie is located in the northern part of the Hunan Province. Its unique scenery is unparalleled. Visit the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park to experience the pinnacles and peaks for yourself, or head on over to the Tianmen Mountain, where 999 steps will let you “knock on Heaven’s Door”.
Note: The entrance fee for the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is 220 yuan. Tianmen Mountain entrance fee is 258 yuan.
How to Get There: There are daily flights available from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other important cities. Trains are also available but are not recommended as they can take a very long time.
Zhangjiajie Landscape © YHBae / needpix.com
The capital of the Zhejiang Province and situated on the eastern coast of China, Hangzhou is an ancient city that offers a unique destination for those looking to discover a slower pace and explore nature while also experiencing many facets of traditional Chinese culture and food. Hangzhou is home to the West Lake, the Lingyin Temple and a variety of water towns. Its easy accessibility by high-speed train makes visiting Hangzhou an easy stop during your time in China, even if just for a day.
How to Get There: Hangzhou is easily accessible by high-speed train from Shanghai or Suzhou, averaging about one to two hours. Planes and high-speed trains are also available multiple times a day from Beijing, as well as a few other major cities around mainland China.
Hangzhou Landscape © Susan Chow / Pixabay
The Yellow Mountains
While the name is misleading, as they are not actually yellow, the Yellow Mountains offer spectacular views to those that are seeking a hiking adventure. These mountains are the most beautiful and most popular in China. Located in the Huangshan Province, the Yellow Mountain range is known for its impressive natural beauty displaying the extraordinary “Greeting Guest” pine trees, unique rock formations, and multiple hot springs.
Note: The entrance fee for the Yellow Mountains is 230 yuan per person.
How to Get There: To get to the Yellow Mountains, you will need to first travel to Huangshan City by plane or train. Once there, you can take a bus or train to the Yellow Mountains Scenic Area, a journey of about 1 hour. It is also possible to travel to Tangkou first, which is closer to the Yellow Mountains than Huangshan City, just a smaller town.
Shot of Yellow Mountains landscape © Adam Derewecki / Pixabay
Zhangye Danxia Landscape
Due to the exposure of a variety of Earth’s minerals, the peaks and valleys of the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park showcase layers of remarkably vivid colors. Nicknamed the “Rainbow Mountains”, many people are drawn to this technicolor landscape that is an entirely natural occurrence.
Note: The entrance fee for the park is 75 yuan per person.
How to Get There: The city of Zhangye is the home base for visiting the Danxia Landscape. It is more difficult to get to, as it is a small city that stands alone in west China. The park itself can be accessed by car or local bus from Zhangye.
For air travel, you will first need to work your way to Lanzhou or Xi’an and catch a plane from there. Flights are limited but will take you to the Zhangye airport which is close to the city.
There are more bus options available, both high speed and regular, from Beijing, Xi’an, and Chongqing. However, these will take you significantly longer (10-30 hours depending). If you are in Lanzhou, you will be able to catch a bullet train for about 150 yuan.
Colorful landscape of Zhangye Danxia © Leng Kangrui / Pixabay
Yuanyang Terraced Rice Fields
Situated in the south-eastern part of the Yunnan province, the Yuanyang terraced rice fields belong to the Hani people. Recognized for its colored pools of water that seemingly create a “land sculpture”, these terraced fields have been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The best time to visit these fields is at sunset or sunrise between January and March when the fields are watered and can reflect the colors surrounding them.
Note: The entrance fee to view the terraced fields is 100 yuan per person.
How to Get There: Kunming will be the headquarters for a trip to the terraced rice fields. By plane, you will need to take one of the many daily direct flights into the Changshui International Airport. While traveling by train is possible, it is recommended to fly as it will take some 20-30 hours by train.
Terrace field Yunnan China © Jialiang Gao / Wikimedia Commons
Secluded on the Himalayan Plateau, Tibet offers visitors views of its stunning natural scenery. Apart from this, experiencing the one-of-a-kind culture is worth the visit. There is a strong Buddhist culture in Tibet, so visiting the temples is an excellent way to view art and architecture. Visitors to the area can also travel to the Everest Base Camp to see the world’s tallest mountain. The best time to visit Tibet is between May and October when the temperatures are warmer.
Note: Before you can board a plane or train to Tibet, you will be required to work with a tour agency to obtain a guide for your time in Tibet, as well as a Tibet Tourism Bureau permit. This must be arranged at least 14 days in advance of your travels and is in addition to a Chinese visa. This will cost anywhere from 250 to 450 yuan per person.
How to Get There: By air, there are many direct flights regularly from major cities in China. One can also catch direct flights from Kathmandu in Nepal. While trains can take upwards of 30 hours, they are available from most major cities in mainland China.
Landscape and snow-covered mountains, Tibet © reurinkjan / flickr
Featured image: Photo of mountains taken at Huangshan Shi, China © Sam Lim / pexels.com