Mount Hua

10 of the Most Adventurous Things to do in China

1) Learn Kung Fu in Shaolin


Located in the Henan Province, Shaolin Monastery is believed to be the origin of Zen Buddhism. The source of the name comes from the peak at which base it sits – Shaoshi.

Located 500 meters from the monastery, on the left-hand side of the academy complex, is a kung fu academy where you can take lessons from a kung fu master. The school will train you in a variety of martial arts including weaponry.

You will also find plenty of hiking trails in the area, including Sanhuangzhai with a heart-thumping cliff-side path, Shaoshishan, and Wuru Peak. Ask around if you can’t find it and someone will point you in the right direction. Be sure to stay in town to get the full experience.

2) Hike to Mount Kailash


Mount Kailash is located in Tibet and considered a sacred mountain by the Jainism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Bön religions.

It usually takes three days to hike the 32 miles around the base of Mount Kailash, though the truly devoted can make the trip in one day.

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It is said that good fortune comes to those who make the pilgrimage around this sacred mountain.

However, it is considered a terrible sin in all religions to try to climb it, and those who have been rumored to do so have died in the process.

3) Explore Kashgar Markets


Source: Time Travel Turtle

Located on the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan lies the remote city of Kashgar. What makes a trip to this market so adventurous is its seclusion.

Kashgar sits at the crossroads of the ancient Silk Road and is the westernmost city in all of China. Trading comes naturally to its principal inhabitants, the Turkic-Muslim group known as the Uighur.

One of the best ways to experience the city is by exploring the local markets. There are over 20 different bazaars located in this multicultural city, with the animal market being one if it’s most lively.

4) Hike the Path of 18 Bends


There are five sacred mountains in China, and Taishan is believed to be the most sacred of them all.

Many Chinese associate sunrises, birth, and renewal to this holy mountain and have a long 3,000-year history of worshiping there.

Walking the more than 7,000 stone stairs can be a tiring endeavor, but worth the adventure as they seem to stretch to the heavens. It is not surprising to see people sitting down to rest their weary legs as at 70 degrees, the stairs feel nearly vertical.

5) Eat fried Durian


Durian is deemed the “king of fruit” in most South East Asian countries. But don’t let that fool you, its horrific strong odor has caused it to be banned from public transportation and the flavor? Well, in the words of travel host Anthony Bourdain:

“Its taste can only be described as…indescribable, something you will either love or despise. …Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”

However, when Durian is fried, the odor isn’t as overpowering, and the flavor profile changes what some consider “delicious.” Try it for yourself in Beijing on Nan Luo Gu Xiang.

6) Walk the Glass Plank on Tianmen Mountain


If you are up for a spine-tingling adventure, take a walk on the glass path on Tiananmen Mountain. But don’t worry, there is a railing to keep you from falling into oblivion. This beautiful mountain is also an adventurous drive with 99 curves in only 6.8 miles.

There is also a keyhole cut right through the mountain which is famous with daredevils in wingsuits. Tianmen Mountain is located near Zhangjiajie.

7) Explore the Hallelujah Mountains


Located in the Hunan province is the world heritage site called Zhangjiajie National Park. Within this park sits a strange set of stone pillars rising up vertically to 3,500 feet.

The park is about 1,400 square miles and can be covered in about three days. The thrill of conquering the many ladders, suspension bridges, and cliff faces, is quite the adventure!

The major draw here is the Heaven and Earth Column which soars 3,540 ft. high (the highest in the park). It was renamed the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain after appearing in the James Cameron movie Avatar.

8) Hike the Tiger Leaping Gorge


Source: Travel Freak

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the largest canyons in the world. Do not attempt this adventure if you have a fear of heights or vertigo as the distance between the highest peak above and the river below is over 12,000 feet.

It usually takes about three days to do the 22-kilometer hike around the gorge, but the views on this hike are nothing short of spectacular. Most people start off at Jane’s Guesthouse taking the upper trail that overlooks the canyon and gushing river below.

9) Try Bizarre Foods on Wangfujing Street


Adventurous foodies can test their constitution on Wangfujing Street in downtown Beijing. The street is named after its ten princely resident (Wang Fu) and the well of sweet water that was found underneath (jing).

There you will find local food enthusiasts lining the streets trying everything from skewered tiny black scorpions to grilled flying lizards. Today, the street is a labyrinth of alleys (hutongs) that feature some of the most peculiar food found in China.

10) Hike the South Peak of Mount Hua

Mount Hua

Probably the most infamous adventure one can partake in China is located on Mount Hua’s South Peak. There you can walk a fifty-meter wood plank nailed to the side of a cliff 1000 meters above the spiky mountain range below.

Mount Hua, labeled the most dangerous hike in the world, is outside of Xian. It also has a long history of religious significance and is considered one of the five sacred mountains in China.

It takes about 5 hours to reach the northern summit and requires climbing a series of steep stone staircases (like most mountains in China). Mount Hua’s spines and crags make for a wonderful, all be it, precipitous trek.

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Lesley Daunt

Lesley Daunt is a travel writer that has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The Huffington Post, Examiner, Digital Journal and more.
Lesley Daunt