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6 Of The Best Road Trips In China

Put the pedal to the metal and cruise along China’s expressways and national highways to discover the true natural beauty, unique construction, and incredible villages that this massive country has to offer. From roads that run through mountains to those that are elevated hundreds of meters in the air, when it comes to road tripping in China you are in for an incredible experience. Here are six of the best road trips to do in China:

1. Drive To Guoliang Village along the Guoliang Tunnel Road

Accessible all year round, the Guoliang Tunnel Road in the Henan Province is one of the most impressive roads in the world. Carved into the Taihang Mountains, it is the only way to access the remote village of Guoliang. The village itself is surrounded by steep mountains making it impossible to construct a road to it, but in 1977 this unique tunnel was constructed to connect Guoliang to the rest of the world. The tunnel stretches for 1.2km is 5m high and 4m wide. Since its construction, it has become a popular drive as it gives tourist the incredible experience to drive inside a mountain and has scenic views along the way.

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Source: Places To See In Your Lifetime

2. Scenic Drive from Xinduqiao to Danba on S313 Highway

Experience China’s natural beauty when driving the 150km from Xinduqiao to Danba along Highway S 313. With roads lined with gorgeous meadows, stunning streams, giant poplar trees, and Tibetan stone houses all with the breathtaking backdrop of towering mountains, this road trip calls for you to slow down and absorb the region's beauty. Stopping in Tagong Town with its monastery, views of the sacred Yala Mountain and surrounding grasslands is a must-do. Another stop is the Huiyuan Monastery in Xie De Town.

3. Urumqi to Kanas Lake Loop Road Trip

This road trip is located in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region which is has a huge number of unique natural and cultural resources. The area is also home to Kanas Lake Natural Reserve which is classified by UNESCO as “mankind’s last piece of pure land’. The road trip loop takes you along the lake where you can stop at various vantage points to snap a few photographs or just take in the incredible view.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

4. Beautiful Drive from Litang to Yading

Crossing over two major highways - Highway S217 from Litang to Daocheng and Highway  S216 running to Yading - the road trip from Litang to Yading stretches over 300km and is an eyeful. The first part of the trip on Highway S217 will see you heading over Rabbit Mountain at the altitude of 4696 meters before passing by the vermilion Buddhist Monastery as well as Tibetan houses, incredible poplar trees, and dry riverbeds. The second part of the road trip take you along Highway S216 from Daocheng to Yading is not as breathtaking as the first part, but still has amazing meadows, Tibetan houses, and undulating hills. The best time to do this road trip is in autumn as the hills and mountains are golden hues.

5. Tingri to Mount Everest Base Camp

Off the National Highway 318, is a 100km mountain road that leads to the Everest Base Camp. Taking three to four hours, the road is a poorly maintained dirt road that is meant to be done in a 4x4 jeep and can be very challenging at times with endless twists, turns, and hairpin bends. But the breathtaking views of Tibetan settlements, nomadic herdsmen, wide plains, wondering animals such as yaks, rabbits and sheep, and towering mountain peaks makes this journey worth the trip.

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

6. Yaxi Expressway: Ya’an to Xichang Highway

Known as the ‘Sky Road’ of China, the Yaxi Expressway starts from Ya’an and ends at Xichang. The 240km expressway is made of 270 viaducts which elevate the roadway. This expressway was designed ‘in the sky’ to minimize the impact on the environment. Those driving along this area of the road can expect amazing views and the feeling of actually driving in the sky.

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Source: Study In China

Which of these road trips would you take?

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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.

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