Baofeng Hu is situated in Suoxiyu Natural Reserve in the Wulingyuan District of Zhangjiajie and it is a serene, fresh water lake surrounded by mountain peaks. It is named after Baofeng Mountain which means “Treasure Peak Mountain” and is believed to be Paradise on earth and the bathing place of fairies.
After getting off the bus at the main entrance, we had to walk a distance of between 1 to 1.5km on an inclining pathway and then climb quite a lot of steps up a small hill to get to the pier.
Though it was only mid morning, the place was already swarming with different groups of tourist waiting to get on to the boats. Things got a little heated, when a group of mainland Chinese tourist decided to cut queue and pushed their way through to the front. As you can imagine, there was a skirmish when tempers flared and some inevitable scuffling. One civic-minded Chinese tour guide climbed onto the railings and speaking through a loudhailer asked the crowd to calm down as no one was going anywhere since there weren’t sufficient number of boats to cope with the large turnout and he asked the culprits to behave themselves and not disgrace the Chinese people in front of all the foreigners. That seemed to knock some sense into their heads as they retreated and the commotion died down as quickly as it had started. I heaved a sigh of relief, as I was wedged between the railings and the human tide and it was seriously really uncomfortable.
In the 1970’s work was carried out to fill the faults in the lake with concrete so that it could store water. Baofeng Hu covers an area about 15 hectares with an average depth of 72 metres, and has the capacity to hold 6 million cubic meters of water. This body of water is produced by rainfall, mountain springs and underground streams and stays emerald in colour all year round.
One of the distinguishing geographical features of Zhangjiajie is the pillar-like structures that are formed over years of erosion by expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them.
It was interesting to hear a traditional Tujia courtship between a young couple performed in a sung repartee. They were stationed on different boats a few metres apart and we could hear their voices ringing out clearly in this peaceful environment save for the chirping birds, rippling water and the incongruous chugging boat.
The boat ride lasted about 20 mins and it gave us an opportunity to view the interesting rock formations, surrounding mountains, lush greenery and clean emerald coloured lake close up. We cruised pass a tiny island in the middle of the lake as well and it was overall a pleasant experience.
We walked a short distance from the disembarkation point at the pier and got to these amazing winding steps built into the sides of the cliff.
To get to the exit we had to pass a garden and then a souvenir store. An ingenious idea no doubt to get tourists to at least look at what they have to offer but I find it tiresome to have to navigate pass the persistent salesperson bugging you to buy something kitsch which you don’t like nor want.
The garden was lovely with blooming spring flowers and amongst the favoured roses I spotted these other pretty ones.
Our final stop was at the Baofeng Lake Scenic Area where there is a waterfall pouring out from the middle of the mountain, flowing downwards to a reservoir. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is man-made but it does not bother the throngs of tourists clamouring to get the perfect pose and shot for their holiday albums.