China is an enormous country that is absolutely jam-packed with beautiful sights. From vast deserts to towering mountains, you can find just about any landscape imaginable there. In fact, if you look hard enough and are willing to put some effort into your travels, you can visit these 5 places in China that look like they were lifted straight out of a fantasy movie!
This article is a guest post by fellow blogger Tim?
5 places in China straight out of a fantasy movie
1. Huangshan – The Yellow Mountain
Huangshan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its unique granite peaks and foggy mornings. I’ve never been in a place that reminded me more of stepping into a fantasy film, including New Zealand!
Not only is every view in Huangshan like looking at a real live painting, but the paths and bridges that have been placed throughout the mountain feel like stepping into Rivendell from Lord of the Rings.
Probably the most famous section of Huangshan is the Fairy Walking Bridge. Constructed in 1987 (although you could easily believe it was hundreds of years old!), the Fairy Walking Bridge is surrounded by winding staircases and spans two sheer cliffs.
I refuse to believe that this entire area wasn’t constructed by elves, but as long as I can go there and experience the beauty for myself, then I suppose it doesn’t matter.
2. Huashan – The Splendid Mountain
Huashan is one of the five sacred peaks of China and is an awe-inspiring sight with its sheer cliffs. It may be nicknamed the Splendid Mountain, but it feels more like a psychotic fun house carved into a gigantic mountain by a madman.
Many of the paths on Huashan feature extremely steep stairs carved directly into the rock. Some of these are so steep, you’re actually climbing backward to ascend them with nothing but a chain to hold on to.
The most prominent and infamous feature of Huashan is the Plank Walk. Literally, just some wooden planks nailed into the side of the mountain, the mere sight of the plank walk will make most people reconsider. It looks as if no proper engineering thought was put into it at all.
Thankfully, the plank walk feels more sturdy than it looks and you’ll have a safety harness to keep you attached to the mountain. Scaling the plank walk will lead you to a small clearing with a temple at the end.
After taking in the scenery, you can look forward to the fun part: going back the way you came and climbing around other travelers on a one-foot-wide wooden board.
3. Longsheng’s Terraced Hills
Longsheng is home to the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces, a seemingly endless line of rice planters carved into the hills around two villages. There are walking paths throughout the hillsides with food vendors lined up to feed you delicious treats stuffed into bamboo chutes.
The terraces stretch for as far as the eye can see, with the small villages nestled in between them perfectly complimenting the green landscape.
The Dragon’s Backbone is located roughly two hours from Yangshuo. Once you arrive, you can either hike around at your leisure or take the cable car to the top from Dazhai village.
Once you’ve had your fill of wandering, head down to one of the picturesque villages below for an authentic home-cooked meal from one of the many small restaurants operated out of the homes of locals.
4. Yangshuo and the Li River
Yangshuo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China for a good reason, just look at it! Nestled along the Li River and the accompanying karst topography, you’re surrounded on all sides by incredible beauty.
As you look out over your balcony later in the evening, sipping on a hot cup of tea, listen to the frogs sing you a lullaby to finish off your day. It’ll be difficult to convince yourself that you haven’t stepped into a fairy tale.
The best way to visit Yangshuo is to take a one way Li River cruise from Guilin. The cruise is four hours long and will take you through incredibly beautiful villages and landscapes. Seeing the massive variety of boats on the river adds to the spectacle of cruising through the countryside.
5. Shuhe Ancient Town
Shuhe Ancient Town is a cozy little village just up the road from Lijiang in the Yunnan province. The entire village will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time with its stone paved streets and old buildings. Even the main bridge in town is 400 years old.
Shuhe is an exceedingly pleasant place to spend time taking in the scenery and makes a great base for the region. It’s located 10 minutes from Lijiang Ancient Town and Black Dragon Pool, and just 30 minutes south of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.
If you feel like getting some exercise, rent a bicycle and ride around to the other nearby villages of Baisha or Jade Water Village. No matter where you go in this area, you’ll feel like you stepped into the Ming Dynasty.
China is Full of Surreal Landscapes
There are few countries as diverse in their scenery as China, and this list just scratches the surface of this country’s incredible offerings. There are plenty of other mountains, rivers, and villages to be explored, and I personally can’t wait to get back there and see more of China’s spectacular offerings.
I hope these pictures have helped inspire you to brush up on your Mandarin and start planning a trip of your own into this fantastic world.
Tim is an avid traveler who seeks out the most exciting trips he can find while still working a full-time job. He started AnnualAdventure.com in order to help inspire others to do the same! From Antarctica to Uganda to Iceland, he has been to all seven continents and is excited to share his adventures with the world. Visit his website, or follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!