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15 July 2015

Home>Tourism>Golden Travel Routes

Top 8 Vacation Destinations for Leaf Peeping

It's early winter. The weather cools down, days turn shorter when stars appear earlier and earlier, and people have to grab thicker jacket before going outside.
The most significant part of this time of year is watching all kinds of leaves like maple leaves and ginkgo turn bright hues of orange, gold, and crimson.
Richly endowed by nature, Hunan is famous for its foliage. Like a famous poet Du Mu described in his poem, “frost-bitten leaves more crimson than spring blooms”.
From near to far, north to south, we've prepared a guide for when and where to watch the leaves turn around the province.
No.1: Yuelu Mountain
Yuelu Mountain, located to the west of Xiangjiang River in Changsha, Hunan Province, is often referred to as one of the four best fall foliage viewing areas in China. In early winter, maple leaves overwhelming the mountain are at their prettiest, which can be seen anywhere on the mountain, especially at Aiwan Pavilion, Qingfeng Gorge, Lushan Temple, and on mountaintop. Orange Isle also commands a fine distant view of Yuelu’s fall foliage, as referred in Mao Zedong’s poem “While on Orange Island cape, I see upon thousands of vermillion mountains, layer upon layer of woods dyed crimson and scarlet”.
Admission: free 
Peak season: late November to early December 
How to get there: Take the No.1 Lvyou Bus, or No.132, No.202, No.305 Bus, or Lishan Bus to Taozihu stop (桃子湖) at the southern entrance and from there you can climb the mountain.
No.2:Changsha Landscape and Ecology Garden
Located by Laodao River in Kaifu District, Changsha Landscape and Ecology Garden boasts amazing scenery featuring a combination of small bridges, murmuring streams, ancient temples, and evergreen plants. Maple trees imported from North America in 2009 are turning red in the Garden in early winter. 
Admission: 15 yuan/adult; free of charge for children under 1.3 m and seniors aged 70 or above. 
How to get there: Take the 149 bus to Pengjiaxiang (彭家巷), from there you can hire a motorcycle which should take no more than 10 minutes to get there.
No.3: Hunan Martyrs' Park
Hunan Martyrs' Park has planted about one hundred of native maple trees, mainly near the martyr tower and around the pond at the south gate. Maple leaves here start to change color from mid-November and now most of them have turned red. What’s more, newly-planted ginkgo trees can be seen around the park, whose leaves gradually turn a bright golden color. The red maple leaves and golden ginkgo leaves make the Park more beautiful and shows a brilliant autumn view in early winter.
Admission: free 
How to get there: Take the No. 111, No. 131, No. 136, No. 146, No. 168, No. 302, No. 803, No. 3 Lvyou Bus to Lie Shi Gong Yuan Nan Men (烈士公园南门south gate of Hunan Martyrs' Park), or take the No. 112, No. 113, No. 131, No. 136, No. 146, No. 150, No. 168, No. 302, No. 303, No. 704, No. 901 to Lie Shi Gong Yuan Xi Men (烈士公园西门west gate of Hunan Martyrs' Park )
No.4 Tongzi'ao Village in Shuangpai County, Yongzhou City
Tongzi’ao Village is located in Chalin Township, Shuangpai County, about 61 kilometers away from Lingling District of Yongzhou. There are more than 200 gingko trees, over 90 of which are older than a century. The village with several clumps of 20 to 30 gingko trees turns stunning golden hues in early winter.
Peak season: late November to early December
Driving route: Changsha-the west line of Changsha-Xiangtan Expressway-turn right to merge into Xiangtan-Shaoyang Expressway- drive into Xiangtan-Hengyang Expressway from the interchange of Taling – Heng-Zao (Hengyang-Zaomupu) Expressway-Yongzhou-Lianzhou Highway.
Notes: it may take you 4 hours to drive from Changsha and Tongziao Village for the nearly 300 km distance.
No.5 Five-color Valley in Yanling County, Zhuzhou City
Located at the foot of Luoxiao Mountain range, the 10-km-long Five-color Valley takes on beautiful scenery in early winter. Leaves in the valley show their rich and vibrant hues, with colors ranging from golden yellows, bright oranges to flaming crimson.
Admission: free
Peak season: late November to early December
Driving route: Changsha-Shanghai-Kunming Expressway-Pingjiang-Rucheng Expressway
Notes: with a total distance of 320 km, it may take you four hours and a half to get there.
No. 6: Huanglong (Yellow Dragon) Cave in Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie National Geopark is located in the mountainous area of the western region of Hunan Province, with a subtropical humid monsoon climate. Zhangjiajie is awesome in early winter due to its brilliant colors, especially in Huangong Cave. The ecological square of the scenic spot has been decorated with crimson Chinese tallow trees, yellow sweet pomelos, and green organic vegetables. Besides such stunning hues, Zhangjiajie is also famous for its sea of clouds, 3000 peaks and pillars of quartz sandstone. 
Admission for Huanglong Cave: 80 yuan/adult 
Opening hours: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. 
How to get there: There are long-distance buses to Zhangjiajie from Changsha West Bus Station from 7:50 to 19:00 every day. There are also regular trains to Zhangjiajie at Changsha Railway Station. After arriving there, you may take shuttle buses from Zhangjiajie Bus Station to the scenic area.
No.7: Daxiong Mountain in Xinhua County, Loudi City
Daxiong Mountain National Forest Park is located in the north of Xinhua, 62 kilometers away from the county seat. It covers an area of 8,100 hectares and the forest coverage rate is almost 93%. The mountain will feast your eyes with the best brilliant colors and splendid views in early winter.
Its main peak “Jiulongchi” rises to a height of 1,622 meters, making it the highest peak in central Hunan. It growsThere are more than 30 kinds of national protected fauna and flora like millennial um ginkgo trees, clouded leopard and Chinese yew. Mountains, rivers, plants and temples together depict a fascinating three-dimensional painting. Daxiong Mountain is the hometown of Chi You, an ancient tribe head, who once fought with Emperor Huang and Emperor Yan. Statistically, the Park is the area with the largest volume of negative oxygen ions in Hunan.
Admission fee: 56 yuan 
Tel: (86)738-3782063 
Driving route: start from Changsha—drive along Shanghai-Ruili Expressway to Loudi—drive by way of Xinxing Road in Loudi downtown to the Loudi-Lianyuan Highway —drive 43km to Lianyuan City—drive 85km to Jiqing Town of Xinhua County—drive 45km to Daxiong Mountain National Forest Park 
No.8: Langshan Mountain
A cluster of clouds lingers above the Langshan mountain range in early winter, forming a spectacular view of “sea of clouds”. Beyond that, overwhelmingly crimson maple leaves and mouthwatering local delicacies are distinctively attractive. Langshan Mountain is one of China's National Geological Parks famous for its unique Danxia landform. It is located in Xinning county, about 500 kilometers away from Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.
Opening hours: 7:00-18:00 
Admission: 50 yuan 
How to get there: 
There are long-distance buses from Changsha West Bus Station to Shimen County, which are operated at 8:50, 9:20, 10:30, 12:50, 14:20,1 5:00 15:30, 20:00 and 22:20 every day. There are also trains going from the Changsha Railway Station to Shimen County. The train schedule is as below.


 Number  Length of Trip  Departure Time  Arrival Time
 1376/1076  5.3 hours  08:03  12:21
 K9026/9027  4 hours  04:07  08:10
 K533/K536  3.66 hours  02:39  06:07
 K9024/9025  3.66 hours  22:57  02:35