The highlight of any visit to Hunan province, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Zhangjiajie is one of the most spectacular national parks in China. Known internationally as the inspiration for the "floating mountains" in the film Avatar, Zhangjiajie is actually a subtropical forest packed with over 3,000 quartzite sandstone pillars, created by centuries of weathering.
The wildlife within Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a joy to behold. Monkeys can be seen along the paths and many other animals can be spotted off the main tourist tracks. The park’s many hiking trails leading off the main tourist paths are great for botanists and bird enthusiasts. For others who just want to experience the fantastic scenery, there are glass elevators and footbridges. You’ll get an extra special tingly feeling when looking down between your feet and seeing the three hundred meter drop below! There’s no need to worry though, the glass has been stress tested with sledgehammers and by driving SUVs over it.
Tianmen Mountain is the less crowded of the main sites at Wulingyuan. It is also a less challenging hike than the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The 10 Mile Natural Gallery is also an easier trek, complete with a mini train to help shuttle visitors around.
Hotel accommodation is not yet the best at Zhangjiajie. Fortunately, we have found the best of the hotels in the area for maximum comfort. The food is also typical of Hunan province – very spicy! For those wishing to avoid this, a quick word with the guide will help reduce the fieriness of this cuisine.