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Most beautiful places to visit in China

Top 10 of the most beautiful places to visit in China

As the world’s oldest civilization and combined with huge areas of gorgeous unspoiled natural beauty (and the more recent leaps into modernity), China is one interesting travel destination. Its gigantic size makes a condensed list a very tall order, but here is my choice for the Top 10 of the most beautiful places to visit in China…

Fenghuang, Hunan province – one of the most famous and striking old towns to visit in China

Fenghuang - most beautiful places to visit in China

Situated in the Western Hunan Province, the small town of Fenghuang is comparatively difficult to reach. Road conditions and traffic can be hard to negotiate, so getting a bus may be the best option. Once you’re there you’ll want to explore the area by foot. You can hike up to the Southern Great Wall and enjoy the striking views of the rice terraces. Fenghuang has a bustling feel to it and there are plenty of street vendors who sell local foods at great prices (make sure you try the Ginger Candy)!

Highlights of Fenghuang captured on film…

The Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) – the unique mountain range which is one of the most beautiful places to visit in China

Huangshan China

This beautiful mountain range is known for its hot springs, dense pine forests and mystical aura. It sits majestically with a misty sea of cloud at its feet but each season gives the mountains a different flavour. In springtime, it is scattered with pretty pink blossoms, bright flowers that illuminate the valleys and fill the air with their heady scent. In the summer the mountains are densely green, and bubbling streams lap against the rock faces. The turning maples paint the mountains red and violet in autumn before winter turns everything icy white and tranquil. The area is rich with flora and renowned for the monkeys, deer, goats and rare birds that live there. The mountain range has been celebrated in many ancient texts, paintings and poems and this sense of spiritual reverence still remain.

The surreal beauty of the Yellow Mountain…

Yangtze River – the longest and most beautiful river in Asia

Yangtze River - most beautiful place to explore in China

The longest river in Asia holds great historical, economic and cultural importance to the country. It accommodates the controversial Three Gorges Dam which is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world. It also thought by many to divide Northern and Southern China; both areas are immensely different in terms of climate, culture, economics, folk customs and landscape. Along the river, there are many areas of historical interest, as well as much natural beauty. Because of its vast size, one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy the river is by taking a cruise or a tour of the area. Independent Asia specialists Exotissimo offers a cruise which includes stops at the mysterious Fengdu Ghost City and the precious stone fortress, Shibaozhai.

Jiuzhaigou Valley – dreamlike scenery and gorgeous natural landscapes

Jiuzhaigou Valley China

This place with its waterfalls, lake groups and abundance of endangered flora and fauna isn’t short on natural beauty either. It’s a nature reserve and national park located in northern Sichuan province of southwestern China and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This inspirational place has more than its fair share of legends attributed to it and is home to a small population of Tibetan and Qiang people who put on traditional performances and sell foodstuffs and local products – one of the highlights of a trip to this region.

Guilin City – a picturesque place to visit in China which is known for its dramatic landscape of limestone karst hills

Guilin City China - best places to go in China

Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The combination of natural beauty and historic treasures make Guilin a popular tourist spot. Crystal clear waters, attractively formed karsts covered in lush bamboos and the deep caves also make the surrounding area a place not to be missed.

The Great Wall of China – one of the world’s most iconic and beautiful attractions

The Great Wall of China

Easily one of the most famous landmarks in the world, The Great Wall of China winds through a huge array of scenery, taking in deserts, plateaus, mountains, and grasslands. Although it’s not just the beautiful views that make The Great Wall a must-see site in China. The historical connotations and impressive architecture mean it is certainly worth a visit. Although some sections are in ruins or have been removed altogether, this purely reminds you of its history that spans well over 2000 years.

Wuzhen Water Town – a stunning town known as the Venice of China

Wuzhen Water Town China

This unusual little town is situated South of the Yangtze River. Its 2000-year-old history is reflected in the mysterious floating bridges, intricate wooden carvings and ancient stone pathways. The beauty of this town is that it still maintains a strong traditional feel, and many of the ancient features are beautifully preserved.

Lijiang Ancient Town – a scenic well-preserved old city in which has a history of over 800 years

Lijiang - most beautiful places to visit in China

This ancient town is located between Lion Mountain – which is dense with vegetation – in the West and the sprawling Elephant and Golden Row Mountains in the North. The area is also fringed with rich verdant fields that cut through crystal clear waters. Kubla Khan the first Emperor of the Yuan dynasty set his reign here and the air of importance, prosperity and celebration still remains.

Qiandao Lake – famous for its crystal-clear water and picturesque scenery and otherwise known as the Thousand Island Lake

Qiandao Lake China

The Thousand Island Lake (or Qiandao Lake)  is a manmade lake dotted with numerous small islands (hence the name). The waters are intensely azure and each island is thick with rich green foliage. Several of the islands are now themed, to cater for the ever-growing number of tourists who frequent the area. The area was initially created to provide a new hydroelectric power station and reservoir to feed the residents of Hangzhou. To do this several ancient city were flooded and the remains of these cities still lurk below the waters of the lake. The architecture of which is still eerily preserved, adding extra intrigue to this beautiful area.

Brahmā Palace, Jiangsu – a luxurious Buddhist palace standing next to the Lingshan Giant Buddha

Brahma Palace

This beautiful sprawling man-made structure lies beneath the foot of Little Lingshan Mountain. Very near you’ll also find Taihu Lake and the 88-metre-tall Lingshan Giant Buddha – also significant tourist attractions. A hugely spiritual place it’s almost like a Buddhist theme park and was built specifically for the Second World Buddhism Forum in 2009.

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Holly’s passion for adventure was first inflamed during a family holiday to Africa at the tender age of seven. With a taste for the exotic, the off-beat and the far flung, her feet have stayed consistently twitchy and a studying for a degree in Japanese and art history only poured more fuel onto her travelling ardor. UK based Holly likes nothing better than unravelling new destinations through the people, the cuisine and the local stories, and a story teller herself, her other indulgences include spoken word poetry, playing the cello, photography and seeking out curios. Counting Japan, Paris, Barcelona and off-the-beaten track family adventures as her favourite travel destinations she’s also a regular columnist for The Green Parent Magazine, an author for Green Books and runs the website Natural Mumma.


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    Trang Tran

    9 February, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Very beautiful. China is so big and that is why there are so many great landscapes to visit. Some of them look similar to the ones in Vietnam like the limestone mountains in Halong Bay or Hoi An ancient town.

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    John Simon

    13 June, 2013 at 8:26 am

    All of the photos which have posted are just awesome!!!

    No doubt, that China is a great country with various tourist attractions. I have visited some of the cities in China such as Shanghai, Shenzhen and Boping. I am always eager to visit there again and some more cities also.

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    Greg Prohl

    9 June, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I have to admit China isn’t really on my travel radar anytime soon, perhaps because it’s simply so huge, diverse and a bit intimidating, especially the more far-flung and unusual destinations. But this article certainly helps in giving the reader some ideas of particular spots and what they might find. And who did the photos? I only see one photo credit, nice stuff.

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    9 June, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Beautiful! I’ve always been more fascinated by China’s countryside and small towns than its huge concrete jungles. Fenghuang sounds lovely.

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    8 June, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks for a really interesting article about China. I have only visited Hong Kong so far, but I am definitely interested in visiting mainland China in the future.

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    8 June, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! I’m so happy to see my favourite ancient town called Fenghuang here. I’m absolutely in love with it and I am glad I used to live in Hunan province as I could visit it every two weeks. I would also add the Zhangjiajie National Park located in Hunan province – a real treasure!


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