Most people know, at least of reputation, the most famous monument and tourist sites in China, be it the Great Wall, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the army terra cotta Xi’an, or the skyscraper forest of Pudong district, Shanghai. But in a country of this size and geography so diverse, there are of course many other sites of interest. And it is quite amazing that foreign travelers are few to discover all these other wonderful places, which have everything to seduce them. It was not easy to draw up this list of the 40 most beautiful places in China. Really not! But basically, even memory cards have limited storage capacity and, whichever of these 40 most beautiful places in China you visit, you will not stop taking photos once you have it in front of you. For ease, we have listed the sites in alphabetical order of the provinces in which they are located. If you have visited a place that has seemed really sensational during a trip to China, do not hesitate to contact us to help us discover it.
1. Anhui: The old village of Hongcun
Hongcun Village is about 70 kilometers northwest of Huangshan City in Anhui Province. Direct flights connect China’s major cities (Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Xi’an) and Huangshan Airport.
With a history of 900 years, the village of Hongcun has long attracted Chinese tourists, who appreciate its serene atmosphere as its unusual architecture. In the background of the village, the remarkable Yellow Mountains (Huangshan, see site n ° 2) also deserve a visit.
Art students are also coming to this village for several decades, attracted by its traditional appearance, its lake of the Moon and the cordiality of its inhabitants. The picture formed by the paved streets of quartzite, the farmers bustling in the rice fields and the reflection of the old houses on the surface of the waters of the lake is splendid, and should meet your expectations.
- Admission price: 104 yuan (16 €)
- Checkout accommodation in Hongcun
2. Anhui: Huangshan (The Yellow Mountain)
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Huangshan (literally, “Yellow Mountains”) are considered the most beautiful mountains in China. It is a hiking place very popular with the Chinese.
This mountain range, which rises to 1,863 meters, owes its fame to its unusually shaped pines, its spectacular rock formations, its hot springs, its seas of mist and its dark clouds. Go on an excursion in these mountains, it is to be assured to discover magnificent natural sites, splendid, and to offer an unforgettable spectacle.
Huangshan Airport is connected to major Chinese cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Xi’an) by direct flights. Book your plane ticket online with us .
- Admission: 230 yuan from 1 st March to 30 November, and 150 yuan from 1 st December to 28 February.
- Checkout accommodation in Huangshan
3. Fujian: Wuyi Mountains
The Wuyi Mountains are located about 350 kilometers northwest of Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province. Direct flights connect the main cities of the country (Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an) to Fuzhou airport. UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Wuyi Mountains form an important landmark in southeastern China. They are also regarded as a center of development and the spread of neo-Confucianism, particularly influential in East Asia since the X th century.
Much appreciated by the visitors, the excursion aboard a bamboo boat in the gorges of the lower course of the Neuf Coudes river offers beautiful panoramas on the Wuyi mountains. This eight-kilometer, two-hour circuit is an excellent way to enjoy the beauty and serenity of the site, between the peaks with regular peaks of the massif and the transparent waters of the river.
- Entrance fee: 140 yuan for access to the Wuyi Mountains Park and 100 yuan for a trip over the water.
- Check out accommodation in Wuyi Mountains
4. Fujian: Xiapu Mudflats
These humble mudflats are one of the favorite destinations for photography enthusiasts in China.
About 175 kilometers away, Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian Province, is the nearest urban center. Access to the site is free. Despite its small size, Xiapu County, which stretches along the southeastern coast of China, has the largest mudflats in the country, stretching over 400 km of area of 40 km 2 .
Along these huge, colorful beaches, bamboo structures and rows of stakes, buoys, fishing boats and all other signs reminiscent of the presence of man constrict with the natural beauty of the site.
Direct flights serve Fuzhou Airport from the main cities of the country (Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Xi’an).
