Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Winter 2014/2015

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

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

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Page 17 of 63

in the world." Just 33 centimetres wide at its narrowest point, this 238-metre-long rock cleft was formed by water erosion. (The hundreds of stone steps within it were added later.) It gets quite humid in the tunnel, but the watermelon lady is waiting at the top to quench your thirst. The most awesome views in langshan are from the summit of Bajiaozhai scenic area, surprisingly best seen on a cloudy day when you can look down upon small peaks, and see them as they are advertised, appearing like whales swimming through a misty sea. While it is reward- ing to climb the 1,708 steps to the top, you'll look much more composed when you pose for photos if you take the cable car. In the northwestern part of the province, near zhangjiajie, there are more mountains to view. This area is popular with Chinese tourists, so there is an abundance of cable cars and buses available to see the sites. Wulingyuan scenic area (particularly Tianzi Mountain and Yuanjiajie) is recommended in all of the guidebooks. unless you really must ride the tallest outdoor elevator in the world, which admittedly is pretty neat, and have your photo taken atop an avatar dragon, I'd suggest avoiding it. It is simply too crowded though, in winter, it would be less busy and the frosty peaks and pillars would be stunning. still touristy, but in a charming way, is nearby Tianmen Mountain. Take a harrowing bus trip up a road with 99 bends or soar over it in a cable car. Even when shrouded in clouds, walking on the cliff-face path- ways (some glass-bottomed) is beautiful. don't skip the Chinese tradition of buying a red ribbon, writing a wish on it and tying it to a tree. aNCIENT ToWNs After all this climbing, you'll want to spend a few days on flat ground. The ancient city of Phoenix (Fenghuang) welcomes few non-Chinese Sound advice Canadians must apply in advance and in person for a Chinese visa in Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver. No mail-in visa service exists; residents of other Canadian commu- nities should work with a travel agent. Hiring a car with an English-speaking driver and/or guide gives you maximum flexibility to tour the province plus you'll have help if you don't speak Mandarin. Chinese currency is commonly called the yuan (officially the renminbi); $10 CDN will buy you about 55 CNY. You can use bank machines and credit cards in larger cities however, carry enough cash when visiting smaller cities and towns where your Canadian cards are unlikely to work. Foreigners should drink bottled water. Your biggest danger in Hunan is probably the chili peppers found in the local food. Don't forget to take comfortable walking shoes (hiking boots are not needed), an umbrella, a rain jacket, sunscreen and sun- glasses as the weather varies. 18 W i n t e r 2 0 1 4 / 2 0 1 5

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