Have you always been curious about visiting China’s tourist attractions? Then you need to plan a trip to one of these 10 most beautiful places in China.
There was once a time when you could only read about the most beautiful places in China through the pages of a National Geographic magazine. China was a far-off, mythical land.
However, easy and speedy travel has changed this narrative. For example, a flight from the US to China is only 14 hours long, which seriously beats an endless boat ride around the world.
And despite the rapid changes of modernity, China is still known for its fascinating ancient culture.
It is a land of history, and magical beauty. A place unlike any other in the world. And below are 10 reasons why you need to visit and see China in all its glory. (And just to show you we’ve put some thought into this, we’re NOT mentioning the famous Great Wall of China!)
10 Of the Most Beautiful Places in China to Visit
China is a year-round destination. So, you can visit its sublime scenic spots at your convenience. And while many places in China will dazzle travelers, these are the 10 most beautiful places in China you need to see.
Zhangjiajie, a prefecture in Hunan Province, is more than one of the most beautiful places in China. Along with beautiful views, Zhangjiajie is a city, a national park, and one of the most popular destinations in northwest china. After the release of James Cameron’s Avatar, Zhangjiajie’s beauty caught the entire world’s attention.
As the first official national park of China, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is home to the deep valleys, towering peaks, and mind-blowing rock pillars.
These massive pillars were the inspiration for the Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar.
So very different from the smog and dust-ridden cities, Zhangjiajie has a natural, luscious green beauty and an almost magical feel. The national park is China’s first national park and lies within the larger Wulingyuan Scenic Area. Zhangjiajie is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and has vast forest coverage.
Inside Zhangjiajie are thousands of rock tower cliffs making it one of the best muses for traveling photographers. And you can’t pass up the Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge.
Although one of the newest attractions, it is quickly becoming famous across the world. So, if you like an adrenaline rush, the Glass Bridge’s bungee platform has a 984 feet (300 meters) drop. It is the world’s highest bungee platform.
Not only do you get authentic rural China scenery, but you also get thrilling attractions. What’s not to love?
2. Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land near Kunming is a backpacker‘s and a photographer’s paradise. Spanning as far as the eye can see, the red terraced lands in Dongchuan District leave you in awe.
Because the soil is rich in the minerals aluminum and iron, it ends up having that gorgeous crimson color.
Throughout the region, farming villages till the red soil and plant their crops. And the Dongchuan Red Land truly shines as one of the most beautiful places in China when the crops bloom.
The farmer’s golden buckwheat, green barley, and the wild white flowers all contrast again the red soils. Ultimately creating a palette of colors that is the envy of many an artist.
From a distance, the white clouds and the blue sky of the hilly region frame the Dongchuan Red Land to resemble a watercolor painting, which attracts many videographers.
Visit the Dongchuan Red Land region when the crops are in bloom, bathing the area with a rich range of colors.
3. Jiuzhaigou Valley
Jiuzhaigou is magical and inimitable. It’s no surprise that Jiuzhaigou is widely considered one of the most beautiful places in China. The Valleys charm lies in its colorful lakes, the multi-level waterfalls, and fairy tale snow-capped mountains. Not to mention, it’s extremely peaceful.
Jiuzhaigou’s lakes change their color throughout the year. At the bottom of the lakes are calcified rocks and algae whose color reflects on the lake water.
And with crystal clear water, the scenery is mirrored onto the lakes, giving Jiuzhaigou a mystical feel.
For the best views of the everchanging colors, visit the park in autumn. Because it is the time that the lakes become an arena of rainbow hues. And waterfalls set in the dense forests have clear white streams that look like looms weaving silk as they fall over the rocky beds.
Out of all the sights, the most popular of Jiuzhaigou’s waterfalls are the Nuorilang, Shuzheng, and Pearl Shoal waterfalls. These lakes and waterfalls solidify into icicles and ice sheets in winter. And because of the way the light hits, the ice appears blue.
Jiuzhai Valley National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Yuanyang Rice Terraces
The Yuanyang Rice Terraces on the slopes of the Ailao Mountains are not easy to get to. But they should be on every traveler’s bucket list as one of the most famous places in China.
The rice terraces are a two millennia-old creation of the Hani people. Their ancestors sculpted the rolling rice terraces into the Ailao Mountains southern slope for rice cultivation.