5. Gansu: Singing Sand Dunes and Moon Crescent Lake Oasis, Dunhuang
Crescent Moon LakeNo, it’s not a mirage !!! This real-life natural setting is located in the heart of the vast Gobi Desert in northwestern China, not far from the city of Dunhuang. The dunes of Mingsha (literally dunes of “singing sands”) are spread around an oasis, in the middle of which is a small crescent-shaped lake that never dries up. They owe their name to the peculiarity that they have, under the action of the winds, to produce melodious sounds, sand tumbling down the dunes giving the real impression of singing. Nothing is easier than to hear it: it is enough to stretch the ear while traversing the sandy slopes. It is possible to access by camel at the top of the dunes, which culminate at about 250 meters above sea level.
The site of the Singing Sand Dunes and the Moon Crescent Lake Oasis are six kilometers south of Dunhuang City. China Southern Airlines offers a daily return flight between Xi’an Xianyang Airport and Dunhuang Airport. For its part, Air China ensures once a day the connection between Beijing and Dunhuang. The charm of the Moon Crescent Lake comes largely from the contrast between the flower gardens along its banks and the expanses of sand that surround it.
- Admission: 120 yuan in high season (from 1 st May to 31 October) and 60 yuan in low season.
- Check out accommodation in Dunhuang
6. Guangdong: The fortified towers, or Diaolou, of Kaiping
Mainly dating from the early XX th century, the fortified towers were built under the leadership of wealthy local merchants from the Chinese diaspora. The latter distinguished themselves by shaping the diaolou (pronounced “tiao lo”) by means of elements from other cultures (Islam, as well as ancient Rome and Greece in particular), thus influencing the architecture of the entire region .
In the first place, outward signs of wealth, these towers also served, in a more pragmatic way, to protect themselves from looters and thieves and, for some of them, houses.
Today, about 1,800 diaolou still stand among the vast rice fields of the region. Kaiping is located 130 kilometers southwest of Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province. Buses run regularly from Kaiping Bus Station to Canton Bus Stations. Alternatively, it is possible to travel to Kaiping by bus or ferry from Hong Kong (direct journeys).
7. Guangxi: Yangshuo
For most Chinese people, Yangshuo is home to the most beautiful natural site in the country: sugar-bumpy hills, which can be seen in the water on board a bamboo boat. This city, which developed along a river in southern China, owes its great reputation to the natural scenery formed by the surrounding karst hills.
While fishing villages located nearby are characterized by their traditional way of life, Yangshuo’s city center is very touristic. You can rent bikes to explore the hinterland: as you walk, you can discover the bamboo boats descending the river in a serene atmosphere, the fishermen catching fish with the help of their cormorants, as well as farmers working in the fields, all dominated by peaks covered with lush vegetation. Most travelers earn Yangshuo from Guilin.
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Accommodation in Yangshuo
For Yangshuo, I absolutely recommend sleeping outside the city. There are very good hotels in 15 or 20 minutes by bike, or you will be really quiet!
All the hotels that I propose to you are ideally placed : close to the moon hill and the pier to make Bamboo raft on the Yulong river.
- Pure Joy Resort : My choice for a budget trip to Yangshuo! It’s not fancy, but the rooms and bathrooms are very clean and the staff is lovely. Double room from 22 euros per night.
- Yangshuo Hidden Dragon Villa : Beautiful boutique hotel located 5km from Yanshuo City, quiet, and 15 minutes walk from the Moon Hill. Night in a double room from 47 euros
- Indape Hotel : This 4 * Hotel is located about 4km from Yangshuo City. It was a big blow during my stay in Yangshuo for the setting and the calm that reigns there! Overnight stay in a double room from 85 euros.
8. Guizhou: Huangguoshu Waterfall
The highest waterfall in Asia, the majestic waterfall of Huangguoshu (literally the “Yellow Fruit Tree” waterfall) takes a vertiginous plunge of over 77 meters over a width of 101 meters.
