- We were here: October 12, 2018.
- Number of days recommended: there is a lot to see; for the most interesting save 2, if we intend to visit everything, between 3 and 4 days.
- My score: 4/5.
This is one of the most magical places in China, which, as in many other cases, is overlooked by the majority of foreign tourists, and yet it is not totally unknown:
- At least Wulingyuan National Park, also called Zhangjiajie Forest National Park, is not, located north of the prefecture. In 2009 James Cameron surprises the world with what as of today (January 2019) is still the highest grossing film in history, Avatar. Many wondered how those responsible for the movie imagined to design a landscape like Hallelujah Mountains in Pandora; Although they have never admitted it, no one doubts where the inspiration came from: 3000 of those mountains exist, you just had to make them float to add a touch of unreality to those that are already mounds, hills, rocky spiers or whatever they might be defined, the most slender and impressive in the planet. These formations can be seen from below or from above, by paths and sections of hundreds of stairs that Chinese people like so much, or more conveniently by cable car and later minibus, since the park is fully conditioned so that even the most physically disabled can marvel at the vision offered by this incredible whim of nature. While this excessive conditioning will turn the most popular sections almost a theme park (no exaggeration, enough to say that next to the main viewpoints in the upper part of the Park there is a McDonald’s and a KFC), as long as we walk away a few hundred meters, we can enjoy fantastic landscapes almost in absolute solitude.
- To the south, Tianmen Mountain. We should not confuse it with others of the same name of the country, this is undoubtedly the most famous and recommended. It offers 3 great reasons to visit it:
- Heaven’s Door/Gate, Gate/Door to Heaven. No matter how you call it, there are many mountains that have arches or holes from where you can see the other side on its slopes, none of them are as jaw dropping as Gate to Heaven; 131 meters high, 30 wide and 100 deep, surrounded by almost permanent mists and accessible by two parallel symmetrical stairs, really gives the feeling that crossing it takes us to another dimension, and there is even someone who ventures to do it in wingsuit.
- With 99 curves, the road that leads to the base of the Gate is an attraction itself. The best view is obtained from the cable car, the longest in the world.
- There are several kilometers of trails at the top, one of them leads to a temple on the highest part of the mountain. Undoubtedly, the most scenic are the 1.6 km of footbridges built artificially next to the cliffs, but the ones that await most are the 3 stretches between 100 and 60 meters long with glass floor, on cliffs with a 1000 meters vertical drop; It is definitely not for those with vertigo.
- But these footbridges are not considered the longest (430 meters) and highest (300 meters) glass bridge in the world. That honor goes to the bridge over the Grand Canyon of Zhangjiajie, northwest of the prefecture, where not only can we enjoy the spectacular panorama that the canyon and some nearby rocky spiers offer us, but we can practice extreme activities such as bungee jumping or zip line.
Zhangjiajie is one of those places that looks like another world; it is inexplicable that no more people know it, and it is unforgivable that so many go to China, and so many return from it without knowing what they missed.
WHAT TO SEE
- WULINGYUAN NATIONAL PARK
- TIANMEN MOUNTAIN
- GRAND CANYON OF ZHANGJIAJIE GLASS BRIDGE
- WHEN TO GO
- ZHANGJIAJIE CITY:
- HOW TO GET THERE
- HOW TO GET TO WULINGYUAN NATIONAL PARK
- WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
- DANGERS, PROBLEMS AND ANNOYANCES