Introduction to scenic spots in Zhangjiajie
and its nearby Phoenix Ancient Town


Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was established by the State Council in 1982 as the first National Forest Park of China. It was listed into the World Heritage Directory by UNESCO in 1992.

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Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is known for its unique cliff mountains, deep valleys and the greenery woods. The splendid sceneries crown the park as 'three thousand peaks, and eight hundred miles of clean water', thus it is praised as the 'expanded bonsai, and the shrinked heaven.' It is also famous for abundant animal and plant resources. Its forest coverage rate reaches to 98%. An extraordinary biological treasure and natural oxygen bar, it is entitled as the 'Nature Museum' and 'Nature Botanical Gard perfect natural en'. Animals and plants breed and grow with the peaks and waters together, forming an ecological system in the park.

The Park has currently developed four scenic areas including Huangshizhai, Yaozizhai, Golden Whip Brook and Yuanjiajie, and six tour lines involving 468 viewing spots (platforms).

(1)Mount Tianman

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The mountain is famous for its unique natural miracle - the Tianmen Cave. The cave is on the precipices and is over 1260 meters elevation, the height of the cave is 131.5 meters and the width is about 50 meters, the unusual grotto is grand and magnificent. The cave is like the door to heaven; it looks like the junction of common world and the place where the god lives.

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Tianmen Mountain is not only a common attraction in Zhangjiajie but also a place that attracts special people, the 'Dawazi' challenge (means walking on the high performance rope set between mountains), the pilots have flown through the Tianmen Cave for many times, the Tianmen Cave Rock Climbing, the cyclists think the twisting mountain road a perfect place to have fun, everything here makes Tianmenshan a must-see attraction in Zhangjiajie.

(2)Yuanjiajie Scenic Area

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The sceneries in this area are known for its steepness and wonderful views. The air path set over the 3500 meters steep cliff connects many wonderful sights together, including the Back Garden, breathtaking Mihun Stage, Magic Turtle Asking Heaven, Five Women Go on an Expedition and the First Bridge under the Sun, and thus forms one of the most wonderful and unique picture scroll in Zhangjiajie.

One of the Park's quartz-sandstone pillars, had been officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain" in honor of the movie Avatar. The film's director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in the Hunan province.

(3)Huanglong Cave (Yellow Dragon Cave)

Huanglong Cave contains four layers with the total vertical height of more than one hundred meters. There are one cave, two rivers, three waterfalls, four pools, thirteen halls, forty-six verandas, and numerous Stalagmites, stone columns, stone curtains, stone flowers and stone waterfalls in it. The most amazing stalactites are the Magic Sea-suppressing Needle and the Dragon King's Throne. The height of the Magic Sea-suppressing Needle is 19.2m and reaches up to the roof of the cave, and its diameter is 10cm. The whole body of the Needle is transparent.

(4)Golden Whip Brook

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The canyon stretches seven kilometers from Laomo Bay to Water around Four Gates. Rock columns and peaks stand along the banks; the stream runs smoothly among them, laces together pools and waterfalls. Ancient trees and flowers as well as the rare fowls and strange animals grow and flourish together, forming an extremely beautiful and elegant ecological environment. It is known as 'the most beautiful canyons in the world'.

(5)Baofeng Lake

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The core scenic area of Baofeng Lake covers the whole lake surface which is 2.5 kilometers in length, with a width of 200m to 1000m. It is the only scenic area with the water as its scenes in the area of Wulingyuan World Natural Heritage. The water is pure and clean, free of pollution, thus it is awarded as 'Holy Lake'. Around the lake stand dozens of cliff and steep sandstone mountains. It is especially famous for Baofeng Waterfall which falls from a height of over one hundred meters and hangs down the mountain as a white curtain, as sound as the thunders.

(6)Huangshizhai (Huangshi Village)

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Huangshizhai is the largest viewing platform of Zhangjiajie. At an elevation of 1300 m, the platform can provide an overall panorama of the Park. A common saying goes that: 'it is no avail of your trip to Zhangjiajie, unless you come to the summit of Huangshizhai.' Sunrise is another splendid view in Huangshizhai. There's no ropeway now, but it is full of interests of wildness. It is an ideal place for camping.

(7)Mountain Tianzi

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Mountain Tianzi is the remarkable representative of Zhangjiajie landforms, with fully developed mesa, stone pillars, stone walls, stone peaks and stalagmites with elegancy. There are over hundreds of nature viewing platforms, two thousand stone peaks and various streams and waterfalls, among them, the Cloud Sea, stone peaks, snow in the winter and sun in the glow are the most magnificent. By overlooking the Mountain Tianzi, one can get a panoramic view of all the cliff peaks which are like a powerful army.


For more information, please visit  Zhangjiajie Travel Guide in Top China Travel




The Phoenix Ancient Town

The Phoenix Ancient Town is located in Xiangxi Tujia & Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, and also border on the  southwestern Guizhou Province and the West Songtao, Tongren County. It is one of the smaller counties in Hunan, but now it is known as the most beautiful ancient town for its long history and well-preserved appearances. The Phoenix town was originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and maintains its initial appearance after three hundred years of vicissitude. The name of Phoenix town is mainly derived from the Phoenix Mountain which is in a phoenix shape.

