If you are to choose just one Asian country to explore its natural beauty, our best bet is China. It is common knowledge that China, in a lot of aspects, is huge. Not just land-area-huge but also its economy, population and history. Because of that, it can definitely be called as one of the most important forces that keep the world’s wheels in motion.
And when it comes to natural resources and natural wonders, China also leads the list as it offers a plethora of naturally wonderful places to visit. To look at it yourself, check out our list of natural wonders of this rich country in Central Asia.
Here are the 15 places you wouldn’t want to miss when you set foot in China:
Picture this –gradient of blue and turquoise pools surrounded by snow-capped peaks, multi-tiered waterfalls, and extensively rich wildlife. A short-second glimpse of this scenery could drop anyone’s jaw out of amazement. Nestled in the northern part of Sichuan province, Jiuzhaigou, which literally means “Valley of Nine Fortified Villages,” is definitely fortified with natural beauty. It covers 72,000 hectares on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau. It was named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992, and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997.
Remember the floating islands called “Hallelujah Mountains” in the 2009 epic science fiction film Avatar? Well, that exactly looks like the Wulingyuan without—of course—the floating part. Sometimes compared to Bryce Canyon in US, Wulingyuan is a group of tightly packed 200-meter-tall sandstone pinnacles with greenish-white cedars. It is mostly seen in photos with a thick cloud of mist below which makes it look like its floating in the air.
So you are in China, but you want to experience a romantic river cruise a la Vienna style. Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered. Li River in Guangxi Zhuan Autonomous Region is the place to be. Either on small bamboo rafts or big air-conditioned ships, you can cruise the calm waters of Li River while taking in the beauty of the serene karst mountains standing in the background.
The world renowned deep river canyon, Tiger Leaping Gorge, is some of the best hikers’ secret trail. The roaring cascades of the river appear between the beautifully chiseled gorge of the mountains: Jade Dragon Snow and Haba Snow. This magnificent scenic canyon, which measures 16 kilometers horizontally and 4 kilometers vertically, has a legend surrounding it. Its name came from the legend of a tiger jumping across the narrowest point of the river. On the other hand, the river is incidentally a part of the upper Yangtze River—Asia’s longest.
At a quick glance, Qiantang River looks like any other river in the world—not until it releases its massive, enormous tidal bore. Qiantang flows along the borders of Anhui and Jiangxi and into the East China Sea. But what this river is most famous for its incredibly large tidal bore which can reach up to 9 meters in height and a rush of 40km per hour. To pay tribute to the tide’s valiat strength, it is named locally as the Silver or Black Dragon. The tidal bore in Qiantang is also a surfur’s guilty pleasure.
This is a legitimate naturally made stone forest museum in the world. This incomparable limestone formation is the only Karst scenic area in subtropics plateau which lies between 1500m-1900m altitude. 200 million years in the making, this unique piece of natural art is a result of tectonics movement in a previously large sea area with limestone deposits. This picturesque natural wonder has been a UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2007.
Mount Huang or most commonly known as the Yellow Mountain of China is known for its “five matchless” things: breathtaking sunrise, vividly detailed rocks, comforting pines, majestic sea of clouds, and calming thermal spring—which explains why it is one of China’s most photogenic scenery. What more can you ask for?
Although the formation of this magnificent land creation is man-made, this is still a natural wonder that has been handed over through history since the Yuan Dynasty. This expanse covers an entire 66 kilometers of southeast Longsheng. It is indeed a visual treat amongst tourists but it should be kept in mind that this was also an innovative way of farming in the past.
The “swan lake” or “jade lake in the upper pastureland” of Tibet has a coverage of 130 kilometer-length and 70 kilometer-width. This magnificent body of fresh water which streams below the snow capped mountains is just one of the three largest holy lakes in Tibet. The panoramic view, however, of the river from an elevated angle is indescribable.
Don’t stare at it longer, or else you might start imagining being in a scifi film. Huangguoshu Waterfalls stretches up to 77.8m-high and 101m-wide. This massive natural creation blends perfectly with the stones, trees, and its surrounding wildlife which makes it a standout. No matter where you stand or angle you photograph it, you can always capture a new side of it which proves its uniqueness.
If you want a more indoor type of nature tripping, then enter the out-of-this-world dimension of Silver Cave. It is a floor-type cave that features a variety of stalactites that look like sliver sparkling. The dramatic formation inside is highlighted even more with rainbow-like lights. Legend has it that “anyone who has been to Silver Cave would never short of money.” Who knows, you may even entering through a tunnel of good fortune!
No one calls a place “Heaven” if it doesn’t look heavenly, but the sight of Heaven Lake is definitely one for the books and its name is never to be argued. Heaven Lake is a crater lake that sits on the border between China and North Korea. The royal blue water is a standout foreground of the volcanic Baekdu Mountain’s caldera that surrounds it. Though it can be a tricky journey, the sight can never be found elsewhere.
Never thought a desert could exist in China? China’s diverse land area also covers this extremely beautiful Taklimakan Desert. It is located at the country’s northwest region and covers an expanse of 337,000 sq km. It has also witnessed the footsteps of the early people as it has a recorded history that dates 4000 years ago. The sand dunes is a feast in the eyes.
The magnificent oval shaped mountain happens to house a UNESCO World Heritage Site Lushan National Park. It is a nature attraction within a nature attraction. In Mount Lu, you can visit its famous sites like the Immortal Caverns, Three Tiled Springs, Luling Lake, Botanical Gardens, and tons of more! It was also dubbed as China’s summer capital.
Before ending your trip in China, take some R & R in the beach or end your itinerary at Yalong Bay. Yalong Bay has been very accessible to tourists for the past recent years. Its white sand shore stretches up to 7.8 kilometers. This relaxing and mesmerizing beach can probably be your best journey-ender.
Before flying to China, however, you'll have to invest in some durable and dependable travel equipment. There are tons of gear you might need, but you should start with your bag. Check out these incredible and multi-functional bags that you can use for your China vacation. Furthermore, you might want to see these must-have China travel essentials.
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