- East asia
Exploring the Lower Zhangjiajie National Park Part 2/2
Continuing from part 1, where we left off at the end of the first day in Zhangjiajie national park. Let's explore the second part of this wonderful landscape together. Sit back, relax and enjoy.
Day 2: Lower Part - Chilling at the YuanJiaJie mountain, Walk of Zen on the Golden Whip Stream Trail
I decided to go back to the No 1 Natural bridge and sat there for a few hours absorbing everything I could before heading down the mountain.
The Immortal Creek, stood tall isolated from every other spires. Beautiful in its uniqueness.
A man and a camera.
If you are planning to visit Zhangjiajie, and you are looking for a unique experience, please do the walk down the mountain (or up) through the Golden Whip Stream instead of going for the elevator ride. You will miss a lot of beautiful hidden gems like these, not to mention it's free to walk compare to paying an expensive ticket for a few minutes ride. You will see the beauty of this 3 hours one-way trail as you look further down the post.
The Chinese really do capitalize on the fact that this place was an inspiration to the Avatar's movie. You will find many signs, statues and photo booth that mention the movie throughout the park.
On my way down the mountain. It was a great 1 hour and a half walk down the mountain for when you seek solitude without an interference from other tourists.
Here I was, at the lower part of the mountain and I was welcome with this zen-like walk path of the infamous Golden Whip Stream. Behold the beauty of this trail:
From mountains to rivers, it was the perfect transition for this beautiful place.
I had to put a camera on top of a rock that may or may not float with the running water beneath it. A solo traveler gotta do, what a solo traveler gotta do, take selfie in most creative way possible.
This is a true walk of zen, but as the saying goes, "The only zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the zen you bring up there"
Now you know why I insisted on having you walking on this 3 hours trail. Look at all the scenery you will miss!
I was planning to visit the 10 Miles Gallery which situated on the east side of the park and from the map I got from the hotel, it looks like the bus line is all connected but that was not the case at all. As it turns out, the east side bus line (the entrance I came in the other day) and the west side are disconnected and you will have to either walk back through the Golden Whip stream and instead of going up the stairs, walk straight and continue your way to the entrance of the Bailong elevator or you can take the cable car and walk around the HuangShiZhai mountain instead. Since it was almost 4 now, I decided to not waste time going back and went with the cable car to HuangShiZhai instead.
It was a rush walk but most of the scenery is somewhat similar to what I've already seen except one spot called the Front Garden. This spot gave me an almost 180-degree view of the whole range which was mind-blowing. I wish I could sit there longer but the sun is setting and my accommodation for the night is 50 minutes away in the Zhangjiajie city.
Time to say goodbye to this beautiful national park. I took the cable car down, got on a free shuttle bus and headed back to where I was before. The exit is 5 minutes away and as I walked trying to find a taxi, I saw the locals walking in the same direction to this bus so I asked them signing my hands whether the bus will take me to the Zhangjiajie City. Turns out I was right. The bus final stop was at the central railway station in the city which is where my hostel is. The price was 12 Yuan which is much cheaper than taking a taxi (115 Yuan).
50 minutes later, I was in the city trying to find my hostel. I ended up going with the hotel called Vide Hotel which is right opposite to the cable car entrance to the Tianmen Shan mountain, my next destination.
Day 3: Tianmen Shan Mountain
The weather was cold, and If I were going to stay in a hostel without heater again, I would have been frozen to death, so the decision to choose Vide hotel was right. The cable car station opens at 8:30 AM and I was there right on time. The ticket during the high season is 258 Yuan but since I was in the winter, the price was discounted to somewhere around 210 Yuan, another perk for traveling in the winter.
It was the longest cable car I've ever traverse on. It brings you from the city right to the top of the mountain through this one-hour long ride. Along the way, I got a glance at how the locals live in the urban areas.
It came to my surprise that I was not going to be able to traverse this dangerous road to one of the most popular spot, the 999 stairs to the Heaven's Gate because of snow. I was really bummed out about it because it is one of the most photogenic places in Zhangjiajie, but there's nothing I can do, except stare at them on my cable car.
Nevertheless, there's no point in being sad about it, I was in the middle of the mountains in China for god sake, that was rewarding in itself.
The Tianmen Shan mountain is humongous, and it will take you a half a day or more to really see everything it got to offer. Most of the walkway consists of an along the cliff balcony like this, a glass walkway, a suspension bridge and ladders.
At the top of the Tianmen Shan overlooking the surrounding.
A beautiful pavilion in the middle of a forest on top of the mountain.
This was the closest I could get to the gate. Beautiful nevertheless.
Tianmen Shan Temple, a quiet, colorful temple at the top of the mountain. I love how the temple is framed by the gate I was walking through in this photo.
The infamous glass way walk. Even if you don't have acrophobia, you will still get the shake.
After a whole day walking around the mountain, it's time to head back down and end my final day in Zhangjiajie.
Before I leave I always go for a random walk, to absorb the whole experience as much as I can before going back home. It's a ritual I do so that when I look back at these moments, I can still remember the little detail of the place.
One last taste at a street food stroller. I'm a big fan of trying local food so naturally, I'll go with the cheap, raw option rather than a big restaurant.
And that concluded my 3 days trip to Zhangjiajie, in Hunan, China. I hope you enjoy this visual photo essay to this foreign land. It might get a bit confusing to wrap your head around all travel spots in the national park but after a while, once you are familiar with the location, it is a piece of cake to traverse around, even without using any English.
If you are looking to solo Zhangjiajie like I did, do not hesitate to ask me in the comment below. I will try my best to help in any way possible. Again, If you have any suggestion or recommendation on places we should visit, let us know as well.
The Solo Traveler’s Journal is a series of posts by Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly Blog where we will follow his solo journey around the world as he experiences different cultures, people, and historical locations one country at a time.
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