Almost all of us are familiar with China's great man-made attractions: The Forbidden City in Beijing. The Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an. Shanghai's skyscraper forest in Pudong.
For a country of its massive size and varied geography, however, it's surprising how relatively few people outside China appreciate the extent of the country's other attractions, many of them natural wonders to rival any in the world.
Hongcun Ancient Village
The 900-year-old village of Hongcun has long drawn in-the-know Chinese visitors, who love its tranquil vibe and distinctive architecture.
Walking the narrow lanes paved with quartzite and seeing farmers working in rice fields, with the reflection of ancient houses in the lake, should provide enough material to get you started on your own visual masterpiece.
Bamboo raft drifting in the Nine Bend River (lower gorge) is a popular activity among visitors.
The two-hour, eight-kilometer trips provide grand views of Mount Wuyi. It's the best way to take in the serene beauty of the smooth peaks and clear water.
Echoing Sand Mountain and Crescent Lake
Echoing Sand Mountain is a series of dunes surrounding Crescent Lake. Named for its distinctive shape and aural characteristics, its echoes can be heard as the wind blows over the dunes.
Fortress Towers, Kaiping
Erected mostly in the early 20th century, the fortress towers at Kaiping were built by famously outbound Kaipingers, who brought home the many architectural styles they saw abroad, including Islamic, Roman and even ancient Greek.
Downtown is touristy. Visitors can rent bikes and head to the countryside to find a more calming scene: bamboo boats chugging along the river, fishermen setting out with cormorants, farmers toiling in fields with lush peaks soaring high above.
The highest waterfall in Asia, majestic Huangguoshu "Yellow Fruit Tree" Waterfall plunges a dramatic 77.8 meters across a 101-meter-wide span.
It's one of a handful of mammoth waterfalls in the world that's accessible for viewing from almost any angle -- from above, below, front, back, left or right. The best visiting season is June to August.