Despite the difficulty of the terrain, the Hani turned the mountainous region into a work of art, earning a ‘Skillful Sculptor’ title from the Ming Dynasty. The Yuanyang Rice Terraces cover close to 12,500 hectares. And you will find them on altitudes as high as 6,500 feet above sea level.
What makes the Yuanyang Rice Terraces one of the most beautiful places in China is not just the ingenuity of the Hani people. But also the gorgeous greenery of the rice paddies in full bloom.
The water in the paddies perfectly contrasts with the reflection of the water underneath, creating a beautiful spectacle. Throw in the colors of the sky and clouds, and from a distance, the Yuanyang Rice Terraces look like something out of a dream.
The large-scale terraces rise by an elevated 3,000 steps and are classified as the Bada, Duoyishu, and the Laohuzui scenic areas. The Hani pass the management of the terraces down each generation, and the area is a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site.
5. Echoing Sand Mountain
The Echoing Sand Mountain, also known as Mingsha Shan, is one of the most wondrous places in China. Some of its otherworldly attractions include its singing sands and a sweet, refreshing crescent lake right in the middle of the desert setting.
The Echoing Sand Mountain is part of the Gobi desert. These dunes can rise as high as 800 feet. And stretch along the ancient Silk Road in the Northwest region of China. But when it’s windy, they produce an eerie sound as the winds blow over the magnificent dunes.
When a strong wind blows over the dunes, they will shift and create a roar. When the wind is a light breeze, the sands produce gentle musical notes and whispers.
And sitting like an emerald below the Echoing Sand Mountain is the magnificent Crescent Lake, a centuries-old lake that has withstood the force of the desert winds and sands.
Don’t wait, travel to the Echoing Sand Mountain and listen to the strange sounds of the sands as you slide down its slippery slopes.
One of the most photographed places in China is Yangshuo. That being said, no matter how incredible the photos, they always fall short of the epic grace that you find on an actual visit.
Yangshuo sits by the Li River in southern China, and is about 2000 kilometers away from Beijing. It is one of the most beautiful places in China and an excellent getaway from the loud cities.
Yangshuo’s splendor rises from the beautiful and tranquil fields surrounded by some of the most captivating karst peaks.
These towering hills rise from the fertile plains like monsters filling the landscape with giant green peaks. Truly a sight to behold.
The unspoiled China scenery is iconic and a subject of many an artist’s painting. But if you want a to really see the sights, grab a bike.
On a bike, travelers can immerse themselves in the limestone hill-specked lands via the many narrow pathways. Go through the rice fields, past the irrigation canals, and find calming ponds filled with pink water lilies, and emerald hills.
7. Qiandao Lake
Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang is also the Thousand Island Lake. It is an artificial water reservoir made to accommodate a hydroelectric station on the Xin’an River. And supplement the Three Gorges power station on the Yangtze.
In order to pave the way for the creation of the Qiandao Lake, residents living on the 50,000 acres around the river had to relocate to other regions.
In the aftermath of the areas’ flooding, 27 towns, hundreds of villages, and the two ancient cities of Shi Cheng and He Cheng were buried under Qiandao Lake’s waters.
The cities would have been forgotten, but divers found them in the lake’s depths after 50 years. Today, tourists can dive under the lake and experience the otherworldly beauty of the ancient submerged towns.
However, Qiandao Lake’s main attraction is the 1078 tiny and beautiful islands that float on its waters.
But, they aren’t just islands. Instead they’re the peaks of mountains and hills buried by the river’s water with the creation of the reservoir. If you want to take in all the sights, there are boat trips to these islands where you can immerse yourself in their exquisite scenery.
8. The Yellow Mountains
Among the most beautiful mountain ranges in China are the Yellow Mountains, which rise above the clouds of Anhui Province.
They are also known as the Huangshan Mountain, a name that translates to ‘yellow mountains.’ The mountain’s landscapes is the inspiration for many Chinese traditional paintings.
However, they are not known as the Yellow Mountains because of their color. Instead they get their name from the emperor Huang Di, who is known as the Yellow Emperor.
With so many beautiful places in China, the Yellow Mountains stand out because of their “four natural wonders.” Across the range, visitors can find jagged granite peaks, fluffy clouds, steaming hot springs, an haunting towers of trees. But the pines steal the show with creative names to match their curious shapes.
And conveniently, at the foot of the Yellow Mountains is the legendary village of Hongcun. After taking in the natural beauty of the mountains, visitors can step back in time to feudal China by visiting Hongcun. Along with being a UNESCO heritage site, the town is also the filming location of the blockbuster Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Tibet is endlessly beautiful. With the nickname “roof of the world” visitors can experience beautiful landscapes as far as the eye can see.
