With so many diverse natural landscapes across the country, we have picked the most scenic destinations, which are a must-visit for landscape photography. The Yellow Mountains and the Ancient Villages in Huangshan, Guilin Li River, Longji Rice Terraces, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, and Zhangye Danxia Geopark are on the top of the list for the most picturesque places in China. For professional photographers, you will bring home some award winning photos. For amateurs, it is the best chance to fill up all your memory cards. The tour itinerary can be customized to meet your specific needs.
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Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter
Upon arrival at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG), your personal guide will greet you and take you to a hotel near the city center. Get some rest in the hotel or have a leisurely walk around the neighborhood. Be ready for the exciting tour ahead.
Good to know: Shanghai, as one of the world’s most modernized cities, is never quiet at night. Strolling along The Bund to appreciate the light show, enjoying a cup of coffee at Xintiandi, or watching an acrobatic show at Era Times is recommended.
Today is a prelude to your photo tour.
You will visit some highlight attractions in Shanghai city center. Yuyuan Garden is the representative for a traditional classical garden in China. Similar to the Summer Palace, but privately owned, it is pleasant to explore this exquisite garden to appreciate its design, settings and plantations.
You will then head to the Oriental Pearl Tower and take a bird’s-eye view from the upper sphere.
You will appreciate the skyscrapers on the eastern side of Huangpu River and the old-fashioned buildings along the Bund on the other side.
It will be relaxing and interesting to explore China's street life.
You will have a lovely walk at the Former French Concession. It is filled with small lanes, and local bars and restaurants, which add charm to the city.
Then you will head to the Bund to appreciate the old western style buildings along the riverside. It is spectacular at evening with the lights on the buildings. It is recommended to find a sky bar and enjoy the lights while sipping a glass of cold beer.
The high speed train will take you from Shanghai Hongqiao Train Station to Huangshan North Station for a 3-hour ride. Have your cameras ready as this is where your photo tour officially starts. Your professional photography guide in Huangshan will be waiting for you at the train station, and take you to Hongcun Village.
You will spend the afternoon taking photos at Hongcun Village. Together with Xidi Village, it is listed as a UNESCO heritage site with its black and white Hui style architecture. It was also the filming spot of the Oscar-winning movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". The unique architectural style, reflections in the pond, narrow alleys, and wooden window carvings, are diverse elements for photographers.
Overnight at Pig's Inn near Hongcun Village. The hotel was rebuilt based on local Hui-style housing. You will love the authentic food and tranquil evening. You may also order a cocktail in the bar next door.
This is a big day with a lot to see. You will be inspired by the natural wonders of Yellow Mountains: wind-carved pine trees, breathtaking peaks, amazing sea of clouds, and winter snow scenery if it is the season.
You will enjoy a delicious breakfast and then head to the Yellow Mountains Scenic Area.
It is about a one hour ride with rural scenery along the way.
You will take the Yungu Cable car up to the hill and then hike for about 1.5 hours to Guangming Ding (Bright Top) for photo taking. Your guide will show you the best spots for good photo opportunities.
If you are lucky enough, there will be sunshine and a cloud sea around the mountain tops.
Then have lunch at Beiyun Hotel downstairs from Bright Top, and rest for a while.
Continue hiking toward your hotel, Xihai Hotel.
Enroute you will pass Qunfeng Ding (Peaks Top), another great spot for amazing photos. You may spend 30-60 minutes here if there is a wonderful cloud sea.
Then continue walking to Flying Rock. You will reach the West Sea Grand Canyon by passing Dispelling Cloud Pavilion. Enjoy the sunset wherever you will be. It is just picturesque everywhere. You will take hundreds of pictures. Remember to bring an extra memory card and battery.
Overnight in the best hotel on the mountain top, Xihai Hotel.
If the weather is good, sunrise on the mountain tops is the highlight, though it is very rare. You can enjoy a delicious breakfast in the hotel and then start to walk towards the cable car station.
It is about a 1-2.5 hour hike as you will pass Shuguang Ting (Dawn Pavilion), Bijia Feng (Brush-holder Peak), and Shixin Feng (Beginning-to-Believe Peak).
Take the cable car down the hill and you will have lunch in a local restaurant nearby.
