8 Best Adventures in China

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When most people imagine traveling to China, bustling metropolises and rural farming are the typical images that come to mind. However, savvy travelers know that China has much more to offer than skyscrapers and agriculture.

It may come as a surprise to many, but there are tons of adventurous things to do in China. From camping on the Great Wall to jaw-dropping plank walks on the sides of a mountain, a trip to China can be a challenging and adventurous experience for spirited travellers.

Read on to discover our picks of the 8 best adventures in China.

1. Hike Jiankou (the Great Wall)

Tourists carrying backpacks hiking up the Great Wall of China
Located 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing, the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is the best-preserved, but in our opinion, the Jiankou section is the ultimate challenge to hike.

Hiking the Great Wall of China should sit atop any thrill seeker’s bucket list! Trekking this magnificent structure and witnessing one of mankind’s greatest creations up close is the perfect activity for your China adventure tour. There are numerous sections to explore during a Great Wall adventure and you will see much more than on a regular sightseeing tour. Mutianyu is beautifully restored to its original glory, and the route from Jinshanling to Simatai provides many gorgeous sights of the wall. However, in our opinion, Jiankou is the ultimate challenge for hikers.

  • Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Great Wall is in spring (April to May) or autumn (September to November). The temperatures are more comfortable and there are fewer crowds to fight off.

2. Camp on the Great Wall

Tents of various colors put up at the Great Wall of China
Adventurers can stargaze at night while camping on the Jiankou section of the Great Wall

Camping on a trip to the Great Wall of China certainly has its perks compared to making a simple visit. Waking up at the crack of dawn allows you to take in the jaw-dropping views of the wall at sunrise. Gubeikou, Jiankou, Jinshanling and Simatai are all fantastic alternatives to camp at the wall with fewer crowds.

  • Best time to visit: Much like trekking, spring (April to May) or autumn (September to November) is the ideal time to schedule your journey. This prevents you from camping in extreme weather conditions.

3. Toboggan at Mutianyu

A man sliding down a slide on a toboggan
Try the slide or toboggan at the Great Wall in China for an adventurous cable car alternative

If you wish to give your feet a break, a Great Wall of China toboggan ride at Mutianyu is a fun way down the mountain. Enjoy the incredible views of the surrounding scenery as you race from the wall to the bottom of the hill. This high-speed ride sure beats a long trek or a slow-moving cable car ride to end your adventure.

  • Best time to visit: Spring (April to May) or summer (June to August) is the best time to visit due to longer operating hours of the toboggan.

4. Bike on Xian City Wall

Instead of merely riding in a car or walking along the ancient city wall, hop on a bike and catch the highlights of Xian. You can rent a bicycle at any of the four gates of the city wall. Marvel at the wonderfully preserved wall and its archery tower, drawbridges, moat and watchtowers. Riding a bike around the ancient wall lets you explore at your own pace and see the highlights at the top of your list.

  • Best time to visit: The best time for your Xian City Wall bike ride is spring (March to June) or autumn (September to November) to escape the brutal heat of summer.

5. Bamboo raft on Li River

Raft made of bamboo floating on a river surrounded by hills
The Li River, also known as "Li Jiang" flows from Xing'an County to Pingle County

Skip the normal Li River cruise and go for a tranquil ride down the iconic waterway. Coasting along the river on a traditional bamboo raft provides a more authentic way to enjoy the river. Most Li River bamboo raft excursions last 1 to 2 hours and you can begin the tour at various points between Xingping and Yangdi.

  • Best time to visit: Autumn (September to November) is the best time to visit since there will be fewer crowds and the weather will be cooler.

6. Mount Kailash kora

Tourists trekking around the base of a Mountain
Travelers can hire horses, yaks and porters at Darchen, the gateway town to the kora

The Mount Kailash kora is an invigorating three-day trek around the base of a sacred mountain in Tibet. The altitude of the hike exceeds 5,000 meters and is one of the best adventures in China to test your physical and mental endurance. The three-day kora begins in the village of Darchen and the second day provides the biggest challenge crossing the Drolma La Pass at 5,613 meters.

  • Best time to visit: It is best to trek during early summer (May to June) for warmer weather conditions, or autumn (September to October). Avoid the summer monsoon season (July to August).

7. Trek Tiger Leaping Gorge

River flowing in between two rocky cliffs
Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the deepest river canyons in the world, with a depth of approximately 3970 meters

It may come as a surprise that China boasts one of the deepest canyons in the world. The Tiger Leaping Gorge trek is one of the most exhilarating hikes in China with incredible landscapes surrounding the trail. Start at the town of Lijiang and take the High Trail to complete the trek in two days. For those seeking peace and quiet, this is among the ultimate adventure activities in China.

  • Best time to visit: It is best to hike during spring (April to May) or autumn (September to October) to avoid the rainy season.

8. Plank walk on Mount Huashan

Planks and chains nailed to the side of a rocky mountain
The death-defying Mount Huashan plank walk has been dubbed the most dangerous hike in the world

You truly must be a brave soul to attempt this route, nicknamed “the most dangerous hike in the world”. The Mount Huashan plank walk attracts thousands of adventurers every year to conquer the challenging hike. Tiptoeing across the wooden planks nailed into the side of the mountain creates an exciting, but nerve-wracking experience.

  • Best time to visit: It is better to attempt the Mount Huashan plank walk from April to October due to better weather conditions.

Can you feel your heart racing? If you’re a thrill-seeker, the toughest decision will be determining which adventure comes first. The majestic landscapes and archaeological masterpieces provide unforgettable travel adventures in China. From soaring to the heavens for the perfect sunset picture at Mount Huashan to witnessing a sacred pilgrimage at Mount Kailash, buckle up for a life-changing experience.

No matter which exciting adventure you choose, you are guaranteed to have non-stop fun!

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  • Ruby Zhao
    Ruby Zhao
    Travel Expert in China
  • Micheal Fan
    Micheal Fan
    Travel Expert in China
  • Cindy Wang
    Cindy Wang
    Travel Expert in China
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