The Year of the Ox has begun and spring is finally on the horizon. It may just be time to resume planning your long-awaited China adventures. Here are the best places to travel around China in spring.
As temperatures across China get warmer, the country is blanketed in pink, white, and gold as rice fields, rapeseed flowers, and spring blossoms change hue. This is the perfect time to travel to the south of the country before temperatures sizzle in the later months.
Here are just a few of our favorite destinations to visit this spring:
Jiangxi has often flown under the radar for many travelers, paving the way for moreauthentic experiences. The province is noted for its bucolic landscapes, particularly in Wuyuan County, often topping “most beautiful places in China” lists.
The villages of Wuyuan are breathtaking at any time of year, but in March they are extra special thanks to the fields of golden rapeseed flowers that carpet the area. By contrast, Jingdezhen is a bustling regional city, synonymous with traditional Chinese porcelain. For over 900 years, Jingdezhen was the official source of porcelain for the imperial household. Today, the craft is being revived and modernized in the trendy Tao Xi Chun Art District.
- Hiking between Wuyuan’s villages
- Visiting Jingdezhen and witnessing the centuries-old process of making porcelain with classically trained artisans
- Meeting local residents and learning their traditional technique for drying chrysanthemum flowers and chilis
They say life imitates art and we feel like that is especially true in Guangxi, where towering karst peaks and winding rivers mimic Chinese landscape paintings. It’s also one of our favorite places to get away from it all — there’s just something uniquely relaxing about cycling through the quiet countryside among the mountains. The weather can be unpredictable in Guangxi in March, but mist and rain can also create beautiful views over the rivers and rice terraces.
- Hiking in Sanjiang, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of ethnic Dong-style houses and bridges, flooded rice paddy fields, and seasonal flowers
- Staying overnight in a traditional Dong-style home
- Learning a secret family recipe for spicy fish hot pot
For centuries, Guangdong has been home to some of the most highly cultivated and densely developed areas in the world. In the bustling metropolis of Guangzhou, elegant 19th-century colonial buildings stand toe-to-toe with modern skyscrapers.
Nevertheless, in more far-flung corners of Guangdong, especially in the north and southeast of the province, you’ll find that things move at a slower pace. This is where you can also discover Hakka and Teochew culture.
- Enjoying Sunday yum cha with the locals at one of Guangzhou’s many dim sum restaurants
- Exploring Kaiping’s countryside and UNESCO World Heritage-listed diaolou, or fortified watchtowers that blend European and Chinese architectural styles
- Heading out onto the water in your own fishing boat
As one of China’s most culturally and geographically diverse provinces, Yunnan is always a great year-round destination. If you need a getaway after the Spring Festival, Dali’s picturesque old town is a great choice. Spend the day strolling the cobbled streets or rent a bike and cycle out into the Bai villages in the surrounding countryside.
Like Wuyuan, Luoping – near the city of Qujing in eastern Yunnan – is known for its fields of rapeseed flowers, which bloom in March and April. During this time of year, we also love to head even further south to the Hani Rice Terraces to catch the cascading mirror-like paddy fields filled with water.
- Watching the sunrise over Erhai Lake and strolling around the bustling morning market in Xizhou
- Picking up some local honey produced by Luoping’s rapeseed flower bees
- Catching the sunset reflect off the cascading, mirror-like Hani Rice Terraces
Fujian is traditionally said to be “Eight parts mountain, one part water, and one part farmland,” and it’s no wonder that the province’s rich cultural heritage and history can be found in its mountainous regions. Here, along with parts of Guangdong, you can experience the life and culture of the Hakka people.
The province’s gentle hills and quiet rural roads also make it a popular destination for cyclists. Along the way, visit the UNESCO World Heritage-listed tulou, an earthen circular dwelling traditional to the Hakka people.
Fujian is also one of China’s biggest tea-producing provinces. Wherever you go, you’ll be offered a cup of white or oolong tea by way of a welcome.
- Staying the night in a tulou and enjoying a meal with a Hakka family
- Sipping a cup of cha with a tea expert in the Wuyi Mountains
- Cycling country lanes and then stopping at a local’s home for lunch