Zhangjiajie National Park in Hunan, is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty. The unique sandstone pillars and landscape inspired the graphic design for the Hollywood film Avatar. The park is one of the most fascinating landscapes in the world with an area stretching over more than 3600 square kilometres. There are more than 3,100 gigantic quartzite sandstone pillars reaching to the clouds, with pastoral streams below flowing to the verdant forests spread throughout the park. It is home to many rare species of trees, birds and animals and has been listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark.
The must see attraction in Zhangjiajie is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area’ with the main sightseeing areas are the Tianzi Mountain, the Suoxi Vale (“Ten-mile Gallery”) and the Zhangjiajie Forest Park. There are more than 40 stones caves, 2 naturally-built stone bridges, ravines, waterfalls, streams and pools.
The Tianzi Mountain is famous for being shrouded in a sea of clouds, for the radiance of the glittering moonlight, the vibrant rays of sunshine and the pure white snow in winter. The Suoxi Vale (“Ten-mile gallery”) is located at the bottom of the Tianzi Mountain, and looks like an outdoor stone sculpture showroom, with an exhibition of beautiful gorges. Further attractions in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park are the Huangshizhai (Yellow Stones Village), the Gold Whip Stream ( Jinbian Stream) and the famous Jinbian rocks, Yuanjiajie and Yangjiajie.
The Yellow Stones Village has more than 10 viewing platforms from which you can enjoy the majestic sandstone plinth forest. In the area of the Gold whip steam, you can enjoy a rest on the rocks by the stream, after walking through the verdant forest, witnessing some unique-shaped peaks and most importantly take some stunning pictures to share with your family and friends back home.
The Yuanjiajie area has the steepest naturally formed sandstone mountains where you can gaze in wonder at the famous glass bridge sparkling in the sun. In the park, the spectacular Bailong Elevator is an unforgettable experience as it is the world’s tallest lift, rising 326m high. You can get to the top in less than 2 minutes and enjoy the view of Yuanjiajie’s sandstone pillar forest.
In addition, Tianmen Mountain is another must see attraction in the park with the highest peak being 4980 feet. The mountain is famous for it’s unique landscape including the Tianmen Cave. You can visit the Tianmen Mountain by cable car and visit the Tianmen Cave (Heaven’s Gate) and experience the thrilling 100m glass walkway around the sheer mountainside. Tianmen Cave (Heaven’s gate) is a large, 30m wide hole dividing two peaks, like a huge doorway in the cliff face. Usually, visitors will either take the cable car or the shuttle bus, to negotiate the 99 bends encountered on the way to the bottom of the cave. After that, there are 999 steps to reach to cave, known as “the Stairway to Heaven”. There’s quite a lot of effort required to see this fabulous natural phenomenon, but it is definitely worth it!
Watch the video below for a preview of how amazing the landscape in Zhangjiajie is, and marvel at the work of architectural genius that is the glass walkway!
A YouTube video showing the Glass walkway along Tianmen Mountain by “Beautiful Places To See”
Note to self:
When you visit the Zhangjiajie National Park, make sure you bring hiking shoes as many of the most spectacular and rewarding vistas are only accessible by paths and trials. There are shuttle buses and cable cars on site for visitors to access different scenic areas and attractions, so do not worry if your legs turn to jelly! There are also many traditional villages in the area, so make sure you respect the local customs.
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