With nearly 60 million tourists visiting it in 2016, it’s no surprise China earned the award for the most visited country in Asia and fourth in the entire world. Part of the appeal of this coveted travel destination is the vast variety of culturally, historically, and religiously significant sites. For many travelers, Beijing and Shanghai are obvious choices to visit. But there’s still so much more to this beautifully diverse country. The geographic treasures of Zhangjiajie, Huangshan, and Guilin feature awe-inspiring geography that have enticed filmmakers, photographers, geologists, and travelers for years.
Zhangjiajie- considered one of the most beautiful scenic locations is a must see. Famous for Karst topography, karsts are created in regions of limestone and groundwater where sinkholes form the depressions in the ground resulting in the rugged terrain. Tour the Yellow Dragon Cave known as “the wonder of the World’s Cave,” which is full of stalagmites, stalactites, underground streams, and large caverns. A fun fact is parts of the movie “Avatar” were filmed in Zhangjiajie’s uniquely varied landscape. Complete your trip visiting the Zhangjiajie National Forest. Zhangjiajie is a paradise for any travelers who love to study China’s diverse geography.
Huangshan- China’s Magical Yellow Mountains have been aptly referred to as magical and beautiful. Named after the legendary Yellow Emperor in 747 A.D., the area is renowned for Buddhist temples, an 800-year-old tree greeting hikers to the mountain, and oddly shaped rocks. There are numerous sightseeing routes of the Magical Yellow Mountains viewing hundreds of dramatic peaks and hot springs either by cable cars or hiking.
After exploring the mountains, spend a day in the ancient district of Tunxi. Famous for ink production, visit the old factory to witness the production of ink tablets and seals. Finish your day strolling the streets of ancient architecture, stop for tea and enjoy the shops that line the street.
Guilin- Formerly Romanized as Kwelin, Guilin features a classic Chinese countryside. Take a day trip on the Li River viewing dramatic landscape featuring two types of Karst terrain, the Fengcong and Fenglin, which have evolved for the past 10-20 million years of the Cenozoic period. Due to millions of years of evolution, the karst are massive in size and shapes. Let your imagination go; just as you look at the clouds and discover images, you will have the same experience viewing the karsts. Your visit to Guilin should include exploring Reed Flute Cave, Seven-Star Park, Elephant-Trunk Hill (the symbol of the city), and Lingqu Canal, dug in 214 BC and is the oldest existing canal in the world. Conclude your visit with a night cruise viewing the Sun and Moon Pagodas.
Traveling the destinations of Zhangjiajie, Huangshan, and Guilin, you will experience a wonder for the evolution of our planet by experiencing history and geographical development spanning millions of years. You’ll leave China with a lifetime of memories and a deep appreciation for our planet we call Earth.