Xidongting Wetland Park, one of the best places to creat your brid-watching tour in Hunan Province,is located in the eastern part of Hanshou County, Hunan Province.Covering an area of 35,680 hectares,it is the entrance to the Dongting Lake.In 1998, as approved by the Hunan Provincial Government, it was established as a provincial nature reserve. In 2002, it was included by UNESCO on the “List of 30 Wetlands of International Importance”. In 2005, it was designated by the National Ministry of Construction as one of 9 National City Wetland Parks. In 2008, it was granted the title of National AAA Scenic Spot by the National Tourism Bureau.
Xidongting Wetland is like a natural maze. There are abundant waterways and various islands with endless reeds together with a rich production of fish and rice. It is also known as a biological gene bank because it is the habitat for 416 different wet plants, 217 species of birds, and 118 species of fish.It also boasts a profound cultural influence as it is the birthplace of the Canglang Culture. Qu Yuan, the ancestor of Chinese Yongwu Poetry, once lived here and created many verses to honour the Dongting Lake, as did other men of letters, providing many local legends and a rich local mythology. Within the wetland there are more than 30 eco-tourism attractions and 4 cultural spots. It is becoming ever more popular among tourist agencies and travelers alike.
The Changsha-Zhangjiajie Expressway passes through this area with two exits at Junshanpu and Taizimiao. There is a county level railway station at Taizimiao on the Shimen-Changsha Railway. The No.319 National Highway and S205 Provincial Highway run through this area eastward and southward respectively. It is also within easy reach of the Huanghua International Airport (1 hour away) and the Taohuayuan Airport (40 minutes away). It provides waterway transportation which can reach many other places via the Dongting Lake.
Xidongting Wetland is the bridgehead of the golden tourist route of Changsha-Zhangjiajie, only a hundred kilometers east of Changsha, 40 km west of Changde, and about two-hours drive from Zhangjiajie.