2008 has been blessed with so many travels. I actually had a very very hard time deciding the best-of-the best on all the destinations visited on 2008. While each destination offers something unique on its own, each decision is based on my deep experience which characteristics resonates most on the place. So this ‘best-of’ is based on my personal opinion but feel free to share what you think. So here goes….
The China Central to South West Chronicles have ended and to cap it all off would be a summary and details of the trip. From now on, after completing a series I would posts a semi IT which includes the route, the number of days and budget for that trip. Hopefully helpful for those who would want to try the route as well. So after more than 2000 miles within China, 5 provinces, 4 UNESCO sites, 11 days and a budget of less than Php 30,000 which includes all airfares from Manila, transfers within China, park fees, food and accommodations, here’s the recap of the trip.
After getting back from Tianmenshan, we had lunch at the city and I prepared for my afternoon train to Guangzhou. Another train I thought. I survived my last train ride from Chengdu, I think I can take another one. Initially I wanted to get my own soft sleeper on this train but the tickets were all sold out the night before, so I had to take the hard seater again. I had no choice if I want to get home in time for my flight the next day. Taking a plane was way too much of what’s left on my budget. So the night before, we purchased the 178RMB train ticket to Guangzhou.
On my last day in Zhangjiajie, we decided to visit the second National Forest Park in Zhangjiajie City, Hunan – The Tianmenshan or Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park. This National Park is a newly developed attraction in the north western Hunan Province of China, located only 8 km from the city proper of Zhangjiajie. Standing at 1518.6 meters, Tianmen Mountain is the first recorded mountain in the history of the province and has been revered as the “Soul of Zhangjiajie”. The mountain, boasting intact primitive forest, numerous rare tree species and medicinal herbs, and abundance of fauna.
It was evening when we arrived at the city proper of Zhangjiajie from the town of Fenghuang. That’s about 2 hours bus ride costing us 60 RMB. The bus was much better and comfortable than the ones we had from Tongren to Fenghuang, allowing us to catch on a bit of sleep. When we got down at the city station, we hired a taxi to take us to Zhangjiajie Hong Tian International Youth Hostel. At first it was a fairly smooth drive then when we got into a bottleneck at one of the streets. We some cars pulling back to turn around, we thought our taxi was gonna do the same until he went up on the pedestrian lane and started driving past the vehicles caught in the bottle neck while people were avoiding our car on the lane. It was crazy! We finally found our hostel where we would sleep at night. Zhangjiajie, this is gonna be an interesting place, I thought.
At least a couple of hours bus ride from Tongren, we arrived at the town of Fenghuang, located at the north-western side of Hunan province. Since our next bus ride to is a bit late in the afternoon, we decided to spend some time in town. Fenghuang has two sides, the modern and the ancient. The Ancient River side town is considered as one of China’s Heritage and also one of the two most beautiful town in the whole China, the other being Chang Ting in Fujian Province.