With the summer season approaching, we’ve got a list of fantastic cool summer travel destinations ranging from fabulous mountains, lakes to national parks in Hunan for you to enjoy until cooler temperatures prevail.
As an extended part of the mysterious Mount Hengshan range, Mount Yuelu covers a total area of 8 square kilometers with its highest peak 297 meters above sea level. There are also many peaks with exuberant trees and reclusive and precipitous mountain streams.
How to get there: Take the No.1 Lvyou Bus, or No.132, No.202, No.305 Bus, or Lishan Bus to Yuelushannan stop (岳麓山南) and walk westwards to climb the mountain.
Address: Yuelu District, Changsha
Viewed from Mount Yuelu Peak, Orange Isle is a famous Hunan landmark stretching for nearly 5 kilometers down the middle of the Xiangjiang River at Changsha. It varies from 50-200 meters in width with a total area of nearly 910,000 sqm. It is the longest inland river isle in the world.
How to get there: Take No.2 or No.3 Lvyou Bus, or Bus No.1, No.11, No.123, No.142, No.143, No.145, No.301, No. 317, No.325, No.368, No.406, No.803, No.804, No.901, No.908 to the east of Juzizhou Bridge, and then walk to the isle. You can also take subway (line 2) to the isle directly, which is the quickest method of transportation in the city.
Address: Yuelu District, Changsha
Dawei Mountain National Forest Park
Dubbed the “Green Pearl of Eastern Hunan”, Dawei Mountain National Forest Park was set up in July 1992 under the approval of the Ministry of Forestry; it lives up fully to its moniker, with its breathtaking natural scenery and unrivalled tranquil beauty.
How to get there: drive along Changsha-Yongzhou Expressway to Liuyang City, then follow road signs to Dawei Mountain National Forest Park
Address: northeast of Liuyang City
The Dongjiang Lake Scenic Area is a natural oxygen bar with fresh air all year round. It is surrounded by islands of all sizes and luxuriant primeval forests with precious birds and animals living among. Dongjiang Lake, for its picturesque scenes and an expanse of water, is also well known as the "Eastern Swiss" Lake.
How to get there: Drive from Changsha through Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway to Zixing Exit, then travel about 28 km towards Zixing City along Chenzhou Avenue to a crossroad, turn right and drive ahead for 3 km.
Address: Zixing, Chenzhou
Mount Mangshan National Forest Park
Mount Mangshan National Forest Park has the most intact subtropical primeval second growth forest and evergreen broad-leave forest in the world. It covers 6,000 hectares, and contains both the northern and the southern plants. It has more than 300 varieties of animals. The yellow-breasted pheasant, sika deer, golden cat, and python are first-class protected species of the state.
How to get there: drive from Changsha through Changsha Ring Expressway and Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway to Chenzhou, then travel along G107 via YIzhang and Pingshi to the forest highway to reach Mangshan Mountain.
Address: Yizhang County, Chenzhou City
Shuifu Tourist Resort
Shuifu Reservoir covers 4,500 hectares, with a shoreline of 430 kilometers. The water is vast and mighty, dotted with more than one hundred islands, which look like some pearls pouring on a jade plate. The reservoir is divided into more than 100 small lakes, forming a marvelous landscape of multiplied mountain and double back waters, with mountains and waters surrounding each other.
How to get there: Shuifu tourist resort is less than 150 km away from Changsha. Drive from Changsha through Xiangtan-Shaoyang Expressway to the border of Loudi and Xiangxiang.
Address: west of Xiangxiang, Xiangtan City
Mount Shunhuang (Emperor Shun) National Park
In this park, the beautiful mountains, elegant lakes, amazing stones and vast forests constitute picturesque scenery. Also it is called "the gene bank" for abundant plants and wild animals of various varieties and also "a natural oxygen bar" for its clean and fresh air. Therefore the park is praised as paradise on earth. It is an attractive destination for tourists to be close to nature.
How to get there: drive from Changsha through Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway to Hengyang and drive along Hengyang-Kunming Expressway to Dong'an exit
Address: Dong'an County, Yongzhou
Huping Mountain with perilous peaks and deep valleys comprises 266 peaks at an altitude of over 1,000 meters and a major peak, also the highest peak in Hunan, 2,098.7 meters above sea level. It boasts the deepest, narrowest and grandest gorge in the mid-eastern China. Huping Mountain has plenty of waterfalls, water-eroded caves, and streams in crisscross network.
How to get there: drive from Changsha through Changde-Zhangjaijie Expressway to Cili and Guotai Brige, then travel along S303 to the scenic spot
Address: Shimen County, Changde City
Known as another "gene bank" for flora and fauna, its forest coverage rate is nearly 94%. Mufu Mountain Forest Park is famous for its spectacular scenery, sparkling waterfalls, ancient temples, rare flora, blooming flowers, and vast mountain meadows. Its perfect ecological tourism resources resulted in its being approved as a national park by the State Forestry Administration of PRC in 2005.
How to get there: drive from Changsha through Changsha Ring Expressway and Beijing-Hong Kong-Macao Expressway and S308 and G106 to Yueyang
Address: Hongqiao Town, Pingjiang County, Yueyang City
Golden Whip Stream in Wulingyuan Scenic Spot
Golden Whip Stream (Jinbianxi) is located in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It extends 7.5 km from north to south, winding across mountains and valleys. The brook is limpid through the year, with stone peaks standing erect on both banks. In Golden Whip Stream you can enjoy the dense forest and grotesque-shaped peaks on either of its banks. If you get tired, you can rest on a rock by the stream and watch fish swimming. The park is a place for one to escape from the summer heat.
Meandering between steep grotesque peaks and luxuriant trees, streams, waterfalls, plants and animals co-exist here and constitute an extraordinarily beautiful, tranquil and natural ecological environment.
How to get there: drive from Changsha through Changsha-Zhangjiajie Expressway to the downtown of Zhangjiajie
Address: walk ahead about 300 meters from the entrance of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Changde Happy Waterworld Carnival
Changde Happy Waterworld Carnival raised its curtain on July 9, 2016. The 52-day carnival will last until August 31, inviting visitors to enjoy a carnival of coolness in this scorching summer.
A series of splendid activities will greet tourists later. In addition to routinely water-sprinkling parade, night parade, and water fights every day, global model contest, international electronic dance music party, and underwater kissing contest will entertain the visitors beginning from July 16, July 23, and August 8 respectively.
How to get there: take No.13 Bus to Changde Happy Waterworld
Address: Liuye Lake Tourist Resort, Changde City
Binjiang Cultural Park
Located at Xinhe Delta, Binjiang Cultural Park is designed to be an arts center of Changsha and a paradise for the people. In the park, New Changsha Municipal Museum, New Changsha Municipal Library, Changsha Planning Exhibition Hall and Changsha Concert Hall open to the public for free.
How to get there: take the No. 11 or No. 106 Bus to Liang Guan Yi Ting (二馆一厅站 literally means two pavilions and one hall—New Changsha Municipal Museum, New Changsha Municipal Library and Changsha Concert Hall), or take subway line 1 to Beichen Sanjiaozhou (北辰三角洲站 Beichen Delta)
Whitewater Rafting in Hunan
Hunan boasts abundant waters and is truly a paradise for whitewater drifters and anyone looking for adventures and contact with the awe-inspiring power of nature in its purest form.