Zhangjiajie National Park is China’s first National Park, and it is found in Hunan province in central China between Chongping and Changsa. They filmed Avatar in those mountains and that’s why it is so popular.
How to get to Zhangjiajie National Park
The best way to get here is by direct flight from main cities in China like Shanghai and Beijing. You can also travel overlan, being train the best option. I traveled from Chengdu and it was a 12 hour journey and onwards to Guilin, 10 hours. Trains are confortable and offer sleeping options.
Where to stay
I recommend staying near the Zhangjiajie National Park entrance, which has lots of nature and beautiful hotels. I made the mistake of staying in town (Zhangjiajie city) and it was not the best experience. Big city, just traffic and noise. Forget about hostels, as we know them (dorms).
Zhangjiajie National Park Price
The entry costs 248 yuan, and the bus ride 20 more each way. It takes 45 minutes to get there and you buy the tickets at the entrance.
How much time will you need there
The Zhangjiajie National Park is enormous. If you want to see it all it can take up to three days. As there are other tourist attractions in the area (glass bridge and Tiamen mountain) people often choose to spend only one full day, doing the trekking up (2 hours), to the “Avatar sight”, then taking the elevator down. If you have time I totally recommend spending more days trekking to unbeaten parts. (Maps are available and it is well signalized)
When is the best time to visit Zhangjiaji National Park
The best time to go is after summer, September October, and after winter, March, April and May. During winter it is freezing, with lots of snow and it is also Chinese New Year (February). During summer it is boiling and full of Chinese tourists that have their summer vacation (July and August).
What to do in Zhangjiaji National Park
Taking the cable cars to more unspoiled areas of the park and trek though those empty mountains. The map can inspire you and a guide is also highly recommended, as people you will find on the way do not speak a WORD of English.
You should definitely trek and avoid taking the buses to everyplace. If you do that you will be stuck with unending Chinese groups that will ruin your visit. Once you get up, stay around the first area and enjoy the view! When you continue you will find “Avatar rock” which is as every other one, full of tourists and buses.
Why should Zhangjiajie National Park be on your Bucket List
The mountains are stunning and the treks are demanding but rewarding. If you enjoy nature and views, this is your Chinese destination.