Great Wall of China: This ancient series of stone and earthen fortifications is undoubtedly China's most iconic landmark. The Great Wall was originally built to protect the Chinese Empire against intrusions by nomadic groups. More than 8000 kilometres long, the Great Wall can be visited at many sections which have been restored and maintained in view of attracting tourists, especially from Beijing. Most visitors encounter the Great Wall at Badaling, where it winds archetypally across undulating hills into the distance. Juyongguan is on the road to Badaling, while the significantly less crowded Mutianyu section is known for its guard towers and stirring views. The most authentic section is at Simatai, where the rugged climb makes for an exhilarating experience.
Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve: This national park is a UN World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reserve. Jiuzhaigou is national treasure, and is known as the habitat of giant pandas and for its many multi-level waterfalls and colourful lakes, arranged in three valleys. The colours of the waterfalls, turquoise lakes, forests, meadows, and snow-peaked mountains are breathtaking and any written or verbal description does not do its stunning beauty justice. The flora changes within the high-altitude karsts, giving each lake and waterfall unique qualities.
Karst Landscapes in Guilin: This legendary destination is popular with tourists who come to witness the sensational scenery that surrounds the city. The beauty of Guilin's karst landscape has been captured by painters and poets for centuries, and continues to enchant visitors. Climb one of the limestone peaks, cruise along the picturesque Li River, or explore the stalactite and stalagmite formations in the Reed Flute Cave, or delve into a myriad of cultures - Guilin is home to 12 ethnic minorities. Downstream is Yangshuo, where evening boat trips feature cormorants in night fishing.
Spring in Kunming: The laid-back and casual “City of Eternal Spring” is a scenic gateway to beautiful gardens and a rainbow of ethnic minority areas. Lake Dian is a scenic plateau lake, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone hill landscapes, where traditional fishing boats still sail. The Western Hills are a lofty chain of forest mountains, crossed by brooks and streams. The Bamboo Temple is worth visting for its life-sized clay sculptures. The Stone Forest is a collection of grey limestone pillars, while the Black Dragon Pool is set dramatically against the mountains.
Inspiration in the Yungang Grottoes: These mountain-side caves are filled with 51,000 Buddhist carvings statues, as well as scenes depicting Buddhist teachings and famous monks. These were the earliest Buddhist carvings in China, and travellers come here to be inspired – artistically, historically, or spiritually. These cave art masterpieces represent the successful fusion of Buddhist religious art from south and central Asia with Chinese cultural traditions in imperial China.
Sacred Mountains of China: China's Sacred Mountains are the Taoist Five Great Mountains and the Buddhist Four Sacred Mountains. Taoist Mount Tai is the most climbed mountain in China, and because of its eastern location, is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal. Buddhist Mount Emei is the highest of the Buddhist mountains, and is associated with “Great Virtue”, containing more than one hundred temples and monasteries, with spectacular sunrises and seas of clouds.
Tibet: Tibet never fails to conjure images of clear, azure skies, monasteries atop the mountains, orange-clad monks and prayer flags, and is justly known as the “Rooftop of the World”. The breathtaking environs and unique culture of serenity and joy makes it feel like an entirely different world. The world's tallest mountain, Mount Everest, can also be visited from here.