Photo Explorer Tours:
Custom Tours for Independent Photo Explorers

Scenic Mountains & Waters of China
All photos © Dennis Cox / Photo Explorer Tours Huangshan, Li River, West Lake; plus Shanghai, Beijing & the Great Wall

The Scenic Mountains & Waters of China photo tour has proven to be our most successful tour ever. This very popular 16-day tour is best scheduled in late spring or in October when skies are clearest. It includes three days amid the misty peaks of magical Huangshan (the Yellow Emperor's Mountain), the Li River and the Longsheng minority nationality area near Guilin, the beautiful vistas of Hangzhou's West Lake, and the booming cosmopolitan excitement of Shanghai. In addition to a sunset shoot at a remote section of the Great Wall, the Beijing stay features the city's most important historical and cultural sites: the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and Tiananmen Square.

This tour includes three domestic flights and all ground transportation, hotels (3 to 5 star) selected for both their value and strategic access to photo locations, most meals in China including mostly western breakfasts and one western dinner. It also includes the services of English-speaking guides, as well as the special program using private boats and local fishermen for shooting along the Li River. Not included are the visa for China, personal expenses, and tips, including to the national guide.

International airfare for this tour is available via Delta, United, and other trans-Pacific airlines with connections from several U.S. and Canadian cities, but is not included in the tour price. Optional extensions of the tour can also be made to other areas of China and east Asia, or more time can be added to the stays in Beijing or Shanghai.


The Scenic Mountains & Waters of China tour will be guided by veteran Beijing photographer and photo guide Tiger Li.
Tour price will be quoted based on size of the group.
All photos © Dennis Cox / Photo Explorer Tours

Scenic Mountains & Waters of China Itinerary

Day 1 Departures from North America arrive on the following day (a day is lost crossing the international dateline) in Shanghai or Beijing. Tour members will be met and transferred to the group's hotel.

Day 2 Tour begins with a full day to explore Shanghai including morning activities on the Bund and a cruise of the Huangpu River, Yu Garden and Huxingting Tea House in the afternoon, and an evening performance of the amazing Shanghai Acrobats. (To begin tour in Beijing -- recommended in the autumn -- just reverse this itinerary.)

Day 3 Fly to Tunxi, then bus to Huangshan. Lodging at the Taoyuan (Peach Blossum) Hotel at base of Huangshan. (Heavy luggage will be stored here during Wednesday's overnight visit atop Huangshan.)

Day 4 Morning ascent by cable car up front side of Huangshan to the Jade Screen Terrace with lunch at the Yupinglou Hotel restaurant. Named for the legendary Yellow Emperor of five centuries ago, Yellow Mountain is a wonderland of soaring, mist-enshrouded pinnacles and picturesque pines clinging to precipitous cliffs. Arguably the most beautiful place in China, if not the world, Huangshan has been described as like walking through the unending scroll of a traditional Chinese landscape painting. Its multitude of views from locations such as Bright Summit, Begin-to-Believe Peak, and Cloud Dispersing Pavilion are a delight to photograph as they change with the weather from season to season, hour to hour, and frequently minute to minute. Return to the Taoyuan Hotel for overnight.

Day 5/6 Following breakfast take bus to the cable car station mid-way up Huangshan's back side for the 8 minute and 2,500 feet ascent to the back of the mountain. Lodging overnight in the Bei Hai Guest House will place the group in a conveniently strategic position for access to an outstanding sunrise view. Some strenuous climbing of the mountain's numerous stone steps is required to get to some of the back side's best viewpoints, however much can be seen and photographed with only moderate or easy climbing. Late Thursday morning descent to pick up the luggage at the Taoyuan Hotel and have lunch before the two hour drive to Tunxi for some shopping and photography on the fascinating restored Song dynasty "antique" street and a late western dinner at the hotel. Overnight at the modern Huangshan International Hotel.

Day 7/8 Bus to Hangzhou for two nights at the deluxe Shangri-La Hotel conveniently located on the shore of heavenly West Lake. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, lotus-filled reflecting pools, temples and teahouses, West Lake provides a plethora of views to explore in the early morning light before a bountiful buffet breakfast. Six Harmonies Pagoda, Linyin Buddhist Temple, and tea farm will be visited in the afternoon and/or the following morning. Dinner Saturday evening is not included so that group members can choose their own eating experience from among the Shangri-La's fine restaurants, including Italian and gourmet Chinese, or go to a nearby local Chinese restaurant.

Day 9/10 In morning visit the Huqingyu Medicine Factory. Afternoon flight to Guilin, then transfer by bus to the unique market town of Yangshuo, south of Guilin, in the heart of the exotic karst country for which this region is world famous, for two days of photography from sunrise to sunset. If Huangshan is the most beautiful place on earth, then sunrises and sunsets along the Li River around Yangshuo and nearby Xingping must rank a close second. Following the guidance of our photographer guide, various locations throughout the area will be photographed from land and from a private boat. The group's photographic success will be maximized by arranging for fishermen models with bamboo rafts and cormorants, and in the evening, lanterns. Two nights at the Paradise Resort Hotel or equivalent accommodations and ala cart meals at some of Yangshuo's unique sidewalk restaurants, such as the MC Blues Cafe and Lisa's, are included.

Day 11 After another sunrise shoot along the Li near Yangshuo and breakfast in town, more photo ops will be arranged near Gaotian. In the afternoon a stop will be made at the Jade Dragon River on the way to Guilin. Overnight at the Guilin Bravo Hotel or comparable hotel.

Day 12 Three hour bus trip to the Longsheng scenic area near the border with Guizhou Province to climb to China's most spectacular rice terraces around the mountaintop village of Ping'an. Return in late afternoon to Guilin Bravo Hotel.

Day 13 After morning in the city of Guilin (or to Yaoshan mountain if conditions are right), flight to Beijing to arrive in time for dinner and evening Peking Opera show. First of three nights at Jianguo Hotel on Changan Avenue in "downtown Beijing".

Day 14 Morning in the Summer Palace and after early lunch three hour bus ride to the remote Jinshanling section of the Great Wall for shooting until sunset. Dinner at restaurant near the wall before driving back to city.

Day 15 Early morning at Jingshan Park photographing activities of the locals & panoramic views overlooking city and Forbidden City followed by walk through the Forbidden City. Afternoon walk through Tian An Men Square followed by a light farewell dinner.

Day 16 The photo tour ends with transfers to the Beijing airport for flights home. (Flights to North America arrive same day.) .

The Scenic Mountains & Waters of China Tour.

CLICK HERE for photos of China from previous Photo Explorer Tours led by Dennis Cox.

Guidebook covers shot.....
by Dennis Cox on this
Photo Explorer Tour


Please reserve this tour for your group by contacting:

Photo Explorer Tours DENNIS COX LLC

2506 Country Village, Ann Arbor MI 48103-6500 USA

Phone 800-315-4462 or 734-996-1440 ...


Direct Link to Reservation Form

May all your journeys be care free,

And may all your days be filled with wonder. 

NOTICE: The photographs on this website are legally protected by United States and international copyright laws and may NOT be used for reproduction in any manner without the explicit authorization of Dennis Cox.