photography tour of China

China, Your Next Photography Adventure?

Why you should be taking your next photography tour in China…

A photography tour of China is as exciting as it sounds. The world’s 4th largest country is always going to provide any photographer with endless opportunities to come away with stunning images. Whether it’s landscapes, cityscapes or street photography China provides it all.

As a holiday destination it is opening up more and more. Travel in the country has never been easier as a tourist. You can get cheap domestic flights once you’re there, or if you want to see more of the country as you’re speeding past at 300km/h then China has the largest high speed rail network in the world. It connects over 300 cities and is a great way to travel within the vast country.

If you’re not yet convinced that a photography tour of China is for you, then let me try and persuade you.

Beijing

What better place to start off than the capital city. Beijing is a modern metropolis with traditional Chinese culture mixed in for good measure. The history of Beijing stretches back 3000 years and that is reflected in it’s architecture and its history.

Beijing China

(Photo Courtesy of Poeloq – https://flic.kr/p/5gDdWA)

Beijing offers any person on a photography tour of China countless opportunities to start filling up your memory cards with amazing images. Get your wide angle lens out for breathtaking cityscapes or the 50mm to get up close and personal with subjects in the street. However, there’s nothing quite like street photography in the next place on this list.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a favourite amongst photographers for its street scenes. Being full of street vendors, workers and the famous signs that hang from every building, makes it a place of endless possibilities when it comes to street photography.

Hong Kong

The Streets of Hong Kong (Photo Courtesy of Colin Tsoi – https://flic.kr/p/eSWBZ5)

There are so many things to do in Hong Kong, however it’s not known for being the cheapest place in the world. Things can quickly start to add up so once you’ve got the shots you wanted, take advantage of the free things to do in Hong Kong. Check out this list to get some ideas.

Hangzhou

In the 13th century when Marco Polo arrived in Hangzhou he declared it “the most beautiful and elegant city in the world” and you can see why.

Hangzhou China

(Photo Courtesy of Images by John ‘K’ – https://flic.kr/p/6CEpAY)

The West Lake is one of the most popular attractions in the area for its picturesque scenes and calmness. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the perfect place for any photographer to get their tripod out and get in some long exposure action.

Hangzhou West Lake China

Hangzhou’s West Lake (Photo Courtesy of Zhang Gongyu – https://flic.kr/p/iUphG8)

The calmness of the West Lake is amazing however, like most cities in the country, there’s more to get out of this leg of your photography tour of China that just this one scene.

The city itself is a prosperous place and has recently hosted a number of world events such as the G20 summit and Asian Games (which it will be hosting again in 2022).



It is also famous for a local dish that translates to “Beggar’s Chicken” which is chicken baked in a clay pot. Something that you will see over and over again in the restaurants there.

Huangshan

For the last 2 places on this list we are getting away from the big cities and into the countryside of China. Huangshan is a mountain range sometimes referred to as the Yellow Mountains and is extremely popular with landscape photographers for obvious reasons. Do a quick search on Flickr and you’ll find thousands of beautiful photos.

Huangshan China

(Photo Courtesy of Jenny NLF – https://flic.kr/p/oeeZ37)

What makes the Yellow Mountains so unique is the oddly-shaped rocks, the pine trees that appear to be hanging onto the sides on the mountains and the sea of clouds floating past which gives the place such an etherial atmosphere.

It will come as no surprise that one of the most popular things to do here is watch the sunset or sunrise, but if you wanted to indulge in a little bit of ancient Chinese tradition then bathing in one of its hot springs is said to make you become younger. That’s exactly what Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor) used to do, if it’s good enough for an Emperor then I’m sold on the idea!

Rice Terraces

Finally we come to the rice terraces. No photography tour of China would be complete without them.

Rice Terraces - Yuanyang

(Credit: Peteropaliu / Source: https://flic.kr/p/kzqzYg)

China is the world’s largest rice producer. It makes up a whopping 30% of all the rice produced in the world. The unique way in which they grow rice in mountainous regions though is what makes these fields so special.

Making use of all the available land, farmers have created multi-level platforms to grow their crops on. When flooded with water, they form a memorising pattern that lends itself so beautifully to photography. There are quite a few regions that grow rice in this way so do some research on which one will be easier for you to visit.

Final Thoughts

China can come across as a little daunting when planning a trip because of its size and the cultural differences between itself and more western countries.

That shouldn’t stop you though!

Where else can you find the hustle and bustle of huge modern cities, the tranquility of somewhere like the rice fields and the uniqueness of its villages? So if I’ve sparked your interest then do it! Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start and you need a little help, use a tour company like China Tour Advisors who can help you put together a customised trip that includes all the places you want to see.

Whatever you decide, or whatever your style of travel, China should definitely be at the top of your travel photography bucket list. There really aren’t many places like it!

Thanks for reading!

Featured image courtesy of “M M”

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Charlie Gardiner
Article by Charlie Gardiner

Charlie, originally from the UK but currently based in Spain, is a travel photographer and the founder of World of Travel Photography. For the last few years he has been making a living from his travel photography which has enabled him to see more and more of the world. Check out his Instagram and Twitter accounts below to follow his latest adventures.

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