5 Fun Hikes in China that are Great for Beginners
China is an enchanting land full of history, amazing architecture, delicious food, and countless activities. One of the most underrated aspects of a trip to China is enjoying its natural beauty.
As one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, China has so much to offer those who like to immerse themselves in nature.
There are many ways to see China from the window of a train chugging through the countryside to drifting down the Yangtze River by boat.
But perhaps the best (and least expensive) way to experience the Middle Kingdom is on foot. China offers thousands of hikes that can exercise not only the body but all of the five senses (including taste if you find the right roadside food stand).
The beauty of trekking through China is that there is so much diversity in the trails that there is a hike for everyone.
From extreme mountain climbing for thrill seekers who would like to challenge themselves on the peaks of Himalayas to a scenic walk for the novice who is looking for a half-day hike, China has it all.
In this article, we will leave the harrowing hikes to the pros. Instead, we’ll focus on the best places for beginning hikers to strike out and explore. These trails are also appropriate for the advanced hikers who would like to find something more suitable for taking the whole family rather than just a backpack and some serious gear.
The Peak in Hong Kong is a Must
Many people associate Hong Kong with the bustling city that has become a world-renowned financial center. But one of Hong Kong’s best-kept secrets is the beautiful hikes that offer a respite from the insanity of the city to both visitors and locals.
Hiking in Hong Kong can be tricky because depending on the weather and the tide, a relatively straightforward hike can quickly become a white-knuckle struggle. That being said, The Peak is a very safe bet.
As the Hong Kong Tourism Board states on their website: “If there is only one thing you can do in Hong Kong, go to The Peak. If you have many things to do here, still go to The Peak.” Why all the fuss? Well, The Peak offers amazing 360-degree views of Hong Kong because it is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It gives the visitor an instant idea of the power and wealth of Hong Kong, as well as its unique history through architecture.
The Peak can be reached via tram. But it can also be ascended on foot with the aid of a taxi. It is covered with walking trails that are refreshingly natural as they cut through tropical forests that host exotic birdlife.
The Inspiring Jinshanling-Simatai Section of The Great Wall
There may be no more recognizable site in the country than The Great Wall of China. There are many ways to enjoy The Great Wall, but hiking is perhaps the most popular.
Contrary to popular belief, The Great Wall of China is not a monolith. There are sections of the Great Wall that are open and others that have partially gone back to the wild with brush and other plants taking over. Similarly, not all walks along The Great Wall are the same. There are nearly endless hikes along The Great Wall.
The Jinshanling-Simatai section is considered one of the absolute best walks along the wall. Lying about 130 kilometers north of Beijing, this section of the wall is perfect for a day trip. It strikes a balance between being accessible to many tourists because it is close to Beijing while being far enough away that it doesn’t get the hoards of tourists that other more well-worn paths nearer to Beijing do.
Due to its careful construction and fabulous scenery, the Jinshanling –Simatai portion of the wall has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hike between the Jinshanling and Simatai is about eleven kilometers and takes about four hours to hike. Although there are some inclines the hike is not dangerous or excessively rigorous. Meter for meter there are few opportunities in China to take in such spectacular scenery and history.
The Jinshanling-Simatai hike can be undertaken privately. But there are also a number of tours dedicated to this epic four-hour hike.
Riding the Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong
Many people consider the Dragon’s Back to be one of the greatest hikes in the world. The great news is that you don’t have to be an expert to experience it.
This hike is the centerpiece of the far longer Hong Kong trail. The hike, a little over 8 kilometers, is relatively easy during the cooler months.
But on a hot humid day, it can be more challenging. Be sure to check the weather and prepare accordingly, by bringing sensible gear and ample water. If handled correctly, this hike can be a joy for the entire family.
Exploring Garden Kora in Tibet
Tibet is an enchanting land filled with excellent scenery that will inspire even the most seasoned traveler. As a result of the unique terrain and other-worldly cultural landscape, Tibet is full of fabulous hiking opportunities.
Garden Kora is at the top of nearly everyone’s list when it comes to great hikes in Tibet that are appropriate for people who are more prepared for a vigorous walk than for mountain climbing. For more, read this inspiring account.
A Wonderful Hike Above West Lake in Hangzhou
West Lake has earned a distinction as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for several reasons. But perhaps the most important is the astonishing beauty of West Lake.
There are numerous hikes that showcase the lake’s attractiveness, but the best path for beginners is still a bit of a hidden path that offers great views during an easy 3.5-kilometer jaunt. Behind the Yuquan Campus of Zhejiang University, you can climb up Laohe Shan, which offers picturesque views of the lake below.
Then head southwest toward Bei Gao Feng, which rests near the famed Lingyin Temple.
This relatively easy hike is perfect for those who do not want to work very hard to get a big reward, which comes in the form of scintillating panoramic views.
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He has written for The Permaculture Research Institute and Uisio among other prominent outlets.
He is the author of Death: An Exploration (2016). For more visit his official website: www.lorenmayshark.com