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.