Holidays in Hunan: Culture and Beauty

Hunan is one of he top-ten most populous regions in China and its name can be roughly translated into “south of Lake Dongting”. While the name itself may not be altogether impressive, such a title belies the beauty and culture to be found here. Scientists estimate that Hunan was first founded sometime before 350 BCE and due to its relatively southern location, the weather here tends to be more mild when compared to other provinces found in the north or within the central highlands. Thus, Hunan is quite popular with both tourists and natives alike. Due to a size of over 210,000 square kilometres, there is much to see and do here. Let’s take a look at some of the main attractions as well as what to take into account in order to ensure a worthwhile trip.

The Top Hunan Attractions

Of course, there are literally hundreds of different sights to frequent. We have narrowed the overall list down by providing you with what many consider to be the top three destinations.

Known for its nature, there is perhaps no better example of the splendour of Hunan than can be witnessed in famous Zhangjiaije National Forest Park. This entire region is dominated by towering mountains and mist-capped peaks. One of the most interesting features of this reserve is its glass sky bridge that is perched no less than 1,400 metres off of the ground. In fact, you may have already seen this bridge on viral videos. If you have the courage and you don’t mind feeling as if you are dangling in the air, visiting this park could be a great idea. Still, try to arrive during the warmer months, as the rainy season can certainly put a damper on your plans.

As mentioned previously, Dongting Lake is a prominent feature within the province of Hunan. It has been known since antiquity for its plentiful fishing as well as its glorious sunsets during the summer months. As the lake itself is a flood basin connected to the mystical Yangtze River, it is possible to charter boat rides to observe the nearby shores. Many of the fishing villages here have existed for hundreds of years and it is always interesting to observe local traditions. There are a handful of bed and breakfast hotels nearby if you hope to extend your stay for more than a single day.

Orange Isle is a much more urbanised district found within Hunan and it is an excellent stopover if you have been looking to pick up a handful of souvenirs during your holiday. While only 5 kilometres long, many of the luxury hotels are located here and it is located close to additional cities such as Yichun, Yongzhou and Shaoyang.

Things to Keep in Mind

Besides reserving tickets at least ten weeks before your departure, keep an eye on the predicted weather. It is not uncommon for the occasional cyclone to make landfall during the rainy season. It is best to avoid this possibility by visiting between late March and late June.