A land of epic contrasts: Stunning images show the breathtakingly diverse scenery of China, from towering cities to magical mountains

  • It’s a country with neck-straining skyscrapers, cormorant fishermen and terrifying glass walkways
  • Hong Kong skyline is packed with high-rises – it has over 1,500 buildings classed as skyscrapers
  • The stunning Deitan waterfall is one of the biggest in Asia and sits right on the Chinese border with Vietnam 

China – it’s at once a mystery and yet something so familiar to Westerners.

Its culture – its food, the way its people dress, its ideologies – is known across the world.

But it still remains something of an undiscovered country for many outside its borders.

We’re hoping that these stunning images will reveal a bit more about the country and underscore just what a jaw-droppingly diverse place it is.

It’s a country with neck-straining skyscrapers, cormorant fishermen, dramatic waterfalls, terrifying glass walkways, Unesco-listed national parks and, for a bonus, the world’s biggest city square.

Scroll down to see China in all its glory – and perhaps adjust your bucket list.

The Li River loops around the karst mountains in Guilin. The Chinese regard the scenery in Guilin as among the most beautiful in the world

The Chinese just can’t seem to get enough of nerve-shredding walkways. Here’s one made out of glass on Tianmen Mountain

A spectacular shot captured from Victoria Peak, the highest part of Hong Kong, showing the skyscrapers below. There are 1,500 buildings in Hong Kong that are classed as skyscrapers, meaning they are taller than 328 feet 

Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas on earth. This image of its high-rise buildings has a hypnotic quality about it

Wispy clouds hang over a winding road that leads up one of the hills in the stunning Tianmen Mountain National Park. The mountain itself has been named as one of the most scenic in China 

The lush green fields of the Longsheng Rice Terrace in Guangxi province. This upland area has been cultivated for rice for over 800 years using a terrace and irrigation system

The Lujiazui district of Shanghai is classed as the city’s financial district. It’s home to the bizarrely shaped Shanghai World Financial Centre (the second-tallest building in this shot), which has been compared to the shape of a bottle opener 

The high-rise buildings of Shanghai, this time captured in an image that shows the Huangpu River looping around them. The meaning of the name of the city of Shanghai is ‘upon the sea’. This alludes to the Shanghai’s location along the Yangtze River Delta near the South China Sea

The 1,535ft Oriental Pearl Tower, left, can be seen dominating the skyline of Shanghai. Until 2007, it was the tallest structure in China

The sun sets on waterlogged rice fields in Yuanyang County. Around 200million tons of rice are produced in China each year 

Two ships sail down the Yangtze River amid breathtaking hills. The river is the longest in Asia, stretching for almost 4,000 miles

Cars travel along a highway through China’s capital Beijing. Due to rising car ownership, Beijing is one of the worst places in the world for air pollution 

The Li River meanders around the lush green hills in Yangshuo County. We just couldn’t resist featuring this scenery twice

The Great Wall of China is estimated to stretch more than 13,000 miles across China. It attracts 10million visitors each year

The incredible jagged peaks located in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie. The area is on Unesco’s world heritage list and the site is dominated by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks. Some rise to 600ft

Mist swirls around the peaks of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area in this wonderful picture taken from a tourist boat on a lake below

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The Twin River Bridge spans the Yuzhong peninsula in the south western city of Chongqing. The city is the fourth biggest in China after Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin

Tianjin (its financial district is pictured), has a population of around 15million and its metropolitan district covers 4,200 square miles

A farmer guides his water buffalo across a stone bridge in the Guilin region. Water buffalo are the most important animal for these farmers as they are able to till the flooded rice paddy fields

Cormorant fishing in China is a practice that stretches back at least 1,000 years. The birds dive and catch fish for their masters but are prevented from swallowing big catches by a snare tied around their throats. This beautiful image was captured in Guilin

Welcome to the world’s largest city square – Xinghai Square, which was built in 1998. It’s located in the city of Dalian and covers 270 acres

Xinshi is a Chinese ‘water town’ that was built around 1,000 years ago. China can be overwhelmingly industrial and wonderfully quaint…

A hidden settlement sits in the basin of a valley in the Yandang Mountains in eastern China. The mountains are thought to be one of the areas where the South China tiger can be found

Dam that’s beautiful: The small islands that are scattered in Qiandao Lake in Zhejiang province. The lake, which is a fresh-water, human-made body of water, was formed in 1959 after the completion of the Xin’an River hydroelectric station 

The colourful mountains of the Zhangye National Geopark close to China’s border with Mongolia. Sandstone and mineral deposits have created the swirling orange, yellow and white lunar-like landscape

A light monorail track has been built to go through a hole in a residential 19-storey building in China. The city of Chongqing in the south-east of the country has a population of 49 million packed into 31,000 square miles, causing urban planners to look creatively at solving space issues. A special railway station was built into the block of houses, set into the sixth to eighth floors

Yunnan province in south west China is known for its diverse landscape. Pictured are rural farming fields giving off a red autumnal glow 

The Karakul Lake in Xinjiang, an autonomous region of north western China. There are two Kirgiz settlements along the shore of the lake and pictured is a traditional Kirgiz yurt 

The Blue Moon Valley, pictured, takes it name from the striking colour of the river close to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in Yunnan. The river is fed by melting snow and ice running down from the peak 

The Detian Waterfall is often described as Asia’s biggest trans-national waterfall as it sits on the border of both China and Vietnam. Over the past 1,000 years, the waterfall has eroded and has moved slowly upstream

The Crescent Moon Spring in Dunhuang is an oasis in the middle of the desert. The oasis, which is believed to have existed for 2,000 years, was shrinking fast due to increasing desertification in the region before the government began to refill it

Winters can be harsh in northern China and it is not unusual to see snow in cities such as Harbin, Beijing and Tianjin

A giant panda clings on to a tree in Chengdu while posing for the camera. The bear is native to central China but there are just over 1,800 left in the wild

A traditional boat floats past the historic buildings lining a canal in Shanghai. These days, the boats are popular with tourists

Shipping containers are lined up ready to be loaded at Shanghai International Shipping Centre. The port of Shanghai is the busiest in the world in terms of cargo tonnage moved

The Yingwuzhou Bridge in Wuhan crosses the mammoth Yangtze River. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, and is the most populous city in central China. Around 10million people live there

These cabins are all inhabited by thousands of Buddhist monks and nuns who attend the Wuming Monastery, also called the Sea Monastery) of the Larong Temple in Sichuan Province. It sits about 13,000ft above sea level and is the world’s largest Tibetan Buddhist academy


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