9 Gorgeous Places to Visit in China
China is a huge country, spanning incredible distances. Although cities have been expanding rapidly in the last few years, vast swathes of countryside and landscapes are pristine and untouched.
In this article I want to open your eyes to a few of the most beautiful areas of China, ones that make the ‘must see’ list if you do get here. With long university holidays, it’s not unreasonable to be able to see all ten in a year!
Huangshan (Anhui Province)
Huangshan, or literally ‘Yellow Mountain’ is probably one of the most famous mountains in China. Set among a mountain range, Huangshan is 1,863 metres high and a UNESCO world heritage site. If you’ve ever seen those Chinese paintings of mountains among the mist – that’s Yellow Mountain.
As well as moody mists, there are hot springs to refresh yourself after a hard day’s trekking, as well as spectacular rock formations to see.
HuaShan (Shaanxi Province)
Huashan means ‘Flower Mountain’ in Chinese, and gets its name from its formation – there are five peaks, North, South, East and West and a Central peak. With stunning views, the traditional way to climb this mountain was to start at dusk and climb to the East peak by candlelight, and arrive just in time to watch the sun rise. You can still do this for a spectacular morning view (but using flashlights instead of candles!).
Once you get back down, you can also soak in the hot springs nearby, and visit the famous Terracotta Warriors too, near ancient Xi’an.
Huangguoshi Waterfall (Guizhou)
Hangguoshi Waterfall is the highest in Asia, with stunning views from every angle available for the avid photographer.
With water dropping 77.8 meters across 101 meters, it’s spectacular. According to locals, the best time of year to visit is in the summer, from July to August, when the falls are at their fiercest.
Lake Karakul (Xinjiang)
Accessible from Kashgar, in the far West of China, Lake Karakul has gorgeous view of snow capped mountains, reflected in the mirror-like lake surface.
3,600 metres high, it lies at the end of the famous Karakoram highway, and has devoted travellers seeking it out.
Towns / Villages
Hongcun Ancient Village (Anhui)
A place to stop off at when visiting Huangshan mountain, this 900 year old village is a popular destination for Chinese tourists who are looking for some calm and tranquility.
Walk through the ancient, narrow streets and pass farmers working in the fields as you get used to the slower pace of life.
The landscape here is the classic view that has been reproduced in endless paintings throughout Chinese history, and continues in modern film. Famous for its karst peaks and fishing village pace of life, Yangshuo’s downtown can be a bit touristy, but luckily escape into the countryside is easy.
Surprisingly only discovered recently, it was quickly made a protected area to stop logging and decimating the area.
Full of an endless array of colours and shades that change all year round, this is region is chock full of lakes and alpine trees.
Pudacuo National Park, Shangri La (Yunnan)
A gorgeous wetland and a national park, its home to a huge number of species, both plant and wildlife. Come here to unwind and soak up the atmosphere.
Sand Mountain and Crescent lake (Dunhuang)
Looking like a mirage, this refuge from the desert nestles in between enormous sand dunes rising up 250 metres.
Six miles away from the city of Dunhuang, already on the edge of the Gobi desert, visitors can ride a camel over the dunes to get that real ‘Laurence of Arabia’ adventure.