Top 10 Attractions in Hunan
Hunan province is situated in south China, Hunan hosts many noted scenic attractions and landscape spots. The best-known Hunan travel destinations include Zhangjiajie/Wulingyuan, Mount Heng/Hengshan, Fenghuang Ancient Town/Phoenix Ancient Town, Yueyang Tower, Dongting Lake, Yuelu Academy, Mount Lang, Mawangdui, Juzi Island and Peach Blossom Land.
Wulingyuan Scenic Area (also known as Zhangjiajie)
The Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Wulingyuan is composed of the world-famous Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, the Tianzishan mountain range and the Suoxi Valley, which all together offer you a large number and variety of scenic sights. It is known for its beautiful forests, odd-shaped rock formations, exquisite canyons, limestone caves and jaw-droppingly stuning panoramic views. It is also home to a wide number of endangered plant and animal species.
Address of Zhangjiajie: The Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is located in Zhangjiajie City, about 265 kilometers (164.66 miles) away from the provincial capital of Changsha, Hunan Province.
Zhangjiajie Admission fee: 248 yuan (US$39.22)/person
Mountain Heng (Hengshan)
Mountain Heng is one of the five famous Chinese mountains in China. Thanks to its favorable climate, it enjoys a reputation of being “the most outstanding amongst all five.” Mount Heng features dense forests, flowers, bamboo and serene gullies, all surrounded by the clouds and fog. The place looks like it comes straight out of a fairytale. It has good scenery throughout all four seasons, with a flower market in spring, a summery sea of clouds, a sensational autumn sunrise and a white winter wonderland.
Mountain Heng Address: Located some 45 kilometers (27.96 miles) north from Hengyang City
Mountain Heng Admission fee: 100 yuan (US$15.84)/person
Fenghuang Ancient Town (Phoenix Ancient Town)
Fenghuang Ancient Town, also known as Phoenix Ancient Town, is one of the most beautiful towns in China. With a history of 1,300 years, the town features distinct residential buildings, elegant bridges plus several mysterious towers and pagodas. When an early morning mist sets in around the bridges over the water and stilted houses, the area simply becomes a mirror of traditional Chinese paintings.
Fenghuang Ancient Town Address: Located on the western edge of Hunan Province next to Guizhou, Fenghuang Ancient Town, also known as Phoenix Ancient Town
Fenghuang Ancient Town Admission fee: 186 yuan (US$29.47)/person
Yueyang Tower is an ancient architectural treasure on the shores of Dongting Lake in Yueyang City. It is known as one of the four famous Chinese towers. The other three are the Yellow Crane Tower in Hubei Province, the Penglai Pavilion in Shandong Province and the Tengwang Pavilion in Jiangxi Province.
The tower was first built around 220 during China’s Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). The main tower bears a flying eave and helmet roof with wooden constructions in a unique style. Standing on the tower, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Dongting Lake.
Yueyang Tower Address: Yueyang Tower is on the shores of Dongting Lake in Yueyang City, Hunan Province.
Yueyang Tower Admission fee: Free
Dongting Lake is the second largest fresh water lake in China, which is usually praised as “the picturesque Dongting Lake with 400 kilometer span.” The lakeside Yueyang Tower is one of the four famous Chinese towers.
There is an island located right in the lake named Junshan where, or so legend has it, two wives of the ancient Shun Di Emperor, Ehuang and Nuying, died to become goddesses of the Xiangjiang River after searching thousands of miles for their husband.
Dongting Lake Address: Located in northern Hunan Province
Dongting Lake Admission fee: Free
The Yuelu Academy is located on the eastern side of Yuelu Mountain in Changsha, the provincial capital of Hunan. It was established in the early Song Dynasty (960-1279), under the reign of Emperor Kaibao, and was one of China’s four most prestigious academies of the past 1,000 years. Renowned Confucian scholars Zhu Xi and Zhang Shi both lectured at the academy.
Since 1926, the academy has become a part of Hunan University. It is now a research center for humanities, social sciences and Chinese studies.
Yuelu Academy Address: The Yuelu Academy is located on the eastern side of Yuelu Mountain in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.
Yuelu Academy Admission fee: 50 yuan (US$7.91)/person
Mount Lang is a scenic area close to Guilin of Guangxi in the south and Zhangjiajie of Hunan in the north. It features a galaxy of Danxia landforms. The mountain is covered by dense vegetation, with clear streams flowing through, which have attracted a great number of animals. The whole area is divided into five partscalled Purple Glow Land, Fuyi River, Camel Peak, Ox Nose Castle and Octagonal Castle, respectively.
Including Mount Lang, a total of six Chinese areas were named UNESCO Natural World Heritage in 2010 because of their Danxia landforms. The other five are: Mount Danxia in Guangdong Province, Taining in Fujian Province, Mount Longhu in Jiangxi Province, Chishui in Guizhou Province and Mount Jianglang in Zhejiang Province.
Mount Lang Address: Located in Xingning County, Shaoyang City, Hunan Province
Mount Lang Admission fee: 130 yuan (US$20.6)/person
Mawangdui – Changsha
Mawangdui is an archaeological site. The site consists of two saddle-shaped small hills that are connected to each other underground. Mawangdui contains the tombs of three people from the western Han Dynasty (206 BC?9 AD), including Marquis Li Cang, his wife, and a male who is believed to be their son. Tombs No.1 and No. 2 have been filled, and only tomb No. 3 is open to visitors. Most of the artifacts from Mawangdui are now on display at the Hunan Provincial Museum.
Mawangdui Address: Mawangdui is an archaeological site located in Changsha, Hunan Province.
Mawangdui Admission Fee: 2 yuan (US$0.32)/person
Juzi Island – Xiangjiang River Changsha
Juzi Island is a shoal located in the center of Xiangjiang River. It was named after the oranges scattered across the island during the harvesting season. Formed in 305, the island got its name from the poem of a famous poet in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The island looks like a huge green vessel, covered in a carpet of flourishing trees. It is believed to be the largest inland islet in the world and is now a popular site for summer relaxing.
Admission fee: Free
Peach Blossom Land – Changde
Peach Blossom Land is a fairytale land described by Tao Yuanming (365-427), a famous poet of the Eastern Jin Dynasty (316-420). With a history of more than 1,600 years, the area now has become a famous tourist site.
It features beautiful mountains, peach forests, fields, temples, as well as the mystique of many wonderful legends. It has nearly 100 spots and four great scenic areas, including the Taoxian Ridge, Taoyuan Mountain, Taohua Mountain and Qinren Village. Every year, the area witnesses a peach blossom party which is an important festival in Hunan.
Peach Blossom Land Address: Peach Blossom Land is located at 23 kilometers (14.29 miles) from Changde City.
Peach Blossom Land Admission: High season: 75 yuan (US$11.88)/person (March-October); Low season: 65 yuan (US$10.3)/person (November-February)