Hengyang On a BudgetHengyang, China is a stunning, historically significant, city in southern China. With an almost six-thousand-year old history, Hengyang is the second largest city in the Hunan Province and is known for its agricultural, fishing, and rice. Near Hengyang is Mount Heng, a mountain famous in Chinese history and religion; it has 72 peaks and dozens of temples in the town below it.
As the city is located in the middle reaches of the Xiang River, there is mild weather all year round. Temperatures tend to get higher in spring and autumn, around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and bring about the rainy season. With that said, Spring and Autumn tend to have the best weather for travel versus the hot summers and chillier winters.
SightsYou can't visit Hengyang without a stop at Mount Heng, one of the five Sacred Mountains in China and a National Scenic Spots accreditation. With 72 peaks, there's plenty to explore, although one of the best peaks is Huiyan. Here, you'll find the misty rain pond where mist rises, making it one of the eight wonders of Hengyang. The Huiyan Peak even has a poem written about it because of this mysterious pond.
Back in Hengyang, you'll find Dongzhou Island, a very beautiful and relaxing island with a temple and monetary at the north end. Then, head to Yueping Park which has the City Museum on the west end along with a zoo. On the south end of the park you'll find a man made lake designed for boating. You can also just walk along and take in the stunning pavilions, bridges, and pebble paved paths. At night, go to West Lake Park to enjoy the locals dancing in the square.
NeighborhoodsBeing such a large city, the area is divided into five districts. The Yanfeng district is home to the Huiyan Peak, Yeuping Park, and a few other smaller parks. Shingu district is where the Shigu Academy, West lake Park, and Lianhu Square are located. Zhuhui district has the Hengyang rail station and bus station, Linghu Lake, and Hengyang College Town. Zhengxiang is home to the city government, another bus terminal, and the Ecology Park. Finally, there is Nanyue district, which is home to Mount Heng.
ActivitiesWhether you prefer to hike or take a cable car, Mount Heng is a must see. The entire hike itself takes about 4-5 hours along a well kept path. There are restaurants and bathrooms along the way up. The views from the top though are too beautiful to pass up!
For some fun and games, head to the amusement park located inside or Yueping Park where you'll find a few rides and carnival games. For something a little more relaxed, take a quiet boat ride on West Lake Park or enjoy the hot springs at Leiyang Shennong.
Food and DiningHengyang's food is much like the food in other areas of the Hunan Province: spicy and fresh. Thanks to Hengyang being a big agricultural hub, you'll find a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, along with lots of seafood. You'll find everything from spicy fried potatoes to fish head stewed with tofu, and even spicy freshwater snails. There are plenty of restaurants throughout the area to keep any palate happy and full. You'll find a few bars in the area, many of which serve Zhangfei and Huzijiu wines which are the wines of the Hunan Province.
TransportationThere is a fairly new airport taking in domestic flights and is not too far from the city center. Depending on whether you are going to the mountain or the city first, you can take the train to Henyang or Hengshan, the latter is the mountain base. Buses also run similarly into the city.
Buses are the main mode of transportation, especially with many of the sights being fairly far apart. You can find a few locally run tour buses that take you around the city and to Mount Heng. Taxis are plentiful, but always ask for the meter to be turned on. Motor cabs are another popular option, although you must bargain your price for these.