- Who am I? about my family
- Where are we exactly and how to get here? Pick up from airport or train station
- About our Town of JinJing | between Changsha & JinJing
- Language and translation
- My inMountains Summer Camp
- Learn Mandarin online from Julian
- Teaching jobs in Changsha
- Our Great Slope Animal Sanctuary, donation and Volunteers
- Local People & Culture | What did Philip Hyatt say about Jinjing and the inn
- Activities | hiking
- Consider staying in Jinjing for up to three months? | costs
It is up to 70 mins drive to the Changsha Airport. If you are expecting to stay in Changsha, please consider staying with us. You will find the rural China quite charming and exciting.
If you are here to find out our room rates, it is 110 Yuan, about $20 per room. Meals are 25 Yuan per person. Click here to find out the information of booking a room online as well as the pictures. Click here to take a look at our typical food.
Who are we
My name is Julian Luo, Chinese name 罗军. I speak fluent English and I am here most of the time. So don’t need to worry about the language barrier. This web page is written by myself. I have worked in California, for some years, before that I was a translator in the city of Changsha, owned a translation agency.
I decided to return to my hometown of Jinjing to develop this country inn and educational camp, mainly because this had been my dream for years. I had always dreamed of a big house with a big garden, and the location should be where I was born and raised up, the Great Slope Village, so I did it.
I have helped international guests to obtain visa for China, arranged their trips in this country. Most of them are American architects and designers who needed my service and experience to find jobs in China. That was my main business before this inn. But the economy has turned downside, so I walked into this bed and breakfast business.
My mother is the cook and does all the cleaning.
We have a dining room on the ground floor.
Most of our foods are from an organic vegetable garden of our own. My mother has over a dozen free range chickens/ducks/geese beside the vegetable garden, they live happily under trees.
We never use pesticides, seldom use chemical fertilizer to grow our vegetables. We buy vegetables from neighbors, seldom from the local market.
We buy fresh small fish from villagers who catch them from the river using a type of long trap.
Every now and then, there will be ladies from other towns visiting the village, carrying sun-dried fresh water small fish and tiny shrimps. We will buy them to leave for our guests.
We also serve goat meat, fresh water eel, fresh mushroom, etc.
Where to visit
Our town, with the population of 65,000, is surrounded by green hills with diverse wildlife living in the Mountains. Jinjing is in the south of China with abundant rainfall, which created peaceful lakes in the mountains which used to be water reservoirs for agricultural purpose. My hometown is featured in numerous fish ponds, paddy fields, vegetable farms.
The best seasons of sightseeing are spring, early summer and fall.
One of the most popular activities that visitors enjoy is cycling: the peaceful paddy fields, clean air, planned and guided country roads, and the rivers…birds are returning, the local people looks friendly to foreigners.
We have over ten bicycles for rental: 3 Yuan per hour.
Jinjing is famous for high quality organic green tea. Many tourists come here to ride a bike in the guided tea plantation traits. We have been planting green tea for centuries, probably thousands of years. The Golden Tea has been in the markets of all over the world. The following pictures show our spring camp activities in the tea plantations. The girls were learning to make tea by hands.
In one of the plantation there is a Manchurian tiger breeding center, one of the three large breedinig centers in the nation. There are currently over 60 tigers, half of them bred here in Jinjing. Those big cats seem really enjoy living in a much warmer place like Jinjing. One of the picture shows an American which visited the tiger breeding center in 2014, and then taught English in our winter camp in 2017. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer teaching English in Jinjing, please click here.
Changsha County is the richest in the Province of Hunan due to the fact that we surround the city of Changsha from three sides. Jinjing therefore has the money to filter industries in the area. Those with pollution were relocated over ten years ago, now our environment is basically satisfactory, the wildlife are returning.
Getting to know local people & history
Welcome to experience the rural lifestyle and charm of a southern Chinese town with over two thousand years of history. Based on the relics found here and there, we have evidence that show Jinjing’s history dated back to the Spring and Fall Period, when Confucius was alive.
This human-face patterned copper stagger was found in Jinjing, 1982. 春秋 indicates the period of Spring and Autumn.
None of the local knows what cheese is, very few of them have seen a steak, and most of them have never used a fork to eat, however, local people are all willing to show you the way if you are lost hiking or biking in Jinjing. And many of them know exactly where our inn is because I have brought many international tourists to this almost isolated mountain town since five years ago.
