Explore amazing Yellow Dragon Cave in Zhangjiajie scenic spot, Hunan

Update:20 Dec 2010
 
IN THE famous classical prose, Tao Hua Yuan (Peace Blossom Land) by literary master Tao Yong Ming, a fisherman from a place called Wuling in the Jin Dynasty stumbled upon a village which could be described as an utopia by people of that era.
 
The villagers, descendants of refugees from wars and turmoil centuries earlier, made a simple living by farming. Free from oppression, they lived secluded in their scenic sanctuary of peach trees.
 
The villagers hosted the fisherman warmly but asked him not to divulge their sanctuary as he bade them farewell.
 
But he reported his find to the local official. They tried but could not retrace the path the fisherman took, and the peach blossom land was forgotten.
 
 
 
Today, Wulingyuan, where the prose was based, is certainly not forgotten. Renamed Changde City, which, together with the adjacent Zhangjiajie City, this region in north-west Hunan Province is a major tourism destination with beautiful sandstone peaks, gorges, and peach blossoms. It is in the list of World Cultural Sites.
 
A major attraction is the Tianzi Mountain, which rises more than 1,200m above sea level. The mountain’s peak is a juxtaposition of odd-shaped rocks, including one that has been visualised as an old man carrying a basket on his back picking herbs.
 
Looking at the breathtaking natural beauty, it is not difficult to imagine where the classical Chinese painters got their inspiration from, just like how Tao Yuan Ming was probably inspired by the peach blossoms to compose his prose.

Must Explore
 
There are numerous scenic spots within Zhangjiajie, and a tour of the Huang Long Dong, or Yellow Dragon Cave, at Souxi Valley, is an experience not to be missed.
 
Take a boat ride along a two-kilometre- long underground river, and be amazed at the colourful stalactites and stalagmites along the way. The largest scenic spot of all is the aptly-named Dragon King Palace, which contains thousands of these natural sculptures.
 
The Huangshi Fortress, meanwhile, is a platform supported by precipices and cliffs, at an altitude of 1,100 metres, sited within a scenic area of majestic peaks and canyons.
 
Must Enjoy
 
Zhangjiajie is not only about natural scenery. Do catch some performances at the Zhangjiajie Meili Xiangxi Grand Theatre, which within a decade of its establishment has built itself a reputation as a key destination for visitors. The theatre, which is located within Wulingyuan, complements its natural surroundings and can seat 1,080 people.
 
The highlights include dance performances by the Miao tribe and a play based on the novel called Bian Cheng by Sheng Chong Wen. There is also an energetic dance based on a Yao tribe custom where the suitors climb up a high-rise tower as they try to reach the girl they are trying to date.
 
Must Savour
 
 
A local favourite is a chicken and duck mix, cooked with a black fungus-like plant found on the cliffs of Zhangjiajie. The three key ingredients cooked together create such a tantalising and delicate aroma that earns this dish a place on the Ming and Qing emperors’ banquet menu.
 
For those with a more adventurous palate, try another local steamed dish made from live oriental weatherfish and tofu. The live fish is put in a pot with a big succulent chunk of white tofu and when the cooking begins, the fish, in a futile bid to escape the heat, burrows into the tofu, leaving its tail fin hanging out when the dish is served.

Must Have
 
Tourists dropping by this area should bring home a type of tea called Changshouteng, literally translated as longevity vine, but also known as the Divine Zhangjiajie Tea.
 
What makes the Changshouteng tea special is its rich mineral content, including calcium, iron, zinc and 11 other elements. The most beneficial attribute of this tea is its flavone content.
 
Flavone, found increasingly in health supplements, is said to have beneficial effects against ailments like atherosclerosis and osteoporosis.
 
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