It is part of this handful of gigantic waterfalls around the world that can be observed regardless of the angle of view you choose (overhanging, from the bottom, the back, the front or the sides ). At 6 km from the site is the airport of the same name, from which direct flights to Beijing and Guangzhou leave.
The best time to visit is between June and August, when the flow of water is the strongest, with more than 700 m3 per second.
- Admission: 180 yuan between 1 st March and 31 October and 160 yuan between 1 st November and 28 February.
9. Hainan: The statue of Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy
At a height of 108 meters, this statue was inaugurated and dedicated in 2005 by 108 famous Buddhist monks. It is one of the largest statues in the world and the largest representation of Guanyin, the marine goddess of Mercy, in the world. Erected at the end of a jetty leading to an artificial island, near Nanshan (the southernmost mountain in China), it has three faces, one facing mainland China, the second towards Taiwan and the last to the South China Sea symbolizing, according to the Buddhist tradition, in whose eyes she is a bodhisattva, the blessing by Guanyin not only of China but of the whole world.
The Guanyin Statue is located in the Nanshan Tourism and Cultural District, about 40 kilometers from downtown Sanya. Shuttles connect the Yalong Bay (see below) with the district.
- Admission fee: 150 yuan
10. Hainan: Yalong Bay
The most beautiful tropical scenery of China is found in Hainan. Yalong Bay is the most popular resort on the island. In the shape of a crescent, its beach, which stretches a little over 7 km long, is the busiest and most developed place on the southern coast of the island.
With its many luxury hotels (including more than twenty international hotels), in front of which are rows of palm trees, Yalong Bay has all the attractions usually sought by holidaymakers staying in the south-east of ‘Asia.
It is a heavenly place for water sports enthusiasts. The beautiful waves are especially the happiness of surfers, who can see gliding on the waves throughout the day. If you plan to come here in July, August, October, or the Chinese New Year, get ready to share the place with a host of Chinese families, most of them recognizable by their somewhat old-fashioned swimsuits.
Yalong Bay is 28 km southeast of Sanya City, which has flights to all major Chinese cities, as well as nine international cities including Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Seoul.
11. Hebei: Chengde Mountain Resort and Rehe Palace
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this mountain resort was built on the site of a former summer palace of the Qing Dynasty emperors, of which only beautiful gardens and a high pagoda remain today. 70 meters.
Nevertheless, its lush green meadows, marvelous mountains and tranquil valleys still make this place a very pleasant haven for those looking to escape the summer heat. Shuttles depart every hour during the day from Beijing to Chengde. The ticket price is 50 yuan.
- Admission price: 120 yuan
12. Heilongjiang: Hagia Sophia Cathedral, Harbin
This Orthodox Cathedral, the largest of all eastern China, is located in Harbin, the most Russian-speaking city in the country. At a height of 54 meters and an area of 721 m2, it was built in the Neo-Byzantine style by Russian expatriates in the early twentieth century, after the Russo-Japanese war. The Saint Sophia Cathedral symbolized the spiritual power of the local Orthodox community.
Subsequently, this place of worship served for several decades of deposit of goods to the Chinese Communist Party. Today, a state museum dedicated to the heritage, architecture and arts of the city has been built.
- Admission price: 15 yuan
- Address: 88 Xiulong Jie, Daoli District, Harbin, Heilongjiang 黑龙江省哈尔滨市道里区透笼街88号
13. Henan: Longtan Valley
The nearest airport to Longtan Valley is Luoyang, a major city in Henan Province, 60 km away. There are direct flights to major cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
U-shaped, 12 km long, with a purple quartz sandstone strip, Longtan is considered the valley with the most beautiful gorges in China. Its steep cliffs, lush vegetation and jagged reliefs attract tourists from all over China.
- Admission price: 70 yuan
14. Hubei: The incense stick column and the Enshi canyon
It is not a giant puppet but a karst column that stands among the cliffs of the Enshi Canyon, Chinese version of the Grand Canyon with its 108 meters long.
