Exploring south central: Changsha

In China’s Hunan Province lie the undiscovered gems of Changsha and Zhangjiajie. With places like Shanghai, and Beijing, these two cities tend to be overlooked — but they are not to be ignored.

Changsha: alley off of Taiping Street; lanterns are hung for Chinese New Year. Photo by Kevin Mao
Changsha: a statue of young Mao Zedong on Orange Islet in Juzhizhou. Photo by Kevin Mao

Eager to bring these locations to light, Cathay Pacific Airways and Passion Passport sent two of our team members and a PP community member to unearth the mystery themselves. For a week they traversed the charming streets of Changsha, enjoying fantastic street food and exploring the biggest inland island in China — the Orange Isle.

Zhangjiajie: monk in temple on Tianmen Mountain. Photo by Kevin Mao
Zhangjiajie: temple on Tianmen Mountain. Photo by Kevin Mao


They discovered temples and followed paths that led them to Tianmen mountain at sunset, where they photographed crystalline droplets glistening through a clearing of trees. But their biggest endeavor was running through Zhangjiajie’s magnificent forest, where its jagged, misty mountains served as inspiration for the 2009 blockbuster, Avatar.

Exploring the Southeast: Travels in Xiamen

The city of Xiamen graces China’s southeastern coast and provides visitors with a wealth of attractions within the city or just a short distance away. Xiamen is an exciting destination in itself, as well as a gateway to more rural sites in eastern China; Cathay Pacific Airways and Passion Passport sent a team and community member to explore its lesser-known attractions.

Yongding, Longyan: entrance to Fuyulou Changdi Inn. Photo by Kyle Peters
Lujiang residential district, Xiamen: early morning rituals. Photo by Kyle Peters

The team explored the Lujiang district and had the opportunity to meet residents in Xiamen’s Bailuzhou Park who gifted them tea samples from the region and suggested particularly scenic walking routes. They sampled traditional dishes, attempted to eat their body weight in dim sum, and discovered the markets and parks that make this location so culturally unique.

They visited temples, thoroughfares, green spaces, and nearby islands. After photographing the city, the team then traveled to the Yongding District of Longyan, near the border of Guangdong, to visit the villages characterized by their unique, circular tulou houses, where they also watched local craftsmen at work. The trip was a glimpse into the meticulously orderly metropolis of Xiamen that is nestled next to slower-paced rural villages — both offer unique, unforgettable experiences and feel like places on the rise.

Huweishan Park, Xiamen: the park by night. Photo by Kyle Peters
Yongding, Longyan: traditional Tulou houses. Photo by Kyle Peters

To venture off the beaten path and see more of China’s less-visited, but equally beautiful regions, visit Cathay Pacific’s My China Experience website.