2011 - China Part 4 - Hunan Province

Backpacking Adventure
26 days through 6 Provinces in China
Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, Hunan, Guizhou, Guangxi
and 3 days in Hanoi, North Vietnam
29th Mar <> 26th Apr 2011
(L-R) See Beow Aun, Cindy Chong, Bernard Lee, Peter, Lee Kam Boon, Lim Peng Peng,
Gan Choi Geok, Ching Neng Bin, Chew Leng Soon at Shenlin Park Entrance
Day 11 (08.04.2011) Yichang > Zhangjiajie National Park

The train arrived at Zhangjiajie station at 5.30am. It was a horrible 4.5 hour train ride. Moreover, at the station we were harassed by a number of touts to get on their cars to town but we rejected all of them. We waited at the station until day break at 6.15am before we took the No. 6 bus (Y1) to town. We had breakfast at a local MacDonald fast-food cafe for Y6.5pp. We took the 1 hour local bus ride (Y10) to Zhangjiajie National Park, at Shenlin Park Entrance and checked in to Railway Hotel for Y150 a room for 2 and Y180 a room for 3. After lunch, we explored the Shenlin town at the foothill. At the same time, we also looked for a better hotel.

Stayed at Railway Hotel – Poor condition, smelly, cold and without heater.
still looking good even after a torturous night arriving in the wee hours
breakfast at a local MacDonald fast-food cafe
this is a 4-way junction street name
the serene country road up to Zhangjiajie National Park

at the Shenlin bus station walking towards the hotel
the Railway Hotel not so good
the room was freezing cold, smelly and without heater

at the Shenlin local market

luckily we had lunch first before checking the very dirty kitchen below

strolling the Shenlin main street - Jin Bian Lu
beautiful cherry blossom flower all along the road

Shenlin town
Day 12 (09.04.2011) Trekking Zhangjiajie Park from Shenlin Entrance

At 8am we moved over to Qilin hotel – Y210 for double and Y280 for triple bed. After noodle breakfast we walked to Shenlin Park entrance (Y245 for 2 days). We started off by trekking to Huangshi Village and then proceeded to the peak passing through Six Wonders Pavilion, Book Case Shape, Great Man Talk, Dayanwu (Rock House), Peak of Lovers, Star Picking Tower, Five Fingers Peak, Gold Tortoise Swallowing, and a pagoda at the peak. The trek covers a distance of 4.5km in 2hours 15minutes.

In the afternoon, we had own packed lunch before taking the cable car down (Y50 for normal and Y30 for senior citizen aged 60 and above- aged 70 is free). From the cable-car station we took the park bus back to Shenlin Park entrance.

From there we trekked along Jinbian Stream to Crossing of Four Rivers and the distance covered is 6km in 1hour 45minutes on level ground. From Crossing Of Four Rivers we took a five minutes park bus to the Bailong Elevator which is vertical, however, we did not go up due to time constrain - the fee is Y56.

From Crossing of Four Rivers, 5 decided to backtrack back to Shenlin Park Entrance in 1hr 15minutes, and the other 5 decided to take the park bus to Wulinyuan Park Entrance. And from there they took a Y1 bus to Wulinyuan City Bus station first and a Y10 public bus to Shenlin town. We had dinner at 7pm.

For today we have trekked for more than 20km in 9hours. 
Shenlin Park entrance

we headed for Huangshi Village
Chan with his hands up - "I am tired and my knees wobble a bit, but okay"
Chew also with his hands up - "I am not tired and my knees are very strong"
the face of a porter
the majestic lookout peak

Chew admiring the local tribal girls in their traditional dress

beautiful costume of the local tribes

completed the 3,878 steps stairway to the peak at this pagoda temple
bird's eye view of the whole place from the balcony of pagoda temple
the pain of the climb was actually worth the magnificent view that greeted us


we took the easy way down by cable car - Y50 and Y30 for senior citizen aged 60

at the foot, we proceeded towards Golden Whip Stream Grand Canyon

a nice walkways following the stream

collecting spring water along the way

arrived at Crossing of Four Rivers - taking a rest

the 371m high Bailong vertical elevator is the highest outdoor elevator in the world

Day 13 (10.04.2011) Trekking Zhangjiajie from Wulinyuan

After noodle breakfast, we took a bus (Y10) to Wulinyuan which is another entrance to the Park. We engaged a local guide (Y100) who happened to be in the bus to assist us in getting the Genli International Hotel (Y260 for 2 beds and Y280 for 3 beds), and also to purchase bus ticket to Fenghuang the following day at 2.30pm. We then went for the Park walking tour.

