- Heilongjiang Yichun
- Liaoning Yanghugou
- The Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia
- The Hulunbuir Grasslands of Inner Mongolia
- The Ulan Buh Grasslands of Inner Mongolia
- Shanxi Lao Niu Gulf
- Taebaek Mountain of Qingling
- Shadow Plays in Hua County of Shaanxi
- Arshaan of Inner Mongolia
- Tianjin’s Small Western-Style Buildings
- Suzhou Jinxi Ancient Town
- Xiapu County Mud Flat
- Dongchuan Red Land
- Guizhou Zhenyuan Ancient Town
- Guangxi Hechi Bama county
Roads Less Traveled
Customize a China tour
Off the beaten path tours
6-day Shanxi Highlights Tour
from $965 USD
6-day Henan Highlights Tour
from $873 USD
5-day Essence of the Ancient Silk Road from $801 USD
6-day Shangdong Classical Tour
from $912 USD
6-day Essence of Inner Mongolia Tour from $919 USD
Undiscovered China Attractions
-Roads Less Traveled
China is a vast and wonderful country with countless world-renowned, hauntingly beautiful scenery. Perhaps you are already familiar with many of the country’s famous attractions from your travels in China. However, like many travel enthusiasts, you may still deeply love this mystical land and desire to dig deeper to discover only the most authentic and beautiful sides of China. Here, let us travel together from the north to the south and uncover 15 amazing but little-known fun attractions definitely off the beaten path!
No.1: Heilongjiang Yichun—A Postcard-Perfect City
The city of Yichun is in the Heilongjiang Province in northeastern China and a boon for nature lovers. It stands out among China’s destinations with its amazing sights and quiet, Nordic-like forest landscape. As well, the world’s largest original red pine forest, known as a sort of natural oxygen bar, is in Yichun. All year round, the mountains are green and the waters are clear; wooded forests and evocative rocks combine to create views much like a beautiful landscape painting. In the spring, the ice melts and scores of azaleas bloom with full vigor; summertime visitors can enjoy the lush mountains and pristine waters; the autumn turns the area into a rainbow of natural colors...
No.2: Liaoning Yanghugou
The Yanghugou eco-tourism area is located at the junction of Benxi County and Hengren County of the Liaoning Province. Yanghugou itself belongs to the hills of the Changbai Mountains, and with its lush forest areas, is a place known throughout China for its gorgeous red colored leaves. The famous First China Maple Road can also be found here, set up such that it can be observed like a maple gallery. The high latitude and long frosty periods are Yanghugou’s secrets for such stunning Benxi maples, and the best season for sightseeing is from the end of September to mid-October. If you are nearby during this short period of the year, don’t miss this amazingly beautiful season!
No.3: The Kubuqi Desert of Inner Mongolia－ The Utopia of the Soul
The Kubuqi Desert, China’s seventh largest desert, is located in the north of the Ordos Plateau. From east to west, the desert is 262 kilometers with an area of approximately 18,600 square kilometers. The word Kubuqi is Mongolian, meaning a bow on the string; this is because the Yellow River resembles an arch in the landscape and the vast desert looks like a bow, together composing of a huge golden bow and arrow set. For travelers, this magnificent expanse is heaven and hell at the same time with its surreal scenery and harsh conditions. For a visitor looking for serenity...
No.4: The Hulunbuir Grasslands of Inner Mongolia — A World-Class Grassland
The large city of Hulunbuir can be found in the east of Inner Mongolia. The nearby Hulunbuir grasslands, one of the world’s four major grassland areas, is also one of China’s most impressive. Picturesque clouds hang in the sky, and wild horses can be seen running free. Crisp waters, a forest sea of Daxing’anling, intertwining rivers, and lakes dotting the land all serve to enhance the views. As one of the birthplaces of nomads in northern China, Hulunbuir is a multi-ethnic gathering area with many distinctive customs and valuable historical relics defining its heritage...
No.5: The Ulan Buh Grasslands of Inner Mongolia—A Fairytale of Birches
In the Ulan Buh Grasslands in Inner Mongolia, travelers will be surprised at the fairytale-like display of birch trees. Forests combine with the distinctive features of a grassland: a broad meadow creates a wandering mood, hundreds of types of flowers in meadow seem like a European painting come to life, and the iconic birches look as if straight out of a storybook. If one visits Ulan Buh in order to pay tribute to the ancient battlefields that once took place there, the place will feel tranquil, intimidating, and void. For a traveler looking for special views beyond the Great Wall...
No.6: Shanxi Lao Niu Gulf—Where the Yellow River Meets the Great WallLao Niu Gulf, located in Pianguan County of the Shanxi Province, is famous for its location, for here is where the Yellow River first meets the legendary Great Wall. Just one of ten of the most beautiful gulfs in China, Lao Niu Gulf was built in 1467 and once hosted a castle which served to station soldiers in the Ming Dynasty. It sits at the junction of the Shanxi Province and Inner Mongolia; more specifically, the Lao Niu Gulf faces Qingshuihe County of Inner Mongolia and backs on Pianguan County of the Shanxi Province, and it calls the Ordos Plateau of Zhungeer its neighbor. Due to its absolutely central location, it is said that when a rooster crows in the Lao Niu Gulf...