Our local dialect is one of the many in this mountainous province. In ancient times, this kind of geographic conditions made transportation difficult, thus diversity of culture and dialects. People living in the north like Beijing, or Shanghai, or Hong Kong what we are talking about. Even people living in the city of Changsha will find it impossible to understand even half of our conversations.
Our inn is about fifteen minutes walk from the town center, so guests are encouraged to visit the restaurants, theater, market, post office in the evening, or take the bus to Changsha. You may also take the bus to nearby towns, and then take it back to Jinjing.
You are also encouraged to talk to the local children in schools, or invite them to our inn. They do not speak much English but I will be happy to be your translators. If you are also interested in this idea but cannot get here, you are welcome to join our China-USA Friends network.
Jinjing has great trails for hiking due to the fact that we are surrounded by mountains, and nowadays less and less families live in there. The wildlife are taking back their territories, very few people cut the woods for construction purpose, nobody cut them as fuel.
Attend a traditional funeral
You may have, through some Chinese movies, seen traditional Chinese weddings. Here, our weddings are not as traditional/complicated as those shown in the movies anymore. But a funeral has kept a lot more elements of our traditional cultures and they are worth to attend, even for us. In our culture, seniors have a lot of respect from others even after their death. So it is not surprising that a funeral is more complicated and sometimes more costly than a wedding, at least in the countryside communities where more traditions are reserved.
Talking to local families
If you are learning Chinese language or Chinese culture, then go out and talk to the local families. They love that. I will be happy to be your private translator.
Visiting local schools
Towns like Jinjing cannot afford native English speakers as their English teacher and most of the students have never seen a foreigner before. So if you are willing to spend half a day to talk to them, they will be thrilled. Again I will be happy to be your translator, for free, as I have done before. If you are willing to be a volunteer in Jinjing, click here.
Earthhome & permaculture
Permaculture is a great system for home/farm planning, I have just started to experience it in my small family farm, you are welcome to join.
I am also planning to build some earth homes /hobbit holes for dogs, click here to find out more about our Great Slope Animal Sanctuary project, part of our educational summer camp.
an American who has visited Jinjing twice
Philip Hyatt (Arkansas): I really enjoyed visiting Julian’s Inn with Andie Jo in 2015. We stayed there for a week, but it was during construction. Andie Jo and I helped in a very small way (probably not enough). I highly recommend this hotel for anyone who wants to experience rural China away from the large cities and see the real countryside. Not many westerners had visited the area at that time; Julian said we were the third and fourth in town! We were able to go to nearby shops and buy food and other items easily, despite the fact my use of Mandarin was quite limited and I did not speak the local dialect of Chinese. I found it a real pleasure, and was welcomed with open arms when visiting a local Buddhist temple perhaps a half mile away, for example, speaking with the monks in my poor Mandarin Chinese. Julian pointed out the 金井 or “gold well” that the town of 金井（jin1 jing3 in pinyin）that was dug centuries ago and had supplies the town’s water in the past. Who needs a car? Everything you need to see the real China is close by.
One morning, after a walk I saw my granddaughter shoveling an 8 foot diameter pile of mortar mix (notes: helping Julian) at Julian’s hotel. I immediately thought, “Wow, I’m impressed. This is exactly the experience I wanted her to get to see the real China, not just the big cities.
Jinjing is an ancient town with many modern homes and conveniences like the internet. Jinjing (金井) means “Gold Well” and is named after an old well that previously provided water to the town. The region is in the richest part of Hunan Province but still gave us a taste of “the real China” away from most tourist regions. We visited a local tea plantation where the owner said some of the tea cost as much as $1000 per kilogram. “Americans aren’t rich enough to buy our best tea. We sell it in Germany and Europe.” It would not be the last time I felt like I am the one who lives in a third world country, not my Chinese friends.
Consider to live in our inn for 3 months?
How much the cost would be
We charge 2,000 Yuan per guest per month for a room, including food, and laundry services. That’s just $10 a day.
If you book your tickets a few months in advance, a two ways ticket from LAX to Changsha could be as low as $600.
Don’t worry about the language, safety. You will eat healthier food cooked by us, grown in our own vegetable garden. You will be able to ride one of our bicycles to explore the neighboring towns, villages.
We will give you a mobile phone with a local number, so that you can keep in touch with your friends, and me, your translator.
FYI, the countryside communities kept the most of Chinese traditions.