This rock column shaped incense stick stands on a height of more than 150 meters for only 4 meters wide: this natural monument is really surprising, especially when we know that it has withstood several earthquakes important developments in the region.
A local legend tells that the column would be a piece of incense offered by a goddess to the ingenious Tujia people. If a disaster occurred, the inhabitants could alert the goddess by lighting this piece of giant incense, and it would come to rescue them.
Enshi is about 230 kilometers west of Yichang, home to the famous Three Gorges Dam, and 530 kilometers west of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province.
Flights connect Enshi to Yichang twice a week (in 40 minutes), as well as to Wuhan, also twice a week (in just under an hour and a half).
- Admission price: 120 yuan
15. Hubei: Shennongjia
Over the past century, more than 400 people claim to have seen a Bigfoot-like creature amid the lush vegetation of Shennongjia. However, no one has ever really proven their presence here.
The Shennongjia Nature Reserve, with an area of 3,200 km 2 , can claim to be the only subtropical forest ecosystem preserved at mid-latitudes: it is home to more than 5,000 animal and plant species, including the Roxellan rhinopithecus or monkey golden-nosed umbel (金丝猴), a rare and protected primate species in China.
The nearest big city of Shennongjia is Wuhan. To get to Shennongjia from Wuhan, take the bus to Xingshan County (兴山县) from the Xinhua Road Bus Station (there is one per day). From there, continue to the reserve by minibus.
- Admission price: 100 yuan
16. Hunan: Fenghuang
Fenghuang lies 430 kilometers west of Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province. His dwellings on stilts are sure to seduce lovers of Chinese literature.
Every year, armies of young hikers flock to the ancient city of Fenghuang (whose name literally means “Phoenix”) to immerse themselves in the cultural riches of the Miao and Tujia peoples.
There are also many who come here to pay tribute to the famous Chinese writer Shen Congwen (沈从文), whose novel The Border City is set in this ancient city, which was founded about 1,300 years ago. Fenghuang has preserved a large number of ancient buildings: the city has about 200 buildings, as well as twenty streets and a dozen alleys dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Long-distance buses depart four times a day from Changsha West Bus Terminal to Fenghuang Bus Terminal (130 yuan per person). The trip takes about four hours.
- Admission price: 148 yuan
17. Hunan: Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is about 320 kilometers northwest of Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, which is the main communication hub of the region.
The giant quartz columns of Wulingyuan are said to have inspired James Cameron to the floating mountains of the planet Pandora, the film Avatar, awarded by several Oscars.
The Wulingyuan site, not far from Zhangjiajie City in China’s Hunan Province, is home to more than 3,000 rock formations of this kind. The highest column of this “forest of stones” is more than 400 meters high. Local authorities named one of them “Mount Hallelujah”, referring to the floating mountains of the film Avatar.
Trains and direct flights connect Zhangjiajie to many Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
- Admission price: 248 yuan
18. Inner Mongolia: Singing Sands Bay
Singing Sands Bay, also known as Yinken Sands Bay, is actually a 110 meter high dune, located 50 kilometers from Baotou, one of the largest cities in Inner Mongolia.
Down the dune, whose slope is inclined at 45 degrees, the wind emits, it is said, melodious sounds. It is possible to go by plane to Baotou from the big cities of the country (Shanghai, Beijing and Canton among others).
- Price of entry: 120 yuan
19. Jiangsu: Brahma Palace
The art of feng shui and Buddhism both have a strong influence in China. Kill two birds with one stone as you discover these two pillars of Chinese culture during a visit to Brahma Palace. Located at the foot of Lingshan Mountain, near Taihu Lake and Lingshan Giant Buddha (88 meters high), the palace is a perfect illustration of the Chinese art of feng shui. For example, it has been built near a lake and a mountain, two natural elements that are supposed to enhance luck and health.
