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For the first memorable trip to China with a budget of 7,000 THB !!!

I have to say this is my first trip to China which I have to prepare quite a lot in order to deal with the cold and Chinese. I might look like Chinese but all I can say is "ni hao" and "xie xie" so this trip is both fun, challenging and opens up a new world of China that I've never seen before.

This trip, we will take everyone to "Changsha", a city known as the gateway to beautiful tourist spots. It also attracts us to experience the magic and greatness of Zhangjiajie, the Natural World Heritage, China's first national park, and the filming location of the world-class movie, Avatar. It is a place that has stunned and amazed everyone who visited and surely you will forget the past Chinese image in your mind.

Traveling to China is easy and not as expensive as you think, once in a lifetime experience.....
Open your heart to travel to China and you will know that "one trip to China is never enough".

DAY 1 Bangkok (DMK) - Changsha
DAY 2 Changsha : Meixihu International Culture & Art Center / Juzi Island / Mao Zedong Youth Art Sculpture
DAY 3 Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
DAY 4 Yellow Dragon Cave
DAY 5 Tianmen Mountain National Park
DAY 6 Fenghuang - Bangkok (DMK)
>> Detailed of travel information including expenses, car and hotel are explained below photos (excluding airfare).

Camera set used for this trip: GoPro Hero 7 Black / Nikon D5600

"Changsha" is the capital city of Hunan Province. It is ranked as one of the top tourist destinations in China. This city is known as a gateway to beautiful natural attractions that are ready to attract us to experience the wonders and grandeur of the world natural heritages.

Tianmen Mountain National Park (天门山)
Here is one of the four most beautiful mountains in China. The reason why it is called the Heaven's Gate is because there is a huge natural hole in the cave which is 131.5 meters high and 57 meters wide and 60 meters deep. When viewed from a flat ground, it is like heaven's gate from the sky. It is believed that this is the confluence of "the human world and heaven" so if you stand to receive good energy here, it will bring good luck back.

Getting to the top of Tianmen Mountain is also unusual. We will ride the longest cable car in the world and enjoy the view all the way from the center of Zhangjiajie city to the peak of Tianmen Mountain which takes only half an hour.

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area

It is a filming location for the world-class movie "Avatar." It is also called "the Monarch of the Peak". There are 4 parts occupying over 9,500 square kilometers. All are covered by the thousand-year-old pine forest, caves, stone bridges, and waterfalls. But the highlight is the giant stone forest, of more than 3,100 stone trees that beautifully piercing into the sky. The important tourist destination is "the First Bridge under Heaven" (天下第一 桥 Tian Xia Di Yi Qiao). This is a popular place for couples to hang their keys and tie red clothes.

Feng Huang Ancient Town (凤凰古城) is the most beautiful ancient city in China. It has more than 400 years old since the reign of Qing dynasty, located on both banks of the Tua Jiang River. Most of the villagers here are Tu Jia and Hmong people who still live their traditional lives, washing clothes and vegetables by the riverside. Houses in Feng Huang ancient city will be a raised-floor construction called "Tiao Jia Lo", which today has converted into a residence and riverside coffee shop, allowing tourists to fully sit and enjoy the colorful view along the waterfront.

>> Enough for introduction, if you are ready, let's start this journey together!


For this 6 day 5 night trip to China, we flew directly from Bangkok Don Mueang to Changsha with Air Asia. The same airline that we are so used to. We flew with flight FD 540, the evening flight after work. After 3 hours enjoyable flight, we reached Changsha in the late evening and checked in at the hotel. For those who want to come to Changsha on your own and not with the tour, Air Asia is also kind to giveaway some travel plans that allow us to design an easy trip by ourselves, for more details, please click >> https://1th.me/oUXQc

Traveling with Air Asia and you will have a peace of mind and affordable price. We chose a great value pack that came with 20 kg baggage, food on board, and insurance that guarantee that your flight won't be delay from Tune Protect. Simply book at AirAsia.com or via its app.

