Many people have felt the pull of wanderlust, and the desire of the unknown. There are destinations that everyone know's of; Paris, Tokyo, Sydney, and then there are destinations that most people have likely never heard of.
This article is about the latter.
China is full of incredible places that many people have never heard of. This is likely because, historically speaking, China has been more closed than open. This has been changing in recent years, so you should visit some of these spots before they hit the cover of Lonely Planet!
Located in Paektu Mountain, situated in-between North Korea and China, lies a lake called “Heaven Lake.” The mountain range that this lake can be found on is actually the land border between the two countries.
There’s no surprise that the lake is named the way it is – Heaven Lake, with its glistening white snow, looks ethereal and divine. Not only that, it’s 2150 meters above sea-level, making it seem as if it’s reaching the heavens.
Heaven Lake was actually formed from a crater of an active volcano. That volcano erupted three times in the sixteenth century. When said volcano became dormant, water started to build up in the crater and became a lake.
Besides the lake, there are other astounding sceneries that can be seen surrounding the area. For instance, there are valleys, waterfalls, and hot springs, to name a few.
Those who love mountains and high places with scenic views will definitely love Shangri-La. However, due to how elevated it is (3200 meters), not that many people go there.
In fact, it is actually recommended that one should rest and take a break for at least two days in order to adapt and fully enjoy the area. Shangri-La is a city found within Yunnan province. Full of forests, mountains, and culture, travelers will surely enjoy what this city has to offer.
Many people don’t know this, but Inner Mongolia is actually a part of China. Because this is such an unknown fact, travelers rarely go there. However, for a taste of beautiful nature, visiting the Hulunbuir Grasslands is a definite must.
This destination doesn’t have any roads, so it’s recommended to arrange a group tour first in Hailar. Once that’s done, the group will be taken to the grasslands via off-roading.
The Hulunbuir Grasslands is a majestic, never-ending prairie with a multitude of different pastures – 120 kinds to be exact. In fact, it’s known as “The Grass Kingdom” because of this. This pasture is so clean and unadulterated that it’s actually known as “The Purest Prairie.”
Visitors will be left in awe under the clear sky while roaming around with animals such as camels and horses.
When people visit Heilongjiang, most go to the Harbin Snow and Ice Festival, which means Volga Manor is left to be forgotten.
But something needs to be done about that, since Volga Manor is this exquisite Russian-style forest garden with Russian buildings inspired by the ones ruined during the Cultural Revolution.
Volga Manor was built in 1899 and overall, it has over 30 buildings that transport anyone and everyone back to the past. On site, visitors will be able to visit the Saint Nicholas Church, Pushkin Salon, Jinhuan Restaurant, and the Villa of the Forest.
Among its many attractions, the area also has a replica of Moscow’s Petroff Palace. The buildings aren’t the only source of entertainment, though. Volga Manor has legitimate Russian singing and dancing as well as art. It will, without a doubt, feel like being in a country within a country.
Historically relevant, Luoyang was once the area where dynasties built their capital. Full of culture and history, it’s a shame that Luoyang is not as well-known as it should be. Partly to blame is the fact that it was quite difficult to reach before.
Fortunately, it’s now much more convenient to visit Luoyang because of the new bullet train. Anyone who is a history buff will absolutely love this historical treasure trove. There, one will find temples, ancient tombs, and the Longmen Grottoes among others.
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet and it is located at a very high altitude – 3600 meters, specifically. As a result, altitude sickness is quite common when visiting, so it’s best to acclimate first before going around and exploring. Besides being the capital, Lhasa is also the largest city within Tibet.
That said, it’s not a surprise that it’s full of enchanting and significant landmarks, including the Potala Palace, Ramoche Temple, Jokhang Temple, and others. There’s also a wide selection of hotels and restaurants, so visitors can fully relax and enjoy their stay.
Lhasa is home to many Buddhists and travelers can, in fact, witness pilgrims walking the pilgrimage circuit. Lhasa is a very religious city, full of people who respect and care for their custom.
At Zhangye National Geopark, one can experience the jaw-dropping phenomenon that is called the “Danxia.” The rocks here in this Geopark are multi-colored, which is the result of sandstone and mineral deposits within a span of 24 years.
The many colors one sees on the ridges and folds of the mountains are so stunning that it actually got dubbed as China’s Rainbow Mountain. However, some mountains have one solid color. For example, some are fiery-red, making it look like the area has caught on fire.
The other area of the park is called Ice Valley. While the other mountains are known for their various colors, this section of the Geopark has strange or misshapen rock formations. There are four different viewing platforms as well, so that tourists can view and take pictures in different angles.
Some platforms may be within walking distance, while others can take a bit longer. Fortunately, there’s a bus that can take visitors to each platform, if one chooses not to walk.
Located in Jiangsu and known as the richest village in China, Huaxi Village was founded by Wu Renbao back in the year 1961. He wanted an ideal communist village and so, he made Huaxi Village a good example of that.
All the residents were given houses and cars that look exactly the same – all they have to do in return is work seven days a week in one of the factories inside the village. The catch is this: once a resident leaves the village, he or she can’t bring any of their belongings with them.
There’s even a 72-story building as well as theme parks built just for the entertainment of its residents. Some may find this to be creepy, while others may think it’s not a bad idea.
The Dongchuan Red Land is a remote part of China near Kunming, which may be the reason why not a lot of people visit it. However, it may be under-appreciated now, but it won’t be for long, as many photographers and hikers have begun traversing this destination.
It is aptly named as the Dongchuan Red Lands because the earth found here has a red hue. It extends for as long as 30 miles and the color is so striking and vivid. The best times to visit would be around May to June, or September to November.
When visiting around May to June, tourists will be able to witness the grandiose fields in all its glory, as this is the time when the fields are newly plowed and ready for farming. September to November, on the other hand, has colorful crops and flowers, which brings a whole new different perspective to the land.
Mount Huangshan, also known as the Yellow Mountains, is a scenic site found in Anhui Province. It’s important to note, however, that it doesn’t have yellow mountains despite its name. The reason the area is called this is because it was named after the Yellow Emperor.
Mount Huangshan is absolutely breathtaking, so photographers and nature lovers in general will adore the scenic beauty this mountain has to offer. There are all kinds of interesting things to do and to be found here.
For instance, there are hot springs, strange rocks, as well as an amazing sunset that will leave anyone in awe.
As can be seen, China is full of wondrous places that many people, if not everyone, should know about. These destinations are full of beautiful scenery, local color as well as culture that will spice up any vacation. Next time you find yourself in China, consider visiting one of these off-the-beaten-path destinations.