Drone Photography in China

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Last Updated on June 15, 2023

In this article, you will discover the most up-to-date regulations governing drone photography in China. You will also become informed about where it is permissible to fly drones in China, as well as how to register your drone in a step-by-step process.

What are the regulations for drone photography in popular photography destinations?

Free Fly Partial Control No Fly Zone


Most areas allow for unrestricted drone flying, the downtown area of Guilin, mountainous regions in Yangshuo, and Li River are particularly ideal locations for drone photography.


Flying drones in Yellow mountains is strictly prohibited. Although you may come across some breathtaking drone footage, it's advisable not to attempt it.

On the other hand, you are allowed to fly drones freely in Hongcun and Xidi ancient villages.


Flying is permitted anywhere in the Wulingyuan scenic area, but it is prohibited in the Tianmen Mountain area due to its proximity to the Zhangjiajie airport.


To date, there are no regulations in place, and numerous photographers use drones to capture stunning photos of the mudflat.

During a photo tour I led in Xiapu last time, over 10 drones were flown around us, resulting in some amazing shots when the tides came in.


Flying a drone in downtown Beijing is completely illegal and prohibited, and it is designated as a NO-FLY ZONE.

Additionally, airport security and customs officials are vigilant about drones, and they may confiscate them. As a result, if you plan to travel to Beijing with a drone, exercise extreme caution.

The only location where you can fly a drone and capture photographs and videos is in the wild section of the Great Wall, but the altitude limit is 50 meters instead of the standard 120 meters. However, some individuals have encountered problems taking off from this area in the past, so you may face similar issues.

For commercial purposes, some local travel agencies can arrange drone photography and videography on the Jinshanling and Simatai sections for a fee of USD 700.


I came across some impressive videos of Shanghai shot from high-rise buildings, including one that flew through the hole at the top of the World Financial Center. Nevertheless, it is illegal to fly drones in the downtown area without prior permission, although foreign travelers are generally denied permission.

In certain water towns surrounding Shanghai, such as Zhujiajiao, Tongli, and Wuzhen, flying drones is permitted in less crowded areas.

Tibet and Xinjiang

Although Tibet and Xinjiang are known to be perfect locations for drone photography due to their expansive landscapes and stunning scenery, I advise against bringing any drone equipment for photography as a precautionary measure to avoid any unnecessary issues.

Can I fly my drone if there are no clear regulations?

It's best not to anticipate being granted permission as some areas will simply deny it.

Avoid drawing attention to yourself by opting for less crowded areas.

It's important to note that taking photos or videos near government buildings, politically unstable regions, or in large cities is not recommended.

Maximum flight altitude in China

Typically, flying below 120 meters in altitude is permissible, but flying above 200 meters without obtaining aircraft flight authorization from the CAAC is illegal.

Maximum horizontal distance in China

The maximum horizontal distance you can fly your drone with a single battery is around 5000 meters due to battery limitations. It is crucial to be aware of your drone's location at all times to prevent any mishaps such as losing it.

How to register my drone in China?

Do I have to register my drone in China?

Literally, yes.

You can register on the website of CAAC here: https://uas.caac.gov.cn/. However, sarcastically, the website is only Chinese version and a Chinese cell-phone number is required for registration.

We can help the customers who will book the tour with us to register their drones in China.

I'm showing you on how to register your drone step by step as following.

Step 1 How to register a drone in China
Step 2 Drone Photography in China
  • Username: less than 10 characters
  • Password must contain a number, letters and a symbol(~!@#$%^&*()_+`-={}:;<>?,./)
Step 3 Drone Photography in China
Step 4 Drone Photography in China
  • Drone manufacturer: If your drone is made by DJI, copy and past [深圳市大疆创新科技有限公司] when you search from the list.
  • Drone mode: Chinese and English name mixed in the list, you may or may not find your mode. The most popular ones are [精灵1/2/3/4: Phantom 1/2/3/4]; Mavic Air.
Step 5 Drone Photography in China
  • Download the QR code: you will get a PDF file with QR code, print and stick on your drone.

Photos Taken by DJI Drones

Landscape of Loess Plateau Qingyang, Gansu
A Valley on Loess PlateauQingyang, Gansu
Terraced Fields on Loess PlateauQingyang, Gansu
Sunrise Over Karst Mountains Guilin
Sunset over Loess Plateau Qingyang, Gansu
A Valley on Loess PlateauQingyang, Gansu
Rice Fields Guilin
Rice Fields Guilin
Li River Landscape Guilin
Li River Landscape Guilin
Li River Landscape Guilin
Longji Rice Terraces Guilin
Longji Rice Terraces Guilin
Longji Rice Terraces Guilin