To prepare to travel to China, in addition of applying for a visa, currency exchange and WiFi is another important thing. We have to exchange money for Chinese Yuan (CNY) and uninterrupted internet with Pocket WiFi from Yogofi, which is perfect for backpackers like us. Because we can use it for translation app, looking at Google Map, or getting on social medias without having to load VPN ... Traveling to China with no worry because we bring Yogofi with us.

Transportation: After getting off at Changsha Huanghua International Airport (黄花 国际机场), we continued to get to Changsha downtown by the Airport Bus. Contact the bus counter at Exit 5 to buy ticket to get to Changsha Railway Station, the fare is 18 CNY per person. The airport bus took about an hour and then we further took a taxi to Kaiserdom Hotel Changsha West Bus Station Branch. The total cost was 32 CNY and it took about 30 minutes.

Note: A meter taxi rate starts at 10 CNY.

The good thing about staying at this hotel is that it is cheap, only 135 CNY per night (about 580 THB). Also, the entrance to metro station is also in front of the hotel and Changsha West Bus Station is only 5 minutes away by foot. So It is very convenient.

DAY 2 : Changsha

Let's start to travel and chill in Changsha with a modern atmosphere among the modern architecture of the Meixihu International Culture & Art Center Museum.

Transportation: From our accommodation last night at the Kaiserdom Hotel Changsha West Bus Station Branch, go down to take the metro Line 2 from Wangchengpo Station and get off at Culture & Art Center Station Exit 2, the fare is 2 CNY (about 9 THB).

Meixihu International Culture & Art Center is the center of of Changsha's international culture and arts. Inside exhibits various works and exhibitions. It's too bad that when we went, the staff said the place was not yet open, so we just walked around outside to take photos.

Not far from the museum, we continued our trip to Juzi Island or Mao Zedong Youth Art Sculpture (橘子洲地铁站). This is a large park. We can walk and enjoy the view by the lake. But the highlight of visiting Changsha is to see the statue of Chairman Mao Zedong because Changsha is his hometown.

Transportation: Take a metro Line 2 from Culture & Art Center Station and get off at Juzizhou Exit 1, the fare is 3 CNY (about 13 THB).

Since the Juzi island (orange island) is very huge, in order to tour all over the island, most people ride the tram. A tram ticket is 20 CNY (about 86 THB). This tram will take us into the park and stop at each important tourist spot. The tram will run in a circle. After the end of the circle, we need to walk a bit further for the Mao Zedong statue.

After Juzi Island, I went back to collect my luggage from the hotel. This trip was very comfortable with the Legend Walker luggage, which is lightweight, durable, and ready to go. Then, we moved to Wulingyuan to see valley of the Avatar from Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

Transportation: From Changsha to Wulinguan, we traveled by bus from Changsha West Bus Station (长 沙西汽车站) to Wulingyuan Bus Station (武陵源汽车站). The ticket is 103 CNY and additional 5 CNY for insurance fee (in total is about 465 THB). The bus takes about 4 hours. We arrived Wulingyuan late evening and then checked in to Zhangjiajie Destination Youth Hostel (785 THB / 2 nights).

DAY 3 : Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Today we woke up early in order to wait in queue for the cable car at 7:30 a.m. Our accommodation last night at Zhangjiajie Destination Youth Hostel was very close to the park entrance, only 10 minutes walk. We also asked the hotel owner to book the park ticket at 228 CNY for each person, so we didn't waste time queuing up to buy tickets in the morning.

I must admit that monitoring and security system at the entrance of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park of China is strict and has a very organized system from the scanning of bags, checking cards, to scanning fingerprints. After passing the ticket check point, we went to find the bus by aiming for the route that go for Tianzi Mountain, which will take us to board the cable car. The bus ride is about 30 minutes.

We got on the cable car for 72 CNY (around 310 THB) with spectacular views in October when the leaves starting to change color. This helps make natural views along the way of Tianzi mountain peak more colorful.

