9 Tips to Plan a Wonderful Zhangjiajie Trip
- One of China's Earliest UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Unparalleled Karst Landscape Like No Other
- Great Inspiration of the Floating Mountains in Avatar
- Top Travel Destination of Nature, Adventure, Hiking and Photography
Inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1991, Wulingyuan is the most extraordinary scenic area in Zhangjiajie, which covers a cluster of highlight spots including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianmen Mountain and Suoxiyu Nature Reserve. Zhangjiajie has been attracting tens of thousands of travelers home and abroad to get humbled by its unrivaled natural beauty.
Endowed with unique karst landscape, Zhangjiajie showcases entrancing natural scenery made up of peculiar peaks, grotesque rock formations, heart-stopping cliffs and dashing waterfalls that nowhere else in the world you would find anything like it. The unparalleled natural stunners would inspire you to find the real wonderland on the globe.
Zhangjiajie is an incredible fairyland boasting skyscraper-like pinnacles shrouded in mists and clouds all year round, which had inspired the Pandora's Hallelujah Mountain in the movie AVATAR. The floating mountains seem so surreal but they truly exist in Zhangjiajie that you won't believe your eyes when seeing the enchanting mountain crests.
Zhangjiajie is blessed with fascinating spots for nature, adventure, hiking and photography. The otherworldly landscapes of Zhangjiajie are beyond words, offering wild and rugged peak forests, bottomless valleys, spectacular waterfalls and mysterious caves to explore. Hiking fans would get lost in the wonderful maze of nature, while shutterbugs could shoot some lifetime pictures at the bizarre fairyland.
Best Weather: About the weather, April to October is the best time to visit Zhangjiajie while the mountainous area enjoys comfortable temperatures hovering around 16°C that travelers would not feel too hot or too cold.
Best Experiences: However, in terms of scenery, Zhangjiajie has a lot to offer all year round. Spring is a perfect time to take in the vitality of nature when the mountains start to turn green and wild flowers in the valleys begin to bloom. In hot summer days, Zhangjiajie is no doubt a retreat to escape the summer heat as the temperature on mountains is much lower than that in the urban area. After rainy days, there is a greater chance that one could see the misty and foggy floating peaks. Autumn is the most ideal season as the main colors of the mountain are made up of dazzling red and golden that you could view the charming fall foliage. It would be chilly and windy in winter, but what makes the visit worthwhile is the breathtaking snow scene and a quieter exploration without tourist crowds.
Last Choice: There is an exception that you should not visit Zhangjiajie during Chinese National Holiday when the scenic area is over packed with travelers. Other public holidays like Labor Day and Tomb-Sweeping Day are more crowded than usual but not as bad since they are shorter holidays that last for 3 days only.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park:The forest park showcases the most splendid karst landscape of Zhangjiajie, where you could see the spectacular gigantic sandstone pillars and cliffs jutting up above the ground, and view remarkable spots including Tianzi Mountain, Ten-Mile Gallery and the Avatar Hallelujah Mountains!
Tianmen Mountain:It is not only renowned for the miraculous karst cave, but also appealing for its heat-stopping Cliff-Hanging Walkway, Glass Sky Walk and the mind-boggling Heaven-linking Avenue of 99 Bends.
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge:It is a newly-rising scenic area boasting the world's largest, highest and longest glass bridge, which is a must-see for nature and adventure travelers.
Fenghuang Ancient Town:Located about 4 hours' drive from Zhangjiajie, Fenghuang is a breathtaking old water town with well-preserved ethnic folk residence, the wooden stilt houses and picturesque waterfront sceneries.
- By Air
- By Train
Taking a flight is the easiest and simplest way to reach Zhangjiajie, as there is no high-speed train leading to this small city so far. There are accessible direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Changsha, Xian, Kunming and Guangzhou to Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport, which is located about 4 km from Zhangjiajie city center and about 30 km from Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
Zhangjiajie could be reached by direct trains from most large cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but the train journey usually takes over 12 hours, even longer than 24 hours. Therefore, you are suggested to take a plane or highspeed train to Changsha first, and then head for Zhangjiajie by private transfer.
For example, considering an extension trip from Guilin, you could take a bullet train to Changsha first, and ride on a private vehicle to Zhangjiajie. When planning a Zhangjiajie tour together with the Yangtze Cruise, the direct train between Yichang and Zhangjiajie is quite an ideal choice though it is a traditional ordinary train but it only takes 5 hours.