No.7: Taebaek Mountain of Qingling—The Dividing Line of Northern and Southern China’s Scenery
Taebaek Mountain is the most famous mountain in east of mainland China. It can be found in the middle of the Qingling Mountains at the junction of Zhouzhi, Taebaek, and Mei County. Regarded as the dividing line between the distinctive northern and southern China sceneries and geography, Taebaek of Qingling spans across the southern Shaanxi Province. Its unique location is what creates its complex and distinctive natural environment where the weather is constantly changing. In Taebaek, forest landscape constitutes the majority of the coverage, while grand mountains and peaks form the skeleton, and clear streams...
No.8: Shadow Plays in Hua County of Shaanxi—Millennium Masterpieces Shining From the Light
The well-known Chinese film star, Ge You, and his performance in To Live, where he won the Best Actor Award at the celebrated Cannes Film Festival in 1994, impressed many audiences and introduced them to the world of shadow play. Shadow play is the ancient Chinese storytelling art which manipulates elaborately decorated opaque puppet figures in front of a backlit setting in order to illustrate the events. But while Ge You did a fine job of popularizing this particular art method, one should see the skills of the older generation in Hua County of the Shaanxi Province...
No.9: Arshaan of Inner Mongolia—Be a Part of Autumn Color
The city of Arshaan, a word in Mongolian which means hot spring, is located at the Sino-Mongolia boundary. This area is famous for the four major grasslands that intersect on its grounds (including the famous Hulunbuir Grasslands in its east); as well, the towering Daxing’anling stops here, it is a premier resource of snow and ice accumulation, and the world’s largest hot springs have gushed here for centuries. It can be said that Arshaan is a city in the arms of prairies. In the summer, starting from Arshaan to the northeast, visitors can embrace the good feeling of going down Daxing’anling to embrace the Hulunbuir Grasslands full of red flowers...
No.10: Tianjin’s Small Western-Style Buildings—Distinctive Customs in the Five-Avenue Area
Tianjin always tends to reminds people of its famous fried dough twists (Mahua) and delectable Goubuli buns (Goubuli baozi). However, the most valuable things in this old city are actually the old buildings in the Five-Avenue Area. Almost 1,000 beautiful, small western-style buildings help to tell the history and story of Tianjin. They are all fascinatingly built in the English style, French style, Russian style, Italian style, and German style, and more. It is no wonder, then, that Tianjin is called the a real life world architecture museum. All these buildings are located within five avenues...
No.11: Suzhou Jinxi Ancient Town
Though there are many ancient towns in the Jiangnan region, the ancient town of Jinxi is arguably the quietest. To its east is the immense metropolis of Shanghai, and to the west is Suzhou. Located in the southwest of Kunshan City, Jinxi ancient town is actually the south gate of the Jiangsu Province, and is also known as a Chinese Folk Museum. The town has been famous for over 2,000 years. It is said that in the Southern Song Dynasty, Chen Fei, Song Xiaozhong’s favorite concubine, loved the Jinxi landscape so much that she didn’t want to leave and was thus buried here after her death. Because of this, Jinxi was renamed to Chen’s Tomb...
No.12: Xiapu County Mud Flat—The World’s Most Elegant Mud Flat
Xiapu County is the oldest county in the eastern Fujian Province. A mud flat is the linking band between the continental land and sea, and this old county has the most typical mud flat scenery in China. At high tide, the flat seems to blend seamlessly with the sea, which looks incredibly spectacular, and at low tide, it exposes its true darker appearance. Through many, many years of rises and falls, the mud flat has evolved into a truly unique landscape within itself. The local people have crafted wooden rafts, boat nets, and bamboo buoys to account for the constant changing of the water tide level, a sight that tends to amaze visitors...
No.13: Dongchuan Red Land—The Amazing Land Art
Sometimes, it may seem that the Yunnan Province has so many well-known attractions that the Dongchuan Red Land gets lost in the shuffle. However, for truly passionate travel enthusiasts, Dongchuan is a must-see destination. If nothing else, it is a masterpiece of the combination of nature and human cultivation. The warm colors of the land and crops form vibrant ribbons under the Yunnan sky, making the entire vista ooze with majesty and mystery. The best season to see the red land is from September to December. During this time, part of the red lands waits to be planted while the rest are sown with green or red crops...
No.14: Guizhou Zhenyuan Ancient Town— A Gentle Water Town
Zhenyuan ancient town, located in the Guizhou Province, is a place whose beauty is difficult to express with words. It has experienced over 2,000 years of history. When one is tired of the hustle and bustle of more urban centers, Zhenyuan offers a quiet retreat for the soul. Crystal Wuyang Riverruns across the town like a ribbon and creates a mood of harmony, and when the sun rises slowly in the morning and the clouds have yet to remove their grip from the mountains, Dragon Cave looks just like a palace in heaven. In this ultimate getaway town, even just standing quietly by the river will allow one to enjoy the indescribable beauty and tenderness of this serene countryside.
No.15: Guangxi Hechi Bama county— Grow Old in an Insular World
Bama County, located in Hechi of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has the highest concentration of centenarians. In fact, it is famous for being the fifth county area in the world with the most extensive life longevity in the world. The special environment here, due in part to its fresh air, enhances the health and longevity of its people. The several dozens of centenarians dotted Bama’s green mountains like stars, and their inspirational existence attracts countless visitors from both home and abroad.