Hunan Travel Guide

Hunan Map, Hunan Travel GuideGeographic location

Hunan, the 11th largest province, is located in southeast China. The east, south and west sides of the province are surrounded by mountains and hills--the Wuling Mountains to the northwest, the Xuefeng Mountains to the west, the Nanling Mountains to the south, and the Luoxiao Mountains to the east.

The Xiangjiang, the Zijiang, the Yuanjiang and the Lishui Rivers join the Yangtze River at Lake Dongting in the north of Hunan. Most of Hunan Province lies in the basins of these four major tributaries.


Hunan has a humid continental and subtropical monsoon climate. It has an average annual temperature is 16°C-18°C (62-66F), a frost-free period of 260-310 days, and an annual precipitation rate of 1,200-1,700 mm. There are distinct seasonal climate changes, with a cold winter and hot summer. The temperature is changeable in spring, and declines rapidly in autumn. Nearly all the rain the province receives comes during the spring and summer months, while autumn and winter are very dry.

History and culture

Aboriginal Miao and Yao peoples live in the hills of south and west Hunan. Beginning in 1952, several autonomous reserves were established for these minorities. Hunan, traditionally the home of fighting men, supplied the troops that saved the Qing (Manchu) dynasty from the Taiping rebels (1850–64). Largely unoccupied by the Japanese in World War II, the province passed to Communist rule in 1949. Mao Zedong was born in Hunan.


At the end of the year 2005, the total population stood at 67.321 million, an increase of 344,000 from the 2004 figure. According to the census, nearly 90% of the population is Han and the minority groups are Tujia, Miao, Dong, Yao, Hui, Bai, Zhuang, and Uyghurs.

Yueyang Tower, Hunan Travel GuideTravel suggestions

Hunan has elegant scenery and numerous historic sites. It boasts over 20,000 cultural remains, including 22 national-level key protection units and 211 provincial-level key protection units. The province has four state-class natural reserves, 22 provincial-class natural reserves and 21 national forest parks. Hunan has 43 scenic areas. There are three national-level key scenic areas covering Mount Hengshan, WulingYuan, Yueyang Tower, Dongting Lake and Shaoshan, and 27 provincial–class scenic areas.

WulingYuan tourist area (including Zhangjiajie, Suoxi Valley and Tianzi Mountain and Mengdong River), with its unique assortment of limestone caves, brooks, hot springs, ancient trees and rare animals, has been placed by UNESCO on the World Natural Heritage list. Mount Hengshan is one of the sacred mountains of Buddhism and the location of a summer resort. Yueyang Tower is well known for its historical significance, folklore and grand architecture. Changsha, the provincial capital, is a historic and cultural city. Tourist sites there include Han Dynasty Tombs at Mawangdui, Yuelu Hill, Loving Youth Pavilion (Aiwanting), Orange Isle (Juzizhou), and the Yuelu Academy of Classical Learning.