After a 3 days trip to Zhangjiajie, China traveling alone, I can say that it wasn't as overwhelming as expected. Information in English about this place is very limited and that may have contributed to the early stress I had while planning the trip. To ease this for anyone who is interested in traveling to Zhangjiajie, I have compiled all the activities I did into an itinerary that you can easily follow to get the most out of it.
2 days in Zhangjiajie national park and a day at the Tianmen mountain is more than enough to see most of the attractions but if you want to fully explore this mystical place, give your self 3 days at the Zhangjiajie national park. If your level of fitness is moderate or high, do opt-in for a walk (going down mountains is easier) instead of easier routes via elevators and cable cars to fully explore all the trails and the hidden gems this place got to offer.
Day 0: Transit In Guangzhou, To ZhangJiaJie
- Landed in Zhangjiajie from Ghangzhou, got picked up by the hotel and went to WulingYuan town. The drive was about 50 minutes and cost me 150 Yuan. Slept at Tu Niu Hostel (Biao Zhi Men) (146 Yuan per night).
Day 1: Ascending Zhangjiajie National Park. Upper part exploration
- Woke up at 6:30 and went out at 7 AM. The hotel was right next to the gate, so it took me only 5 minutes to reach the gate, bought a ticket (248 Yuan) and on my way to the national park.
- I took a free bus that was outside the gate to the cable car area (first stop) and bought a one-way cable car ticket (64 Yuan) up to Tianzi mountain walked around the area for several hours.
- At 12, I took a bus to the hostel I planned to stay overnight on the mountain called Mango international hostel (100 Yuan per night), put all my things and went out to explore the upper area more (One Step to Heaven, Tianbo Mansion, No.1 Natural Bridge etc.)
Day 2: Walk of Zen, Descend the Mountain and explore the lower part.
- I slept at the hotel for a night, woke up at 9 and start my way down the Golden Whip Stream trail. You can opt out of the walk and go with the Bailong elevator but I do not recommend this as you will miss a lot of beautiful scenic spots.
- The walk took me 3 hours, and as I planned to visit the 10 Miles Gallery on the other side of the national park, I realized that the bus line doesn't connect with each other. Turns out, If I want to see this I will have to walk back the same trail and go in the other direction to reach this scenic spot. I decided to drop this area and went to the HuangShiZhai mountain instead.
- I took the cable car up, walked around the mountain for an hour (The Front Garden scenic spot here was breathtaking!) and headed down.
- As I walked out the gate of the national park, I saw a bus stationed at the entrance. I asked the driver by pointing out where I need to go (Zhangjiajie city where the airport resides), fortunately, this bus will take me right where I wanted to go for 12 Yuan, which is way cheaper than taking a taxi.
- 45 minutes drive, and I arrived at the Zhangjiajie railway station. I walked around a bit to observe the city and crashed at the hotel called Vide Hotel in front of the cable car station of the Tianmenshan mountain, where I will be heading next.
Day 3: Tianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie City
- The next morning, I went to the cable car station at 8:30 right when It just opened and got a cheap winter ticket to the national park.
- Unfortunately, since it was winter, the middle cable car station which should lead me to the Tianmenshan heaven's gate (999 stairs through a huge hole in a mountain) was closed so I had to stop at the top station instead and spend my day there.
- I walked around every single area in the mountain following a pretty thorough map and English signs and ended my trip at around 5 PM.
- I went to the airport (30 Yuan taxi) and headed back home.
And that's the 3 days itinerary that will let you explore the most beautiful parts of the national park plus the Tianmen mountain. Note that there were 3 attractions at the national park I didn't get to see, because of time limit and the fact that I was lost a couple of times, the "Seven Stars Peak", "Fields in the Sky" and "10 Miles Gallery". You may be able to cover these in a span of 2 days but to be sure, spare another day, so you can walk around at a comfortable pace.
I hope you found this itinerary useful. If you have any questions about this place, or you are planning to travel here too, feel free to let me know in the comment below. Once again, thank you for reading and never stop traveling.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by BucketListly where we will follow our founder, Pete Rojwongsuriya around the world as he singlehandedly travel alone and experience different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.