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China may not be a particularly big slice of the world, but it does offer incredible photographic locations.
Any great artist knows that it’s not always easy to find inspiration and when you do, getting to it might prove difficult.
Like most countries, China has its own unique natural beauty, and finding a travel group that knows how to get to those hard-to-reach locations is usually your best bet.
China’s Best Photographic Locations
1. Guilin Region
The Guilin Region has many wonderful landscapes for photographers to capture.
Take some time to capture the vast rice terraces and the humble fishermen who make their livelihood on the Li River.
Or visit the Karst mountains and caves, one of the region’s most fantastical landscapes.
The rounded hills are a marvellous sight, and they tend to change shape and form with the weather; what you see in bright sunlight, is different to what you’d see when it’s shrouded in mist.
The caves are even more stunning than the mountains themselves, consisting of incredible colours and formations.
Tip: Guilin is best visited in March to May and September to October.
Known as the inspiration for the Avatar movie’s Hallelujah Mountains, the pillars of Zhangjiajie are one of the best locations for photography in China.
Visiting the park in the early morning offers photographers the opportunity to capture the most ethereal landscape shots, with over 3000 giant pillars almost completely covered in mist.
Wouldn’t it be mesmerizing to see Pandora’s “floating mountains” for yourself?
Tip: Zhangjiajie is in the Hunan province and is best visited in March to May and September to November.
3. The Great Wall
This one may be a little obvious, but the Great Wall is China’s most popular attraction.
Simatai is the best location on the Great Wall for those perfectly remote shots, although the climb can be a little strenuous.
Mutianyu offers Ming-era guard towers along with lush vegetation and while it might not be as quiet as Simatai, it’s not overly crowded either.
Tip: The Great Wall is busiest during Chinese holidays and weekends, and early mornings and late afternoons offer the best lighting.
4. Mount Huangshan
Also known as the Yellow Mountain, Mt. Huangshan in the Anhui province is known as the most beautiful mountain in China.
Gazing out at the spectacular vistas makes it easy to see why the mountain has been the subject of many paintings and poetry throughout the years.
When the misty mountains are aglow with the rising sun, it makes the strangely-shaped pine trees and rocks even more enchanting, causing one to wonder if they’ve stepped into an odd but magical world.
The historical Lijiang is a charming and gorgeous ancient town in Yunnan.
The city comprises of wooden houses and cobbled streets, with canals scattered between. The people are welcoming, and their culture is incredibly rich.
This ancient town will cause you to feel as if you’ve gone back in time to a simpler era, when honour and integrity were the core principles to live by.
Exploring outside of the little town is equally promising, with the famous Jade Dragon Snow Mountain offering highland glaciers, incredible canyons and of course, snow-covered peaks.
The colourful lakes of Jiuzhaigou are a dream come to life.
These multi-coloured lakes are the product of the surrounding mountain forests, water algae and minerals. The colours on the lake change from sunrise to moonrise, and from one season to the next.
It is said to be at its most beautiful in the Fall, when the autumn hues are bright, and it would be all too easy to imagine little fairies dancing on the lake.
With travelling across countries and continents so conveniently easy, the world seems smaller. Truthfully, it is still a huge place, and finding the best photographic locations can be a rewarding challenge.