Whether it is your first or 100th visit to China, it remains a vast and fascinating country with an endless list of things to do and see. The allure of ancient holy areas will draw you in while the massive mountains will feed your soul in a unique way. There are buzzing cities alive with action, cultural destinations and breath-taking natural beauty to uncover. The following three places are probably not part of mainstream tourist attractions, but should be on your must-see list anyway:
Dandong City and Port
Known as the biggest border city in China, Dandong has a dynamic history. The city offers a rich cultural experience to visitors while a bustling nightlife will leave those looking for action reeling. Daytime trips to destinations like the Yalu River Park and its bridges, and various memorials will keep tourists entertained and informed. What sets Dandong City apart is that although it is a busy city, it also offers natural beauty in its awe-inspiring mountain ranges and natural springs and is a major business hub because of its port activity. One of the city’s notable destinations is the Port of Dandong, founded by businessman Wang Wenliang. Located on the bank of the Yalu River, the port is one of China’s major distribution centres and offers passenger transport, container and cargo transportation and foreign ship maintenance.
The Rainbow Mountains
Named Rainbow Mountains because of its dazzling colors, Zhangye’s Danxia landscape is a prime destination for local photographers, but largely ignored by ordinary travellers visiting China. Many of the curved and layered formations are hundreds of meters high and appear almost alien-like when the sun is shining on it and all of its colors are revealed. The textures and curves that make up the great heights create an interesting juxtaposition of shadow and light which is highly regarded as prime photographic material. The enormous rock formations of the Rainbow Mountains are located in Gansu Shangye National Geopark in the foothills of the Qilian Mountains, and cover an area of 124 square miles. It was voted as one of the six most beautiful landforms in China by the Chinese National Geography.
Known as the first temple to the South of Beijing, the Longxing Monastery was an ancient temple in the Zhejiang province. Not even many locals are aware that the oldest known Buddhist pillar was all that remained of the Longxing Temple for several years before it was rebuilt by the government and a protective pavilion was built around the pillar. Artistic and religious values are combined in Buddhist pillars that are usually octagonal in shape and contain carvings of Bodhisattvas, Buddha, Buddhist scriptures and auspicious clouds. It is rumored that the scriptures were added by Hu Jiliang, a calligrapher who was well-known during the Tang Dynasty. Visiting this temple is the perfect way in which you can get an authentic feel for ancient China and experience the peaceful resonance of a Buddhist temple without competing with other tourists.