Get from Changsha to Yueyang via the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway. Once there ascend Yueyang Tower to enjoy a view of magnificent,1600 kilometer circumferenced Dongting Lake; visit Zhang Guying Village, called as the first village in the world, and also Qu Yuan Temple. Then go up the Miluo River via the Pingliang-Longnan Expressway to Mufu Mountain in Pingjiang County. Along the way are thick forests, clean streams, and colorful wildflowers covering the mountains and plains. Ramble yourself a bit, then go rafting and taste authentic farm food afterwards.
Standing on the bank of Dongting Lake in the northwest of Yueyang City, Yueyang Tower, along with the Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan and the Prince Teng's Pavilion in Nanchang, is one of the three great towers in south of the Yangtze River. It used to be a watchtower for the soldiers garrisoning the city gate and taking a test. However, towards the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty, this tower was changed to an inspection tower to review troops by General Lu Su of the Wu Kingdom (222). In 716 during the Tang Dynasty when Secretariat Director Zhang Yue was garrisoning Yueyang, he further expanded the tower and named it Nanlou or Yueyang Tower. In 1044 when the Song Dynasty general Tang Zijing garrisoned the place, he renovated the Yueyang Tower and invited his bosom friend, Fan Zhongyan, a well-known writer, to compose an essay Records of the Yueyang Tower, which won the tower great fame home and abroad. The Yueyang Tower is unique in architecture. Its three-storey main building is 21.35 meters high, with four huge nanmu pillars supporting the upturned roof ridges. One of its unique features is that its roof looks just like a general's helmet. Full Story
Junshan Scenic Area
Junshan Scenic Area-the largest island in Dongting Lake, is also called the "Love Island". It is made up of 72 peaks, covering a total area of 960 square meters. Junshan is the 11th blessing land under heaven and has been listed as the national AAAA scenic area. The main tourist attractions on the island include Liu Yi's Well, Tombs of the Two Empresses, Mottled Bamboo, Dragon's Saliva Well, Xiangfei Temple etc.
Dedicated to the two wives of Emperor Shun-Ehuang and Nuying the temple is 70 meters north of the tombs of the two Empresses. Comprising three courtyards, this building covers an area of 960 square meters. The 400-character-long couplets on the gate of the first courtyard are about this temple. The four-character plaque on the gate of the second courtyard reads "Whatever requested will be granted". The third gate leads to the main hall which houses the statues of the two empresses. Full Story
Yiyang, as a famous "home of rice and fish" in the Dongting Lake area, is a major producer of food grains, cotton, oil-bearing crops, pigs and industrial crops. Its ramie accounts for one fourth of the world's production. It is also one of the ten major bamboo-growing areas in China. Its industrial products include ramie clothes, foodstuffs, cooking oil, bamboo sleeping mats, which have a good domestic and international market.
The Bamboo Sea scenic area is located in the Taohuajiang National Forest Park, covering a total area of 761 hectares. It is the largest ecological scenic area with bamboos in south China, and has been considered as a must-see spot. The whole scenic area provides an opportunity for people to be close to the nature, and to forget noisy urban life.
The whole bamboo sea area consists of numerous hills, generally with a height from 100 to 250 meters. The highest peak and the lowest altitude are respectively 335 meters and 37 meters.
Green bamboos are seen along the road. Climbing to the red building at the top of the bamboo sea, you can overlook the whole area, appreciating the flowing wave of bamboos, and singing birds.
The bamboo sea attracts numerous tourists from home and abroad every year. The former Chinese premier Wen Jiabao wrote his inscription “Town of Phyllostachys Pubescens” here.
According to the development plan, Taohuajiang Bamboo Sea will build a demonstration base for ecological culture and tourism.
It’s worth mentioning that bamboo has formed a typical culture in China since ancient times. The oldest archaeological findings of bamboo articles in China can be traced back to 7,000 years. Early in the Shang Dynasty in 11th century BC, Chinese people used bamboo for household articles and weapons, such as bows and arrows. Before paper was invented, bamboo slips were mainly used for writing.
Today, bamboo is widely used for household articles like sleeping mats, beds, pillows, chopsticks, spoons, baskets, handheld fans even kinds of furniture. It is also used to make traditional Chinese musical instruments, such as flute Di, and Xiao. Besides, bamboo is also adopted in Chinese traditional medicine.
Bamboo is viewed as a symbol of traditional Chinese values. Ancient Chinese people designated bamboo as one of the “Four Gentlemen” of plants, together with plum, orchid, and chrysanthemum. Bamboo’s considerable resistance to stretching and its ability to support weight makes it a symbol of integrity, elegance and simplicity.
Taohuayuan/ Peach Blossom Valley
Taohuayuan is a national AAAA scenic spot. It is of significant historical and cultural value, for it was the origin of the story “The Peach Colony” written by Tao Yuanming, a famous poet in the Jin Dynasty (317-420 AD).
Besides, Taohuayuan is one of the four holy places of Taoism in China, together with E’mei Mountain, Wudang Mountain and Hengshan Mountain. The 35 caves and 46 paradise places there integrate the culture of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism.
Taohuayuan Scenic Area is composed of four scenic parts, namely Taoyuan Hill, Taohua (peach blossom) Hill, Qinren (people of Qin Dynasty) Village, and Taoxian (fairy of peach blossom) Range.
Taohua Hill scenic area covers an area of 2 square km, consisting of 30 scenic spots such as the archway, Wuliu Lake, Taohua stream, and several bridges, temples, pavilions and ancient residence. It is said the Qinren ancient cave is the entrance to the “Peach Colony” in Tao Yuanming’s essay.
Taoyuan Hill scenic area covers an area of 2.5 square km, with 10 scenic spots open to visitors. The area boasts splendid mountain scenery. According to a legend, long time ago, there was white fish demon stirring up big storms in the lake in front of the hill to flood farm land and even eating people and animals. A brilliant boy named Huang Wen subdued the fish but was trapped under the lake. Since then, people here lived a harmonious life, and the landscape has turned more attractive.
Taoxian Range covers an area of 1.5 square km, featured with idyllic scenery. As a romantic legend said, Zhinv, one of the seven fairy sisters, met cowherd Niulang here and they fell in love with each other. Because of the intervention of the Goddess of Heaven, the two could only meet once a year on Qixi Festival – the Chinese Valentine’s Day, falling on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. And Zhinv assigned the fairy of Peach Blossom to build here a fairyland on earth.
Qinren Village covers an area of 2.5 square km, boasting its 1,000-meter-long bamboo corridor with Chinese classic elegance. The Qinren ancient cave connects to the Peach Colony where exist a good preservation of the folk houses, drama stage, and water wheel of that ancient period.