Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Winter 2014/2015

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/414300

Contents of this Issue


Page 16 of 63

P eople stare at me when I walk down the street. If I catch their eye, I greet them with a cheerful "Nee how!" (hello), which usually results in a surprised look, quickly morphing into a broad smile and a responding "Nee how!" Younger women and children giggle when I say hello, not quite believing such an alien-looking creature as I can actually speak. however this time is different. The man grabs his child, runs over and stuffs the boy into my arms. a laughing crowd gathers to snap photos of the foreign woman holding a local child. I've lost count of the number of people who have asked me to pose for a photo with them. This is hunan, China. Recently opened up to tourism, this province now wants to open its arms to the world and there's plenty to see and experience. It's september and hunan is lush and green. Tiered rice terraces overlook meandering rivers and rolling hills give way to mountainous terrain and craggy pillars. Throughout the province, pretty historical towns offer an intriguing blend of Chinese tourists and locals going about their everyday chores. BIzaRRE MouNTaINs hunan's geological history has blessed it with a unique landscape. In fact, the karst and sandstone cliffs and towers inspired the look of Pandora, the world of the blue Na'vi people in James Cameron's movie, avatar. some of these vistas are accessible by gondola, such as the main avatar site in Wulingyuan scenic area, near the city of zhangjiajie. There's even a photo opportunity awaiting if you climb on the back of the dragon-like ikran and pretend you're a Na'vi about to soar away. But gondo- las also mean denser crowds (though you'll likely be the only foreign tourists there). somehow the views seem much more spectacular once you've sweated your way up one or two thousand stone steps. langshan National Park, in the province's southwest, is an ideal place to explore the heights. start with Candle Peak. Suspended over floating clouds and green valleys, many of its paths and staircases hug the steep mountain walls. You may not see very many other hikers enjoying the beautiful views but expect big grins and requests for photos when you do. If your calves aren't aching yet, climb up to Tianyi lane. The hike is a pretty one, however the highlight is the dramatic open-to-the-sky tunnel nicknamed "the first lane aN INsPIRaTIoN BEhINd avaTar b y J o h a n n a r e a d i Hear excited noiSeS. a Man cHatterS to HiS wife in Mandarin and pointS at Me. after Several dayS Here in Hunan province, in SoutH central cHina, i'M uSed to tHiS reaction. W i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5 17

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle - Winter 2014/2015