Built in 2009, as part of the 2nd international forum of Buddhism, it is a place at once elegant, with all its gilding, and imbued with serenity.
Direct flights connect Wuxi Airport with the major cities of the country (Beijing, Shanghai and Canton in particular).
- Admission price: 210 yuan
20. Jiangxi: Mount Lu
Just ten kilometers from Mount Lu, the airport of the same name provides direct links to the major cities of the country (Beijing, Shanghai and Canton among others).
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, Lushan National Park, of which Mount Lu is the centerpiece, is more than just a tourist site. It is first and foremost a cultural and spiritual symbol in the eyes of the Chinese.
More than 1,500 famous painters and poets have visited here at different times in Chinese history, from ancient times, such as Li Bai (李白), the great poet of the Tang Dynasty, and more recently like Xu Zhimo (徐志摩), in the 1920s, to name a few. Many are the beauty of the place inspired, as evidenced by the calligraphy poems here and there on the walls of the cliffs.
- Admission: 135 yuan between 1 st December and 31 March 180 yuan between 1 st April and 30 November.
21. Jiangxi: Wuyuan
In the spring, when nature comes to life and the fields are decorated with multicolored flowers in a bucolic and soothing atmosphere, the region sees hundreds of thousands of visitors flocking.
The nearest major city of Wuyuan County is Jingdezhen, 98 km away, and is one of the major agglomerations of Jiangxi Province. From Jingdezhen Airport there are direct flights to most of China’s major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.
- Entrance fee: 180 yuan for five days.
22. Jilin: Celestial Lake and Changbai Mountain
Located about sixty kilometers from the Celestial Lake, Changbai Mountain Airport provides direct links to the main cities of the country, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang.
Celeste Lake, on the border of China and North Korea, is said to be like a piece of jade. Overlooked by the 16 peaks of Mount Chanbai Nature Reserve, its waters as transparent as vodka reach an average depth of 204 meters, making it the deepest lake in China. The place will also awaken the curiosity of the hunters of “aquatic monsters”. In fact, over the last two decades, several witnesses said they saw a creature 20 meters long in the lake!
In this region, sunny days are rather rare. The best season to visit is July to September, although the weather can remain icy and wet this season as the rest of the year.
- Admission price: 168 yuan
23. Liaoning: Benxi Aquatic Cave
The Benxi Aquatic Cave was formed more than 5 million years ago. Today, it consists of two sections, a dry gallery, and a water party.
Along the way, a series of stalagmites and stalactites, each more spectacular than the next, display various shades of green, yellow and red.
The Aquatic Section is home to the longest underground river in the world (5.8 km), of which only 2.8 km can be traveled by boat. The dry gallery is more modest in size, with only 300 meters of open space to the public. Inside the cave, the average temperature is about ten degrees. It is therefore strongly recommended to wear sweaters and pants.
Every day, every hour between 3:00 am to 11:00 pm, trains run between Shenyang, the provincial capital, and Benxi. Ticket price: 15 yuan.
- Admission price: 195 yuan
24. Liaoning: The Golden Pebble Beach Scenic Area, Dalian
This 30 km long beach, known in Chinese as Jinshitan, is located on the outskirts of Dalian City. It is known for its rock formations carved by the elements, evoking the silhouettes of fantastic animals. You can guess, here or there, the shape of a camel, a monkey or a tiger, or even that of a dinosaur.
The largest of these natural sculptures is called “the dinosaur exploring the sea”. It is over 40 meters high and, as the name suggests, evokes a giant dinosaur bathing in the ocean.
Golden Pebble Beach is located northeast of Dalian City. It can be reached by taking the Dalian Skytrain, whose trains run every 20 minutes between 6am and 6.30pm.
