“We have a saying here, we say this is God’s Own Country.” Travel around the world and you hear that sentence everywhere you go – none more so than in Asia – and yet there are some areas of Asia that go way beyond the cliche.
Asia has mighty mountains, wet jungles, and temples galore – both pristine and crumbling. It’s got colourful culture, incredible wildlife, and ancient traditions. Here are just a few locations worth a visit on any landscape photography trip around Asia.
Remember the pinnacles of the planet Pandora in the movie Avatar? They were inspired by the sandstone pinnacles of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the northwest of Húnán Province. A land of mountains, forests, caves, lakes and waterfalls, it’s home to macaques, the Chinese giant salamander, Chinese water deer and the almost mystical clouded leopard. The area (whose main sector is actually called the Wulingyuan Scenic Area) gets 20 million visitors each year, but there are plenty of quiet places away from the observation decks around its ‘Avatar Hallelujah Mountain’.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
A surreal sight near the Chinese border that’s best seen from a Vietnamese junk-boat, Ha Long Bay contains over 1,600 islets. Around 170km from Hanoi, this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site is the result of jungle-topped limestone being eroded by tropical rains over thousands of years, and the effects are incredibly photogenic. Cruising, kayaking and rock-climbing are common activities here, so bring a decent camera backpack, and waterproof stuff-sacks.