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Top 5 Places to Visit in Fall/Autumn in China

best places to visit in fall

Some places in China are awesome in the fall season due to the brilliant shows of colors there. The leaves show their rich and vibrant hues, with colors ranging from bright yellows to flaming reds. China's fall foliage season lasts from mid-October to early November in north China, earlier in the south. Listed below are some of the best places to enjoy fall colors.

Why You Should Visit China in Fall

Fall harvest celebrations in LongshengEthnic people in Longsheng, Guilin, celebrating autumn harvest

Traditionally, fall is thought of as beginning on September 1, when children go back to school. Fall is commonly called "the best season to go to China" because of the combination of dryness and warmth.

China in fall can look as breathtakingly attractive as any place can be. You are suggested to visit China in fall because...

  • It's less crowded than in summer.
  • It's cool with clearer weather.
  • You can appreciate fall foliage.
  • You can enjoy Mid-Autumn Festival.

1. Beijing — Fragrant Hills and the Great Wall

Best time for viewing: Mid-October to early November

Fragrant Hills Park — autumn foliage

xiangshan Fragrant Hills Park

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. Each year after a frost, which usually falls in early October, leaves turn color gradually. By mid-October, the mountain is shrouded by a colorful carpet of red, orange, and purple.

The Fragrant Hill Red Leaves Festival is held each year on the hill in the middle of October. Local families flock there during the festival to enjoy autumn colors.

the great wall at jinshanling The Great Wall at Jinshanling in October

The Great Wall — autumn colors on mountain slopes

Trees line the Great Wall of China (长城) 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. Countless tourists have taken pictures of the Great Wall during this time of year — but nothing really matches taking your own!

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2. Huangshan — The Yellow Mountains and Tachuan Village

The Yellow Mountains — red leaves and sea of clouds

the yellow moutnains The Autumn Colors of the Yellow Mountains

The Yellow Mountains (黄山) put on a fabulous show of colors each autumn. 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 Mountains are renowed as the most beautiful mountain 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 to these cities. See China Highlights Yellow Mountain tours.

tachuan Tachuan Village

Tachuan Village — old Chinese maple trees

Best time for viewing: late October to November

Tachuan (塔川) is a small village at the foot of the Yellow Mountains. It has been frequented by tourists in recent years for its autumn colors. The area has many old Chinese tallow trees and maple trees, and in autumn, when leaves turn golden and red, it makes a feast for the eyes. Chinese photographers flock there to take photos of the spectacular scenery. What makes Tachuan's autumn scenery stand out is the views of colors interspersed with classic grey houses.

Many travelers combine their trips to the Yellow Mountains with visits to Tachuan. See China Highlights Tachuan tours.

3. Guilin — Longji Terraced Fields and Yangshuo Countryside

longjiLongji Terraced Field

Longji Terraced Field — golden undulating rice paddies

Longji 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 piece of romantic ambience to autumn.

Yangshuo countryside — leisure time with family

yangshuo countryside cyclingCycle in Yangshuo countryside.

Visiting Yangshuo's countryside provides a great opportunity to get close to nature and real life in South China's countryside by being introduced into their house. Biking 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' houses.

Read more about Best places to see autumn colors in Guilin.

4. Yunnan — Yuanyang Terraced Fields

yuanyang fieldYuanyang Terraced Fields

Yuanyang Terraced Fields (元阳梯田), in Southwest China's Yunnan Province, is considered one of the best places for photos in China. The terraced paddy fields wind from the mountain bottom up to the top, like, from a distance, great chains or ribbons as they wind their way around the contours of the mountain slopes in parallel, tiered bands. The period from middle September to early October is the best time to visit, as the fields are golden and ready for harvest. See China Highlights photography tour to Yuanyang.

Rice being grown in terraced fields is a familiar sight throughout the Far East. Those in Longsheng in Guilin Prefecture, in south-central China are the most famous. During the autumn the rice ripens, turning the hills a brilliant yellow color, with the terraced structure creating a myriad of golden tiers.

5. Chengdu — Jiuzhaigou Valley

jiuzhaigou Jiuzhaigou

Best time for viewing: Late October

Features: the most beautiful national park in China.

Jiuzhaigou ('Nine Village Valley' 九寨沟) is a nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sichuan, The park's main feature are clear and multicolored lakes surrounded by vast mountain forests whose brilliant autumn colors become reflected in the water.

Jiuzhaigou's breath-taking natural scenery has tempted many travelers to make return trips, If you love impressive nature, you definitely shouldn't miss it. Autumn in Jiuzhai Valley has the most abundant variety of colors, and it is renowned for displaying all the colors of the world. Numerous, different sized lakes, ponds, and waterfalls display a dream combination of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Visitors feast their eyes on the beautiful scenery.

Tips for Visiting China in Autumn

the li riverBring a camera with you and enjoy your trip.

You will not need heavy clothing, because Chinese autumns, except in the northwest and mountains, are rarely that cold. In the far south, though the monsoon has ended, an umbrella may still be required one day in four. You should bring a camera with you, and comfortable walking shoes.

If any of this has inspired you to come to China in autumn, you could follow the links above for more information, or contact us directly for planning a tour. We can tailor-make your China tour according to your interests and requirements.

For more specific weather information, tips, and ideas, see:

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