- Admission price: 100 yuan
Twice a year (in April-May and September-October), more than one million migratory birds of different species stop in this wetland in Ningxia Province. The rest of the year, about 200 bird species, including a large number of protected species, such as the black crane and the Chinese merganser, make it their home. The area is also reported to be the domain of giant salamanders, which can be up to 1.6 meters long. This wetland of 80 km2 is made up of the interweaving of desert spaces, water bodies and reed beds: a unique geographical configuration, known locally as the Lac des Sables (“sha hu” – pronounced “Cha rou” – in Chinese).
Sand Lake stretches 56 kilometers north of Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia Province. Buses run daily between this site and the Yinchuan North Gate Bus Station.
- Admission: 60 yuan from 1 st November to 31 March, and 80 yuan from 1 st April to 31 October.
26. Qinghai: Qinghai Lake
Every year, in June and July, this lake at 3,250 meters above sea level offers one of the best shows that nature can offer in Qinghai, the province that extends to the far northwest. from China. From Xining, the nearest major city and provincial capital, it takes three hours by bus to get there. Apart from the cycling enthusiasts who come to participate in the international race that takes place every summer around the lake, few travelers make the trip to this remote part of China, despite the beauty of the landscapes exceptional that we find there. Many Xining travel agencies however organize excursions to the lake. Every morning at 7:45 am, buses leave from Xining Railway Station to Qinghai Lake.
27. Shanxi: The city walls of Xi’an
Less well-known than the world-famous Great Wall, the city walls of Xi’an, which are more than 2000 years old, also bear witness to power and mastery. technique of the Middle Kingdom, then at its peak.
The current wall, which surrounds the city center of Xi’an, dates from 1370. It is a remnant of the fortifications that, during the Ming Dynasty, stretched 13.7 kilometers long and 12 meters high. and between 15 and 18 meters wide.
Nothing better than to embark on a beautiful 3 to 4 hour bike ride on the ramparts: you will enjoy superb views of the ancient capital of China. The top of the wall can be reached from Yongning Gate (永宁 门), Nan Jie Street, Xincheng District.
- Admission fee: 40 yuan
28. Shandong: Qingdao Zhan Bridge
As ancient as the city of Qingdao, the Zhan Bridge is actually a jetty, which was built on the Yellow Sea in 1892, to welcome Li Hongzhang (李鸿章), a prominent statesman of the Qing Dynasty. It has since become one of the symbols of the city. Crossing this pier along its length (440 meters) allows you to enjoy the sea breeze, before reaching, at its end, the Huilange pagoda, a building of classic beauty, which houses throughout the year exhibitions cultural and historical. Shoreline Scenic Area, 11 Jingshan Road, Qingdao, Shandong Province (山东 省 青岛 市 京 山路 山路 11 号 海滨 风景区)
29. Shanxi: Hukou Waterfall
The easiest way to get to Hukou Falls is to fly to Yuncheng, a city some 80 km away, whose airport is served by direct flights from major cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou . .
Hukou-Yellow River Scenic Area, Hukou City, Ji County, Linfen, Shanxi Province (山西省临汾市 壶口黄河瀑布景区)
China’s second largest waterfalls and the largest waterfalls in the Yellow River, Hukou Falls are known throughout China for adorning the 50-yuan banknote. High 20 meters wide and 30 wide, they stretch on the border between the provinces of Shanxi and Shaanxi. If you plan to visit this site, we advise you to come during the flood season (May to October), when the flow of water and the speed of the current amplify, causing the falls to swell, whose waters are sloping in the air dramatically over 50 meters in width.
- Admission price: 90 yuan
This site, dating back to more than 1500 years ago, testifies to the extent and strength of the Buddhist faith in China. It is made up of 252 caves and more than 51,000 Buddhist statues, mostly shaped between the 5th and 6th centuries, during the Northern Wei Dynasty. They form an exceptional testimony of Buddhist rock art in China.
The sandstone statues (the highest is 17 meters, the smallest two centimeters) have been carved in very different styles, in which Chinese and foreign influences (from the Indian region of Gandhara) are intermingled. Caves 16 to 20, the best preserved, are home to five Buddhas symbolizing the five emperors of the Wei Dynasty.