And...we were able to comfortably take the cable car. The entire cable was only me and my sister, feeling very VIP.

After getting off from the cable car, we took the bus to He long Park (贺龙公园 He Long Gong Yuan), which is name after one of the top 10 skilled commanders of the Chinese Communist Party in the days of President Mao. Behind it is the view of Tianzi Mountain which is considered as another viewpoint that can see many giant stone bars in magnificent view. In this area, we can also go to Yubi Feng Peak. When getting out of this zone, we saw McDonald's and when walking further, it was the Imperial Writing Brush Peaks, located opposite to Fairy Dispersing Flowers and Tianzi Pavilion.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (张家界国家森林公园) is one of the most famous parks in China for enjoying autumn leaves. The best time to visit is in early October - mid November. But regardless of the season, this place is equally beautiful ... And then our first visit to China didn't disappoint us because we saw the leaves changing color on the Tianzi Mountain view at an altitude of 1,250 meters, surrounded by forests and rocky mountains, close to the sky throughout the valley. This is truly what we know as a million digit worth view at the 5A tourist attraction!!!! (Chinese tourist attractions are divided into 5 levels which are rated 1-5A, with 5A being the most beautiful).

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park or the Wulinguan National Park was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and is the first national park in China.

The feeling when viewing pictures and experience personally in real locations is drastically different. From the atmosphere now, I feel like I've come into a movie or a fairy tale land.

Another highlight that I must talk about is the First Bridge under Heaven (天下第一桥 Tian Xia Di Yi Qiao), a natural stone bridge that connects two mountains, which is a true miracle of nature. And this is another breathtaking viewpoint in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

Here is the high angle of the First Bridge under Heaven, the stone bridge that connects the two mountains is covered with so many tall trees that it almost becomes a single mountain.

On the First Bridge under Heaven, there is a lot of keys which is the belief of young people that if a couple puts the key in a high place, no one can separate them from each other or that the couple will not be separated eternity. For those who come alone and don't know whom to attach the key with, you can buy a red cloth for 5 CNY to write a prayer for blessings and tie it to the bridge.

Actually, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is divided into 6 zones which are very huge. Most tourists choose the highlighted zone like the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area ('Yuan Family Territory' 袁家界). This zone has interesting tourist spots like the Avatar Valley and the First Bridge under Heaven. It is suggested to at least spend 2 days here so that you won't have to rush too much and also able to enjoy the surrounding more.

Avatar Hallelujah Mountain ( 南天一柱 Nan Tian Yi Zhu) This is 1 of the 4 most beautiful mountains in China. It is so beautiful that it inspires the creation of flying mountain sky scene of Pandora or as famously known as the Avatar Valley, the featured scene in the movie Avatar by James Cameron. If walk a little further, you will find a bird statue from Pandora.

Traveling to China with no VPN but still can connect to social networks and upload images to IG with the Pocket WiFi of Yogofi. Regardless of the height and the mountains, you can constantly access to Facebook, Line, Instagram, and Google. All of this is possible by bringing this Yogofi and no further VPN download or complicate setting is needed, it's very easy to use and very convenient.

We've been walking since the morning, let's take a rest and find something to eat. Most of the food here is simple, the type that you can walk and eat. My recommendation is you should look around and ask for prices first because prices at each store is slightly different. For us, we chose the store that had lots of people. We finally got a fried tofu with sauce for 15 CNY (about 65 THB).

Note: In addition to Chinese food, there's also McDonald's up here too.

Where there is food, there is monkey, this is also applicable to Chinese monkey. There are especially a lot at the food selling zone.

Hundred Dragon Elevator, Bailong Elevator (白龙天梯) The lift costs 65 CNY per person (about 280 THB). This is Asia's first glass elevator, at a height of 326 meters. It is the tallest and fastest outdoor glass elevator in the world that takes less than 2 minutes. Staff will limit the number of people entering the lift per time at 20 people. If you happen to stand at the innermost side of the elevator near the glass, you are very luck because you get to see the view of hundreds of stone trees while going down.

