Explore the ancient city of Fenghuang, a place that shares the name with the holy bird in ancient times. With its peculiar architecture, winding alleys, and its fascinating blend of culture and tradition, Fenghuang is a hidden delight among China’s attractions.
Visit the World Natural Heritage site in Wulingyuan. There are many famous scenic spots in Zhangjiajie, such as Tianzi Mountain, Yellow Dragon Cave (the biggest in Asia), and many beautiful waterfalls and brooks. But the most beautiful scene that Zhangjiajie features are the mysterious mountain covered with dense and ancient forests.
We will meet you at the airport. Zhangjiajie is famous worldwide for its pristine national scenery. Its main tourist draw is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list for its lush vegetation, unique sandstone pillars, pristine waters and a wide variety of species of flora and fauna.
Stay in a local hotel (3 to 5-stars).
Today we will be making an excursion to the ancient town of Fenghuang (Phoenix City), and we will do so by way of the Mengdong River. Major scenic spots include Eight-Scene Cave, Small Dragon Cave, natural cliffside murals, Golden-Star Gorge, Fairy Gorge, Line of Sky, Jumping Monkey, Yuanyang Gorge, and Laojun Gorge. You can enjoy rafting on the Si River, a tributary of the Mengdong. The river flows along a narrow valley, and the water is swift. It is a great adventure to drift on it. Along the way, we will also stop at the town of Furong.
Most of the people there are of the Tujia Minority group. Furong's main attractions are the older, architectural structures and the wooden buildings that provided most of the film's sets. There is also a large stone archway, over 100 years old, built to commemorate the virtue of a young woman.
In the afternoon we will arrive at Fenghuang. Fenghuang praised as "the Most Beautiful Town of China" by famous New Zealand writer Rewi Alley, is a small county renowned for its natural beauty, rich history, and culture, as well as its colorful ethnic customs. Fenghuang is embraced by green mountains, with the Tuo Jiang River running through its heart. Unique wooden houses constructed on stilts are built along the riverbank. These kinds of homes are called Diaojiaolou (Chinese for making with hanging legs). The design keeps the buildings safe from the spring floods. The villagers of Fenghuang still live a straightforward life despite the other places in China that are under the onset of modernization.
For the night, we will stay at an inn in Fenghuang.
After breakfast, we will pay a visit to the former residence of Shen Congwen, a famous Chinese writer and literary figure. It is a representative south Shiheyuan (quadrangle—a compound with houses around a square courtyard). It was a brick made bungalow built by Shen Hongfu, the grandfather of Shen Congwen in 1866. Possessing distinctive Xiangxi architecture featured during the Qing Dynasty, the former residence of Shen Congwen consists of 11 chambers with delicately-carved windows and a courtyard paved with red bricks.
Then we will further examine the architectural marvels of the Tujia people’s Diaojiaolou (stilted house), which are prevalent throughout the town. This stilted house has its ethnic distinctiveness; for, it is constructed in such a way as to overhang the water and be supported by many wooden pillars. According to tradition, the specific reason for building such a structure is to deliver the inhabitants from miasma, poisonous vegetation, and venomous snakes. Tujia people are also used to constructing their houses over the water and in proximity to the mountains. Most residences established in the valleys, giving the appearance of crouching tigers. The best way to construct a spacious and stable house, while economizing on material, is to lay the foundation on wooden pillars and build the structure upon it. Over several millennia, a simple shelter against wind and rain has evolved into construction, which is practical, graceful and artistic, harmonizing with the surrounding natural environment.
We will then make the drive back to Zhangjiajie, and we should arrive back at the hotel in the early evening.
Today we will have a full day excursion to the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. Opened in 1982 as the 1st national forest park in China. With 13 square kilometers, the park is renowned for its unique landscape with lush forests dominated by quartzite sandstone pillars. Bubbling brooks and charming lakes wind around the area and connect giant caves. One of China's most beautiful nature reserves, Zhangjiajie has excellent hiking trails in a serene environment of staggering natural beauty.
Once in the park, we will visit Jinbian Brook. It covers a distance of 7.5 km from north to south, winding across mountains and valleys. The brook is limpid throughout the year, with many scenic spots along the way. It is famous for Jinbian Cave-which has a height of 382km and looks like a huge flying eagle. Wear good walking shoes and protection from the weather.
Another major highlight of the park is Huangshi Fort. Huangshi Fort was named after a hermit called Mr. Huangshi. It is a mesa higher on the north side, elevated by stiff cliffs. Huangshi Fort has the marvelous view of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, including Treasure Box of Heavenly Books, Magic Sea-suppressing Needle, South Pillar of Heaven, Golden Tortoise Watching the Sea, etc. It is the best platform to view the beautiful scenes of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. As the saying goes, he who does not reach Huangshi Fort would be regarded as having never been to Zhangjiajie.
We will stay overnight at a guesthouse in the park.
Following breakfast, we’ll get started with the day’s activities with a visit to Tianzi Mountain, by way of the cable car. Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is a mesa in the northwest of Wulingyuan. Upon the plateau, the field of vision is widely opened up, and it is a perfect location to have a panoramic view of the nature reserve. Tianzi Mountain has four scenic wonders, namely Cloud Billows, Moon Brightness, Sun Glow, and Winter Snow. The cloud billows are ever-changing, morning and evening sun glows vast sky, the moon shines in the still night, winter snowfalls enchanting the scenery, like a lyric, like a landscape painting. Here in the Tianzi Mountain, scene majestic is in all its variety. There are five main scenic zones and over ten beautiful spots in the Tianzi Mountain area.
After coming down from Tianzi Mountain, we’ll pay a visit to the Yellow Dragon Caverns. Yellow Dragon Cavern is a typical Karst cave, an area of irregular limestone in which erosion has produced fissures, underground streams, and caverns. So far, the discovered cave is about 15 kilometers long and 140 meters high, covering an area of 48 hectares. The Cavern can be divided into two parts. One is the dry cave, and the other is the water cave. Even in the Yellow Dragon Cavern, there are caves inside caves, and one cave may lead to many others. Sometimes there are caves under the ground too. Stalactites, stalagmites, stone blossoms, stone curtains, stone branches, stone canals, stone pearls, and stone macrospores can be seen here and there in the Cavern, which constitutes a fantastic yet natural scene.
You will then be taken to either the airport or train station, and you will travel on to your next destination..
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