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12 Best Places to Visit in China in Autumn

As the sweltering summer heat finally gives way to the crisp fall days, China welcomes its most beautiful season in a year. In most parts of the country, autumn starts from September and lasts until November. The cool weather and bright sunny days make it comfortable to embark on outdoor excursions to take in vibrant landscapes full of warm tunes.

Here, we present a list of 12 best places to visit in China in autumn, which will promise to offer a unique and unforgettable experience during these picturesque months.

1. Jiuzhaigou Valley: A Colorful Fairyland of Plateau Views

Jiuzhaigou in Autumn
Stunning Jiuzhaigou in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: October

Suggested Trip Length: 2-3 days

Highlights: Emerald alpine lakes, snow mountains, waterfalls, primitive forests

Jiuzhaigou Valley, nestled in the heart of Sichuan Province, is praised as a mysterious wonderland on earth and attracts numerous visitors with gem-like alpine lakes, spectacular waterfalls, magnificent snow mountains as well as lush primitive forests. Jiuzhaigou offers captivating natural scenery all year round, but during autumn, it will show the most beautiful views and present a grand visual feast of colors to tourists.

In the fall, Jiuzhaigou Valley becomes a vivid canvas. Patches of maple trees and birch groves paint the rolling mountains in fiery red and golden yellow, delivering a strong color contrast against the azure sky and snow-capped mountains in the distance. Emerald lakes look even brighter, reflecting vibrant hues of the surrounding forests as well as white clouds on the surface. You will feel like being in a realm of multiple colors with all these surreal landscapes around you.

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2. Hulunbuir Grassland: A Fertile Prairie with Vast Horizons

Hulunbuir Grassland in Autumn
Hulunbuir Grassland

Best Time to Visit: September

Suggested Trip Length: 3 hours

Highlights: Endless prairie, nomadic scenery, Mongolian culture exploration

Hulunbuir Grassland, is the best-preserved pasture in China, lying in the northeast of Inner Mongolia. The vast prairie is as soft and thick as an immense rug stretching as far as the eye can see, with flocks of cattle, sheep and horses quietly grazing around. As autumn arrives, the grassland will transform into a sea of golden hues, with the sunlight casting a warm glow on the swaying grasses.

Besides delightful natural scenery, there are still a lot of things to do on Hulunbuir Grassland. You can gallop on the prairie to obtain the sense of freedom and thrill. An exploration to a nearby Mongolian village enables you to learn local herdsmen’ lifestyle as well as culture and traditions of the minority. Taking part in a bonfire party at night with locals will be a special experience that will stay with you forever…

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3. Wuyuan: Experience the Joy of Harvest in Ancient Villages

Wuyuan Huangling Village
Dry harvested crops in Wuyuan

Best Time to Visit: September – December

Suggested Trip Length: 3 days

Highlights: Superb idyllic landscape, traditional Hui-style buildings, distinctive customs

Wuyuan is hailed as “the most beautiful village in China”, offering an idyllic retreat for travelers seeking a glimpse into China’s rural charm. Nestled in the arm of lush mountains, it boasts unspoiled traditional Hui-style buildings with black tiles and white walls, which cling to the hillside in a staggered manner.

Wuyuan is considered one of the best places to visit in China in autumn. In fall days, the flaming maples trees, blooming chrysanthemum, ripe persimmons and golden gingko trees will present a striking contrast to the serene ambience of Hui-style villages around Wuyuan. The thriving scene of “Shai Qiu”, which means “drying up crops and fruits in the sun”, at Huangling Village from September to December is the greatest highlight in autumn.

Climb up to a high place to gaze down into Huangling. You will find racks and courtyards laid over by bamboo trays which are filled up with red peppers, yellow corns, pumpkins…Crops look even brighter in the sunlight and everywhere is full of the joy of harvest.

Recommended Trip: 2 Days China Autumn Tour to Wuyuan & Jingdezhen

4. Daocheng Yading: A Pure Land on Tibetan Plateau

Daocheng Yading in Autumn
Daocheng Yading in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: September – October

Suggested Trip Length: 2-3 days

Highlights: Plateau landscape, poplar forests, meadows, alpine lakes, snow mountains

Put up your backpack and take on a spiritual and visual journey to Daocheng Yading in autumn. You will encounter all the beautiful hues and view unspoiled plateau landscape.