After leaving the elevator, we found a wide courtyard for taking picture. We also saw the moving up and down elevator from outside. After that, we followed the exit to find the bus pick up station. We continued traveling to the Ten-Mile Gallery and Jinpian Stream or Gold Whip Stream.

The sky looked gloomy and we didn't think we would see the sunset so we decided to take the bus back to the entrance of the national park. After that, we walked back to our hotel at 6 p.m.

DAY 4 : Yellow Dragon Cave

Yellow Dragon Cave (黄龙洞) is a famous scenic spot in the Wulingyuan Observatory area. It is known throughout the world as '' the Wonders of Caves on Earth '' and the most beautiful cave in China as well.

It rained from last night until morning so today we decided to wake up a little later and roamed around the hotel to find something to eat. We planned to spend the entire day in the Yellow Dragon Cave.

Transportation: If taking a taxi, the fare is around 30 CNY. But we took the bus Line 1 by getting on from the main road, the road toward the entrance of Zhangjiajie Park. The fare is 1 CNY per person. The bus takes about 20 minutes and get off at the entrance of the cave. The notice point is a large Chinese character engraved on a very large stone at the entrance or look for Many store from the opposite side. The fare is 96 CNY each person, the opening hours is 07:00-17:00 p.m.

Interesting highlights include:

Dragon Dance Palace (Wulong Ting 舞龙厅) The first hall, which is the smallest hall in the total of 13 halls.

Dragon Palace (Long Gong 龙宫) It is the largest and oldest hall which is 40 meters high, with more than two thousand stalactites and stalagmites. There is also a large stone on the 4th floor called King’s Throne.

Fairy Palace (Tianxian Gong 天仙宫) There's 40 meters of stone waterfalls which are the largest rock caves in China and the Tianxian Waterfall, a 27 meter tall waterfall in a cave.

Xiangshui River An underground river in a cave that is over 2,800 meters long and 6 meters deep on the second floor. Here, we will get to experience about 10 minutes of a boat ride.

Traveling inside the cave requires walking up the stairs and quite long distances. We would walk through the path and up the bridge to take a boat ride of approximately 800 meters long. Therefore, we should plan to have about 4 hours here.

DAY 5 : Tianmen Mountain National Park

Tianmen Mountain National Park (门山)

Here is one of the four most beautiful mountains in China. The reason why it is called the Heaven's Gate is because there is a huge natural hole in the cave which is 131.5 meters high and 57 meters wide and 60 meters deep. When viewed from a flat ground, it is like heaven's gate from the sky. It is believed that this is the confluence of "the human world and heaven" so if you stand to receive good energy here, it will bring good luck back.

A ticket per person is 245 CNY (including cable car + escalator + mini bus in the park), which are available in 3 routes:

ROUTE A: Ride the cable car up / take the escalator down / walk down 999 steps / take the bus through 99 curves

ROUTE B : Take the bus through 99 curves up / take the escalator up / walk up 999 steps or take a lift for 32 CNY / take the cable car down

ROUTE C : Take the bus through 99 curves up / take the escalator up / walk up 999 steps or take a lift for 32 CNY / take the bus down

Mr. Rocky, the owner of the hotel, recommended us to choose ROUTE A because the view is more beautiful and we won't get too tired walking up the stairs. He also reserved the ticket for us and took us to the entrance of the park.

High angle view from the world's longest cable car, which is 7.5 kilometers long. We got to enjoy the view all the way from the center of Zhangjiajie city to the peak of Tianmen Mountain peak which took only half an hour.

I have a small tip that for people who choose to travel by taking the cable car first (ROUTE A) to get a view of the 99 curves in a beautiful corner and not being obstructed to sit next to the entrance-exit door when entering the cable car. And you will see a VIP like of breathtaking view. But this angle is only last for about 7 seconds, so please get your camera ready beforehand.