The Yungang Caves are located 18 kilometers west of Datong City , with direct flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
- Admission fee: 150 yuan
31. Sichuan: Hailuogou Glacier National Park
The nearest airport to Hailuogou Glacier National Park is Chengdu , the capital of Sichuan Province, 300 km away.
Hailuogou Park (literally, Conch Ravine Park) stretches at the foot of the eastern flank of Mount Gonggar in southwestern China, specifically in Sichuan Province.
According to legend, this ravine was a desert place until one day, a famous monk, blowing in his precious conch, attracts a whole host of animals who, captivated by the place, took up residence there. In memory of the monk and his instrument, the ravine was later called the “ravine de la conque”.
Throughout the year, visitors can access the imposing glacier, lined with cliffs, ravines and deep forests. To admire it in its best day, leave early in the morning, at the time of sunrise.
There are more than a dozen hot springs in the park. Only two, including one perched at 2,600 meters above sea level, are open to the public.
Direct flights connect Chengdu Airport with the major cities of the country (Shanghai, Beijing, Canton and Xi’an in particular).
- Entrance fee: 70 yuan for the national park and 120 yuan for hot springs.
Direct flights connect Chengdu Airport with major cities in China such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Xi’an.
32. Sichuan: Jiuzhaigou
With its forests, rivers, waterfalls, mountains and lakes, Jiuzhaigou is an exceptional natural site. One of these lakes is considered a jewel: its waters change color according to the seasons and the time of day. A unique phenomenon, which results both from the variety of reflections of the landscape on the surface, and the presence at the bottom of the lake of algae and calcified rocks, shallow.
Autumn is the best season to visit the area: the surface of the lake is then dotted with colors, like the palette of a painter.
Direct flights connect Jiuzhaigou Jiuhuang Airport with major Chinese cities (including Beijing, Xi’an and Chengdu).
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is Jiuzhaigou’s closest communication node: it is located south of the park, one hour by plane or 11 hours by bus.
- Admission, including local transportation: 310 yuan between 1 st April and 15 November and 160 yuan between November 16 and March 31.
33. Tibet: The Potala Palace
A former winter residence of the Dalai Lama and former seat of the Tibetan government, this nine-storey building, set at 3,700 meters above sea level, is the tallest palace on the planet.
This palace has now become a state museum. There are more than 1,000 items, including those of the White Palace (apartments reserved for the Dalai Lama) and those of the Red Palace (which was once the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism). Potola tours are limited to one hour.
The number of daily visits to the palace is limited. In high season (from 1 st May to 31 October), it is recommended for independent travelers to buy their tickets one day in advance to be sure to be able to make the visit.
- Admission price: 100 yuan
34. Xinjiang: Lake Karakul
It is necessary to reach this lake to traverse one of the most dangerous national of the world: the road of Karakoram. We hold our breath during the journey, but at the end of the road, we are rewarded by the spectacle of magnificent landscapes.
The many signs warning of the danger of landslides along the road do not dissuade travelers, most of them from Kashgar (喀什), the most western city in China.
The waters of this glacial lake, which stretches across the Pamir Plateau 3,600 meters above sea level, like a huge mirror, reflect the surrounding mountains.
We advise you to visit the region between the months of May and October.
There is no public transportation from Kashgar to Karakul. On the other hand, many Kashgar hotels and travel agencies organize tours of the region, either individually or in small groups. The lake is about a 4-hour drive from Kashgar.
35. Xinjiang: The grasslands of Nalati
This subalpine meadow is quite unique in northwestern China.
According to legend, his name comes from soldiers of Genghis Khan who made a stop there. Subjugated by its colors, they gave it the name of “Nalati” (literally, in the Mongolian language, “the place where the sun emerges”). A visit to this region also allows you to immerse yourself in Kazakh folklore. In fact, the inhabitants live in yurts, raise hawks for hunting and still practice traditional sports today. The best time to visit the region is from July to October.
