Hunan Province is located south of the large lake Dongting (Dongtinghu). This circumstance influenced the name of the region, which is translated into Russian as “Province to the South of the Lake”. Mesmerizing landscapes of secluded mountain ranges and karst peaks occupy more than 80% of the territory. Bare beige cliffs rise solemnly above the emerald valleys fed by the tributaries of the Yangtze. Check bridgat for other cities and countries as well as climate and weather in Asia.
Many centuries ago, local residents settled their lives against the backdrop of the natural wonders of Hunan, turning impregnable rocky slopes into terraces of lush fields. Their distinct culture lives on in the region’s charming villages and towns.
How to get to Hunan
The airport is located 25 km from the provincial capital of Hunan, Changsha. Direct flights from Moscow are not represented in it, but you can use a flight from China Eastern Airlines with a transfer in Beijing or Guangzhou. Ticket price: from 250 USD, travel time: from 12 hours (depending on the duration of the transfer).
Shuttles and city buses No. 75 and 114 run from the airport to Changsha and back. Travel time: 1 hour. Ticket price: 16 CNY. A taxi to the city center costs about 120-150 CNY.
What to watch
The Golden Whip Canyon is located on the territory of the Zhangjiajie National Park near the city of the same name. It is written on a stone standing in the canyon that Emperor Qin Shihuang (he is known for uniting the fragmented kingdoms into one state and connecting their separate defenses into one Great Wall of China) was so amazed by the local landscapes that he dreamed of moving the mountains closer to sea to admire them from the water.
The length of the Golden Whip is almost 6 km. During the trip to it, tourists discover magnificent landscapes and the opportunity to feed the monkeys. Food for them is sold by enterprising locals here in numerous souvenir shops.
The “Way of Faith” or “Sky Walk” is the famous glass balcony around Tianmen Mountain. Images of people walking on a glass floor have been circulating the Internet for a long time. This attraction is located in the Tianmen National Wildlife Park in the northwest of Hunan in the city of Zhangjiajie.
Not everyone is able to test themselves, because the transparent balcony rises above the ground by more than 1400 m. It is built so high that when walking along it, you can see the tops of the nearest, lower mountains. Thanks to the transparent glass, there is a feeling that you are floating on air. For many visitors, the “Road of Faith” seems to be a very creepy and unreliable structure, they say, you can walk along it only tightly clinging to the handrails and not looking down. In fact, the whole structure is very durable and will withstand a crowd of people without any problems.
The glass of the Walk of Faith pedestrian zone is more than 6 cm thick. And so that a person does not accidentally slip, he is given soft non-slip rubber shoes, which also protect the glass of the walkway from scratches. You will have to pay 5 CNY for the rental of shoe covers.
Here, on Tianmen, there is the highest cave in the world, formed as a result of weathering of the rock. In general, this is not quite a cave – rather, a giant arch in the rock, stretching from north to south. Its maximum height is 131 m, its width is 57 m (at its narrowest point it is 28 m), and its depth is 60 m. Stone steps lead to the cave along the slopes of the mountain. They allow you to climb to the top and go through the mountain. For those who are unable to overcome the steps themselves, an escalator is provided, but a small fee is provided for it. So Tianmen is sometimes called the “natural bridge”.
Tianmen Cave received several minutes of world fame at once. In 1999, a pilot from Hungary, Peter Beshenny, flew through it in a propeller-driven aircraft. The flight was broadcast on TV, it was seen by 800 million people. In 2006, the Russian Knights performed the same trick, only five of them and on jet Su-27s. In 2009, the cave appeared as part of the landscape of the planet Pandora in the James Cameron film Avatar. Due to this circumstance, the tourist flow to the region has increased several times.
Another natural attraction is Shuilian Cave, which is located next to a red sandstone cliff. In summer, cascades of a waterfall fall from its top, for which the Chinese often call the cave a “water curtain”.
Staying in a house carved into the rock, tourists can admire the scale of the water flow from the bottom of their hearts. The route between the cave and the river passes between tea plantations and establishments where you can take part in the tea ceremony.
Hunan has a humid subtropical climate. Monsoon rains fall in April, May and June. July and August are very hot and humid. The best time to travel is July and August when temperatures are cooler and there is less rain. Although for Europeans, traveling here in winter will be comfortable (+10 °C on average). Up to 1500 mm of precipitation falls annually, the temperature difference in the northern part of the province is greater than in the southern part. It is colder in winter and warmer in summer.
The provincial capital of Changsha is a large industrial city, but the air quality is surprisingly good for China: everything is blown away by the wind. Guests can enjoy blue skies and clean fresh air in the parks along the Xiangyang River. True, coal is actively burned in December and January, so it is better for asthmatics not to come here in winter.
Accommodation in Hunan
Hunan is a tourist region, so accommodation prices here are quite high by Chinese standards. A night in a five-star hotel in the center of Changsha costs around 900 CNY. Simpler options will cost about 300 CNY. The price of a bed in a decent hostel is about 80 CNY.