Because Tibet sits on earth’s highest plateau, all of its features are so grand that they humble any visitor. And with elevations over 4,000 ft., the views are glistening in warm mountain light. Which makes for a phenomenal golden hour.
While traveling, you’ll see turquoise lakes, and sweeping plains dotted with nomadic tents and yaks. But what makes Tibet one of the most beautiful places “in” China is the spirituality. Because Tibet, or rather the autonomous region of China, is a mecca for Buddhists. And it’s rich in magnificent prayer halls, and monasteries.
The Tibetan devotion to spirituality here is so deep that meditation retreats on cliff sides and views of the faithful surrounding Mt Kailash are an everyday activity.
However, the showstopper as you venture past the villages and ruins is definitely the view of Everest’s north face.
It’s easy to see why Tibet is one of the most beautiful places. That being said, getting there is not so easy. If you want to take in the wonders of Tibet, remember that foreigners require permits along with pre-arranged tour guides to visit.
All throughout China beauty abounds, and that’s no different for Xiamen city. Oftentimes, Xiamen is known as the “Garden on the Sea” sitting on China’s southeastern coast.
The city’s beauty is accentuated by its pleasant weather and heartwarming seaside scenery.
Xiamen is also the home to some of China’s magnificent Hakka houses.
The Hakka houses, also known as Fujian Tulou, are known to house hundreds of people. And they provide shelter, safety, and communal warmth.
Aside from the Fujian Tulou being World Heritage Sites, these houses can also be seen in Disney’s Mulan.
One a peaceful seaside town, Xiamen is now a major port. And it even has the worlds longest elevated bike path.
Get a chance to see all that the city has to offer from a bird’s eye view on a cycling path 5 meter above the ground, and 7.6 kilometers long.
Reasons Why You Should Visit the Most Beautiful Places in China
A trip to China is the perfect way to experience one of the world’s oldest cultures at its most genuine. By adventuring to China, you’ll encounter a blend of exquisite experiences, and traditions. Here are some of the best reasons to plan a trip to China.
China is one the largest countries on earth, and it has several geographic zones. The East Asian giant has tropical regions, warm temperate, middle temperate, cold temperate, and plateau zones. For instance, Tibet and parts of Sichuan, are in the plateau zone. While the larger China lies in the subtropical one.
Therefore, a visitor to China will experience diverse weather and landscapes. As an illustration, the plateau regions have chilly wildernesses while the Gobi Desert to the south is hot and lush. China has spellbinding scenery, filled with large rivers, mountains, ancient architecture, and lush gardens. Its architecture is unapologetically oriental, as is its food.
One good reason why you should take a trip to the most beautiful places in China is the cuisine.
China is one of the best places in the world to go on a street food tour.
Chinese cuisine has a global reputation for its refined and authentic taste. Their tea, poultry, rice, sauces, and noodle dishes are heartwarming, delicious, and leave you wanting more. While the seafood from coastal regions is unique, but exquisite nonetheless.
Related Reading: Most Beautiful Places in Japan
A Golden Culture
Chinese culture is ancient. It has been in existence for thousands of years. The region has had many civilizations, rulers, and histories emerge from the expansive country.
Most of the country’s past was turbulent yet so much of the culture remains. For this reason, China not only has the most beautiful scenic landscapes in the world, but it also has a fascinating history. Which is an experience worth traveling to China for all on its own.
It Has Something for Everyone
The Chinese people are friendly and hospitable. They love their culture and history, which makes them more than willing to share it with visitors.
And China is kid friendly. So, it beats out any family trip to Vegas.
It’s the perfect place to visit as a family. Plus, children and adults alike will have fun learning about China’s rich culture and experiencing all the sights.
While Chinese culture has deep connections to its glorious past, the nation is also highly modernized. The major cities are among the most built-up in the world, and have some of the best amenities.
And with transportation, and communication improving, traveling to China has never been easier.
The Most Beautiful Places in China: Final Thoughts
As far as exotic travel destinations go, China is perfect for the solo traveler, families, or group travelers. If you want to see some of the most beautiful places in the world, you need to visit China.
So, start making your itinerary, or find a travel agent that will get you set up. Then acquaint yourself with this marvelous country’s way of life.
Have you been to any of these breathtaking places? Where do you want to go first? Share with us your experience in the comment section below.