Once taken the cable car up, get off at the Upper Station. At this point, you will see an intersection. We chose the West route because this is the path to walk to Tianmen Mountain Temple which takes about 2 hours. A bit further we saw a rope bridge and followed by a temple. (Before reaching the temple, there's a cable car hanging our legs down service to enjoy the view for 25 CNY each, but since the wind was strong and we couldn't see anything, we decided not to take it).

Note: After exit the cable car station and follow the signs, turn right for the East route and turn left for the West route.

We kept on walking to enjoy the foggy view. After a while, we reached the highlight of the glass path or glass terraces. There are 3 places of glass terraces, approximately 60 meters at an altitude of 1,433 meters above sea level, surrounded by steep cliffs. Here, the socks cost 5 CNY per person but we didn't walk because the sky was closed and we could see nothing.

We walked until we reached the top at Tianmen Mountain Temple but the sky was closed all the way. It was also foggy and started to rain so we decided to walk back to the start. Then, we took the long escalator down to the Heaven's Gate before taking the bus through 99 curves and to the exit.

We bought the bus ticket to Feng Huang City at 2.30 p.m. from Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station (张家界中心汽车站) and got off at Fenghuang Bus Station (凤凰汽车客运站). The bus ride is about 4 hours and when we reached Feng Huang City, it was already dark.The atmosphere at night here is full of light and sound, shops, restaurants, pubs, bars lined up at the banks of the river.

We checked in and stayed at Fenghuang Encounter Inn for 89 CNY each night (about 380 THB). After that, we went out for our dinner at 9 p.m. We chose to have something easy and helped us with the cold like minced pork bun and pork fried rice, both of these were 25 CNY (about 100 THB).

The Chinese stranger were so hospitable. Although we communicated with body language but unbelievably, we were able to talk to each other. We finished our 5 day trip at this restaurant before walking back to the hotel to rest.

DAY 6 : Fenghuang

The last day of this China trip, we were still in the ancient city of Feng Huang. Morning atmosphere of the most beautiful ancient city of China was completely different from the night. The sound and light from the waterfront shops was replaced by tranquility, making us like the atmosphere right now more than last night.

Even if it was still raining in the morning, the charm of this ancient city was not lessen a bit.

We have seen the way of life of the villagers along the Tua Jiang River, rowing boats and selling simple living things. We also got to see the beautiful atmosphere of old houses among the backdrop of a large mountain. Yes, this is the identity of Feng Huang ancient city that everyone wants to come and see with their own eyes.

Carrying this strange looking fruits to sell around also can be seen everywhere in Feng Huang ancient city.

Since this city is a tourist city, many old houses was converted into a place to stay for tourists, bars, and various unique shops that has simple and natural decoration. It is suitable for reading, sipping tea or beer, relaxing and living a slow life.

These valleys at night had a lot of people, tourists, shops and vendors. It was so lively and had plenty of things for us to eat.

Even if it's the last day of the journey, the internet signal of Pocket wifi, Yogofi, was still strong so we didn't miss any communication.

Transportation to go back: From Feng Huang City, we took a taxi to Fenghuang Bus Station (凤凰汽车客运站) for 15 CNY and then bought a bus ticket at 2 p.m. for 140 CNY each and got off at Changsha West Bus Station. After that, we took the metro Line 2 to get off at South Railway Station (5 CNY) for a high-speed train Maglev to the airport (20 CNY). After that, we walked to Terminal 2 to the Air Asia check-in counter at 10 p.m. to take the flight FD 541. Soon, we boarded and reached Thailand safe and sound.

Goodbye for our first memorable trip in China with a smile and friendship from a Chinese stranger who welcomed and helped us until the very last moment here. ... Traveling to China is easy and not expensive as you think, once in a liferime experience ... Open your heart to travel to China and you will know that "one trip to China is never enough".

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 Monday, January 6, 2020 10:37 AM