Saturday, November 16, 2019

Fenghuang Bus Station, Hunan

From OSM map, there were at least four bus stations in Fenghuang. I was not sure which was where the long distant bus from Changsha would arrive. Nevertheless, from what I read, it was most probably the one outside the ancient town.

I thought that taxis would not go into the old town, imagining that the streets in the ancient town would be too narrow for them. I was thinking that maybe I could take the taxi to the boundary of the ancient town and from there, walked to my hostel. There was too little information on the Net to help me.

In fact, Fenghuang was not exactly a small town. The bus station may be 2.6 km from my hostel in the ancient town near Hongqiao Bridge but it was in the the city, the modern part of it. Hence, it was easy to catch a taxi from the bus station to the ancient city.

Readers can also refer to for more pictures.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Guide to Visiting Wulingyuan Scenic Area

The names Zhangjiajie and Wulingyuan confused me. Was Zhangjiajie in Wulingyuan or was it the other way around? The two names seemed to be used interchangeably. After having been there, things have become less confusing. If you are as confused as I was, the following should help.

Zhangjiajie (City)
This refers to the city where you use as the base to visit Tianmen Shan or Heaven's Gate. At Zhangjiajie Bus Station, you can take the local brown mini-buses to Wulingyuan town.

Wulingyuan Town/ Village
Some bloggers called it Zhangjiajie Village. This refers to the small town where you use it as the base to visit Wulingyuan Scenic Area. The scenic area was accessible, mainly through two gates:
(a) Wulingyuan Gate, officially called Wujiayu Ticket Station;
(b) Forest Park Gate (Sēnlín Gōngyuán). The full name is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (the use of the name 'Zhangjiajie' was what confused me, and I believed you, too).

Wulingyuan Gate
 There were two main queues, each with long lines of visitors. The free purple park buses will take visitors to their destinations, at ground level to:
  • Tianzi Cableway lower station;
  • (a) Bailong Elevator lower station (b) Water Winding Four Gates (Shuiraosimen) (to east-end of Jinbianxi trail) and (c)10-Mile Natural Gallery. This queue was further segregated into two lines, Bailong & Water Winding on one line and 10-Mile Gallery on the other.
In my case, I took the free park bus to Tianzi Cableway lower station. From there, I took the cable car to the upper station on the mountain top. At the mountain top, free park buses would shuttle visitors from one station to the next. My route was Tianzi upper station > Helong??? (I was not sure where we were dropped off) > Yangjiajie > Yuanjiajie (First Bridge) - walk on trail to see First Bridge and then Avatar Mountain > Yuanjiajie (Avatar) > Bailong upper station.

Once I reached Bailong lower station, I walked down a flight of staircase and from there, took the free park bus to Water Winding Four Gates (Shuiraosimen) > 10-Mile Natural Gallery > Wulingyuan Gate.

Download this high-resolution map

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Gate (Sēnlín Gōngyuán)
When you are communicating with the locals, you are advised to use the Chinese name, which is Sēnlín Gōngyuán. Go to Wulingyuan (not Zhangjiajie) public bus station and take the bus there to the park entrance. It is not free. You can't take the free purple National Park buses to go to Sēnlín Gōngyuán. Sēnlín Gōngyuán is ideal for visiting:
  • Huangshizhai (Yellow Stone Village);
  • Jinbianxi (Golden Whip Stream) trail West end

  1. Buses inside the park (purple), including those on the mountain top, are free;
  2. Buses from Wulingyuan bus station to Sēnlín Gōngyuán are not free. Fares in the mini-buses were paid to the conductors when they asked for the payment. Receipts were not issued.

