Zhangjiajie National Park in the Hunan province of China is one of a kind. Not many people know this place even exists – I didn’t before I moved to China. I definitely recommend this surreal experience to anyone who has a love for nature, hiking and mountains. In this post, I share my key tips to help you in planning your own trip to Zhangjiajie National Park.
WHEN TO GO TO ZHANGJIAJIE NATIONAL PARK
Planning when to go is an important factor that should be considered when travelling to any part of China. China is known for its overcrowding which can have a negative impact on your experience and even cause you to miss some parts of tourist attractions.
Unfortunately, although I was warned, I went during the first week of October (which is known as the Chinese Holiday). Here pretty much all of China is on holiday and most people from the country go to the city and vice versa. Sadly, a huge tourist attraction like Zhangjiajie National Park is going to be overcrowded at this time. The best times to go would include September and October, just avoid the Mid-Autumn Festival and the Chinese Holidays.
From Shanghai, you can get there by overnight sleeper train to Zhangjiajie which is an experience in itself. If that’s not for you there are other ways to get there. Depending on where you stay, the National Park might be a good drive away. Plan your accommodation to suit what you want to do in Zhangjiajie National Forest, it’s a big place!
The Cost: A 4-day ticket costs – 245 ¥ which is about 34 Euros. For what you see and for four days, that’s a pretty good deal! Prepare for extra costs like Cable Cars. It might also be useful to note that, in another part of Zhangjiajie (this is NOT in the national park) is the world’s longest glass bridge. Although it’s expensive due to how popular it is, it might be useful to keep in mind when you are planning your trip.
THE GOLDEN WHIP
Take a beautiful scenic route up the river and walk with monkeys through the Golden Whip Stream. Depending on where you want to go, you might be walking for a while, but the stunning scenes and monkeys will make time fly.
A highlight for me walking the Golden Whip was the wild monkeys. They have no fear of humans, so they can get up close and personal, which is amazing but some monkeys are quite aggressive so be careful!
Make sure you visit Tianzi Mountain. The director of the movie Avatar got inspiration for the floating mountains here. Since then, the park has been more commonly known as the Avatar Hallelujah Mountains. This part felt more “Avatar” to me than other parts of the park. It was really breathtaking.
Take advantage of cable car rides. They are a great way to get to and from different parts of the park while enjoying the amazing view. After a full day of walking it’s nice to just enjoy the view. Upper Station of Tianzi Mountain Cable to Lower station of Tianzi Mountain is the most scenic one. This part had an incredible Jurassic Park feel to it.
The cost of the cable cars is not included in the price of your park entry ticket. It was around 20 Euro per journey to use the cable cars to help you get around the park.
Finally, bring lots of water, prepare for a lot of walking. Make sure you take into account places to stop for food and the toilet! And get yourself a map to help navigate your way around Zhangjiajie National Park.
Have you been to Zhangjiajie National Park or another destination in China? Please share your experience in the comments below!
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