South-central China : Hunan : Wulingyuan
Wulingyuan Scenic Area is comprised several national parks, the most famous of which is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, a 243 square mile park is full of stunning karst pillars of sandstone, covered with sub-tropical rainforest. The park is often covered in fog, adding to the mystery but obscuring views.
Wulingyuan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992
Flora and fauna
Wulingyuan covers 3 natural reserves, and contains over 500 tree species, including dawn redwood, believed extinct until it was re-identified in 1948. There are also giant salamanders, rhesus monkeys, and many bird types
There is extensive fog in the park at times, and summers are very humid. Temperatures vary greatly between early morning and late afternoon. In May, mornings can be a temperate 18°C but rapidly reaching 30°C by noon.
Wulingyuan is 155 miles northwest of Changsha. The best way to get in is to take transit from Zhangjiajie city. The closest domestic airport is Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport (IATA airport code DYG; formerly named Dayong Airport). A 1 hour minibus (10 yuan) goes from the main bus station in Zhangjiajie City to the village of Zhangjiajie Cun, at the entrance to the park. A taxi from Zhangjiajie city to Wulingyuan entrance should cost about 100RMB.
Warning: Be careful with the taxi drivers in the parking lot. They are likely unwilling to use the meter. They may claim that your destination is very far and attempt to charge you a "parking lot fee". Call your hotel/hostel to find how much the trip should cost and ask them to speak with a taxi driver for you. It should cost only 20-40 RMB total for a trip from the airport to Zhangjiajie city.
As of May 2012, the only option available from the ticket office at the main entrance is the comprehensive ticket, which costs 248RMB and includes 3 day park pass, free rides on the internal bus system, and some sort of insurance. Students under 25 years with valid student ID (foreign also works if you show your passport) can buy student tickets for 160 (+3 yuan insurance).
You can also get a discount ticket if your are 60 years old or older. You need your passport to prove your age.
7 days admission ticket is 298 yuan, and 193 yuan for students and elders.
There are two cable cars in the park, one near Zhangjiajie Cun that runs for half a mile up to the top of Huang Shi Zhai, and one a few miles to the east that goes near Suoxiyu Cun another half mile to a road to the north. Many other roads go across the park, and many hiking trails go in between those.
There are two main ticketing gates, one at Zhangjiajie (West side) and one at Wulingyuan (East side). From each of those gates there are buses that take you up to the actual park entrance for free.
To understand better where these places are, a few different kinds of maps can be found on the official governmental site 
This famous stream begins near the Zhangjiajie village park entrance and continues for several kilometres through the park. There is a walking path along the length of the stream, from where you can look up at the karsts all around you.
At around the halfway point (200 meters before Zicao Pool) you will come to a restaurant/souvenir shop. At this point there is a bridge across the stream, which leads to a different trail (about 4.5km) through the Shadao Gully. The second half of the Shadao Gully trail is a steep flight of steps, but it leads to one of the most beautiful areas of the park. At the top of the staircase is a road with frequent buses that can take you to the First Bridge of the World (to the right) or to Xianren Qiao (to the left) and many other places. There is also Zhongtian International Youth Hostel (Yuanjiajie) just 50 meters to the right along the road (see Lodging below).
If you continue along the Golden Whip Stream around 200 meters after Zicao Pool you will come to "Meeting of Thousands of Ways" attraction point. Here you can turn to another trail which eventually leads you to the following attraction points with great view: Back Garden, Enchanting Terrace, First Bridge of the World (see below).
After another 2 km of walking the Goldern Whip Stream path ends by a bus station with souvenir shops and food outlets. From here you can take a bus to the lower stations of Bailong elevator (72 RMB adult one-way), sightseeing mini-train, Tianzi Mountain cable car(67 RMB adult one-way) and also to the Wulingyuan park entrance.
Other attractions in the area, about a 10 yuan taxi-ride away (Negotiate with the driver) include:
Warning: The restaurants inside Zhangjiajie National Forest Park may present menus printed with ridiculous tourist prices (for example, 388 RMB = 55 USD for a whole chicken dish). However, you can try to bargain. After some heated insistence, we were able to get more than 50% off the menu prices. It's better to save your appetite (and money) for the string of restaurants located outside the park entrance.
In Zhangjiajie Cun lots of little restaurants have exotic wildlife on display in cages outside - which turn out to constitute the menu. You can have turtle, snake, toad and a huge variety of interesting and obscure fish and shellfish. Definitely interesting. It has been suggested some of these are endangered species, however.
Note that Wulingyuan is in Hunan province, a region known for its spicy cuisine.
There are hotels in both the main villages, Zhangjiajie Cun and Suoxiyu Cun, and there are simple inns throughout the reserve
Railway Hotel (Tielu Binguan)- a budget hotel in Zhangjiajie village which can be booked online for 120 yuan for a double room.
Chinese-speaking touts offering rooms will meet visitors at the Zhangjiajie village bus station. You can probably get a cheap room for about 50 yuan for a double by following one of these guys.
Hiking is not good here for those with fear of heights, or dropoffs, or generally being near really steep cliffs, but you can always stick to the roads or take a boat cruise