When you think of visiting China, what is the first thing that comes into your head? Maybe it’s the Great Wall? Or perhaps it’s the countless bustling cities like Shanghai or Beijing?
For many, it’s simply the endless sources of delicious food! But what really makes China special is that there is simply so much to see here!
In fact, China is full of undiscovered wonders. And you can discover these little-known treasures by getting away from the beaten track.
Here are 5 of China’s hidden gems, which are definitely worth seeing.
Houtouwan – an abandoned ghost village
A short distance from Shanghai, Houtouwan is a photographers’ paradise! It looks like nature has swallowed this place. In fact, this could be the greenest village on the planet!
It was established as a fishing town in the 1950s with approximately 3000 fishermen. But the locals abandoned it during the 1990s to live closer to cities for better prospects.
Over the next decades, nature has reclaimed the town, covering it with a lush layer of green. Now, this is a real ghost town. Tourists can walk around and enjoy the greenery. If you decide to visit, be prepared to spend a lot of time climbing uphill.
You should also expect a lot of travelling, as visitors will need to take a series of ferries and buses to reach this mysterious and magical place. But it is totally worth it!
Suzhou, China’s city of Canals
Suzhou is China’s answer to Paris and Venice. This romantic town is perfect if you want to escape the skyscrapers, noise and fast-paced life of the big cities. The 2,500- year-old city was the cultural epicentre and a major economic hub for trade in the past and it is located about 100km northwest of Shanghai.
The city is famous for its crossing canals and tranquil rivers and displays China’s classical elegance and sophistication. An array of meticulously designed gardens, small waterways and stone bridges makes this one of the most picturesque cities in China.
To get an authentic Suzhou experience, you will need to take a boat and see the winding waterways of the most spectacular canal called the Grand Canal.
With its delightful small gardens, family-friendly parks, Suzhou is a city where rural and urban China collide.
Shennongjia Forestry District
Shennongjia Forestry District is located in northwestern Hubei province. This vast nature reserve offers some of the most beautiful and undiscovered scenery in the world.
Unesco listed the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve in the World Heritage index.
You simply must not leave China without a trip to Shennongjia.
The region has an abundance of rare and endangered species such as Clouded Leopard, Asian Golden Cat and Musk Deer and has been a place of significant scientific interest, particularly for botanists.
While Shennongjia is not the most convenient place in China to visit, the scenery alone makes the trip worth it. The easiest way to get here is by car.
Kaiping Dialou and villages
Kaiping Dialou (located just four hours from Hong Kong) was added to the Unesco World Cultural Heritage list in 2007. Here you can see more than 1,800 watchtowers and admire the scenery of rich fields, azure sky, bridges and local villages.
This little-known destination is a great place to visit during your summer holiday without breaking your bank account. The main attraction here is Diaolous, which is a tower built at the turn of the last century.
There are many of these dotted around a number of hidden picturesque villages located in the lush green countryside. The towers are tall and steep and you will need comfortable shoes if you are ambitious enough to climb to the top. The best way to see more is to hire a driver who will show you around and give you an insight into village living.
The Fanjingshan or ‘Mount Fanjing’, located in Guizhou province, is the highest peak of the Wuling Mountains. It is considered a sacred mountain of Chinese Buddhism and it is believed that in these mountains it is possible to achieve spiritual enlightenment. To arrive at the top, tourists must climb more than 8,000 steps or take a car ride up from the road below.
Unesco recognizes it as a site with “outstanding universal value” and Fanjingshan was listed in the World Heritage site in 2018. This place is a paradise for nature lovers, hikers and photographers. After a trip to Mount Fanjing, many tourists say that this is the most spectacular place they have ever visited and struggling up is worth the incredible scenery.
Along the road up the mountain, there are warnings for visitors to watch out for snakes. When you reach the top you can’t help but question how anyone managed to build a temple up there!
Tourist Visa for China
There are a few things every tourist should know before organizing a trip to China. Firstly, all foreigners must obtain a Chinese visa before travelling. It can take 10 working days to process your visa so be sure to leave sufficient time before departure date.
If waiting in queues and filling out visa documents sounds like a big hassle, you should contact Visa First! Our team will save you a lot of time and energy.
We will do the hard work for you and assist you in obtaining your Chinese tourist visa. In the meantime, you can sit back, relax and research the places you most want to visit when you arrive in China!