Every day, a flight from China Southern Airlines connects Urumqi to Nalati.
36. Yunnan: The three pagodas of Dali
These three Buddhist pagodas are the emblematic monuments of Dali, an ancient city located in the province of Yunnan in southwest China.
The main pagoda was built in the 9th century to protect the area from the frequent floods that affected it. With a height of 69 meters spread over 16 floors each decorated with Buddha statues, it was considered, under the Tang Dynasty as a real skyscraper. It remains today the highest pagoda in China. The other two pagodas, identical to each other, were erected in the last century: they are 42 meters high, and form with the large pagoda an equilateral triangle. For lovers of photography, these three monuments are the insurance of some beautiful shots!
- Admission price: 121 yuan
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37. Yunnan: Pudacuo National Park, Shangri-la
Pudacuo is 22 kilometers east of Shangri-la, a tourist town in northwestern Yunnan. Every morning at 9:30 am, a bus departs from Shangri-la Bus Station for Pudacuo. Pudacuo remains China’s first national park that meets the criteria set by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), a leading global environmental organization.
This wet plateau is home to more than 20% of plant species and about one third of the country’s mammal and bird species.
Photography enthusiasts particularly appreciate the place for its multiple varieties of orchids and for its black-necked cranes (a critically endangered species living in China). In the heart of the park, Lake Bita is home to a unique fish species, Bita’s double-mouthed fish, which originated more than 2.5 million years ago.
- Admission price: 190 yuan
38. Zhejiang: Nanxi River
The nearest big city to the Nanxi River is Wenzhou, about 23 kilometers away. The river, lined with dwellings, winds between mountains, making it a site long appreciated by Chinese artists specialized in ink painting aquatic landscapes.
While descending the river on a bamboo boat, travelers can take a closer look at the scenes of daily life of locals washing their feet in the water or fishing with the help of their cormorants, especially a fish. of fresh water called xiangyu, which can only be found here.
Direct flights connect Wenzhou Airport with most major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.
The river has nine different boat trips ranging from 1 to 10 kilometers long. The price of a trip on a bamboo boat varies between 30 and 70 yuan depending on the circuit.
39. Zhejiang: The Thousand Islands Lake
In the 1950s, the Chinese government evacuated hundreds of villages, before flooding the territory they occupied to build the water reservoir of a dam. It is therefore the realization of a dam that gave birth to this unusual panorama comprising a total of 1,078 islands.
Most of the visitors who frequent this immense space of relaxation and leisures are attracted by the possibility to make there activities of open air: outboard, water skiing, pedestrian excursion in the islands and excursions in mountain … One can You can also enjoy excellent seafood. On the lodging side, the offer is very varied, from the small chalet perfect for the budget to the luxurious rooms of the five-star hotels.
Direct buses connect Hangzhou West Bus Station to the nearest city to Thousand Islands Lake. Departures every 30 minutes between 6h and 18h50, ticket price: 60 yuan. You will then have to take a taxi to access the site.
- Admission fee: 150 yuan
40. Zhejiang: Yunhe Rice Terraces
Yunhe County is 67 kilometers southwest of Lishui City. To get there, you first have to take the train from a big city like Shanghai, Hangzhou or Beijing. Shuttle buses run between Lishui Station and Yunhe.
The Yunhe region (whose name means “peaceful clouds” in Chinese) has been populated for over 1,000 years.
The terraced plots that make the county famous are winding up on the side of the mountains, between 200 and 1,400 meters above sea level, forming a veritable maze on a multitude of levels (up to 700 superimposed on top of each other). ). On rainy days, the show is truly marvelous: with the water vapor evaporating from the rivers and enveloping the terraces, the landscape takes on a completely dreamlike look.
- Admission price: 80 yuan