Surprising Photography Destinations in China

Over the last five years, Thierry has explored China through his photography. He has visited the diverse landscapes and unique sites that make up this great country. In this post, we’ll explore some of the surprising photography destinations he’s discovered in China. To try to share these unique sites with others, many of the places are included in Thierry’s photography workshops.

Fujian Tulou

Translated as “Earth Buildings”, these unique, round and square structures have been built for thousands of years and get their name from the mix of clay and sandy soil used to build them. This style of communal structure dates back to as early as the 9th century, when the Hakka Han moved into southern China. Today, majority of the 46 remaining structures are from the 15th – 18th centuries when the buildings became more elaborate. They were traditionally used as communal homes that provided the clans and families with numerous shared spaces and protection due to their ability to defend the building all the way around.

In 2008, these historic structures were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Village - Jiabang Rice Terraces - Guizhou province

Jiabang Rice Terraces

The Jiabang rice terraces in Guizhou province – in southwestern China – are considered some of the most beautiful in the world and among the top five in China. These mesmerizing fields were hand cut by the local ethnic minorities and span over 40 kilometers.  The sheer size of the area is an engineering feat and is seamlessly integrated in several villages and across various ethnic minority groups.

Yangshou Landscape

Yangshou Landscape

The Yangshou area (Guangxi) has been inspiring Chinese artists and writers for thousands of years. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that this destination came onto the map for foreign tourists. One of the most striking natural features that make this such a desirable destination are the towering peaks of the karst mountains. Many visitors choose to discover the beautiful landscape by taking a cruise down the Li River that meanders through the impressive mountains.

This destination is popular among photographers who come to capture the unique shapes and rich history of the local peoples.

Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve - Five Color Lake - Thierry Bornier


Jiuzhaigou, or “Valley of Nine Fortified Villages”, is located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in south eastern China. The valley is full of breathtaking natural beauty from the colorful trees to the snow-covered mountain peaks, it’s a beautiful site. In 1992, it joined the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and became a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1997.  

The valley is a protected natural wonder that holds surprises for every visitor. Depending on the time of year, the area’s diverse flora can take on new life and colors.


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