Take a stroll around the serene poplar forests. These trees are ablaze with the color of golden yellow with the sun gently glistening through the leaves. The Red Grassland is another surprise, which looks as if the meadow and lakes were ignited.

Don’t forget to take a hike to the highest point around Daocheng Yading to witness incredible plateau landscape at Milk Lake and Five-Color Lake. Reflecting the azure autumn sky, these alpine lakes look as pure as emeralds embedded among the solemn snow mountains.

Travel Tips: Major attractions in Daocheng Yading are located about 4,000 meters above sea level. Make sure you get enough rest and avoid intense physical activities while visiting.

Recommended Trip: 4 Days Best Daocheng Yading Hiking Tour

5. Kanas in Xinjiang: A Tranquil Retreat Nestled in Altai Mountains

Xinjiang Kanas Lake
Kanas Lake

Best Time to Visit: September – October

Suggested Trip Length: 2-3 days

Highlights: Kanas Lake, Hemu Village, unspoiled natural scenery around Altai Mountains

Nestled at the foot of Altai Mountains in Xinjiang, Kanas is like a scroll of oil painting created by the nature, offering a strong visual impact with rich colors. It is regarded as one of the best places to visit in China during autumn.

When the fall comes, lush forests around the pristine Kanas Lake transform into a symphony of red, gold and orange, reflecting in the clear waters. You can either go along the wooden walkway or take a boat ride to view and take pictures of the pinkish blue lake and the surroundings. If you want to enjoy the great vistas of Kanas Lake, Fish-Viewing Platform will provide you the best perspective to have a panoramic view.

Apart from natural scenery, the primitive Hemu Village unveils its untouched beauty. From the viewing platform, you can take a bird’s-eye-view of the village. With traditional wooden residences scattered in an open space in the midst of birch forests, Hemu Village is like a serene and picturesque escape hidden deep in Altai Mountains.

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6. Pudacuo National Park: An Unspoiled Natural World

Pudacuo National Park in Autumn
Pudacuo National Park in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: October – November

Suggested Trip Length: 4-6 hours

Highlights: Alpine lakes, highland meadows, primitive forests, adorable wild animals

Pudacuo National Park in Shangri-La is a realm where nature’s beauty is on full display, especially in autumn when azure lakes glisten beneath the warm sun and dense primitive forests burst with golden yellow and fiery red.

Pudacuo National Park covers a wide area of 1,313 square kilometers. There are shuttle buses taking you to main attractions, including Shudu Lake and Bita Lake, as well as Militang Pasture. Both alpine lakes are like bright pearls surrounded by lush forests and rolling mountains while Militang Pasture, located 3,700 meters above sea level, offers a peaceful scene with flocks of sheep and horses running and browsing on the vast meadow. You may consider camping on the prairie to enjoy a leisure moment in the midst of the picturesque scenery.

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7. Dongchuan Red Land: Natures Palettes on Earth

Yunnan Dongchuan Red Land
Dongchuan Red Land

Best Time to Visit: September – November

Suggested Trip Length: 1-2 days

Highlights: Multi-colored terraced fields, surreal rural landscape

Dongchuan Red Land, praised as the “God’s Palette”, is an amazing sight for rustic landscape photography. Stretching out for miles, countless terraced fields have been cultivated along the hillside, creating a mesmerizing geometric pattern that seems almost unreal.

As one of the best places to visit in China in autumn, the rolling hills in Dongchuan Red Land turn into a masterpiece of contrasting colors from September to November. Some of the fields are ploughed over for the seeds and present the original red color while others are carpeted with golden buckwheat and green potato seedling. At the same time, the unique white rape flowers in Yunnan Province are in full bloom. Against the blue sky, the whole scenery is like a roll of oil painting spreading out before visitors.

Recommended Trip: 4 Days Kunming & Dongchuan Red Land Tour

8. Yellow Mountain: Enjoy Autumn Scenes Hidden in the Magnificent Mountain

Huangshan in Autumn
Huangshan in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: October – November

Suggested Trip Length: 1-2 days

Highlights: Evergreen pines & fiery red maple trees, precipitous peaks, sea of clouds

Yellow Mountain is one of the most magnificent mountains in China, well-known for the five natural wonders: oddly-shaped pines, grotesque rocks, sea of clouds, hot springs and winter snow. It is actually a popular tourist destination suitable for traveling in all seasons, but in autumn, besides the symbolic evergreen pines, maple trees in Yellow Mountain turn into fiery red, bringing a wash of warm color to the region.

