Enchanted By The Unmatched Beauty Of Zhangjiajie's Specticular Landscapes

Though having visited Wuyishan in Fujiang Province and Juizhaiguo in Sichuan Providence in recent years, I still feel an urge to explore more exotic mountains in China...... read more

A. Introduction

Though having visited Wuyishan in Fujiang Province and Juizhaiguo in Sichuan Providence in recent years, I still feel an urge to explore more exotic mountains in China. A trip to Zhangjiajie was quickly planned by end of March and we flew to Changsha on 11th April and returned on 18th of April.

Only three Malaysians, Kenny, my wife Lucy and me participated in this adventure. But we were glad that two charming ladies were at Changsha Airport to welcome us including the lady Tour Guide, Xiao Zhou from Zhangjiajie Wuling International Travel Service. The two ladies were Jenny Zhang, the Tour Guide from Wuyishan who helped me to plan this trip and her colleague, Lin Mei Xiang, a Korean and wife of a lecturer in Wuyishan University.

Throughout our journey, we traveled in a mini-van, spacious enough to accommodate six passengers and our luggage. Transportation by road in Zhangjiajie is very convenient, with newly constructed highways connecting it to Changsha.

B. Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie is located in the N-W of Hunan Province where Chairman Mao was born. It is about 400km from Changsha, the capital of Hunan. It covers an area of approximately ten thousand square kilometers with nearly 80% in mountainous areas.

Zhangjiajie has four districts of which Wulingyuan is known as Wulingyuan Scenic Area, the most beautiful natural scenery in China, is listed in the World Natural Site by the UNESCO in 1992. Wulingyuan occupies a total area of about 400sq km, including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and is regarded as the core of Zhangjiajie attractions. Other scenic areas are the Suoxi Valley Natural Reserve and Tianzi Mountain Natural Reserve,

The scenic areas of Zhangjiajie are covered with many outstanding natural features such as hundreds of grotesque quartz sandstones peaks, dense unspoiled forests, deep valleys beautiful waterfalls and marvelous caves full of tall stalactites and stalagmites. 

Zhangjiajie has a population of about 1.6m, of which 70% are of ethnic groups such as Miao, Tujia and Bai. They still maintain their traditional cultures, languages, festivals and attires. Amongst all the ethnic cultures, the most outstanding one is the Tujia Ethnic Culture. Every Tujia girl seems to be a born singer; even waitresses in restaurants are able to render songs if requested by the customers. They sing high and clear. All songs are ended with “yo---wei”, an invitation for a male to respond!

Their favourite song is one the singer urges her lover to come and meet her, not by road, car or plane but through dreams!

C. The Itinerary

11/04/09 –KLIA to Changsha via Guangzhou, arrive late afternoon. Transfer to hotel.

12/04/09 – Changsha city tour. Visit Huhan Provisional Museum & Yue Lu Shu Yuan in the morning. Drive to Feng Huang   (approx. 5 hrs) and arrive in the evening. Overnight in hotel in Feng Huang.

13/04/09 - Whole day visiting Feng Huang Old town. Overnight in hotel in Feng Huang.

14/94/09 - Drive to Tian Men Shan National Forest Park. Visit Tian Men Shan & Tian Men Dong. Overnight in hotel.

15/04/09 -Drive to Zhangjiajie National forest Park. Visit Huangshi stockaded Village & Jinlag Rivulet. Overnight in hotel in Wulinguan.

16/04/09 –Visit Tian Zi Shan & Ten-Li gallery. Overnight in hotel in Wulinguan.

17/04/09 – Visit Huanglong cave in the morning & Bao Feng Hu in the afternoon.

18/04/09 – Drive back to Changsha airport & depart for home.


D. The Jourmey By Road

We started our journey by road on 12th April from Changsha to Feng Huang Old Town which is located to the west. We traveled northwest using the highway to Changde and from there we went southwest along a relatively new mountainous highway with numerous tunnels and bridges to Feng Huang. The journey took about six hours.

From Feng Huang, we traveled north and northeast through Zhangjiajie visiting many scenic spots and putting up in hotels along the way.

We left Zhangjiajie for Changsha on 18th April after our last visit to Huang Long Caves and Bao Feng Lake. The journey took about four hours and we reached Changsha Airport with sufficient time to catch our flight home.


E. Places Of Interest Visited

1. Changsha

Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province. It has a recoded history of over 3000 years. Changsha has rich historical heritages including old wall remains, ancient tomb sites, temples and other historical buildings.

The village of Shaoshan, about 100km from the city, is the hometown of Chairman Mao Zedong. In addition, the city was home to other revolution leaders including Liu Shaoqi and former Chinese Prime Minister, Zhu Rongji.

The two renowned places we visited are: Hunan Provisional Museum and Yuelu Academy.

The museum was built in 1951 and was open to the public in 1974. It has a collection of more than a hundred thousand objects many of which are cultural relics. The most fantastic historical relics displayed in the Museum are the remains unearthed in Mawangdui Han Tombs, a family graveyard consisting of three tombs found in the eastern suburb of the city between 1972 and 1974. From the first tomb, a well-preserved mummified female corpse was excavated which has a history of over 2000 years. Some of thousands of relics unearthed include silk products, paintings, potteries and weapons are exhibited in this Museum.                                                
Coffin in Tomb N0. 1findings from the Mahuangdui Han Tombs

The Yuelu Academy is located on the east side of Yuelu Mountain, not far from the city. It was founded in year 976 and it was one of the four most renowned academies of higher learning in China. In 1903, the academy became a university and in 1925 Hunan University was established at this site. The academy has witnessed more than a thousand years of history and is the only one of the ancient Chinese academies of Classical Learning to have evolved into a modern institution of higher learning.

2. Feng Huang Old Town





Feng Huang in Chinese is “phoenix” a mythical bird which brings good omen and symbolizes longevity. The old town is named Feng Huang because two of these birds flew over the town and found it so beautiful that they were reluctant to leave.


Feng Huang is located on the western boundary of Hunan Province in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Feng Huang has a history of over 1,300 years and it is claimed to be one of the two most beautiful towns in China. Feng Huang is a good example of what villages were like before the onset of modernisation. It still has distinctive old residential buildings, elegant bridges and pagodas.

In the town the streets are paved with stones that run between wooden houses built on wooden stilts. Stretching diagonally from northwest to southeast of the town, Tou Jiang River is the lifeforce for the local residents living beside the river. Here in its water, women wash their clothes and the men fish with their nets. The river also provides for boatmen to earn a living by ferrying tourists up and down the river to admire the many splendours of the town. The major attraction is the cruise down the river.

The bridges built across the river and the unique houses built on wooden stilts display a harmony that is often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings.

The scenery at night in the old town and along the Tou Jiang River is breathtaking.


Fenghuang is the home to minority ethnic groups, mainly Miao and Tujia nationalities. And now many have intermarried with the Han people. But the traditions of the ethnic minorities are still prevalent among the local people. The Miao women have a natural beauty and they love to dress in traditional blue garments with white scarves.

Feng Huang was home to renowned writer Shen Congwen who contributed greatly to the development of Chinese literature. The home and tomb of this famous writer have become popular tourist attractions. There are two other notable people from the town worthy of mention. One is Xiong Xiling, the philanthropist who was the first premier of the Republic of China. The other is Huang Yongyu, a contemporary painter of traditional Chinese style.

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