Best walks, hikes and treks in China [View list of walks]
A long and wondrous civilization interrupted by cataclysms of unimaginable horror, the most recent being Maoist Communism and the Cultural Revolution. Since the Deng Xiaoping reforms, China has been developing frantically, achieving the “biggest event of mass poverty relief in human history”, but with many environmental and human casualties along the way.
The Cultural Revolution did desperate damage to the country’s cultural fabric, and much that you will see has an ersatz, Disneyfied feel, but there are still unforgettable things to find and do.
So a China expedition needs to include some of the great cultural gems, but, as well as the obvious places - Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin – there are many less-known places (well, outside of China anyway: you will struggle to escape internal tourists nowadays) which are too good to miss, the main limitation being time. Think Silk Road, Tibet, the mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan, the time-honoured sacred mountains, the vast rivers, outlandish geological features like the Guilin countryside or the Stone Forest near Kunming, historic cities like Hangzhou. And of course the one-and-only Hong Kong.
The vast mountains of the west, the deserts of Tibet and the Xinjiang-Inner Mongolia strip, the extraordinary topography of the Huangshan mountains, marsh, lake and river: China still retains, despite all its despoilation, wonderful scenery and wildlife.
So, China has things to fascinate everyone, children included. The variety of travel and tours is as a result huge.
Walking, hiking and trekking in China
China has some of the world’s best walks, hikes and treks, ranging from famous mountain trails such as the Mount Kailash Kora, our top walk in the world (see our Top 100 list), to geological and natural absurdities like Guilin, to ancient sites such as the Great Wall and the unmissably atmospheric if crowded lakeside at Hangzhou, Song dynasty capital and origin of willow pattern china.
Famous walking regions include:
- Tibet – Everest north face, Shishipangma base camp; Mount Kailash amd great monastery and lakeside sacred kora walks
- The mountains of the western fringe: Tiger Leaping Gorge, Jiuzhaigou, Gonggashan
- The Tian Shan in the far northwest
- the historic sacred mountains (Huangshan, Tai Shan, Emei Shan etc)