One of the most enchanting seasonal changes of the year, the transition from summer to autumn is a full-out celebration of vibrant seasonal hues. From Kyoto’s moss temple to Taiwan’s lush forests, we've rounded up five hidden gems in Asia that offer unmatched autumn leaves viewing opportunities:
Saihō-ji Temple, Japan
Kyoto may be known for its cherry blossoms, but the fall colours at Saiho-ji will take you by surprise. Famed for its moss garden, which is covered in over 120 varieties of moss, Saiho-ji is also commonly referred to as “koke-dera”, meaning the “moss temple”.
A visit to this temple is no easy feat, as reservations must be done by return postcard that must arrive up to seven working days before the intended visit. You’ll be asked to participate in an activity before entering the famous temple, which includes zazen (sitting meditation), hand copying sutras and chanting sutras.
The best viewing point: The golden pond in the centre of the moss garden, where the grounds are enveloped in a carpet of green moss standing in sharp contrast with the burnt orange and flaming red autumn leaves.
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Nami Island, South Korea
No autumn trip to Korea is complete without a visit to Nami Island, home to a forest of ginkgo trees and maple trees bursting with magnificent seasonal hues of orange and yellow.
The island changes colour sooner than most places in Korea, offering foliage admiring opportunities for those who want to beat the crowd.
The best viewing point: The tree-lined paths on Nami Island are some of the most picturesque spots to capture the fall scenery with your camera, but it's also worth the short hike up the small hill to witness bold pops of yellow, red, brown and green leaves before your eyes.
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Arguably the most beautiful section of the Great Wall of China, Jinshanling is a must-see in autumn given its hiking-friendly terrains, scenic mountain views and sparse crowd.
Only a two-hour drive from Beijing, this section of the wall boasts a hiking route from Jinshanling to Simatai, which takes around four hours to complete—but you could easily spend hours marvelling at the autumn leaves in intense shades of red.
The best viewing point: View the fall colours against the mountainous backdrop at one of the 31 watchtowers placed throughout the section, which are shaded for a pleasant pit stop.
Qingjing Farm, Taiwan
Located at the Ren'ai Township in Central Taiwan’s Nantou County, Qingjing Farm will remind you of the grasslands of Switzerland with its fresh air, foggy hillside and lush forests.
The farm offers spectacular colours during all four seasons, but its natural beauty is unmatched when the leaves take on fiery hues in autumn, contrasting with the region's green rolling pastures.
The best viewing point: The Green Green Grassland where the sheep graze is situated above the pasture area, offering a unique vantage point of the surrounding mountains including the Hehuan Mountain.
Ejin Banner, Inner Mongolia
Ejin Banner has made a name for itself with its scenic landscape, where an abundance of the rarely seen euphrates poplar trees make up one of the largest forests of its kind in the world.
In autumn, the leaves burst with vivid shades of gold and the colours are beautifully mirrored in the lake under the desert sun.
The best viewing point: Get an up-close look at the colourful leaves by the lake, or head north to the Juyan Lake, one of the world's few desert wetlands that transforms into a golden wonderland during the season.
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