The Best Outdoor Activities in China
Discover the best hiking, camping, backpacking, fitness, and more.
Capture the Sunset from Mt. Laozhai (老寨山)
China / Xingping, China
Mt. Laozhai is an approximately 220m karst peak in the village of Xingping. It overlooks a dramatic bend in the Li River, showing off some of Guilin Province’s most classic landscapes.
Hike the Great Wall of China's Mutianyu Section
China / Mutianyu Great Wall
The 2nd most visited section of the Great Wall of China, Mutianyu is a beautifully restored and a relatively accessible spot of the wall.
Jinshanling Great Wall Hike (金山岭)
China / Jinshanling Great Wall
Constructed during the Ming Dynasty in 1368 CE, the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall is famous for its many watchtowers and stunning vistas as the rest of the wall stretches out to the east and .
Explore the Forbidden City
China / Forbidden City, Beijing, China
The Forbidden City is the incredible palace of the Ming Dynasty. It housed the Chinese government for almost 500 years and is located in the middle of Beijing.
Explore the Li River with Cormorant Fishermen
China / Xingping, China
The Li River has a long history of Cormorant Fishing. Set amongst Karst Mountains, the city of XingPing (39 miles from Guilin & 15.
Climb Mount Gonga, Sichuan Mountains (蜀山之王): Minya Konka West Route
China / Mt. Minya Konka
Mount Gonga is located on the western side of Sichuan Province, approximately 330km from Chengdu.
Hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge
China / Qiaotou
About 100km and a 1.5 hour ride from the city of Lijiang in Yunnan Province, the Tiger Leaping Gorge cuts between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and Haba Snow Mountain.
Hike the Great Wall of China's Jiankou Section
China / Xizhazi Village
The Jiankou section of the wall is known as the ‘Wild’ section due to its complete lack of restoration since its construction in the 1300s. This fact alone makes this area of the wall fascinating.
Hike the Longji Rice Terraces
China / Ping'an
The terraced fields of Longji offer some of the most spectacular scenery in China. Located 62 miles north of Guilin, the terraces take about 2.5 hrs to get to by car from the Guilin airport.
Hike to Yading's Milk and Five Color Lake (牛奶海 - 五色海)
China / Chonggu Monastery
Start from Chongu Monastery and go to Luorong Pasture. To get here you can either walk 6km on the boarded pathways or take a ~20minute electric cart for 80RMB round trip or 50RMB one way.
Camp on Lijiang's (丽江) Nob Hill
China / Nob Hill
The town of Lijiang is one of the best hiking and cultural hubs for Yunnan province. It's an awesome place for exploration and relaxation for both the first-timer in China and the China-hand.
Hike the Jade Dragon Glacial Trough
China / Jade Dragon Glacial Trough
Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is one of the most famous mountains in China’s Yunnan province. It’s China’s southernmost glaciated peak and stands at the southeastern edge of the Tibetan plateau.
Hike to Cuipingshan Hill Peak (Yangshuo, China)
China / Yangshuo
A secret spot of Chinese photographers for years, Cuipingshan Hill within Yangshuo, China is a view unrivaled by many others in the world.
Camp on the Great Wall's Gubeikou Section
China / Gubeikou Great Wall
An experience unlike any other in the world, camping on the Great Wall of China is a truly once in a lifetime adventure.
Climb Mt. Xiaowutai (小五台山): Hebei Province's Highest Peak
China / Mt. Xiaowutai
This trip makes a great extended weekend getaway from Beijing. Mt. Xiawutai lies in the neighboring province of Hebei and is Hebei's highest peak at 2882m.
Hike Luosishan (Fairy Maiden Peak)
China / Xingping, China
For a landscape with panoramic dramatic views, there might be none better than that of the Fairy Maiden Peak. The launching point for this hike will be out of the town of Xingping.
Raft down the Li River
China / Yangdi
This adventure starts in the village of Yangdi. Located 45 miles from Guilin, the closest metropolitan city, Yangdi sits at the base of karsts on the west side of the Li River.
Camp on Haba Snow Mountain (哈巴雪山): Huangtupo Camp
China / Haba Village
From Lijiang or the end of the Tiger Leaping Gorge (Tina’s Guesthouse) take a bus, small public van, or hire a driver to take you to Haba village.
Climb Ox Heart Mountain
China / Qilian Town
From Xining, Qinghai Province's main airport and city, take the bus 6~ hours to Qilian Town (祁连县). The bus ticket is 58RMB and the first one leaves at 8:15am everyday.
Hike the Zhuqing Monastery (竹庆寺) Emerald Lakes
China / Zhuqing Monastery
The route starts directly behind the Zhuqing Monastery college (3948m). There is a path leading up the ridge behind the college towards the right above the monastery.
Summit Four Girls Mountain Second Peak (四姑娘山二峰)
China / Shan Yue Ri Zhuang Bridge
The route is most easiest found from the front of the hostel 日月山庄 (Ri Yue Shan Zhuang – 3254m, phone no. of manager: 18384253062 (he speaks OK English)).
Explore Rongbuk Monastery at the Base of Mt. Everest
China / Rongbuk Monastery, Tibet
Rongbuk is the highest monastery in the world. It has quite a beautiful backdrop featuring Mount Everest. I did not have time to go inside.
Hike Yumbulagang Monastery
China / Yumbulagang Monastery, Tsedang
When you first see Yumbulagang from a distance, it is quite an impressive sight. Perched atop a craggy hill makes the main tower here seem much larger than it is.
Visit Everest Base Camp, Tibet
China / Everest Base Camp - Tibet
Surprise! You are now at what the Chinese call Everest Base Camp.
Walk the Potala Kora
China / Potala, Lhasa
A Kora is a walk or trek that circumnavigates a holy location, typically a monastery or stupa. The Potala is the former home of the 14th Dalai Lhama.
Hike the Sera Kora
China / Sera Monastery, Lhasa
This hike was my first exposure to walking a Kora around a Monastery. Sera Monastery is considered one of the three great monastery's, the other two being Drepung (also in Lhasa) and Ganden.
Backpack Kawariluo (卡瓦洛日神山) Holy Mountain Pass
China / Gengda Village
The route starts right off HWY 317 on the opposite side of the river at Gengda Village (更达村), elv. 3450m.
Walk the Tashilhunpo Kora
China / Tashilhunpo Monastery
Tashilhunpo Monastery is the second most holy monastery in Tibet and home to the Panchen Lama (second seat to the Dalai Lama).
Explore Pelkor Chode Monastery
China / Pelkor Chode Monastery, Gyantse
Pelkor Chode is the largest and main monastery in Gyantse.
Hike from Princess Wencheng Temple to Yushu
China / Princess Wencheng Temple
Take a taxi one way from Yushu (玉树) to Princess Wencheng Temple (文成公主寺). Should be around 30-40RMB and something like 12km. Once you get to the temple, take a look around.
Camp at the EBC Tent Village
China / Everest Base Camp Village, Tibet
This is the recommended place to sleep when visiting Mount Everest from the North. There are many Yak wool tents, each has a unique name outside the entrance. It's very interesting to see.
Hike the Ganden Kora
China / Ganden Monastery, Tibet
Ganden Monastery is one of the three major Buddhist university's in Tibet. Many monks study here and there is no shortage of Tibetans making a pilgrimage to the monastery.