Autumn time in the Bashang area (the grassland area to the north of Beijing in Hebei and Inner Mongolia) is considered a paradise for many photographers in China. Ulan Butong Grassland is located between the Greater Khingan Range and the Yin Mountains on the Inner Mongolia Plateau, Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. It was the ancient battlefield and the royal hunting ground in the Qing dynasty. Nowadays, the Ulan Butong Grassland is one of the best destinations from Beijing for autumn grassland photography. If you are a photographer who loves natural scenery, then you should definitely visit this vast grassland. This photography itinerary will take you far away from the noisy and crowded city to the peaceful and magnificent grassland. You will see a totally different China.
Meet your guide and driver at the arrival hall of the airport of Beijing (PEK or PKX). Then you will be transferred to your hotel in downtown Beijing and have free time for the rest of the day.
Today, we are going to visit some of the most famous sites of the ancient capital of China. Tian'anmen Square is the first stop today. You will be staggered by its size and the magnificent constructions around, such as the Monument to the People's Heroes, Tian'anmen Tower, the National Museum of China, and the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall.
Walking though the Tian'anmen Tower, you will step into the Forbidden City, the largest imperial palace in the world. The red walls, yellow roof tiles and historic statues are always good material for photographers. With the professional suggestions of your guide, you will get some more ideas about using your photography skills in the Forbidden City.
Lunch will be in a local restaurant near the Forbidden City. The last attraction is Jingshan Park. As the royal back garden of the emperors, Jingshan Hill is the best place to look out over the Forbidden City. The rest of the day is on your own. You may take a rest to get over your jet lag and prepare for the long journey to the grassland in the next few days.
The ‘Kungfu Show’ and the ‘Peking Opera’ are the most popular activities at night when you are staying in Beijing.
Pack your luggage and check out of your hotel in the morning. We will go for a visit to the Summer Palace and the Temple of Heaven in the morning. They are the best preserved imperial garden and the largest altar architectural complexes in China. You will learn more about the history of China in the Ming and Qing dynasties. The many relics and splendid architecture are the symbols of Beijing and China.
The Summer Palace
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest
After lunch, we will drive northeast for about 2 hours to Gubei Water Town. That is the place where we stay overnight today. It is a very nice small town with beautiful canals and bridges. The town is located on the way from Beijing to Ulan Butong Grassland. You may explore the town in the afternoon, take some photos of the old houses, taste the local snacks, have a drink at a bar, or even enjoy a hot spring bath.
Gubei Water Town is located right near the Simatai Section of the Great Wall. A part of the Great Wall will be lit up at night. You may also enjoy the sunset on the Great Wall. You will be able to take some special Great Wall photos at night.
We will visit the Simatai Section of the Great Wall in the morning. This part of the wall is built on the ridge of the Yanshan Mountains. It is both high and steep, and it still retains its original appearance since the Ming Dynasty (1373C.E.). Your guide will introduce the story and the function of each element of the wall. The magnificent landscape will be in your sights once you are standing at a high point on the Great Wall.
It is time to drive north from Gubei Water Town to Ulan Butong Grassland. It usually takes about 4.5-5 hours' drive and you will see the amazing landscape on the way. We will arrive at Ulan Butong in the late afternoon. If we arrive early and the weather is fine, we will choose the nearest place to take some photos of the sunset on the Grassland.
1, The best time to visit Ulan Butong Grassland must be in summer or autumn. The average altitude is about 1640 meters (4900ft), so it is always cooler and colder than Beijing. A light jacket is needed even for summer time.
2, Hotels in Ulan Butong are mostly very basic. Nothing luxury but with basic facilities like hot water, clean rooms and heating.
3, As sunrise photography is included, you need to prepare a proper outfit, such as a head lamp, a warm jacket, hiking boots, a backpack, some snacks and all kinds of your camera lenses.
4, The area of Ulan Butong is massive. Depending on different weather, road conditions, distance, and your desire, the logistics of the following itinerary might be switched or amended.
Get up early in the morning and drive to the Windy Valley. We will wait for the sunrise at the Windy Valley. Unlike typical grassland scenery, this place was washed by water for a long time, so you can see dunes here. Coupled with the white birch and oak on both of the banks, the scenery will be even more beautiful in autumn.
Then we will transfer to South Well Village. It is a remote village located in a U-shaped valley on the Grassland of Ulan Butong. There are contiguous wheat fields, gentle pastures and sparse forests around the village. If it is the right time, you may see many grazing sheep and galloping horses on the grassland of the South Well area. You may take some wonderful photos here.
After lunch, we will drive to the Baijiawopu Village in the afternoon. Near the village, we can find some high ground and take pictures of the birch forests and rolling hills on the grassland.
Drive back to your hotel in downtown Ulan Butong and have dinner in a local restaurant.
Wait for sunrise at the Wild Duck Lake in the early morning. The lake is surrounded by wetlands. The environment here is well-protected. If it is not a windy day, the lake water is calm like a mirror. You may walk close to the lakeside and get some close-up shots. Or taking a panoramic photo on a high-ground nearby can also be a good choice.
Then we are heading to Yangshubei. There are several long valleys with many cattle and sheep. This is a concentrated grazing area for local herdsmen. Dotted with the birch forests, the fascinating scenery here is more like an oil painting.
Arrive at Hulu Luori Village after lunch in the afternoon, we will walk to the hilltop. You can find a variety of materials for photography here, such as the zigzagging river, golden trees, white sand, wetlands, and sheep.
The last stop today is the Princess Lake. It is a good place to enjoy the sunset. You will be fascinated by the pure clear lake water, the reflections, and the golden leaves in autumn here. The best time for taking pictures here is before 09:00am and after 04:00pm.
Drive back to your hotel in downtown Ulan Butong and have a late dinner.
Get up early and drive to the place called Frog Dam. In autumn, it is a picturesque valley with a small river in between the two rolling hills. You will see the sunrise at Frog Dam if you arrive there early.
Then we will drive all the way back to Beijing and end the tour. You may take a nap in the car on the way back.
You may continue your journey to other parts of China or depart China from Beijing. Please let us know your plan so that our travel specialists can tailor-make the itinerary for you.
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