Relations between Changsha & Jinjing
Changsha is not a popular destination for international tourists. But for those who have been to China and seen Beijing, Shanghai and the Xi’an Terra-Cotta Warriors, Zhangjiajie is definitely a place to put on your list.
Where is Zhangjiajie? It is a national park in our Hunan province and you will need to stop by Changsha on the way to this beautiful park. In this case you want to experience the unique country life, instead of staying in another city hotel, consider this: we are not that far away from the airport and we offer pick up.
Here you can see a typical country town in the rural heart of China. We will show you what the local families’ lives are like. You will be taken to see the traditional funerals, weddings, etc. If you like, the local schools and children would love to communicate with you, actually everyone would love to do so as very few foreigners have visited this town, Jinjing.
Reserve a table in our restaurant
We do not have many guests. If you would like to dine here, please reserve your table in advance so that we have time to prepare fresh foods for you. You may just use Wechat 18974824900 to talk to Julian, or simply call him 0731-8620-4800. You may also use the form below to reserve a table, thank you.
How to get here
In most cases guests come here by car. The fare is about 250 Yuan depending on which part of Changsha you are departing from. We are in the northen-east of Changsha city.
You may also take a pool car here, and the cost is about 60 Yuan per guest.
The airport is not very far from our town. The taxi would ask for 200Yuan one way.
60 Yuan per person would be a shared car if you are coming by yourself. The drivers we recommend are from our town and work in the city. They know exactly where we are. We will not go to the airport, just call Julian to confirm when you meet the driver. My cell phone number is 18974824900.
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As you can see that we are in the south of the nation, which means it’s very green and humid.
This Google Earth capture above shows that our province is very green. The left part/west is mainly green mountains, while the eastern Hunan has more valleys and plains to develop large cities, including the largest city Changsha and two nearby cities Zhuzhou and Xiangtan. The three cities are merging into one urban zone actually. Look at where Hunan is marked. Above it the gray area is Changsha, and below it two smaller gray areas are Zhuzhou City and Xiangtan City. In most cases, you will get to Changsha first, and then go to other destinations from here.
The most popular destinations of Hunan are all located in the west. We call it Xiangxi Area (Xiang refers to Hunan, and Xi means West). You must have already been impressed by the mountains on top of this page, yes it is in Xiangxi. The impressive mountains are in a national forest park called Zhangjiajie. We will tell you more about this wonder on our planet.
Because the mountains made the traffic conditions very difficult to improve over the years in Chinese history, and therefor interacting between central China and the local tribes were strictly limited, the cultural diversities are kept in this province. While the eastern and southern Hunan population is mainly Han People, which is the dominant ethnic group in China, the west-northern area’s minority ethnic groups in Hunan Province are very important players of the local culture over thousands of years, if not always a leader. So please expect to explore this part of cultural and historical Hunan as well.
Three Ancient Cities: Changsha, Fenghuang and Yueyang
City of Changsha
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In addition to that, Changsha, the city you will fly in and out, is also an ancient city with thousands of years of history. Even though the city was burned during the WWII, the museums can show you what a splendid cultural history this province has. At the beginning of Chinese history, this area was considered remote as it is far from the center of China where the terra-cotta army is, but soon it was included in multiple dynasties’ ruling with the expansion of the empires.
Changsha is a city of over 2,000 years of rich history. Below is the wonderful excavations from the Changsha Mawangdui Tombs, which belong to Lady Xinzhui, one of the Empresses in Western Han Dynasty. The entire selection of finds are now displayed in Hunan Museum, so make sure you have half a day in Changsha for this museum next time. You do not need to book in advance. But it is not a museum open to the public. So having us book tickets for a foreign tourist is a good idea.
CAR RENTAL IN HUNAN
Q: Can I drive myself if I rent your cars?
A: No in China typically we provide the driver because of safety. However, if you only need a car in the cities, we may consider only renting the cars.
Q: What kinds of cars are they?
A: Chinese, Japanese, American, German cars of different sizes.
Q: Do you drive to the left or the right?
A: The right.
Q: Do you have GPS Guide on the cars?
A: Yes but we may have to do something with the language. You could use your smart phones to guide though.
Q: What are the typical rates?
A: From Changsha to Zhangjiajie, the typical rate is around $300~400 depending on the cars. Sounds good? Click here to send us a request.
Q: Is it safe to drive in China at all?
