China 🇨🇳 - Zhangjiajie

· 7 min read
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Tips 👏

  • There’s no western restaurant around Wulingyan.
  • Ask your hotel to give you a map of the surrounding.
  • It’s hot during the day and cold during the night so bring warm clothes.
  • Book your tickets in advance for Tianmen Mountain since they usually sold out.
  • That was the highlight of our trip, make sure to stay at least four nights since there’s plenty to do.

🏠 Accommodation

We stayed at the Guihua Road 106th Hotel in Wulingyan and we recommend. Clean and big room for cheap price.

🚲 Getting there

We commuted by plane with Juneyao Air from Chongqing, one hour flight.

⏱ Duration

We stayed four nights, but five would have been better.

❌ Miss

We missed the Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in Zhangjajie because of illness. We can’t say much about this, besides it’s the highest and longest glass bridge in the world, connecting two valleys.

There is three main attractions in Zhangjiajie, all about 40 minutes by car from one to another:

We decided to stay in Wulingyan, around 40 minutes from the airport by car, since it was closer from the national forest park. Our hotel was 15 minutes walk from the east entrance of the park, which was a delight. The town itself is also nicer than Zhangjiajie since smaller with a lot of shop and restaurants, surrounded by the mountains. We spread our stay as followed: day one and two in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, day three for Grand Canyon, day four Tianmen Mountain and commute directly to Fenghuang. It was pretty ideal since gave us enough time to enjoy all the sites without having to rush.

Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area 🚡

Located at the north of the park, we reached the top by using the cable car (pretty high, not ideal for people having issues with vertigo like me). The tickets costed 76RMB one way and we bought them on the site itself (called Mount Tianzi Cableway).

From the park entrance in Wulingyan, after passing the security, we took the bus pointing out the cable way (there’s english signs). We then jumped in the cable car and enjoyed-ish the view at the top. From there, we grabbed a shuttle to the scenic area (where we also found a McDonald’s). We then went out of the bus and carried on walking on the right, until we reached a second bus stop. There was tons of small chinese takeaway restaurant, which we thought were a very good option to stop for lunch (we didn’t and regretted it).

We then queued and jumped on a bus until Dingxiangrong. Be careful, the bus drivers are not friendly and do not stop by default (we missed our stop the first time). A good tip is to keep your GPS on and check where you are. Once you see the site parking, shout something random and the bus will let you out. In our case, we shouted when we saw a place with small golf card, we then got off the bus and walked toward the platform.

After, we bought our tickets for the electric car and started the 10 minutes journey in scenic road. At the end, we had an extra little walk and we enjoyed one of the craziest view we ever saw. We were basically on top of one the cliff. We could also see the Bailong Elevator.

Pictures and vertigo later, we came back to the first area (nearby the cable car), and went down to the pagoda (after MacDonald’s). There was a path with stairs going down the mountain. It took us about 1h30 of stairs going down in the forest with amazing viewpoints. At the end, there was a garden with tons of monkeys which we could observe from very close. Then, we took a small train which bringing us back to the bus station.

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Yuanjiajie Scenic Area 🏔

We started our journey same as the day before, but this time we took a bus toward the Bailong Elevator. We paid a round trip ticket of the elevator, the highest in the world, and arrived at the top of the mountain. From there, we started the incredible scenic path on the cliffs. Careful, it’s hard if you suffer from vertigo.

One mountain is called Hallelujah mountain, which has inspired the decor of the Avatar movie. The highlight of this area is a tiny natural bridge, made of stone connecting two cliffs. The whole path took us around two hours to do. Once we were done, we wandered around for a bit to then going back down via the Bailong Elevator.

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Tianmen Mountain 🌟

Way easier to access, we saw crazy views from the top, as well as the Heaven’s Gate (biggest and highest hole in the world). We jumped in a taxi from Wulingyan to Zhanjiajie city centre for 40 minutes, and went to the cable car station. We picked-up our tickets and started queuing for 2 hours. After waiting, we finally jumped in a cable car and start ascending the mountain for 15 minutes. Careful, the middle station was closed when we been there, so we went all the way to the top in one shot. If you have vertigo, take your disposition upfront. I wasn’t ready for this and the second leg was a nightmare.

Once at the top, we took a break and enjoyed the view. We could catch a second lift to the peak for extra cash, but we didn’t do it. We decided to take the west bound path on the cliff of the mountain, toward the Heaven’s Gate. We also opted for doing the scary glass bridge. After 30 minutes of breath-taking views, we arrived at the escalator station, jumped in and started a serie of 8 escalators, leading us to the top of the Heaven’s Gate. We again enjoyed the view, and started walking down the 999 steps representing the longevity. We were glad we did it in that order.

At the end of the stairs, we turned back and admired the amazing view on the gate. We then jumped into a bus to get back to the city centre, via a very curvy road.

We hired a private driver for the day, so he could keep our luggages in the car (since we checked out from the hotel) for 600RMB too. Once back, the driver brought us to the bus station where we started our journey to Fenghuang. It took us about 5/6 hours to visit Tianmen mountain, including queuing time.

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