Traveling to Zhangjiajie can be very confusing at first because of the lag of information in English and the not-to-scale English map available online that can throw you off your feet. I have gone through that myself and after experiencing it all first hand, here are the things I wish I knew before traveling to Zhangjiajie.
- ZhangJiaJie is a city which situated in the Hunan province in China.
- The airport is situated in the Zhangjiajie city.
- ZhangJiaJie city and Zhangjiajie national park (where the Avatar's mountains are) is not the same and they are not near each other as well. 45 minutes drive between the two.
- WuLingYuan is a small town which situated right at the entrance of the Zhangjiajie national park, so this is a good place to stay when visiting the park.
- Tianmenshan mountain is not in the Zhangjiajie national park. The entrance is through the Zhangjiajie city via a cable car, so spare a day or two to stay at the Zhangjiajie city.
ZhangJiaJie National Park English Map
Where to Stay
- Stay in Wulingyuan, not Zhangjiajie city if you plan to visit the Zhangjiajie national park. The town is 5 minutes away from the gate whereas it is 50 minutes drive from Zhangjiajie city to the national park.
- There are hostels inside the national park up the mountain, you can also stay there if you are in between days of exploring the national park. No need to go in and out everyday.
- If you want to travel to the Tianmen Shan mountain, stay in Zhangjiajie city because the cable car entry is in the city.
- Give your self 2 - 3 days to explore the national park and 1 day to explore Tianmen Shan mountain. That way you can stay in Wulingyuan on your first night, stay inside the national park for 1 - 2 nights and in Zhangjiajie city for 1 night.
Things to prepare
- Grab a map from your hotel. It will be your savior when asking for direction from the locals.
- Save and cache your Google Maps' of the area before you come so you can use it offline.
- If you have Google Translate install on your phone, download the Chinese and English language packs so you can translate between the 2 offline.
- Bring layers of cloths if you come during the winter. Cheap hotels don't have heaters.
- Don't expect people to speak English, not even simple words. Prepare all your hotel addresses in Chinese so you can ask for direction.
- If you want to use Facebook and Twitter in China, you should prepare your VPN setup before going because searching for VPN is also blocked in China.
- If you are using an Android phone, download Orbot
- Grab a Chinese map of the national park from your hotel so you can use it to ask for direction.
- Once you are inside the national park, there are free shuttle bus through the area that runs in both directions so you can get on/off and one spot and go back to where you were with ease.
- Note that some bus lines are disconnected such as the eastern bus line that runs from the east gate to the HuangShiZhai's cable car are disconnected from the one that runs from Bailong elevator through out the west part of the park. The only way to get from the east entrance to the Bailong elevator is through a 2 hours trail called the Golden Whip Stream. Make sure you plan your trail accordingly.
- If you want to go back to Zhangjiajie city from the national park, there are buses waiting outside the exits that will take you to the railway station in the city for 12 Yuan. Follow the locals and you will find this cream-colored bus.
And there you have it, everything I learned from traveling there alone for 3 - 4 days. If you are looking to travel to Zhangjiajie, and would like to know more about this place, feel free to tweet me or leave a comment below.
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.
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