If you come to China for the beautiful natural sceneries, we guess national parks may meet all your expectations. As Chinese governments have put efforts in protecting ecosystem of national parks, natural resources and wild animals have been well protected in the recent years. What you can experience in China’s national parks are not just wonderful landscapes, it’s also a great opportunity to get close to the long history of China. What are the best national parks in China? You may find an ideal answer from this list.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a masterpiece dedicated by the Mother Nature. Being a UNESCO Global Geopark, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park delicately combines all the wonderful features of strange-shaped peaks, secluded valleys and dense forests, which will give you a wonderful experience if you are into mountain views. It is also the first National Forest Park in China, as a part of Wulingyuan Scenic & Historical Area.
If you are a movie fan, you totally won’t want to miss Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, for the Avatar Hallelujah Floating Mountain. The isolated pillar peacefully standing among the cloud and mist, as if wondering in a fairyland.
And for Golden Whip Stream, it is one of the most beautiful areas in Zhangjiajie, limpid and tranquil. Beautiful sceneries along the stream look like a natural gallery lying in the mysterious forests.
Location: Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China
Opening hours: from 7 am to 6 pm
Days needed for sightseeing: about 2 days
Best time to visit: March to May
Jiuzhaigou National Park is normally known as Jiuzhaigou Valley, where you may get the best water sceneries. It is the first nature reserve in China whose aim is to protect natural landscapes. With stretches of colorful lakes, lush forests, multi-level waterfalls, rare plants and animals, and also snow-capped peaks, Jiuzhaigou National Park is a true wonder land for breathtaking water views.
Except for multi-color lakes and forests, you can also experience distinctive Tibetan culture here. Choosing a characteristic hotel in Tibetan style will be an amazing choice. Besides, the blue icefall there will definitely surprise you.
Location: Zhangzha Town, Jiuzhaigou County, North of Sichuan Province, China
Opening hours: 6:30 am to 6 pm during high season; 6:30 am to 5 pm during low season
Days needed for sightseeing: about 3 days
Best time to visit: April, May, September and October
►More information about Jiuzhaigou Sightseeing Tips.
Mount Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is one of the most famous mountains in China. Due to the spectacular geological landforms, it is praised as the most fantastic mountain under heaven. Strange-shaped pines and stones, spectacle sea of cloud and mist, natural Hot Springs and waterfalls are what you can’t miss for Huangshan Mountain.
As we mentioned at the beginning, what you can experience in China’s national parks are not just wonderful landscapes, the long history and splendid culture in the old villages and streets may leave you a wonderful impression as well.
Location: Tangkou Town, Huangshan District, Huangshan, Anhui Province, China
Opening hours: 6:00 am to 4:30 pm on Saturday; 6:30 am to 4:30 pm on other days
Days needed for sightseeing: 2-3 days
Best time to visit: suitable for the whole year
Li River National Park is not like any normal national parks in the world. Stretching from Guilin to Yangshuo, it is the largest sightseeing area in the world with the most beautiful karst landscapes. Jade green mountains and river, dense forests, and mysterious karst caves, this is a poetic painting with incredible beauty. It’s interesting to know that those mountains have been given names based on how they look like, which might be a funny part during your trip.
The best way to experience the irresistible charm of Li River is to take a Li River Cruise. Along the whole scenic area, you can visit Elephant Trunk Hill, Reed Flute Cave and Solitary Beauty Peak. Just arrange some worth-going attractions according to your schedule.
Location: Guilin, Guangxi, China
Opening hours: all day long
Days needed for sightseeing: 1 day
Best time to visit: April to October
►Read How to plan a trip to Guilin.
Emeishan National Park, with Mount Emei as a UNESCO heritage site, is also one of the best national parks in China. Among the four famous sacred Buddhist mountains in China, Mount Emei is the highest one, with an attitude of about 3,099 meters above sea level. The stunning sceneries of Emeishan National Park may deeply impress you.
Except for its beautiful natural sceneries, Mount Emei is also famous for the profound culture of both Buddhism and Taoism, as there are plenty of Buddhist temples from the bottom to the summit, such as Baoguo Temple, Wannian Temple and Lingyan Temple. This is quite a wonderland for plants and animals as well, you can even meet some wild monkeys along your way.
Location: Emeishan, Sichuan Province, China
Opening hours: 6 am to 6:30 pm during high season; 7 am to 5:30 pm during low season
Days needed for sightseeing: 1-2 days
Best time to visit: suitable for the whole year, especially in spring and autumn
►Information about How to get to Mount Emei.
Shilin National Park is mainly famous for the stone forests. Formed by erosion over 270 million years, this extraordinary set of limestone groups perfectly represents the most stylistic karst landforms. What you can see here are not just various shapes of stones, there are also lakes, waterfalls and karst caves inside the national park.
And as it’s located at Shilin Yi ethnic autonomous county, Splendid culture of Yi people will also be an attractive reason for choosing Shilin National Park. Food around this area is also worth trying, with distinctive ethnic characteristics.
Location: Shilin Town, Shilin County, Kunming, Yunnan Province, China
Opening hours: 7 am to 6 pm
Days needed for sightseeing: 1 day
Best time to visit: all year round
►More information about How to Get to Stone Forest from Kunming.
Potatso National Park is the first national park in mainland China. The well-preserved geology and geomorphology of Potatso National Park make a perfect combination of pure clean lakes and rivers, dense forests and lush alpine meadows, with plenty of rare animals and plants, which are best gifts from the Mother Nature. Wild yaks and horses are easily to meet in the park, what a poetic and peaceful picture.
No matter which season you choose to come, Potatso National Park always has something beautiful to show you. Choose spring and summer for green meadow with countless flowers, autumn for the multicolored forests, and winter for the snow sceneries. If you are a fan of photography, you will love it badly.
Location: Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province
Opening hours: 8 am to 4 pm from November to March; 8 am to 5 pm from April to October
Days needed for sightseeing: 1 day
Best time to visit: spring and autumn
►More about Potatso National Park Tips.
Among those best national parks in China, you can choose one or two to visit according to cities you’re planning to go. It’s also important to pick a suitable time for most of places. See tours below for some inspirations.
You can pick your favorite national park and tell us all your requirements, and we will customize an ideal tour for you to explore the best national parks in China.
For families with kids, you can choose a suitable one according to ages of your kids, days you will spend and kids-friendly cities you’re going to visit. Check more China Family Tours for your upcoming family tour to China.