Important Names       
  • Bailong Elevator - 百龙天梯 - Bǎi lóng tiāntī
  • Golden Whip Stream - 金鞭溪 - Jīn biān xī
  • Huangshi Village - 黄石寨 - Huángshí zhài
  • Tianmen Mountain - 天门山 - Tiānmén Shān   
  • Tianzi Mountain - 天子山 - Tiānzǐ shān
  • Tianzi Cableway - 天子山索道 - Tiānzǐ shān suǒdào
  • Wulingyuan Bus Station - 武陵源汽车站 - Wǔlíngyuán qìchē zhàn
  • Wulingyuan Gate (Wujiayu Ticket Station) - 吴家峪门票站   
  • Yangjiajie - 杨家界 - Yáng jiā jiè
  • Yuanjiajie - 袁家界 - Yuán jiā jiè
  • Zhangjiajie - 张家界市 - Zhāngjiājiè shì
  • Zhangjiajie National Forest Park - 张家界森林公园 - Zhāngjiājiè sēnlín gōngyuán
  • Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station - 张家界中心汽车站 - Zhāngjiājiè zhōngxīn qìchē zhàn
  • Avatar Hallelujah Mountain @ Stone Pillar Supporting Heaven @ South Celestial Pillar - 阿凡达-哈利路亚山 - Āfándá hālìlùyà shān
  • First Bridge of the World - 天下第一乔 - Tian Xia Di Yi Qiao

Monday, November 4, 2019

Wulingyuan Bus Station ... to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Entrance

Wulingyuan Bus Station served as the starting point to Zhangjiaje National Forest Park (Sēnlín Gōngyuán) gate, the other entrance to the park. It was also the station to catch the bus to Grand Canyon Glass Bridge.

For someone like me who does not read Chinese, I was confused as to where was Wulingyuan Bus Station. When I arrived in Wulingyuan, the bus did not stop at the rear of the station as was the normal practice. Instead, it stopped at a bus stop before moving away again. Nearby was an open area with big buses parked. As I explored the town that evening, I saw groups of buses parked at several locations. Which was the bus station to catch the bus back to Zhangjiajie City?  I was worried.

On the second night, I used a photo of the bus station which I had downloaded from the internet. Using the similarities with this photo as I walked past Wulingyuan Bus Station, and looking through the station glass door and seeing rows of chairs, I concluded that indeed this was Wulingyuan Bus Station (N29° 21.163' E110° 32.453'). If you were confused like me, look out for the clock tower which served as Wulingyuan Bus Station landmark.


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Zhangjiajie Bus Station ... Getting to Wulingyuan by Bus

Buses from Changsha would mostly arrive at Zhangjiajie Bus Station (N29° 06.532' E110° 28.780') instead of Wulingyuan. In order to get to Wulingyuan by bus, one has to catch the local bus here. It was also the major station to catch buses to Fenghuang and Furong, two other popular destinations in Hunan.

The following photos would guide you on taking the bus to Wulingyuan, starting from the Ticket Office.

I was not buying the bus ticket to Wulingyuan, but to Fenghuang. Passengers to Wulingyuan would only need to pay their bus fares in the bus

Boarding the brown mini-bus to Wulingyuan

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Changsha Huanghua International Airport, Hunan, China

Do you have the confident in riding cheap public transportation in the cities and towns that you are going to visit in your planned backpacking trips? Riding buses, trains and subways are usually a great way to save money, which could be used for other purposes.

If my time of arrival in a city were early in the day, I would usually catch the public buses, shuttle buses or trains/ subway. The only exception were when I arrived late at night (when I could not afford the time to get lost) or when there was a lack of information about it or if there was no such transportation at the airport.

I took a taxi from Huanghua International Airport to my hostel because the plane arrived at night at about 10:00 p.m. The taxi fare cost me ¥102 (fare) + ¥20 (toll). Compare this with the cost of a return trip, taking a combination of taxi (¥9 from hostel to Furong Square Subway Station E4/ Carrefour but I chose to walk), subway (¥4 from Furong Square Station to South Railway Station) and Maglev train (¥20 from South Railway Station to Huanghua International Airport Terminal 2) totalling ¥33 only. An even cheaper option would be taking the bus from the airport to CAAC Aviation Hotel and from there, taking a taxi to your hostel and vice-versa.

Here are the transportation options available at Huanghua International Airport.

Layout of Changsha International Airport

Outside Arrival Hall

I did not have the photos of all the routes displayed at the bus parking bay, hence visitors should check them out themselves.

Outside Arrival Hall

Maglev Train

The corridor going to Maglev Station was at one end of Departure Hall, 2nd floor (or 3rd floor in American English) of Terminal 2