Top 10 Scenic Places in China
Hidden deep in Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie is an otherworldly natural stunner famous for the forest of grotesque sandstone pillars. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, the awe-inspiring karst beauty of Wulingyuan had inspired James Cameron for the floating mountains on the planet Pandora in his Oscar-winning movie "Avatar".
Arrays of stone peaks, towers and pinnacles jut straight into the air, with sparse green shrubs clinging to the craggy tops. Sometimes veiled in mists, those high-rising peaks look like fairylike islets floating in the sea of clouds. The winding cliff-side walkways lead you to glance at the lush peak forests and the precipitous valleys, and the Golden Whip Stream would refresh you with an easeful hiking trail lined with breathtaking greenery.
Guilin has been crowned as the most captivating travel destination in China, while the essence of its landscape lies in the Li River.
The part from Guilin City to Yangshuo County is utterly the most spectacular section of the River, and you are offered with a delightful downstream cruise, the best way to soak up the charming karst hills, crystal clear streams and limestone crags. The drifting terminates at Yangshuo, a charming riverside town rather popular among adventure travelers. There you have a chance to escape into the most gorgeous countryside of China, where bizarre hills are clustered, and traditional fishing-village lifestyle are well kept. You could rent a bike to follow the country roads and perhaps encounter bamboo rafts chugging on Li River, old fishermen throwing their cormorants and pheasants working in the fields with buffaloes.
The beauty of Yellow Mountain is iconic. Speaking of majestic landscape of China, the image of a twisting pine from curiously-shaped rock cliffs would pop into people's minds. Yellow Mountain had given inspiration for plenty of celebrated ancient texts, paintings and poems. Characterized by its natural wonders including oddly-shaped rocks, precipitous peaks, twisted pines and the sea of clouds, Yellow Mountain is also frequented as one of the most enchanting places for sunrise and sunset view. It is scenic all year round, with refreshing pink blossoms in spring, bubbling streams in summer, yellow foliage in autumn and awesome frost rimes in winter. Close to Hangzhou and Shanghai, this World Natural Heritage site could be easily accessed for a lifetime trek by the newly-opened high-speed trains.
Yangtze River Cruise is arguably an unfailing classic tour theme. As the longest river in Asia, Yangtze is the mother river of China blessed with jaw-dropping natural scenery and historical heritages. The most scenic section spans from Chongqing to Yichang, which is accessible by a luxury and leisurely cruise to appreciate the beauty of Three Gorges, including steep cliffs, zigzagging turnings, precipitous valleys, rapid waterfalls and verdant forests.
Stops are made for onshore explorations of the historical interests like Fengdu Ghost City and Shibaozhai, and there are also drifting experiences by small wooden boats that take you to venture deeper into the gorges. The sightseeing might conclude with a visit to the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.
Heavenly Hangzhou is one of the most serene and lovely cities of China, which is well known to the world for the unfailing beauty of West Lake and the landscape around it. Sheltered on three sides by lush hills, West Lake displays the most enchanting sights and scenes of Hangzhou varied by seasons, including pagoda-topped hills, willow-lined waterfronts, lotus ponds with fish and clean quite causeways. Slow boats rides, shadowed walkways and well positioned benches would allow you to absorb the leisurely charms of the lake at your own pace.
Hangzhou is also famous for Dragon Well Tea (Longjing), and Meijiawu Tea Village is one of the oldest and biggest production bases, which makes a scenic break from the bustle of the city. Visitor could not only immerse themselves into the refreshing tea plantation, but also gain a chance to experience the life of local tea farmers by engaging in tea picking, stir-frying and weathering.
Perched on the roof of the world, holy Tibet boasts the world's most majestic plateau landscape and splendid Tibetan culture. Nestled by the Himalayas, Tibet embraces countless and mighty snow-caped mountains like Mt. Kailash and Namcha Barwa, as well as fairylike turquoise lakes such as Yamdrok, Namtso and Manasarovar. They are also popular spiritual destinations for red-cheeked Tibetans to achieve their life-time pilgrimages along some of the world's wildest roads.
Besides, the Everest Base Camp offers mountaineer lovers epic treks to capture mesmerizing views of the highest peak in the world. Hidden in the gorge valley of Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon, an idyllic and poetic land Nyingchi would throw you into the real wonderland of alpine pasture, which is exceedingly fascinating in Spring when peach blossom sweeps across the valley.
If you are a shutterbug chasing after spectacles, Yuanyang Rice Terrace will display you China's most dramatic landscapes. It is a massive agricultural miracle cultivated by local Hani minorities over centuries. The rice fields were carved out of the mountain slopes with an altitude of 6500 feet above sea level, which climb up like steps to the heaven. In different seasons, Yuanyang Rice Terrace is illuminated with various colors, such as verdure in summer and golden in autumn.
It is extraordinary when flooded with water before transplanting rice seedlings, which looks like thousands of mosaic mirrors reflecting the blue sky and tranquil villages. When hill breeze passes through, the glittering waters soon dance with the changing hues of sunlight. Check on the Top 5 Most Spectacular Terrace in China.
Located in Yunnan Province in southern China, Shangri-La is a remote lost paradise where you can expect an adventure into the great nature and Tibetan culture. Featuring on alpine landscape, Shangri-La has so many to offer ranging from sacred snow-capped mountains, Tibetan monasteries, and mighty gorges. Pudacuo National Park is the best place for you to immerse into the real wonderland made up of primary forest, wetlands, alpine lakes, meadows, brooks, and rare animals.
Moreover, Meili Snow Mountain is a holy destination of pilgrimage for Tibetan Buddhists, where you might catch the stunning golden sunrise over it. Shangri-La is also the seat of Tiger Leaping Gorge, one of the world's deepest and most marvelous gorges that is popular for hiking zealots.
As a high-altitude nature reserve in Sichuan province, Jiuzhaigou is endowed with a great number of alpine lakes and waterfall groups amidst the bushy virgin forest.
The reserve is not only home to many endangered animal species like golden snub-nosed monkey and the giant panda, but also the habitat of a small population of minority Tibetan people. In the park, you might encounter the most wonderful lake clusters in your life, which are like the pieces of jewels scattered on the land. Attributed to continuous tectonic activities throughout the history, the glacial lakes are all glazed in hues of green, turquoise, and blue, but stay as clear as one could see the rocks and dead woods in the bottom. In 2017, Jiuzhaigou was closed for a time due to an earthquake, and reopened in 2018 for organized tours only and now is closed again for the natural recovery of the scenic area, not knowing the reopening time yet.
Zhangye Rainbow Mountains of Danxia Landform is truly a world magical geographical wonder. Covering an area of 200 square miles, the Rainbow Mountain was formed as a result of 24 million years' deposits of sandstone and other minerals. The mountain dazzles with their otherworldly colors such as reds, blues, greens, browns and yellows like a giant paint palette over the rolling ridges. Especially at sunset moment, the mountains are more enthralling when glazed by dark reddish and golden hues of the dusk glow. As an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, Zhangye Rainbow Mountain is a real hidden gem worth a stop to visit on China's ancient Silk Road.