Planning a trip to China? Autumn (September–November) is generally the best time to visit China.
Travelling to China in fall offers beautiful experiences, with comfortable weather, fewer crowds than in summer, and gorgeous autumn foliage.
If your heart is set on China with the above travel attractions, then these top 7 places to visit in China in fall would make journey highlights.
1. Western Sichuan Province — Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve
Yading Nature Reserve is called the "the last pure land on earth" and "the last Shangri-La". It features snow-capped mountains, crystal clear lakes, vast grasslands, and colorful forests. You can tour it by starting from Chengdu and passing through Xinduqiao, a picturesque Tibetan town famous for its plateau pasture views, before arriving at Daocheng Yading Nature Reserve. You will see stunning fall scenery throughout the whole trip.
The Tibetan culture experience is another highlight in this route. You can see many ancient monasteries and Tibetan style houses during the trip.
- Recommended tour: Private 5-Day Daocheng and Yading Tour.
2. Shangri-La — the Meili Snow Mountains
In the southwest of Deqin County, Shangri-La and the surrounding Meili Snow Mountains is a holy place of pilgrimage for Tibetan people. The mountain range has 13 peaks and the main peak is Kawagebo, which is 6,740 meters (22,100 feet) above sea level.
The most important highlight is the golden sunrise on these spectacular snow-capped peaks.
The best season to visit the Snow Mountains is autumn when the sky is clear and blue.
Besides the snow-capped mountains, you can also see plateau lakes, thick forests, exotic flowers and trees, and various wild animals in the mountains. There are many Tibetan monasteries and villages at the foot of the mountains, bringing you real Tibetan culture experience.
Pudacuo National Park, about 22 km (14 mi) from Shangri-La, is also stunning in fall. The blue sky, red meadows, clear lakes, and colorful forests make a beautiful picture.
- Recommended tour: Private 6-Day Shangri-La, Deqin and Tacheng Adventure Tour
3. Guilin — Longji Terraced Fields and Yangshuo Countryside
The Longji Terraced Fields — golden mountainside rice paddies
Longji's Terraced Fields (龙脊梯田) are just like a vast painting spreading between heaven and earth, whose beauty will really take your breath away. As the autumn breeze blows, the tree leaves and rice fields change color, with yellow gingko leaves, red maple leaves and golden rice paddies adding a wealth of romantic ambience to autumn.
Recommended tour: 5-Day Guilin Tour with Moderate Hiking
Yangshuo Countryside — enjoy some family leisurely time
Visiting Yangshuo's countryside provides a great opportunity to get close to nature and real life in South China's countryside. Cycling leisurely by the rice paddies, fruit orchards, karst hills, and tranquil villages gives you a fascinating insight into China's rural life. You may also visit the local farmers at work or at home.
Read more on Best Places to See Autumn Colors in Guilin.
An Euphrates poplar golden leaves shoot in autumn is a dream trip for many photography lovers. If you’re one of them, the Populus euphratica forest in Ejina, Inner Mongolia is the right place for you. Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forest is one of the best remaining ancient desert poplar forest areas, and features dazzling golden leaves, dreamy water reflections, running sheep, and boundless deserts with longed-for camel riding opportunities. It is a good place for both sunrise and sunset shoots.
With its advantageous position adjacent to Gansu Province, Ejina Euphrates Poplar Forest is usually combined with a trip along the legendary Silk Road. Travelling from Dunhuang to Zhangye via Jiayuguan and Ejina, with the mysterious Mogao Caves, desert landscapes, and colorful landforms, and the stunning golden leaves, you will have a rich touring experience.
- Recommended tour: 7-Day Dunhuang, Zhangye, and Ejina Photography Tour
5. Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Ancient Town
Zhangjiajie is a wonderland where you can escape the busy world. The natural scenery is amazing, especially in autumn, when its red and yellow leaves at the tops of its mesas complement its biodiverse and colorful valleys.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the must-see in a Zhangjiajie trip. Recommended scenic areas within include Yuanjiajie (with its Avatar Hallelujah Mountain), Tianzi Mountain, and Yangjiajie. In fall, the colorful leaves spreading over the mountains, make it seem like the whole vista is on fire.
Tianmen Mountain is next to Zhangjiajie city. It has been called “one of the most beautiful mountains in the world”, and it has the world's longest cable car ride among many other attractions.
Fenghuang Ancient town is about 4 hours driving from Zhangjiajie. It is a tranquil town and famous for its natural beauty, traditional wooden buildings, and colorful ethnic customs.
- Recommended tour: 7-Day Changsha, Zhangjiajie, and Fenghuang Ancient Town Tour
6. Huangshan — The Yellow Mountains
The Yellow Mountains (黄山) put on a fabulous show of colors each autumn. The best fall foliage is in the valleys and villages like Tachuan, as Huangshan's legendary pines are evergreen. Leaves show their rich and vibrant hues, with colors ranging from orange to brilliant red.
The autumn foliage season begins in October and lasts to early November. Except for the red leaves, there are many other highlights which are worth seeing, such as the sunrise, rocks, waterfalls, oddly-shaped pine trees, and sea of clouds. The Yellow Mountains are renowned as the most beautiful mountains in China.
The Yellow Mountains are close to other tourist destinations like Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. A visit to the mountains can be combined with tours of these cities.
Recommended tour: The Essence of Huangshan — the Yellow Mountains, rustic charm, and ancient architecture in 3 days
7. Beijing — the Great Wall
Trees line the Great Wall of China for much of its 4,000-mile length. Some of them come up above the wall, so that when you are walking along the ramparts you can see a long, continuous line of red and yellow.
You might have read that Badaling is the most popular section to visit in autumn, as it is home to Badaling Forest Park with its amazing sea of red-leafed trees.
However, the Mutianyu or Jinshanling sections are more recommended if you don’t want your photos to be full of people. See the Most Popular Great Wall Sections near Beijing
Fragrant Hills Park (香山公园) in the suburbs of Beijing is the most popular and the most accessible place to enjoy autumn foliage. Pine, maple, and persimmon trees dot the landscape, as do many traditional Chinese buildings.
Recommended city tour: Emperor's Tour of Beijing (4 days)
Recommended Great Wall day tour: Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Hiking Tour
Enjoy Your Autumn Holiday in China with Us
If any of this has inspired you to visit China in autumn, you could follow the links above for more information, or contact us directly for planning a tour. We are here to tailor-make your China tour according to your interests and requirements.
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