Compared to Hongcun, Xidi Village is a little less crowded with some more details to discover. The highlights will be the wooden and brick carvings on the windows, old wooden doors, the screen wall, households and local people.
You will spend the afternoon wandering around in small alleys and shooting the tranquil moments.
Overnight near the village to enjoy the peaceful evening when the tourists and art students have left.
After a leisurely breakfast in your hotel, you will leave for your next destination, Guilin. After a 1.5-hour flight, you will land at the basin of Karst mountainous. Guilin is another dreamland for photographers.
You are going to visit Daxu Old Town, which is about 30 minutes' drive from the city center.
It is a great chance for shooting some elderly people's portraits and old house photos. Strolling along the stone-paved path, you will be in touch with the old history of the town.
Mr. Zhou, a local resident, is always happy to share his story with you, and pose for picture taking. You will spend some wonderful time with him in his house.
Then head back to Guilin. If the weather is good, your guide will take you to the top of Chuanshan Hill to take some photos of the city view, with rivers, mountains, and street lights.
Have a good rest for the night, and get ready for some challenging days ahead.
Driving for about 2 hours, you will reach the mountainous area where the minority tribes dwell. It has been famed as the origin of rice terraces, with a history of 2300 years.
Climb a few hundred steps to reach the top point at Ping'an Village, and you can shoot photos of the terraced fields, local Zhuang ladies in their costumes and their wooden houses.
The rice terraces form varied scenes in each season. Rice seedlings in watered paddies in spring, green and strong rice plants in summer, golden rice in autumn, empty fields with rice straw and maybe a bit of snow in winter, so you will take lots of photos whenever you come.
"Seven Stars around the Moon" and "Nine Dragons and Five Tigers" are the most famous scenic spots. You can choose to climb to one of them or both.
Have lunch in a local restaurant to try some freshly grown food along with the breathtaking scenery around you.
Continue to explore the quiet corners of Ping'an Village, visit a local house and talk to the host lady to learn about their traditional lifestyle. The portrait photos of the ladies in their red dresses and the farmers ploughing their fields with water buffalos will amaze you.
Head down the hill and transfer back to Guilin in the late afternoon. Have a good rest and be ready for the next day.
About 3-4, early in the morning, your guide will take you to Xianggong Hill, the most popular place to shoot the sunrise over the mountains on Li River.
You will admire the mountains around the river bend. Set your camera well at the right spot and wait for the sunrise. Your guide will bring some coffee and a snack for a brief breakfast. You will spend a few hours there before driving to Yangshuo. Along the way, you may have a photo stop at Wulongquan, where you can take photos of the rice paddies with mountains as backscene.
Arrive in your hotel in Yangshuo and you can take a nap or organize your pictures and empty your memory cards.
Start in the late afternoon and your guide will take you to Xingping, about 45 minutes' drive from Yangshuo.
You will spend some time strolling along the narrow alleys of Xingping Ancient Town. When the dusk arrives, head out to the river bank to meet your personal model, an old fisherman and his cormorants on a bamboo raft. It is good chance to take photos of him casting the nets, cormorants catching fish and standing on bamboo poles. When it gets dark, he will light up his gas light and it’s the time to shoot the image of him at the sunset.
Return to your hotel in the evening.
The Zhuangyuan Bridge at Tianxin Village near Guilin is a newly popular photo spot. The small stone bridge has witnessed the long-lasting natural beauty around. We will hire a local farmer and his water buffalo to pose for photo taking on the bridge.
Take a short flight to Zhangjiajie in the afternoon, which is only about 1.5 hours. Your personal guide will meet you and take you to your hotel for check-in.
Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. You can enjoy the free time in your hotel or have a nice walk around the neighborhood.
The park is a must-see for everyone, especially photographers. The scenery is breathtaking, surreal, and unlike anything else. The sandstone monoliths make it unique.
Get up early to enter the Park from the south gate. Your guide will choose routes without too many visitors.
You'll first take the Bailong elevator up to explore the real Pandora world – Yuanjiajie. It is now a world famous site as the floating mountains in the AVATAR movie were shot right here. Shoot the Hallelujah Mountain, the First Bridge under Heaven, and other amazing lesser peaks and grotesque rocks standing in the valley.