- Wulingyuan Town
- Zhangjiajie Downtown
- Fenghuang Ancient Town
You are highly recommended to stay in Wulingyuan Town as it is adjacent to Wulingyuan Scenic Area, where you could easily get to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (including Yuanjiajie, Golden Whip Stream, Huangshi Village and Yangjiajie), Suoxiyu Nature Reserve (including Ten-Mile Gallery, Yellow Dragon Cave and Baofeng Lake), and Tianzi Mountain. The town offers you wide selections of accommodations ranging from 5-star hotels to budget hostels.
Recommended nice hotels based on our firsthand experience:
Luxury: Pullman Zhangjiajie Hotel
Superior: Santa Daminga International Hotel
Zhangjiajie downtown also offers a lot of hotel options of different classes, such as 5-star, 4-star, 3-star and budget home inns. Staying in the city proper, you could have easy access to Tianmen Mountain for sightseeing. Meanwhile, close to airport and railway station, it would be a smart choice if you arrive in Zhangjiajie late at night and depart with an early flight or train.
Recommended nice hotels based on our firsthand experience:
Luxury: Sunshine Hotel Resort Zhangjiajie
Superior: Best Western Grand Hotel Zhangjiajie
For an extension trip to Fenghuang, staying in the old town is the wisest choice. Though a small town it is, you could still find hotels with high-quality service like the Phoenix Grand Hotel. In addition, the old town is clustered a lot of stilt residences used as guesthouses, where you could enjoy the exotic ethnic ambience.
3 Days: You are suggested to have at least three days to tour the most extraordinary sights of Zhangjiajie including Tianmen Mountain and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
4 Days: If not pressed for time, you are suggested to stay in Zhangjiajie for 4 days for an additional day to experience the world-famous Glass Bridge over Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
5 Days: To absorb all the major attractions of Zhangjiajie including an extended tour to Fenghuang Ancient Town, 5 days is recommended as the travel time from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang is about 4 hours' drive.
We design a classic 4-day trip itinerary for you to take in the major sights of Zhangjiajie, including one day for Tianmen Mountain, one day for Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and the rest for the Grand Canyon, Glass Bridge and Baofeng Lake. If you have any travel ideas for a customized tour, we are also delighted to make adjustments accordingly for you.
Best Zhangjiajie Tours: 4-Day Zhangjiajie Wonderland Discovery
- By Bus
- By Taxi
From the airport, shuttle buses and city bus No. 4 could take you to downtown Zhangjiajie.
From the Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station (next to Zhangjiajie Railway Station), you could take regular buses to most scenic areas, including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianzi Mountain, Suoxiyu Nature Reserve and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
The city buses No. 4 and No. 10 lead to the lower cable car station of Tianmen Mountain.
It costs about CNY40-50 from the airport to Zhangjiajie downtown and Tianmen Mountain.
It costs about CNY100-120 from airport or downtown to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
It costs about CNY200 from airport or downtown to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
Note: The taxis in Zhangjiajie do not charge by meter, so you'd better bargain for a reasonable price before getting into the car. Besides, it could be a bit hard to hail a taxi around Wulingyuan Scenic Area, so it is wise to hire a car for a whole day or join an organized tour for a hassle-free trip.
As a famous city of Hunan Province, Zhangjiajie features on typical Hunan cuisine (widely known as Xiang Cuisine) and local Tujia food. Most dishes enjoy a salty, hot and spicy flavor by using cooking methods like frying, pot-roasting, braising and smoking. Both in Zhangjiajie urban area and Wulingyuan town, you could have wide selections on restaurants and food choices. Meanwhile, the food choices in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park or other attractions are quite limited due to lack of restaurants on the mountains and you could find some simple local snacks. However, if you cannot have the spicy local food, there are also western fast food outlets in the park. You could find McDonald's at Helong Park, Tianzishan Scenic Area and Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. There is also a KFC located at the Tourist Center of Yuanjiajie.
Layered Clothes:You need to take layers to cope with the changeable weather and big temperature difference in mountainous areas.
Anti-skid Shoes:Wear a pair of anti-skid shoes for a safe and comfortable walking and hiking on the mountains as the steps might be slippery.
Rain Gear:Prepare raincoats or umbrellas in case of the rainy days especially in spring and summer.
RMB Cash:Exchange some RMB cash in advance in case you need to pay for the elevator or cable car in cash on the spot.