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City Guides / Guides

7 things strongly recommended while visiting Zhangjiajie

By Yan Jiang

April 27

Zhangjiajie is a gift of nature owning to its numerous natural sights. When it served as the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, it gained an even wider reputation around the world.

Zhangjiajie is a gift of nature owning to its numerous natural sights. When it served as the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, it gained an even wider reputation around the world.

Zhangjiajie is a gift of nature owning to its numerous natural sights, including Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, Tianmen Mountain Forest Park, Baofeng Lake, and Zhangjiajie Great Canyon. Various stone pillars, huge forest coverage, and a unique landscape are just a few of the reasons the area attracts millions of visitors from home and overseas. When it served as the setting for the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar, it gained an even wider reputation around the world. Here are 7 things we strongly recommend for your visit.

1. Hire an experienced tour guide

[Image Credit: Sina Weibo]
[Image Credit: Sina Weibo]
Two national forest parks are must-go destinations for majority of visitors traveling to Zhangjiajie. But if you want to have an efficient, wallet-friendly and well-designed schedule, hiring an experienced tour guide is strongly recommended. Take Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area as an example. It covers 500 square kilometers and includes abundant attractive spots. With a detailed personal guide, you will be able to glimpse some of the more beautiful spots at an easier pace than if looking for them alone. Moreover, you can ask your guide to show you the undeveloped paths, such as Laowuchang (老屋场), the idyllic hanging garden near Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve.

2. Take a bird’s eye view of Zhangjiajie by cable car

[Image Credit: x-yw.com]
[Image Credit: x-yw.com]
Steep mountains keep some non-climbers away from the fabulous scenery on the top. But the cableway in Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park, the longest passenger ropeway in the world at 7455 meters, can take you to the top in about 28 minutes. Passengers can enjoy unparalleled views during the ascent and descent while conserving energy to find some of their own spots in the park.

3. Keep distance from monkeys in the parks

[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Jiang Yan]
[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Jiang Yan]
Up to 64% of Zhangjiajie is covered in forest, the first in Hunan province in this metric. It is home to various plants and rare animals. A large number of wild monkeys also inhabit the park due to the ideal green space. “Journey to the West”, a TV series with a main character named the Monkey King, was shot at Zhangjiajie. With the show’s popularity, monkeys in Zhangjiajie become a selling point of travel promotion. The local tourism administration organized several photography competitions with the theme of wild monkeys. An increasing number of visitors tend to greet and feed them. Without regular feeding and supervision from park keepers, the wild animals get food from visitors. Despite their cute appearance, they are still potentially aggressive like other wild animals, so try to avoid close contact.

4. Watch large scale live musical shows

[Image Credit: Rednet.com]
[Image Credit: Rednet.com]
Zhangjiajie is rich in ethnic minorities. Zhangjiajie takes full advantage of this by making its  breathtaking landscape a literal backdrop for the local culture and folk tales. The first live-action music show having a real mountain and canyon  as its set, the Love Story of A Woodman and A Fairy Fox has its in front of a 5 kilometer long canyon. Another live musical you can check out is The Charm of Xiangxi.

5. Experience the glass pavement

[Image Credit: News.cn]
[Image Credit: News.cn]
Built on Tianmen Mountain 1430 meters above sea level, this glass floor is definitely not for the faint-hearted. It offers daredevils a vertigo-inducing look at the sheer drops and wilderness below. Each visitor is requested to wear shoe covers to keep the glass clean and shiny. Out of security considerations, it is closed during bad weather. Even more exciting:  a glass-bottomed bridge spanning two cliffs over Zhangjiajie Great Canyon will be opened to the public this July. It breaks several world records, including the highest and longest glass bridge in the world. In addition, it will offer the world’s highest bungee jump.

6. Taste local dishes to fuel your energy

[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Jiang Yan]
[Image Credit: China.org.cn/ Jiang Yan]
Hunan cuisine, one of the Eight Great Traditions of Chinese cuisines, is famous for its spicy flavor. Whether you have an international stomach or not, try to taste local dishes to complete your trip in Zhangjiajie. Traditional preserved ham is one of the most popular ones.

7. Buy some travel souvenirs at Xibu Commercial Street (溪布街) in Zhangjiajie

[Image Credit: Fengniao.com/ Daning Dongfang Mingzhu]
[Image Credit: Fengniao.com/ Daning Dongfang Mingzhu]
Like dishes can trigger a flow of memories about a place, so do souvenirs. A handmade craft with local ethic cultural elements is elaborate, portable and wallet-friendly as well. If you want to bring some local souvenirs home to your friends and family, Xibu Commercial Street will satisfy you.

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