Yongzhou (永州) is a prefecture-level city in southern Hunan province, bordering Guangdong further south and Guangxi to the southwest.
Yongzhou sits on the southern bank of the Xiang River, the same river that flows through Changsha and Xiangtan. The prefecture encompasses an area known as Xiangnan (湘南) that is worth enough to visit, with lush green mountains with caves, waterfalls, beautiful rivers with swimming opportunities and ancient towns with unique literary culture and history.
The most notable feature of Yongzhou might be the Nüshu script, a local script understood only by women in Jiangyong County.
Trains north to Changsha are frequent and cheap. Fast trains are available as well. If coming from the north, just go south to Guangxi and you are near to Guilin, where you have all the fantastic karst formation with hiking and climbing opportunities.
The city doesn't have much to offer. All the attractions, including the Nüshu script are located in other counties within the vicinity.
- Jiangyong County (江永县) Visit the old villages dotted throughout, which housed women that once developed a unique literary tradition with the Nüshu script, a phonetic scrip based on Chinese logograms only understood by them.
- Jianghua Yao Autonomous County (江华瑶族自治县)
Walk along the Xiang river.
Food here resembles those found in Guangxi. As like the rest of Hunan, people here enjoy Fen (粉, a noodle made of rice) and it comes with different ingredients. This particular Fen, is different throughout the province and it is fun trying out the varieties. The ones here have a Guangxi hint to it.
Locally brewed snake wine.
Take a train to Hengyang (two hours) and visit Hengshan Mountain, a sacred and local Buddhist pilgrim site.
Guilin is in the vicinity for karstic formations, where you have climbing and hiking opportunities.