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5 Very Different, But Extremely Beautiful Places In China

Being such a massive country, China has so many diverse landscapes. From stunning rice fields and lush national parks, to quaint old towns and vast mountainous regions, these landscapes are all so different, yet beautiful in their own unique way. Here is a rundown of some of the most breathtakingly scenic destinations in China that you should visit:

1. The Yuanyang Terraced Fields

Being the 45th World Heritage Site in China, the Yuanyang Terraced Fields is definitely one of the most beautiful places to visit in the country. Located in along the Red River in Honghe Prefecture in southeastern Yunnan province, the area is most famous for its spectacular rice-paddy terracing. The best time to visit this area is after the harvest, when the terraces have been irrigated. This usually happens between January to March.

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2. Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park

Located near the city of Zhangye in Gansu province is Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park. Covering over 510 square kilometres, the park is made up of colourful rock formations. Ranging from bright purples and deep reds, the colourful rocks are also known as Rainbow Mountain. The best time to visit the park is between June and September around sunset. Not only is sunset at Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park an eyeful,  but it also changes the colour of the rock formations adding an extra tone of yellow and red.

Zhangye 's Danxia was formed by the erosion of red sandstone which formed isolated peaks and outcrops. The long-term desert conditions combine with freeze-thaw peeling as well as wind and water erosion has given this area its unique and beautiful appearance. Tourists are advised to pack comfortable walking shoes as to get to the best views you’ll need to do some walking.

3. Hongcun Village

With charming architecture and beautiful scenery, you’ll be taken back in time when you visit the quaint village Hongcun. Located in the historical Huizhou region of southern Anhui Province near Mount Huangshan, villagers flooded their gardens to create a unique landscape which only exists in Hongcun Village. The village became more popular after it was featured in the film ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’.

With a population of only 1500 people and only 28 hectares in size, the village is small, but has plenty to see and do. From viewing the old Ming and Qing courtyards to shopping for souvenirs. This village is perfect for a day trip or an overnight stay. Hongcun has also been placed on the World Heritage List for its history, scenery, and well preserved buildings dating hundreds of years.

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4. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

As the inspiration behind the Hallelujah Mountains in James Cameron movie ‘Avatar’, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is made up of precipitous pillars. Located in the northwest of China's Hunan province, the area is famed for its forest of rock pillars with reach heights of 200 meters. In the national park there is also a glass walkway, plenty of waterfalls and beautiful vantage points which are perfect for photographs.

There are two must-see attraction in this national park, which are the Wulingyuan Scenic Area and Tianmen Mountain. Both are equally beautiful, but Tianmen Mountain being less popular and the Wulingyuan Scenic Area needing at least two days to explore.

5. Xiapu

The county of Xiapu is truly a hidden gem when it comes to tourism. The almost untouched landscape is extremely picturesque with its mudflats. Stretching for kilometres, these mudflats are constantly changing from seawater-filled to an open plain with just mud. Expect to see plenty of fishermen out of the flat harvesting fish and seaweed. The best time to visit this incredible area along the stretch of East China Sea coast is during the summer time. Be sure to check the tides to experience the mudflats at high tide. This area is extremely popular with photographers who come from all over the world to photograph this beautiful area

While in Xiapu, tourist will also experience a more rural way of Chinese life. The people in this area are poor and survive by selling fish and seaweed. Tourists can expect a few locally run small inns and restaurants which might not be the five star quality of the bigger cities, but is a source of income for the poor community.

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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.

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