Dongting Lake is located in northeastern Hunan China. And it ranks as the second largest freshwater lake in China, following the Pouamg Lake in Jiangxi Province. This large and shallow lake is a flood-basin of the Yangtze River. The size of Dongting Lake is decided by the rainy season. It connects the Yangtze River to the north and the Xiangjiang River, Zi River, Yuan River, and Feng River to the south. And the The provinces of Hubei and Hunan are named after their location relative to the lake: Hubei means "North of the Lake" and Hunan means "South of the Lake" in Chinese.
Dongting Lake spreads wide on an area of 1,300 square kilometers. According to geologists, the lake area used to be part of an ancient anticline in south of the Yangtze River, but fell in a rupture during the movement of the Mount Yangshan 70 million years ago and became a lake. The area is well-known in Chinese history and literature. Dragon boat racing is said to have begun on the eastern shores of Dongting Lake as a search for the body of Qu Yuan, the Chu poet (340-278 BC), and a dragon-king is said to live at the bottom of the lake.
• Junshan, which was formerly a Daoist retreat, is a famous one-kilometer island with 72 peaks in the middle of the lake. The island is also famous for its Junshan Yinzhen tea. The basin of Dongting Lake and its surrounding area is famous for its scenic beauty, which has been encapsulated in the phrase.
• The Dongting Lake is also famous for historical scenic spots on the lakefront, including the Yueyang Pavilion, Junshan Mountain, Tomb of Du Fu, Wen Temple, and Longzhou Academy. At present, tourists can still enjoy five famous sights out of Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, namely the Autumn Moon on Dongting, Returned Sail from Faraway Riverside, Wile Gooses Settle on the Smooth Sand, Sunset Glow over Fishing Village, and Snow Curtain Hanging over the River Sky. Moreover, the Ten Shadows of Dongting Lake are also attractive sights, including Shadow of Sun, Shadow of Moon, Shadow of Cloud, Shadow of Snow, Shadow of Hill, Shadow of Tower, Shadow of Sail, Shadow of Fishing, Shadow of Gull, and Shadow of Wild Goose.
• East Dongting Lake Nature Reserve: In ancient time, East Dongting Lake was a part of Yunmeng Pool, and Dongting Lake is composed of East Dongting Lake, South Dongting Lake and West Dongting Lake. The East Dongting Lake Nature Reserve is one of China’s 30 important wetlands listed in the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Every year, 217 species of migratory birds under state protection live throught the winter here, such as white storks, white cranes, grey cranes and egrets. It will be a great fun if tourists take a boat tour of the lake to observe birds, listen to the waves, go fishing and taste delicious fish dishes in the nature reserve.