The most beautiful national parks in China

Stone Forest of Lunan National Park, photo by Kent Wang on Flickr

Such a vast country like China has the huge advantage of geographical diversity: there are so many types of landscapes, from mountains to lakes and forests, even many climates. With such a varied scenery, there are bound to be many areas of uncommon natural beauty, so those travelers who like the outdoors can always escape the confines of the big cities. Many natural sights in China can be found in protected areas, so when you feel the need to completely disconnect yourself from civilization, you can always visit a national park for your serving of fresh air, quiet, and beauty. Here are some of the most beautiful national parks in China that you can see during your travels.

Jiuzhaigou Valley, Sichuan Province

This amazingly scenic piece of land at the edge of the Tibetan Himalayan Plateau is blessed with some of the most picturesque waterfalls, lakes and terraced valleys in China. Jiuzhaigou, whose name means the valley of nine villages, is not just a place for immersing yourself in natural beauty, because as the name suggests there were nine picturesque Tibetan villages in the park too. Only seven of the nine villages are still inhabited, and all of them have colorful houses and a wonderful ethnic flavor.

Guilin-Lijiang River National Park

Guilin-Lijiang River National Park, photo by kanjiroushi on Flickr

Guilin is one of the most iconic and unforgettable destinations in China, thanks to the looming shapes of the karst mountains that have been featured in countless photos and documentaries to date. Guilin is one of the best known destinations in China, but a tourist can go well beyond the confines of the town in search of natural beauty. The Guilin-Lijiang River National Park, with its limestone cliffs and mountains covered in dense forest, forms one of the most incredible views in China.

Huangshan Mountains National Park

This protected area in Anhui Province offers one of the most stunning mountain landscapes you can ever see anywhere, and it’s hardly surprising that it should be one of the most beautiful national parks in China. The cliffs and mountains have peculiar shapes, sometimes rising like megalithic skyscrapers from the surrounding forest. Much traditional Chinese art has used this area as an inspiration.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Park, photo by TheKMF on Flickr

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is only one of the several national parks that can be found in the absolutely incredible Wulingyuan Scenic Area in Hunan Province. The Wulingyuan mountain range is often compared to the floating mountains in the blockbuster movie Avatar – actually these Chinese mountains were the inspiration for the film’s setting. The pillar-like rock formations that rise from the forest seem to be floating when the weather is right.

Stone Forest of Lunan National Park

The special kind of karst formations that you can see in the Stone Forest of Lunan National Park are unique in the world, and so close to (and accessible from) Kunming that they draw huge crowds of visitors. The countless weirdly shaped stone pillars formed through erosion can be as much as 30 meters tall, and they are not only beautiful but the subject of interesting legends as well.

 

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