Zhangjiajie Things to Do

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Most Recent Things to Do in Zhangjiajie

  • Baofeng Hu (Lake) - Part IV

    by mke1963 Written Jul 7, 2006

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    At one point, a boat is passed where a woman from the Tujia woman sings a love song as you pass by. Despite the slightly absurd setting, it is actually quite an appealing moment. Traditionally, the man is supposed to pick up the song as she finishes to return the love. "Row, row, row the boat" didn't seem to do it for her though.

    If the man doesn't sing the reply, he is destined to nine years isolation: three years collecting firewood, three years cooking the meals, and three years giving the woman a massage. The guide wasn't sure if it was possible to do this in reverse order though. On the return journey, the boat passed a smaller boat where a man sung for a wife. It seems he was five years into his solitude. Another year and he can get the baby oil out, so life's not all bad. Passing the woman's boat again, the men were invited to sing to attract the Tujia woman out on deck again, but the guide added "in Chinese" just in time to prevent another unusually poor karaoke version of my same song.

    The boat returns quietly to the north side of the lake and visitors return to the big plaza by descending impressive flights of stairs down at least 70 metres. China’s parks are nothing if not ingenious.

    Is it worth the visit? Well, RMB62 is about the cheapest entrance fee in Zhangjiajie and the network of paths suggests that there is much more here than I was able to see, and most of it away beyond the dam. The lake tour was scenically impressive and relaxing. If you can look beyond the penchant for scarring every surface and building all kinds of fake structures, waterfalls and malls, then Baofeng Hu is good for an afternoon. Despite my cynical moaning – and I do this only out of sheer desperation….China is an awesomely beautiful country if people would just leave it alone! – I enjoyed myself here, and there aren’t the crowds seen in the main part of the National Park. Baofeng Hu is actually inside the park boundaries but is managed as a separate zone.

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  • Baofeng Hu (Lake) - Part III

    by mke1963 Written Jul 7, 2006

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    The True Man Stairs leads through a narrow crack in the gorge – more impressive than any half-baked legend made up in the office of the park authorities, but completely unmentioned – and opens out onto a seemingly impossibly small dam, walled in between the steep cliffs. A particularly ugly wharf and another motley collection of shacks and grandiose buildings leads the visitor towards a boat for the tour of the lake.

    The commentary on the boat is only in Chinese, but it amounts to very little more than telling everyone the name of every rock, pinnacle and crag around the rather beautiful lake. Naming rocks for tourists is big business in China, and it seems that domestic visitors are unable to appreciate natural features without being told that a certain rock looks like a lizard sitting by a dragon holding a pie...or something equally improbable. Of course, the constant shrill commentary shatters the peace and quiet that would create a very special moment on this narrow, and exceptionally deep lake. The water is 113 metres deep in the central part - about the height of a 23 storey skyscraper.

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  • Baofeng Hu (Lake) - Part II

    by mke1963 Written Jul 7, 2006

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    The lake is reached by walking up the gorge on a massively solid concrete road, flanked by a massively solid concrete pavement and a massively solid concrete spillway for the dam. It is easy to forget nature entirely. Halfway up, entrepreneurial rickshaw men wait under the trees: they know that most tourists at the bottom will not want to be carried, but might change their minds by the time they get a long way up the hill! A monkey zoo – not visited – is on the right hand side of the gorge, satisfying that eternal need in China to have something for everyone at any tourist site, no matter how crass and unnecessary. It seems there is some minor link with ‘The Monkey King’ as the movie was filmed here. Good thing Pretty Woman wasn’t filmed here, I suppose. Or The Exorcist.

    On the left hand side, a small hump-back bridge leads to a steep flight of stairs, known as the True Man Stairs – because if you can manage them after the long hike up the hill, you are considered a true man. The bridge, it seems, has a legend attached to it. If you cross the bridge with your lover and hold hands as you cross it, you will be lovers for ever. If you don’t have a lover you must clasp your hands. The legend goes back into the depths of time. Except for the troublesome fact that the bridge is across a spillway of a dam constructed in the 1980s and that there would have been no bridge before then. The necessity to invent legends is somewhat pathetic in a country so rich in real stories and legends. Ultimately, it’s actually just insulting the intelligence of visitors. One day, the visitors might just get fed up with being patronised.

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  • Baofeng Hu (Lake) - Part I

    by mke1963 Written Jul 7, 2006

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    South end of Baofeng Hu
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    Baofeng Hu is a delightful spot, but don't expect to get back to nature. If you find a spot of mud anywhere, fear not: it will be concreted over before you can take a photo of it. The scale of the surrounding karst mountains and cliffs means that the impact of the extensive built tourism environment is mercifully reduced, but there really is no chance of getting in harmony with nature. Baofeng Hu is actually off the beaten track - probably less than 1 in 100 visitors make it to this curious area. However, the stunning beauty of the lake - actually a dam - and the climb down afterwards make this a worthwhile afternoon. I suspect that the furthest reaches of the area may be more natural, but don't count on it. The RMB62 entrance fee gets you access to the whole park and a 30 minute ride on a boat.

    The only way in is up, past a vast arena that includes a rather nice natural waterfall spoilt by an almost jaw-droppingly inappropriate artificial waterfall appearing out of the cliff-face another 50 metres higher up. It's like someone though "Now how can we best really screw this place up good and proper?". What must have been a remarkably beautiful spot has been turned into a rather unattractive concrete pool complete with odd bridges and a hotchpotch of hard landscaping. Just to wring the very last drop of possible ambience out of the place, every group is led by a loudhailer-touting guide.

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    Helong Park

    by vincentf Updated Feb 3, 2004

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    Helong Park

    This park offers a vantage view of the hoodoos of Zhangjiajie. Rocks thrust into the air with trees growing on the tips. In addition, there's a nice pagoda with local Tujia minority snacks and handicrafts.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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    Golden Whip Brook

    by vincentf Written Feb 2, 2004

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    Golden Whip Brook

    This valley is nestled near Huangshi Village. It is 7.5 km long and has a meandering path on the bottom for people to walk through the valley. If you are tired, you can always get people to carry you throughout the entire trail.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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    Cableway in Tian Zi Mountain

    by vincentf Written Feb 2, 2004

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    Tian Zi Mountain

    This is a modern cable car that whisks you atop Tian Zi Mountain in 8 minutes. It offers a grand view of the Zhangjiajie Park. Historically, this is where Xiang Dakun and Xiang King met and planned to resist the Ming imperial court in the Ming Dynasty.

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    Cableway to Huangshi Village

    by vincentf Written Feb 2, 2004

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    Cableway to Huangshi Village

    I never really saw a village here, but a breathtaking view of the valley below. A 3-car cable car whisks you atop the mountain.

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Family Travel

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Zhangjiajie Things to Do

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