Hunan: Combination of Nature And Ancient Culture

I yearly travel to China, and this year it was kind of sudden in deciding which city to visit. Just 3 weeks before the departure date, I issued Jakarta – Guangzhou – Jakarta air tickets. I used MAS again like last year. After I got the tickets, I hurriedly make online reservations of the hostels and train before applying for China visa. The travel agent told me it was peak season due to the long summer holiday so the visa process might take longer than the normal one.

An old friend was willing to join the trip, so I asked her to immediately issue the tickets and apply for visa.

In 3 weeks, I could make things under control. On July 19th afternoon, we arrived in Guangzhou via Kuala Lumpur, ready for exploring Hunan.

Hunan, with Changsa as the capital, is a province in southern China, where Communist leader Mao Zedong was born in 1893. I highlighted only 3 areas to explore once Hunan crossed my mind.

  • Zhangjiajie answered my curiosity about the place which was used for Avatar the movie.
  • Fenghuang taught me about respecting cultural herritages.
  • Changsha made me experience excellent bus system like last year in Kunming.

Train trip: Guangzhou – Zhangjiajie

After taking care of the baggages, at around 14:00 we left Guangzhou airport heading to train station to take train T8316 to Zhang Jiajie 张家界 that departed at 19:58. The fare for a hard sleeper ticket was CNY 318.5 that I booked online on ctrip. We just needed to show the e-tickets and passports to the ticketing staff to get the boarding passes.

And as usual, Inne –my travelmate at that time and for several trips in the past– tried to enjoy the cabin’s noisiness that came from a group of local family.

At around 9:00 am we reached Zhangjiajie train station. So many tourism banners and boards that showed the pictures of National Forest Park. Of course we were so excited!






At arrival platform of Zhangjiajie Railway Station

At arrival platform of Zhangjiajie Railway Station



Staying in Yangjiajie

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zhangjiajie, a city in the northwest of Hunan Province in China. We stayed in Yangjiajie of Wulingyuan for 2 nights at a The Wind Hostel that I reserved through booking.com, with rate CNY 158/2 nights for a twin classic room. They can serve meals by order.

This area can be reached by mini buses from Zhangjiajie. Be careful of the scam at the bus station and make sure you take the right bus. We unfortunately took the wrong mini bus, the agent at the bus station nodded when I showed the address in Chinese character that I got from The Wind Hotel and led us to the minibus, never thought he would trick us.

Good thing was I kept communicating with Lisa of The Wind Hotel. She texted me, giving the complete guidence how to reach the hotel.

But then, another error occured, we picked the wrong route. We were supposed to take the route with cable car to reach Yangjiajie, but we chose the walk route, lol. Actually Lisa gave 2 options and we thought the walk wouldn’t take that long and tough with so many stairs. But we made it after all!

The tiredness was paid with the scenery and fresh air of Yangjiajie, for sure.

Afternoon sightseeing around Yangjiajie

Afternoon sightseeing around Yangjiajie



An Ambitious 1-Day Trip In Wulingyuan

Lisa also took us with her car to the area where we could find chartered car to San Cha Kou the next morning. Thanks to her, I could bargain the car fare based on her priceless information. And I got better price by accident!







Here we go…the avatar site! #ZhangJiaJie #Hunan #forestpark #nationalpark #China #trip #d40x

A photo posted by Lilita (@lilitanurdiana) on







We couldn’t find the English version of the forest park’s map so we were a bit confused with the direction. We only counted on direction from Lisa that helped us a lot. And we needed 2 more days to explore the entire park actually. Too bad the next morning we needed to be in Zhangjiajie city centre to visit Tianmen Mountain due to tight itinerary.






Foggy Tianmen Mountain

Getting inside Tianmen Mountain took tough effort, we had to get through the long line-up for hours even though we came so early in the morning. The admission fee is also quite expensive, moreover it was so foggy that day that we could barely see the mountain view. So we kind of wasted our money for a foggy scenery.

Look at this walking trail, soooo foggy! #TianmenMountain #ZhangJiaJie #nationalpark #forestpark #Hunan #China

A photo posted by Lilita (@lilitanurdiana) on










As I had been worried of, we couldn’t catch the last train and bus to Fenghuang. We didn’t have choice but to find a hotel near the station of Zhangjiajie. We walked in heavy rain for 10 minutes and thank God we finally found a decent room for that night with cheap rate, only CNY 100/night for a deluxe room. But no one could speak English, so I needed to use my skill ther beginner level Mandarin ☻

Feng Huang Ancient Town

The next day, after a 5-hour drive, we arrived at Fenghuang bus station. To reach the ancient town, we needed to go by taxi with fare CNY 2. We asked the driver for dropping us at the west gate, the nearest one to Samila Guesthouse. Fenghuang ancient town has several gates, so you need to make sure which gate to enter if you would stay at the ancient town. Admission fee is a mandatory in order to access the ancient town.

































Changsa: The Last City That We Visited in Hunan
Initially, I planned to explore Dehang after Feng Huang, but we lost 1 night after missing the last train/bus from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang, so we removed Dehang from our itinerary.

On our 6th day in Hunan, we left Fenghuang by bus to Changsha. It was heavy rain again when we reached Changsha and we got nasty taxi driver that dropped us a bit far from the hostel. In heavy rain!

But after the dark episode, here came the bright part. A nice local girl showed us the way to the hostel, so that we didn’t have to search again.

We reserved an air conditioned double room at Changsha Shuyuan International Youth Hostel with rate only CNY 135 per night through: http://www.yhachina.com. The public toilet and bathroom are nicely well-maintained and very clean. You can also do reservation from ctrip and Hostelworld if the website isn’t accessible. But I had bad experience with hostelworld, they wouldn’t handle the amendment after I told them that I couldn’t contact the hostel, they kept telling me to deal with the property directly. I already knew from beginning if after certain period, amendment or cancelation only could be done by us directly to the property, but the property itself couldn’t be reached by phone and I got no reply to my emails as well. I would really appreaciate if Hostelworld would have helped me to contact the hostel (it was several days prior to arrival date), but they insisted I should contact the property by myself. Thanks to Hostelworld, I lost my money for a no-show.

We just stayed for a night in Changsha and just went around the city by bus to several places, the fare is CNY 2/ride. These pictures that I embeded from instagram will show there are not many attractive sights that we could visit in Changsa.


Yuelu Mountain, to me it's not for sightseeing but a nice place for jogging

Yuelu Mountain, to me it’s not for sightseeing but a nice place for jogging


A morning at Tianxin Tower. Not much attraction in #Changsha that interested me. #Hunan #China #moongate

A photo posted by Lilita (@lilitanurdiana) on








Found this cute wallpainting in #Changsha. #China #trip

A photo posted by Lilita (@lilitanurdiana) on




On the 8th day, we went back to Guangzhou by express train G6001 with ticket fare CNY 334 that I booked through ctrip. The train departed from Changsha South station at 15:00 and arrived at Guangzhou South station at 17:23.

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1 Response

  1. Ellyanna says:

    Hey, sublte must be your middle name. Great post!

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