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The Phoenix town today consists of 5 zones and 27 townships. With 300,000 people, which is a multi-ethnic County with Miao, Han, Tujia, and so on. The County is in sub-tropical moist monsoon climate. Phoenix is not only rich in natural resources, beautiful mountains and rivers, but also possessing many scenic and historical sites. Next are 9 famous spots in the ancient town.

(1)Tuojiang River

The Phoenix town was originally built in the early Qing Dynasty and maintains its initial appearance after three hundred years of vicissitude.

Fenghuang is embraced by green mountains, with Tuojiang River running through its heart. Rowboat is one of the main means of transportation. Choose to take a boat covered with black matting and tour along the river, go sightseeing the Miao wooden house projecting over the water along either side of the bank river, hearing the boatman's folk songs, you will feel yourself keeping far away from the mortal life.

Unique wooden houses constructed on stilts are built along the riverbank. This kind of house is called Diaojiaolou (Chinese for building with hanging legs). The design keeps the buildings safe from the spring floods. It is easy to discover the beauty of Fenghuang that lies in its primitive simplicity.

(2)Hongqiao Art Building

It lies above the Tuo River, crisscrossing with the National Street, and makes up a folk picture of the ancient town's marketplace. Hongqiao is an ancient building with a history of more than six hundred years. It was built at the beginning of Hongwu in Ming Dynasty, and consists of two floors. The first floor is a capacious pavement for people to come and go, with shops on both sides, selling all kinds of folk arts and crafts, local specialities, etc. Live applauses of hawking and whispers of bargaining makes up a Feihuang 'riverside scene at qingming festival'. The second floor is the belvedere and also demonstrating the tea ceremony. Go up to the second floor, overlooking the whole beauty of phoenix town, savoring a cup of tea, you will feel completely relaxed and joyfull.

(3)Former Residence

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People started to know the Phoenix Town from Mr. Shen Congwen, a famous author, archaeologist and historian in China. Mr. Shen was born here in a classic ancient quadrangle courtyard at Fenghuang town. The residence is a typical spacious ancient courtyard with special tectonic style of Ming and Qing Dynasty. This 100-year-old courtyard was renovated in 1989.

Except from the Former Residence of Shen Congwen, you may also look around the Xiong Xiling's Former Residence. Mr. Xiong Xiling was called 'the wonder child of Hunan province' and he was elected as the first elected Prime Minister of the Republican period in 1913.

(4)Yang Ancestral Memorial

Yang Ancestral Memorial is located in the northeast side of Tuojiang River. Originally built in 1836, it covers an area about 770 sq meters. The elaborate structure and considerable design makes Yang Ancestral Memorial as an outstanding building till now.

Whole of this family temple features the special ethnic characters and the high value in architecture field. This temple is a wood-made courtyard with two floors, consisting of the gate, opera stage, corridors, main hall and subsidiary rooms. It is strongly showing the local tradition and carving art of architecture. Currently it is the cultural site under the county-level protection.

(5)Southern Great Wall

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It's also known as 'Miaojiang Wanli Wall' and a mililtary historical remains in Ming&Qing Dynesty. It had witnessed the ethnic disputes and peace for hundreds of years.

The wall is three hundred and eighty-two miles long, starting from Tingziguan and streches to the north Magpie Camp, and the main part is across the ancient phoenix town. The wall is 3 meters high, 2 meters wide at the bottom and 1 meter wide at the top, and mostly built along the mountain ridge. On the way, there are more than 800 platforms, fort, residential towers, etc. for station troops and defense purpose. The Southern Great Wall is part of China Great Wall and also should be listed as the world cultural heritage.

(6)Miao Village

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It will take 40 minutes from the southern gate of the Phoenix Town to Shanjiang town. Passing the Miao Singing stage, walk for about 500 meters and you will arrive at the Miao Village. The most famous scenic spots are Miaoren cave, waterfalls, U-shape valley, heavenly bridge, the plank road built along the face of the cliff, etc. Zaogang Miaotse is another important spots in Miao village, you will enjoy both natural scenery and folk customs.

(7)Huangsiqiao Ancient Castle

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It is 25km away from the county which preserves the integrity and with a history of 1300 years. It could be traced back to Tang Dynasty. Huangsiqiao was built up in bluestones and even huge blue rocks were used to built the circumvallation, some rocks are even as heavy as 1000kilograms. There are three gates in three directions: east, west and north. In 1983, it's been ranked as the provincial key cultural relics protection site.

(8)Qiliang Cave

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It is only 6km away from the ancient Phoenix Town. It is a typical karst cave with thousands of omniform stalagmites. The length of the cave is about 6000meters and consists of five main sightseeing areas: the Ancient Battlefield, the Gallery, the Heaven, the Dragon King's palace and the Yin-Yang River. Here you can not only see odds rocks and stones, but also waterfalls, which makes a magnificent panorama.


For more information, please visit  Fenghuang Travel Guide in Top China Travel