7 Pieces of heaven hours away from Wuhan (Part 1)

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Enshi, located in the mountainous southwestern corner of Hubei province, boasts rich tourism resources and offers splendid scenery and views. Nowadays, more and more people visit Enshi to explore the landscapes, taste the food and experience folk customs in Enshi. This article will recommend you 15 scenic spots in Enshi.

1Pingshan Scenic Area

w020160304599813116741The water is so clear that boat passengers often feel as though they are sailing on air. The boat weaves past suspended cliffs and isolated islands. The photos of this place were forwarded on Weibo more than 9,000 times. Many netizens commented that this is a place that everyone should visit at least once in their lives. They said that for those who live in or near Hubei, there is no excuse not to visit this beautiful place.

The stunning photos were taken in Duobi Ravine, which is located near Pingshan Village, Hefeng County. This area is located in the southeastern section of the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture.

The Pingshan Scenic Area is located 11 kilometers away from the county seat for Hefeng County. This place is rough and difficult to access. The scenery is dotted with high cliffs, green mountains, and clear, running water. A stone bridge connects the two sides of Pingshan Village. Duobi Ravine has a depth of 1,000 meters and a length of 18 kilometers; bold cliffs stand tall on both sides of the ravine.

Tourist season: all around the year

Recommended visit time: 3 hours

Ticket: 60 yuan

Address: Rongmei Town of Hefeng County, Enshi, Hubei

2Enshi Grand Canyon

w020160304599813136957w020160304599813137874Enshi Grand Canyon is located in the Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. It is bordered by Yangtze Three Gorges in the north, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the south and the neighborhood of Yichang city in the east. Its cliffs stretch as hundreds of miles.

“As far as spectacular is concerned, this one is as marvelous as the Colorado Grand Canyon of the USA. However, it is matchless in terms of beauty,” a tourist once said. Western tourists often speak highly of the canyon’s clean water, marvelous waterfalls and peaks.

Enshi Grand Canyon was officially approved as a national 5A-level scenic area on July 19, 2015.

Tourist season: March, April, May

Recommended visit time: one day

Ticket: 170 yuan

Address: Tunbao village and Banqiao Town in Enshi

3Qingjiang River in Enshi

w020160304599813149256w020160304599813152161Qingjiang River originates from Longdonggou of Lichuan city in western Hubei province. It flows through Enshi County, Changyang County, Badong County and pours into Yangtze River at Yidu. It stretches 423 kilometers and is about 148 kilometers long. There is an old saying goes that the “800-li (Li is a unit of length equal to 0.5 kilometers) Qingjiang River is as beautiful as a painting.”

Qingjiang River has been praised with as a lyrical poetry, graceful songs and pleasant paintings. It is also the mother river of Tujia ethnic people.

Tourist season: all around the year

Recommended visit time: 4-5 hours

Ticket: 180 yuan

Address: north bank of Fenshui River in Sancha village in Enshi city

4Golden Cave in Tangya Tusi Site

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The Site of Tangya Tusi Domain, also known as the Tangya Tusi Ancient City Site, is located in Xianfeng County, Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hubei Province. It is the largest and best-preserved Tusi site in the ethnic minority regions in Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, and Yunnan. It was listed as a national key historical and cultural site under state protection in 2006.

In July, 2015, it was listed as an UNESCO world cultural heritage site, together with the Site of Laosicheng Tusi Domain and the Site of Hailongtun Tusi Fortress. It is the 48th China World Heritage Site.

The Site of Tangya Tusi Domain is sandwiched by the Tangya River and the Xuanwu Mountain. With a total area of 183 acres (74 hectares), it consisted of 3 streets, 18 alleys, and 36 courtyards in the past. There used to be government offices, shooting ranges, barracks, prisons, zoos, temples, and wells. At present, there exist a great number of historical sites, while the roads of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the archway presented by the imperial government, the tomb of the Chieftain Tan Ding, and the exquisite human and horse statues are best-preserved. Tourists can not only enjoy the magnificence of the imperial city, but also gain a basic knowledge of the Tusi culture.

Tourist season: all around the year

Recommended visit time: 4-5 hours

Ticket: 80 yuan

Address: Lixian section of Hubei Provincial Road that connects National Highway No.318 and No.209

5Tenglong Cave

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w020160304599813192959The Tenglong Cave Group is a cave cluster, with the Dry Cave and Water Cave as its main scenes. The Dry Cave is about 52 kilometers long, and its mouth is 74 meters high and 64 meters wide, the largest dry cave in Asia.

Tenglong Cave Scenic Spot, 6 km from the city of Lichuan city, has a total area of 69 square kilometers integrated with mountains, water, cave, forest. It consists of the water cave, dry cave, carp cave, breeze cave, and Dujia village and three dragon gates, such as the whole cave system is very complex, the total volume is the first in the world, is China’s best tourism caves, in October 2005 awarded by the China national geographic magazine as “the most beautiful place in China”.

Tourist season: April, May

Recommended visit time: half a day

Ticket: 180 yuan

Address: 6 km from urban area of Lichuan city

6Xianfeng Pingbaying

w020160304599813190856Pingbaying is located in Xianfeng County, Enshi Autonomous Prefecture. This area is home to the largest primeval forest in western Hubei.

Navigating in the woods, visitors are sure to feel a connection with nature. The endless sea of stars in the night sky, the fresh air, and the delicate scent of the flowers, together with the songs of the birds, are sure to create an unparalleled feeling of peace and serenity.

Tourist season: all around the year

Ticket: 130 yuan

Address: Xianfeng County in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture

Transportation: For travelers on self-driving tours, the best route is to take the Han-Yi Expressway from Wuhan, transfer onto the Hu-Rong Expressway around Yichang, exit at West Enshi, and take the provincial road to Xianfeng County. From there, it is another 150 kilometers to the scenic area. Another option is to take the high-speed train to Enshi and then sign up for a group tour at a local travel agency.

7Pengjiazhai in Xuan’en

w020160304599813207235The memorial of Zhang Lianggao, a deceased archeologist and former Huazhong University of Science and Technology professor, opened in Pengjiazhai, which is located in Xuan’en County, Enshi City, on July 10, 2015.

Twenty years ago, thanks to the tireless efforts of Zhang, the ancient Tujia stilted buildings (Diaojiao Houses), a kind of folk residence built on the stilts of different heights and usually built beside the river or in steep mountain areas, in Pengjiazhai were introduced to the Chinese public. Pengjiazhai is now under state-level protection and is included on the List of Outstanding Minority Villages. The Tujia stilted buidlings of Pengjiazhai are located just three hours from the Great Canyon of Enshi, which recently became a 5A scenic spot.

Tourist season: all around the year

Address: Pengjiazhai at northern foot of Wuling Mountain in Enshi

Transportation: Buses run from Enshi to Xuan’en County and then to Shadaogou Town. From Shadaogou Town, visitors can take a bus to Lianghekou, Pengjiazhai, or Longtan. There is a bus stop close to the bridge to Pengliangzhai. Once there, visitors can rent a special pedicab called a mamu. The journey takes about 20 minutes and costs around RMB 30. There is an inn in Pengliangzhai which provides food and accommodation. A meal costs between RMB 30 and 50, and a room costs between RMB 40 and 60.

Food: Be sure to try Tujia youcha (sweetened fried flour) soup, Tujia cured meat, Tujia clay oven rolls, Baiyang dried tofu, and pickled peppers.