Gansu: Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake, Dunhuang (甘肃省敦煌市鸣沙山和月牙泉)
This isn't a mirage -- it’s a real scene found in the vast Gobi desert in northwest China. Echoing Sand Mountain is a series of dunes surrounding Crescent Lake. Named for its distinctive shape and aural characteristics, its echoes can be heard as the wind blows over the dunes. Visitors ride camels up the dunes, which rise to 250 meters. With gardens blooming on its banks, Crescent Lake offers a lovely visual counterpoint to all that sand.
Guangdong: Fortress Towers, Kaiping (广东开平雕楼)
Many overseas Chinese are originally from Kaiping. Why leave such beauty? Erected mostly in the early 20th century, the fortress towers at Kaiping were built by famously outbound Kaipingers, who brought home the many architectural styles they saw abroad, including Islamic, Roman and even ancient Greek. The towers were built as a display of wealth, and as a practical way of protecting locals from war and theft. Approximately 1,800 fortress towers still stand amid Kaiping’s vast rice fields. Kaiping is located 130 kilometers southwest of Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong. Regular buses are available between Kaiping Bus Terminal and various long-distance bus terminals in Guangzhou. Direct buses and ferries are available between Kaiping and Hong Kong.
Guangxi: Yangshuo (广西阳朔)
Village life is art. When the Chinese long for views of the nation’s most scenic hills and rivers, they book a bamboo-boat Li River cruise in Yangshuo of Guilin. The riverside town in southern China is most famous for its karst hills and traditional fishing-village lifestyle. Downtown is touristy. Visitors can rent bikes and head to the countryside to find a more calming scene: bamboo boats chugging along the river, fishermen setting out with cormorants, farmers toiling in fields with lush peaks soaring high above. Most travelers reach Yangshuo from Guilin. Buses bound for Yangshuo leave every 15 minutes from Guilin Bus Station on Zhongshan Lu and Guilin South Railway Station.
Guizhou: Huangguoshu Waterfall (贵州黄果树瀑布)
Not just big, it's ultra-accessible. The highest waterfall in Asia, majestic Huangguoshu "Yellow Fruit Tree" Waterfall plunges a dramatic 77.8 meters across a 101-meter-wide span. It's one of a handful of mammoth waterfalls in the world that's accessible for viewing from almost any angle -- from above, below, front, back, left or right. The best visiting season is June to August, when the water reaches a peak flow of 700 cubic meters per second.
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