Forget the bustling, lively Beijing and Shanghai. Surrounding the iconic cities are some breathtaking bamboo forests and rice fields – lose yourself in these serene spots:
Moganshan is reputed for its bamboo forests, idyllic rice fields and crisp air. The place is also home to the highly-acclaimed Naked Retreats (above), an exquisite collection of luxurious eco-friendly lodges. The retreat offers two types of accommodation, located in a charming old village and a nature reserve. Book the tree-top villas in the latter if you’re looking for a more contemporary getaway experience. It also features a spa, infinity pools and dining options.
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Known as the porcelain capital of China, Jingdezhen’s history of producing ceramics stretches back more than 2000 years, with some of the country’s most precious antiques made here. Having experienced a renaissance of sorts in the craft, many modern studios such as The Pottery Workshop have emerged over the past few years and travellers are welcome to watch the artists at work. Pottery aside, there are some really stunning nature spots to visit, including the sprawling Jingdezhen Forest Park and Yaoli Ancient Town, a village steeped in lore that’s located near scenic mountains.
Despite being surrounded by forests, lakes, mountains and hot springs, it was only in recent years that the tiny city of Lin’an was thrown into the spotlight for the abundance of natural beauty around it. The most notable scenic attractions near the city are Longjing Canyon, where adventurers can take up river rafting, and Daming Mountain, home to the largest ski resort in eastern China that hosts annual skiing festivals. There’s also Tianmu Mountain, where travellers can admire Japanese cedars, cloud-smothered peaks and stunning rock formations.
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Named after Qinshihuang, the legendary ruler of the Qin Dynasty, the coastal city of Qinhuangdao is best known for its seaside resorts and attractions. Night owls and urbanites can check out the comprehensive nightlife and seafood dining options available, while the city’s Shanhaiguan area is where history buffs will find the eastern end of the Great Wall (above), which extends into the Bohai Sea. Nature lovers can head out from Shanhaiguan to the Longevity Mountain, located just 10km away.
For those in Beijing who don’t have the luxury of time to go on long trips, one of the best options lie in yet another nearby coastal city – Dalian. It’s quickly gaining a reputation for being one of the most liveable places in China. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through Xinghai Square, considered the largest of its kind in the world, or admire the city’s classical buildings at Zhongshan Square that were constructed during Russian rule in the late 1800s. If you’re looking to live like royalty, the fairytale-like Castle Hotel (above) perched on Lotus Mountain and overlooking Xinghai Bay will not disappoint with its ornate interiors and overall grandeur.
Story originally appeared on Silverkris.