A: Not really for foreigners. That’s why we prefer providing our own drivers. They are not very costly compared to most western countries.
is a coastal city of the Dongting Lake, the second largest fresh water lake in China. It has been important being a transportation hub in history. Its cultural icon is the Yueyang Tower. However for international tourists it is less popular and unique than Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang.
How to Get Here
You can either fly to Changsha, or take a bullet train to Hunan. Most international tourists fly to one of the major flight hubs in China including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, or Hong Kong, and then fly to Changsha from there. If you are in California you may try to fly from LAX to Changsha directly because there are a new flights provided by both Chinese and American airlines. One of the flight is 2D788. Check it out. China’s Hainan Airline also flies from Changsha to LAX and the flight # are HU7924/HU7923.
If you are from Europe, you may consider Frankfurt <> Changsha. Three flights per week up to 2015 Summer.
Very soon, hopefully by the end of 2015, there will be flights from Changsha to Tokyo and Sydney. We will let you know.
China’s bullet trains are very competitive than the flights in terms of speed and efficiency, we recommend you to consider that. You can take the bullet trains from Shanghai, Guangzhou or Beijing or other large cities to get to Changsha easily. For instance, the time needed for a trip from Guangzhou to Changsha is about 3 hours, from Shanghai it is around 4, and from Beijing it is around 5 hours. It’s less than half the regular air fares.
One of the advantages of bullet trains is that you can see the real country side, smaller cities of China on both sides of the Chinese bullet trains. It can be messy, but will not be boring at all. The green southern country side is quite nice I believe, not as tidy as the European country side but very real and lively.
It is also possible that you take a cruise in the Yangtz River and land in the City of Yueyang, which is part of Hunan too, and then take the train to Changsha, or you can take a tourist bus from Yueyang to Zhangjiajie National Park directly. If it is not the first time you travel in China, you can choose this less convenient but different route as you will see deeply inside China’s more remote areas. We can arrange that if interested.
We can book the tickets for you wherever you depart for Hunan. Click here if you want to talk to our agents about booking tickets.
PEOPLE & LANGUAGE
Hunan is the 7th largest province in China in terms of population, with 90% of it being Han. The rest of Hunanese are minority ethnic groups such as Miao, Tujia, Hui, etc. These minority of residents live in more hilly and isolated areas such as the western part of Hunan, and therefore they kept various traditions and culture over the years, in addition to those ancient towns like Furong and Fenghuang.
People living here have our own dialects which are totally different from either Mandarin or Cantonese. However, nowadays almost everyone would understand Mandarin because of education and TV. But none of us speak Cantonese. We have many dialects spoken by Han people, and even different languages spoken by some of the minority ethnic groups. A few of these groups even have their own words for writing and recording.
This lady is called XinZhui, she is the empress of a kingdom in Western Han Dynasty. We may call her Mother of Hunan!
One of China’s most popular national parks is Zhangjiajie National Park.
Click here to get to know more about Zhangjiajie.
Typically it takes 3-4 days to travel to Zhangjiajie from Changsha, stay there for 2-3 nights or so, and then come back to Changsha where the international airport is located. We can also arrange a quick peak of Zhangjiajie if your time is tight, say 2 days.
Most tourists leave Changsha in the evening by a tourist bus, and return back to Changsha in the evening as well. If you do not like to travel like this, and want to relax a little more, we can rent a car for you with a professional driver. Check the typical price here.
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Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang), Hunan Province
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The city of Changsha, especially it’s Changsha County, is famous for Hunan Embroidery products. Many ladies in the entire county learned embroidery when they were young. And it’s a side income resource for many of them. These ladies would buy materials and patterns from their local family-owned embroidery factories, and work on those fabrics on their free time while taking care of the kids, cleaning, kitchen, vegetable gardens, paddy fields, cattle…that’s why their labor is cheap, and we can provide custom made gifts so affordable.
Booking tickets: plane, train, boats, bus…within China
Q: How much service fee would it be if you book tickets for us?
A: ￥20/train ticket, ￥30/air ticket.
Q: How do I pay you? in advance?
A: Yes you pay us in advance but we do not need your credit card info. You may pay us through PayPal, or wire transfer to our bank accounts in China. We will show you our bank info once you place an order.
Q: How do I trust you if everything is on line?
A: We are a registered business for over a decade now…We believe you will like us after we start to talk. So –
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