The best of What's On in Changsha
Does monkeying about with monkeys, skiing in the mountains or appreciating the fine art and creative craftsmanship of Chinese lanterns take your fancy?
If yes, then no more hesitations. Wu Yingshu, a reporter with Changsha Evening News has gathered an exciting list of fun places to visit around Changsha during the Spring Festival.
Monkey watching in the Year of the Monkey
Option 1: Changsha Ecological Zoo
China will soon usher in the Year of Monkey. It's a seasonable idea to pay New Year's call to real things in Changsha Ecological Zoo. Its primate section is home to a whole barrel of monkeys, including hoolock gibbons, white-checked gibbons, grivets, Colobus polykomos, baboons and many more. And be sure to check out the Madagascan lemurs if you want to discover the true meaning of "adorable".
Option 2: Zhangjiajie Wulingyuan scenic area
Wild monkeys in Wulingyuan scenic area, Zhangjiajie [Photo by He Wenbing / Changsha Evening News]
Good weather and good luck may improve your chances of finding the real, wild "Monkey King", but you have to be deep in the mountains and forests in the first place, like those at Wulingyuan scenic spot, Zhangjiajie city in west of Hunan. The wild rhesus macaques that inhabit the area are under second class State protection. These primates enjoy so much freedom in the area that you will be mistaken in thinking they're tame, they're not! Think twice before feeding them or you might end up getting caught in the middle of cartload of squabbling macaques.
Take time out to enjoy the flowers
Option 1: Hunan Forest Botanical Garden
The plum blossom, known as Meihua (梅花) in Chinese, is one of the most beloved flowers in China and has been depicted in Chinese art and poetry for centuries. It is seen as a symbol of winter and a herald of spring. A prime season for wintersweets, more than 300 pots of exquisite plum blossoms in over 20 varieties await visitors to Hunan Forest Botanical Garden.
Option 2: Paragon Garden of Xiangtan
No bragging. Even in winter, rhododendron flowers that bloom as red as flame are within your sight if you are willing to take a half-hour drive from Changsha. The first International Rhododendron Culture Festival is now attracting thousands of visitors to Paragon Garden in Xiangtan. More than 700 top rhododendron varieties from over 50 countries and regions are exuding beauty and fascination. If you happen to be a foodie as well, never miss the opportunity to taste delicacies from across the country while taking in the "rhododendron flower sea".
Recommendation: Orange Island Park in Changsha
2016 Orange Island International Lantern Festival [Photo by Xiong Wei / Changsha Evening News]
The lanterns this year contain more creative ideas than ever. On top of traditional Chinese style lanterns, there are numerous unique lanterns with themes of cartoons, games, movies and so on. Visitors can come across scene representations from films such as Monkey King: Hero Is Back (a 2015 Chinese animation film), Frozen (2013 American 3D musical fantasy film), Fishing Joy (a popular game in which the player fishes) and "Chinese Baymax" (a fictional superhero in Big Hero 6). Besides all of these, exciting acrobatic performances and interactive activities are lined up to catch your breath.
Literature and art
Recommendation 1: Changsha Binjiang Cultural Park
Changsha Binjiang Cultural Park [Photo by Zou Lin / Changsha Evening News]
What to do with bored children during their winter vacation? Take them to Binjiang Cultural Park! As the latest culture landmark in Changsha, Binjiang Cultural Park is home to a museum, library, concert hall and urban planning exhibition. Various performances and exhibitions will do wonders for children’s growth, helping them cultivate a taste for art and culture.
Recommendation 2: Taskin 24-hour Bookstore (Changsha)
Taskin 24-hour Bookstore [Photo by Wang Zhiwei / Changsha Evening News]
As the first 24-hour bookstore in Changsha, Taskin is a favorite among residents. You can sit, perch or wander around the bookshelves in a warm atmosphere, sipping from a festive hot latte, mocking the cold wind and shivering snowflakes outside. Even during the Spring Festival, the lights here will be on for you.
Hitting the ski slopes
Recommendation 1: Liuyang Dawei Mountain National Forest Park
The skiing area in Dawei Mountain, Liuyang, Hunan [Photo/ Changsha Evening News]
Yinghuafeng Skiing Area, the most interesting and standard alpine skiing course near the urban area of Changsha, is located in Dawei Mountain, Liuyang. Occupying 100,000 square meters, Yinghuafeng can hold 3,000 people with ski tracks at five different standards.
Recommendation 2: Dongshanfeng National Tourism Resort in Shimen county, Changde
The Dongshanfeng National Tourism Resort is only a short distance from Changsha. It is 1,516 meters above sea level and boasts a lowest temperature of minus 17 degrees Celsius. The unique geographical conditions bestows upon the moniker of "the best outdoor skiing area in the South".
By Zhang Qiong, edited by Owen Fishwick
Source: Changsha Evening News