Picturesque city of Zhangjiajie in the northwestern part of Hunan has been given due recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.


Zhangjiajie was propelled on the world map after the release of one of the most successful high-grossing James Cameron Sci-Fi film “Avatar” in December 2009, as an inspiration for the floating mountain known as “Hallelujah Mountains” in the film. But in-fact the picturesque city of Zhangjiajie in the northwestern part of provincial Hunan has been given due recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992.

The city is divided into two districts Yongding and Wulingyuan, two counties Cili and Sangzhi. Spanning 9,518 Km square, it seems as if all of heaven decided to create a beautiful gigantic emperor’s garden of plants with little towns and streams flowing in between the greens. Wulingyuan nestled in the centre, just like the heartbeat of the city where the “Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area” lies.

There are many nooks and crannies to be discovered which can take travelers up to a month or maybe two. If you are the type of traveler which like to immerse and understand the local culture it’s a perfect tranquil place for exploration. But if you have just that few days in beautiful Zhangjiajie, then you must visit these nine places below:

1. Tianmen Mountain, Within Zhangjiajie National Forest

The world’s longest cable car ride. Able to see the windy roads leading up to Tianmen Mountain.

A ride in the world’s famous longest cable car up to the peak of the mountain at 4,982 feet is a journey that would last a lifetime. As if you are floating through heaven as they scenery unfolds in front of you. Once you summit, there are walkways built onto the cliff face.

Another not be missed once up there is to the “Heavenly Peak Pavilion” an impressive hole in the mountain, a chairlift connecting the Tianmenshan temple with the Heavenly Peak Pavilion, and there is an escalator to take you from the mountain top to near the top of the hole in the mountain stairs.

2. Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge (World’s highest glass-bottomed bridge)

Many have come to have heard of this magnificent engineering structure, given that the bottom is glass the view of the vistas is beautiful. Suspended between two grand canyons for those who are unafraid you can look down, some even find their legs a tad bit wobbly but a sense of achievement after having crossed the glass bridge! Limited up to 8,000 visitors a day only.

3. Yuanjiajie (Avatar mountain)

“Avatar Hallelujah Mountains” … when thick fog moves in the tip of the mountain seems like it’s floating.

The most popular spot in the park and where you’ll find the “Avatar Hallelujah Mountains”! It was officially renamed in January 2010 after the movie in appreciation to the social message as the original name of the mount has been known as “Southern Sky Column”. It surely must be remarkable as the quartz-sandstone pillars at 1,080-meter …. owing its conceptualization on the seemingly mirage of floating islands once the thick fogs draws in, leaving the tip of the mountains visible. How great is the influence of the movie “Avatar”. Hence for those who have not watch it, I strongly recommend you do before you visit heavenly “Yuanjiajie”.

4. The Yellow Stone Village (Huangshizhai)

The Yellow Stone Village (Huangshizhai). The Bailong Elevator, an impressive sight to behold.

There is known saying … “It seems as if you have never visited Zhangjiajie, if you do not visit the Yellow Stone Village when you are here.” Two routes to choose from, one is by cable way and 3 minutes by bus road at Laomuwang to the village on top. The other is by hiking with 3,800 steps to the top in approximately 2 hours. Challenging but rewarding once you have achieved the hike! There is a buffet restaurant on the top of Yellow Stone Village.

5. Golden Whip Stream (Jinbianxi)

Golden Whip stream (Jianbian brook to some). The stream beds are gentle, and lush green in springtime

Owing to its name, this mystical brook was named due to the resemblance of a Chinese weapon, the Bian (鞭子) or the whip. Also known as “the most poetic valley in China”. The stream beds are gentle, and lush green in springtime. The air quality is pure and refined. You might meet some furry friends or two and make sure you do not offer them food.

6. Yangjiajie (Peak wall)

Yangjiajie, named in honour of the Yang family.

The Yangjiejie area dates back to a history where the mountains are named in honour of the “Yang Family”. The Yang family were of aristocrats who rose to power and fame during the Song (CE 960-1279) Dynasty. Three generations of Yangs, most of whom served the state or so the story goes. Being the fourth subsection of the Wulingyuan Scenic area and the last to be developed as an attraction. Equipped with equally breathtaking vistas once you reach the mountain top!

7. Yellow Dragon Cave (Huanglongdong)

Yellow Dragon Cave

The Yellow Dragon Cave is an impressive sight to visit, the systems within covers a very deep area. Inner recess of the cave is divided into four layers, two dry ones and two possessing waterways. Imagine a cave which have wonders within wonders include: one natural reservoir, 2 underground rivers, 3 pools, 4 waterfalls, 13 grand halls, 96 passageways and hundreds of thousands of stalagmites, columns and stalactites. It is said to have been discovered by some friends in the early 1980’s. It takes approximately two hours to tour this impressive cave. There have been constant upgrade of the cave facilities for the comfort of visitors, but yet still preserving its essence.

8. Baofeng Lake (Baofenghu)

The emerald beauty of Baofeng Lake, Zhangjiajie City.

Visitors visiting this calm, serene lake surrounding by greeneries of Baofeng mountain would never have guessed that this is a man made lake. Located within the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, it is just 8 km away from Tianzi Mountain and 8 km away from Yellow Dragon Cave. However it is worth visiting this emerald beauty.

9. Phoenix the Ancient Town (Fenghuang)

The ancient village of Phoenix.

If you are someone who is poetic and appreciate literature, making a pilgrimage to the ancient village of Fenghuang which translates to Phoenix is a must. Placed on the world map by Shen Congwen (沈从文), many have come to pay homage to this celebrated Chinese writer hailed for his modern literature at that time and whose works were later made into movies in the early 80’s. Easy to see why literature grow and thrive in this village, as it has been preserved through centuries past, a magnet for backpackers. The main draw is the rich Miao and Tujia ethnic culture and its architecture which dates as far back to the Ming dynasty.

Departure: 9 APRIL – 15 JUNE 2018HOT!
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