I don’t know how to pronounce this correctly.
I think it’s Zhan-gee-a-gee-a. But I definitely don’t say it correctly and M laughs everytime she tries.
This is home to a national park and one section of the park is where the creators of Avatar got their inspiration. Now, these mountains are called Avatar Hallelujah Mountains.
There are some other great sites so we decided to go.
There is direct flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai, but we were coming from Chengdu.
This is the reason we went to Changsha first. If we took a train from Chengdu, Changsha. If we took a flight, Changsha.
Once in Changsha, we took a 4 hour bus at 120 RMB. Make sure to bring your passport when purchasing transportation tickets.
But since we went to Shanghai after, we were able to get a flight direct, landing in Pudong (more on this next post).
We stayed at Panda hostel in a twin room. It was comfortable enough, western toilet, etc. But the bed was super hard.
Anyways, here is the break down of what we did and prices for the national parks, we got student prices for everything except 1:
Zhangjiajie National Park
Entrance, good for 4 consecutive days- 126
Cable car up to Tianzi Mountain- 36
Elevator, regular price- 72
Bus to Wul town- 20
Bus from park to Zhangjiajie city- 12
How student prices work is you first need a student card, second, they might not give it to you if you are over 24, which happened to us for the elevator.
Most of the time, they can’t read the card or your passport (make sure to bring your passport) so they just give it to you.
We started off in the entrance to the town and went up the cable car to do Tianzi mt.
We did that and walked down. Then we took a bus to the elevator and took that up to the Avatar Halluliegh mts.
We did that and walked down towards Golden Whip Stream and walked that towards a different entrance.
We got to the park a bit before 9 am and left at 5 pm. We brought snacks as food in the park is a bit expensive.
Side note: there are monkeys in the park. PLEASE DO NOT FEED THE MONEKYS!
They are wild animals and once they get into the habit that humans offer food they will want more.
My friend, M, bought some melon at the park. Well, the monkeys have been fed so much that they figured the food was for them and started chasing her around. Later, I saw a mother money jump on someone’s bag and that person had to hit her on the head to get it off.
Finally, my friend gave up and I ate the rest of the melon quickly. But, my friend being an idiot (sorry if she is reading this, but I did yell at her in person too) had one melon piece left and was so “entranced” by the “cute” monkey that she gave it her last piece.
No. This is the reason that they were chasing her to begin with. Essentially, she just awarded that money for chasing her and almost attacking her. Super smart right?
PLEASE DO NOT FEED WILD ANIMALS!
Because once they do become a problem, guess what? They have to be put down. So by feeding them, you are essentially killing them. Or, training them enough that they can hurt or even kill a person/child. Have you seen monkeys’ teeth?
We timed everything that we never really had to hike up anything.
The second day we went to Tianamen Mountain, which is in Zhangjiajie.
There are different options, but we took and I recommend option A:
Cable car up
Walk around for 2 hours
Walk on at least one glass sidewalk
Take escalator down to the cave
Walk down from the cave (there is a second escalator you can take for extra, but we didn’t pay)
Take bus down the 99 bends road
Take shuttle bus to front entrance
We paid 133, student price, and 5 yuan extra for the glass sidewalk.
M is afraid of heights so it was a challenge for her, but she liked it.
I wouldn’t recommend this park for those with a high fear of heights as the whole thing is pretty much on the edge of the mountain.
The cable car is apparently the longest in the world.
We left a bit before 9 and got back to the entrance around 1 pm.
The third day we went back to Zhangjiajie National Park and did the last bit we missed, Huangshi Village. It’s more rock mountains, but still beautiful.
We had bought a map (slightly in English, but more helpful for asking directions in Chinese and seeing pathway options, 10 yuan from any vendor) and asked for the other entrance specifically.
After an hour or so, we got on one of the free buses to the cable car and paid 33.
Once up, we walked around for an hour or so and then headed back down.
Since most people skip this plus it was in the morning, there were very few people here and it was truly being with nature. You could hear the wind and birds.
We got back around 1 pm.
That evening we tried finding this cute street, but the directions on TripAdvisor was wrong. It turns out its across the river with all the buildings with lights. The street is called Xibu. M went to explore by herself and she said it was all closed on that Friday night, so weird, but maybe you will have better luck.
Our last day, we slept in a bit as we were quite tired- mentally from waking up so early every day as well as physically. The first day really shredded our legs. Then we tried finding this park also listed on TripAdvisor.
After walking 4 km, we realized we were lost and eventually got directions for a bus to the right spot. However, that park looked nothing like what M saw online.
Moral of the story, don’t really trust TripAdvisor in Zhangjiaje.
We walked back along the river and went to the train station to buy my ticket from Shanghai to Hangzhou (M will leave me in Shanghai). All the stations are on one system so you can buy all your tickets at one spot.
We still had 3 hours to kill so we stopped in McDonald’s for air conditioning and something cold to drink. We had a good laugh that we came all the way to China, to Zhangjiaje, just to spend the afternoon in a McDonald’s, but we did get things from the menu that was Chinese oriented like pearl/bubble/Bobba milk tea (there are a lot of names for this drink haha).
Finally, we grabbed our bags and went to catch the bus for the airport, which is 4 km away from the hotel.
We asked 3 people and all said we needed to take bus 4. We waited for almost an hour before I asked bus 401 if he went to the airport.
We had missed 3-4 bus 401’s…..side note, all buses are 2 yuan.
Anyways, it took us 10 minutes about. The airport is quite small, but yet we had long lines for check in and security. I guess a lot of people were ending their vacations to the parks.
There is a 3rd park we didn’t go to. It’s further away than the others- Grand Canyon. The biggest draw is the longest glass bridge in the world.
You have to book tickets in advance as only a certain number of people are allowed at a time and during the day.
After the glass sidewalk, M was OK with not going to the canyon. I also read that the glass is all marked now and besides this, the canyon isn’t that inpressive.
So, I can’t fully recommend this or not recommend it, but it is an option for you.
Knowing now what I do, my suggested itinerary is such:
Zhangjiaje National Park
-Avatar Hallueigh Mts
-Golden Whip Stream
Zhangjiaje National Park
Leave the city in the evening
If you want to do the canyon then add another day. If you don’t need to do the village then leave early on that 3rd day or leave the evening of the second day.
In total, on the parks and transport we spent 456 RMB (all except 1 with student price), which is actually less than what I spent in total for Angkor Wat, Cambodia.
Unlike Cambodia, I only counted 20 foreigners the first day and less the next days. There are significantly less foreign tourists here than other cities. I think because it’s a bit hard to get to and still not known. That was nice because everything was pretty genuine and not so built up for westerners and we got student prices due to lack of English knowledge, I think, haha. But, like Cambodia, you really don’t have anytime for yourself with the scenery.
But no matter, the views are so worth it! I hope you get to visit this marvelous place!
See you soon!
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