After a simple lunch, you will take a sightseeing bus to Yangjiajie Scenic Area, a recently discovered section of the Park. Shoot the main attractions such as Tianbo Mansion, Oolong Village, Natural Great Wall, Corridor the Cliffs, and capture the sunset in One Step Under the Heaven.
After a long day exploring the Park, you will go back to your hotel for a good rest.
In the evening, a local show of “Charm Xiangxi (Western Hunan)” is recommended so you will learn about some folk customs of the local minorities of Tujia and Miao tribes.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you to Tianmen Mountain. Standing 1,500 meters above sea level, it boasts miraculous and unique geographic landforms with an unparalleled natural landscape.
Take the longest cableway in Asia, with a length of 7200 meters, up to the mountain top. Spend 1-2 hours to take photos up there. If the weather is good enough, you will fulfill some wonderful pictures. Then, visit the natural mountain-penetrating Karst cave – Tianmen Cave. The foot of the cave is a wonderful photo opportunity with the hole in the mountain as the background. The ride down the hill is along the zigzag road, famed as having 99 bends. It is an exciting and thrilling experience. Make sure to hold your camera tight.
You will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Xi'an at the appointed time.
Upon arrival in Xi'an, your personal guide and driver will be waiting at the airport. It will be a one hour drive to your hotel in the city center.
Having been an ancient capital city for several dynasties, Xi’an has a lot of historical sites. Among which, the most famous one is no doubt the Terra-Cotta Warriors.
In order to avoid the crowds, the early morning, lunch time and late afternoon are good times to visit this popular museum. It is about a 1 hour drive from the city center. The three pits display hundreds of buried clay soldiers who were to guard the afterlife of Emperor Qinshihuang. Your guide will show you the best spots for photo taking.
Return to the city center, where you will explore the Ancient City Wall, which is the best preserved City Wall of the Ming Dynasty. Strolling on top of the Wall, you can take photos of the wide Wall, watch towers and the city scene.
Yongxingfang Food Street is the very ideal place to film street life, local food and people in the evening.
After breakfast, you can walk around the hotel and capture some photos of city streets. Then head to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda after check out. The pagodas were built to worship the Buddha and store Buddhist scriptures when Buddhism was widely believed in the Tang Dynasty. At around 11am, your guide and driver will take you to the airport for the flight to Zhangye.
Upon arrival at Zhangye airport, you will meet your guide and transfer to a hotel in the city center. You may enjoy the free evening and explore the neighborhood.
With a history of over 900 years, The Giant Buddha Temple is famous for the biggest mud Buddha statue. It was made by the image of Sakyamuni's Nirvana. The sculptures of other Buddhas, monks and murals are also spectacular.
You will then drive about one hour to Danxia Geopark in Linze County to discover some "rainbow mountains".
Spend the whole afternoon in the park, where you will capture lots of great pictures. Known as the most colorful massifs in China, it has been highly praised by expert photographers. Taking the shuttle bus inside the park, you will enjoy the diverse scenery from one stop to another. The fourth/last stop has the most stunning view with the most color-banded hills. With the sunlight in different timings, you can shoot some amazing photos.
Return to your hotel in the late afternoon and capture some of the city lights at night.
Your personal guide and driver will take you to Zhangye airport for your next destination. As it is not a big port city, you may need a connecting flight at Lanzhou airport to reach Shanghai or other port cities.
|Shanghai||Narada Boutique Hotel Shanghai Bund||Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World|
|Huangshan||Pigs' Inn||Pigs' Inn|
|Huangshan Mountain Top||Xihai Hotel B Block||Xihai Hotel A Block|
|Guilin||Guilin Bravo Hotel||Shangri-la Guilin|
|Yangshuo||Yangshuo Mountain Retreat||Yangshuo Resort|
|Zhangjiajie||Santo Domingo International Hotel Zhangjiajie||Crowne Plaza Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan|
|Xi'an||Grand Noble Hotel Xi'an||Wyndham Grand Xian South|
|Zhangye||Tianyu International Hotel||Zhangye Hotel|
|Zhangjiajie||The Bund Hotel Shanghai||Radisson Blu Hotel Shanghai New World|