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City Guide -- Zhangjiajie

Travel Guide of Zhangjiajie in Hunan Province



Water Around Four Gates, <a href=Zhangjiajie" align=right src="/newsimages/20128162312728.jpg">Zhangjiajie, at the northwest of Hunan, is 390 km northwest of Changsha, 300 km from the Three Gorges. It was called Dayong before and was named Zhangjiajie City in 1994 after Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was founded.

Wulingyuan is a scenic and historic interest area in Zhangjiajie and is famous for its approximately 3,100 tall quartzite sandstone pillars, some over 800 meters in height, which are a kind of karst formation. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. Wulingyuan forms part of the Wuling Range.

"A spectacular area stretching over more than 26,000 hectares in China's Hunan Province, the site is distinguished by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks, many over 200 metres high. Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, as well as two large natural bridges. In addition to the striking beauty of its landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it shelters a number of endangered plant and animal species." (Description from UNESCO's World Heritage List)

Listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1992, Wulingyuan scenic area is made up of four adjoining subtropical parklands, with quartzite sandstone peaks and pillars to rival Guilin's scenery. They are Tianzishan Mountain Nature Reserve, Yuangjiajie Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Suoxiyu Nature Reserve. There are plentiful rare plants and insects, swarms of butterflies, a large cave with calcite deposits, and stunning views through bamboo, pine, and oak forest.

At Zhangjiajie, quartzite sandstone crags erect straightly with pine trees hanging improbably from tiny crevices hundreds of meters above the ground. The height comes from the sheer cliffs, sometimes around 700 meters and the heavily eroded limestone massifs, all clothed in trees and vegetation. 

1) Tianzishan Mountain Nature Reserve
This is the central eastern part of the park, and is reached by the Tianzishan Cable Car whose lower station is in the area known as Zhaigongwan. There are regular buses from the Wulingyuan entrance. The Tianzishan area has views over the karst formations in the Gan Stream.

2) Yuangjiajie Scenic Area
This is the central western part of the park, and the most recently developed area with a long walk above the spectacular formations of the Shadao Ravine. It is reachable from the Tianzishan area by bus in 40 minutes and ends with a 5 minute bus ride to the Bailong Elevator, the 326 metre elevator down the side of a narrow gorge to the valley floor. There is a less travelled area of the Yuangjiajie section on the western edge of the park.

3) Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
The south-western part of the park, reached from the Zhangjiajie entrance. This is the busiest part of the park and includes the Yellow Lion Stockade Route and the Gold Whip Route.

4) Suoxiyu Nature Reserve
Northeast of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, its main part is not open to the public, but this reserve includes the mountain slopes and valleys around Wulingyuan and Suoxiyu Villages. It also includes the area around Baofeng Hu which is open to the public. The Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave is at the far eastern end of the Suoxiyu Nature Reserve, and much less visited than anywhere else. Note that access to both Baofeng Hu and Huanglong Cave are not included in the main ticket price for Zhangjiajie.

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