As you step along the winding trails, the refreshing autumn scenery unfolds before your eyes. You can take in the most splendid scenes at the West Sea Valley, where countless precipitous peaks stretch out into the sky from the bottomless abyss. Hike up to the Bright Summit and watch as the sea of clouds below unveils the vibrant colors.

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9. Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest: A Gilded Wonderland in the Desert

Ejin Banner Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest
Admire the golden poplar trees

Best Time to Visit: September 25th – October 15th

Suggested Trip Length: 2 days

Highlights: Golden Populus Euphratica trees, desert views

There is a gilded wonderland – Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest – lying in the west of Inner Mongolia. It is one of the only three Populus euphratica forests remaining on the earth and the glittering golden hue makes it one of the best places to visit in China in autumn. There are in total eight bridges separating the whole area into several parts and tourists can enjoy the most enthralling scenery at the 2nd, 4th and 8th bridges.

The 2nd Bridge presents the primitive looking and there is a wide lake where you can take wonderful pictures of reflections of golden Populus euphratica trees. Trees at the 4th Bridge are all tall and upright, offering a perfect backdrop for photo shooting. The 8th Bridge sits at the northern edge of the desert. Apart from the golden groves, you can also see rolling sand dunes with camel caravans occasionally passing by.

Recommended Trip: 4 Days Ejina Populus Euphratica Forest Tour

10. Longji Rice Terraces: Take in Surreal Rural Landscape

Longji Rice Terraces in Autumn
Longji Rice Terraces in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: October

Suggested Trip Length: 1-2 days

Highlights: Rustic scenery in bright gold, ethnic culture exploration

Longji Rice Terraces is a can’t-be-missed attraction to take in the enchanting idyllic landscape of Guilin. The terraced fields display various colors in different seasons. But if you come here in the fall when the rice paddies are harvest, everywhere you look will be in bright gold, shimmering in the sunlight. The splendid rustic scenery earns Longji Terraces a place in the list of best places to visit in China during autumn.

There are 3 major villages offering you diverse views of the terraces. Among them, Jinkeng Yao Village possesses the largest and most magnificent fields and the 3 viewing platforms present a unique perspective from different angles. Terraces at Ping’an Zhuang Village form the most beautiful patterns, swirling from the foot of the mountains to the top. And visitors can view the most primitive looking of terraces at Ancient Zhuang Villages.

While trekking, do not miss the chance to stop by nearby ethnic villages, where you can gain great insight into local peasants’ life and have an exploration into distinctive customs and traditions of Yao and Zhuang minorities.

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11. Simatai Great Wall: Enjoy Unspoiled View of Great Wall

Simatai Great Wall in Autumn
Simatai Great Wall in Autumn

Best Time to Visit: September – November

Suggested Trip Length: 3-4 hours

Highlights: Great Wall hiking tour

Simatai Great Wall in Beijing ranked no. 1 in “the World’s Top 25 Scenic Spots” selected by The Times. Unlike other famous sections like Badaling and Mutianyu, Simatai, occupying steeper locations, offers a more exciting hiking experience and the less-renovated constructions reveal a unique unspoiled allure that attracts numerous hikers and adventures come here to take a challenge.

Simatai is worth visiting all year round, but the cool temperature and crisp air of fall days make your hiking more comfortable. Besides, the ancient walls winding along mountain ridges are adorned with vibrant autumn foliage, creating a breathtaking contrast against the weathered ramparts and towers.

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12. Zhangye Danxia Landform: Nature’s Brushstrokes

Zhangye Rainbow Mountains
Rainbow Mountains in Zhangye

Danxia Landform in Zhangye, Gansu Province is widely-accepted as the most beautiful one throughout China, resembling a vibrant painting etched into the earth’s canvas. Because of different rock formations, mountains here seem to be decorated with ribbons in various colors, such as red, yellow, green and white, hence the name “rainbow mountains”.

As one of the best places to visit in China during autumn, the multi-hued rock formations take on an even brighter appearance with warm autumn sunlight accentuating the vivid colors. From the viewing decks, you can take great pictures from any angle to memorize the trip.

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Popular China tour packages to the Beautiful Destinations in Autumn:

 

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