We first took the cable car (Y52) to Tianzishan. We then walked through the followings: Marshal Helong Memorial Park, Fairy Presenting Flowers and Royal Writing Brush Peak.

We then walked to Yangjiajie, to see all the famous peaks shown in the movie Avatar and the first world natural bridge, Huangshizhai.

Then to Yuanjiajie, where the bandits used to hide out. We had our packed lunch at a stall in front of the entrance.

At about 5.30pm we came back by the Bailong Elevator which is 371m high built on the cliff and descended to Crossing of Four Rivers and the bus took us back to Wulinyuan Park Entrance. From here we walked all the way and had the most expensive dinner (Y40) before getting to the hotel. After the long walk in the Park we were all exhausted and slept early at 10pm.

the beautiful pagoda facade at the Wulinyuan park entrance
walking towards the cable-car station
we climbed this pagoda for the bird's eye view of Tianzishan mountain
majestic view of rock formations

taking a break before trekking towards Yuanjiajie bandit's hideout
the entrance to the bandit's hideout
such a narrow crevasse provides good control to prevent attacks

this is the bandit's HQ on the peak
this is the pinnacle of the bandit's hideout and lookout - Tianbo Mansion
the famous Avatar bridge..known as Tian Sia Ti Ee Cheow which translates as Sky/Earth's No. 1 Bridge

the bird from Avatar
Recommended route for 2 days visiting Zhangjiajie National Park
  1. Day 1 should start from Wulinyen park entrance by cable car up the mountain. Coming down take the elevator and then walk through the river of 4 crossing back to hotel in Shenlin.
  2. Day 2 should start from Shenling park entrance. To walk up and down.

Day 14 (11.04.2011) Wulinyuan > Fenghuang

Today we had a free and easy morning checking our internet mail (Y10 for 24hours) in the hotel. Some had lunch outside the hotel and some had their packed lunch in the hotel. We took a bus (Y72) supposed to leave at 2.30pm but delayed to 3.30pm to Fenghuang (234 km). Arrived at 8.05pm and had dinner till 9pm. Meanwhile, Ms Gan and Lee Kam Boon went looking for hotel and found this PingShui XiangFeng Hotel by the Thouziang River side – strongly recommended as for Y70 a room for two, it includes heater, hot water, wifi, and washing machine + detergent. At 10.30pm we all went for a walk along the city by the river side.

this is the gate to the old city - the bus dropped us here

the night scenes is like a fairy land at night, all brightly lighted up
the reflection of the coloured lights on the dark water is amazing

PingShui XiangFeng Hotel
Day 15 (12.04.2011) Fenghuang – Day trip to NanHauShan National Park

The day trip cost Y70, started at 9am. We visited the NanHauShan National Park which was about half an hour bus journey. At the park we visited the Miao Village to experience firsthand their culture and their way of living. Had lunch at a small Miao’s house and tasted some home brewed fruit wine which are also for sale.

The second visit was to the two spectacular waterfalls along a valley. We had to trek an hour along the stream to the 2nd waterfall before returning back to Fenghuang at 6.15pm and were dropped at the old part of the town to walk back to our guesthouse.
morning scene of Fenghuang

walking towards the Miao village

local Miao girls in native attire singing songs to welcome the guest
this guy trying to look at the Miao girl
a village below the bridge

only stone used to build the wall

wine tasting session

a worshiping ceremony before the cultural dance show

another wine drinking session
fire eating .. this guy actually crunched the smouldering amber

look at his black tongue
a Miao wedding ceremony

dinner on a low table with stools for 8 pax - the meat airing above us
simple lunch of 6 Miao dishes

a visit to a waterfall at NanHauShan National Park
a canal system through the farm land
so many waterfalls along the trek

another beautiful waterfall

its back to the Fenghuang ancient city - this is the Red Bridge of Hong Jiao
along the alleys


the best beef noodles beside our hotel

my room No.305
dinner in style accompanied by a classical Chinese musician

Total expenses in China to-date is RM2,091 per person

Please take note of this while traveling in China:
  1. To wear face mask in China as it is very dusty and smoky.
  2. Never ever pay any hotel booking deposit through a 3rd party.
  3. Never ever accept any deal as proposed by tout or individual acting as agent of hotel or travel agency at airport, bus or train stations and along the road. Always go to a reputable travel agency or in hotel.

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