Top 20 Attractions and Things to do in Zhangjiajie
China is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction for people from all over the globe. Being one of the largest countries on the planet, China is home to more than a billion people. There is a significant difference between the cultures spread throughout the country. And even the landscape changes dramatically as you move from one part of the country to another.
One of the most popular travel regions in China is Zhangjiajie with so many amazing natural parks surrounded by unique scenery.
Where is Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is one of the many cities that has attracted considerable attention over the past few years. Zhangjiajie is a prefecture-level city that is situated in the Hunan province, towards the northwestern side. The districts of Wulingyuan, Yongding, and the counties of Sangzhi and Cali all fall within the city's borders.
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park lies within the city, and the area was remarked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1992. The Chinese National Tourism Administration also pays close attention to the maintenance and upkeep of the area.
The city is situated almost 330 km from Changsha, which is the capital of Hunan and is more than a thousand kilometers away from both Beijing and Shanghai, which are the closest metropolitan cities. Owing to the majestic scenery and the peaceful areas, Zhangjiajie attracts millions of tourists from all over the globe every year.
Map of Zhangjiajie
How to get to Zhangjiajie
You can travel directly to the Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Changsha, Kunming, and Shenzhen. Many other vital cities also offer direct flights to the airport. Most of the flights land in the evening in Zhangjiajie. If a direct flight is not available, you can almost always find a connecting flight.
The airport is situated in the Yongding District, and there are shuttle buses that regularly travel from the airport to the downtown section of the city. If air travel isn't your thing, you should know that the extensive rail network running through China takes you directly to Zhangjiajie.
The network connects Zhangjiajie with Beijing, Guangzhou, Guiyang, and Shanghai. However, an average train journey can take you up to 10 hours, so it's relatively intensively traveling. There are also several buses that you can take, especially from Changsha, since it's only 376 kilometers from Zhangjiajie.
Why Visit Zhangjiajie?
The biggest attraction in Zhangjiajie is the wide range of terrain that you are going to see. There are mountainous regions throughout the area, along with Karst rocky areas as well as upland plains. You will also come across many arid pieces of land, as well as grasslands.
In fact, 76 percent of the area in the city is covered by mountains. The Wulingyuan Scenic Area is a top-rated attraction and is a natural heritage site. It's situated right at the base of these majestic mountains. You can also visit the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve as well as the Suoxi Nature Reserve.
Explorers mainly prefer Zhangjiajie because of the numerous natural features that you can find here, such as lakes, caves, forests, many hills and mountains, rock ridges, waterfalls, and ghylls. People in the city get to experience all the four seasons during the year, and it's an excellent destination for those who want to take a break from their busy lives and just get in touch with nature.
The Shui Dongzi waterfall is another very popular attraction that you will see in Zhangjiajie. Right opposite the waterfall, there are a bunch of natural rocks, which provide the ideal observation platform. If you want scenic beauty and the perfect backdrop for your photos, this is the place to be.
Weather in Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is widely regarded as a year-round destination. That means you can visit the place any time during the year, and you will be greeted to stunning views and fantastic weather all around.
Zhangjiajie has a moderate climate and is located in the north and middle latitudes, and it belongs to the prototype monsoon humid climate of the central subtropical mountains. It has sufficient light and heat, abundant rainfall, long frost-free period, short cold period, and distinct four seasons. The average annual temperature is about 16.6 °C. The extreme temperature in August is about 37.2 ℃ in summer, and the average temperature in the coldest month in winter is 4.3 ℃.
The coldest month is January, with the extreme temperature around 0℃ to 4.5 ℃.
The urban area of Zhangjiajie is 183 meters above sea level, and the average altitude of the scenic spot is 1000 meters. Due to this difference, the temperature difference between day and night can reach 10 °C.
Best Time to Visit Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie lies in the subtropical humid monsoon climate, which means it experiences all the four seasons quite distinctively. You don't need to worry about it getting too cold in the winters, or too hot in the winter months. So, as you can imagine, many people usually get confused about the best time to visit Zhangjiajie.
Ideally, the best time to take a trip to Zhangjiajie would be anytime between April and the mid of November. In fact, many people prefer visiting Zhangjiajie in April and in October, and it's one of those months where you are likely to meet tourists from many different parts of the globe.
So, now that you know the best times to visit the city, you might want to start making a list of the many attractions that you would want to explore.
Here are 20 of the top attractions in Zhangjiajie.
20 Top Attractions in Zhangjiajie
#1 Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
The number one attraction is also the most popular, and something you should not miss out on. The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is one of the unique natural settings that you will ever come across.
Situated in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, the park is spread over an area of more than 11,900 acres. There are many geographic features that you can notice in the park, and it is also home to several of the endangered plant and animal species. There's quite a bit to see here, so you should plan your stay accordingly. For instance, don't forget to visit the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain, named after the same pillar-like mountains were shown in the film Avatar.
Hiking in these mountains is also going to be a breathtaking experience for you, and you must spend at least a few days exploring the beauty of this park.
Do try the Bailong Elevator as well!
#2 Huangshi Village (Yellowstone Village)
Another fantastic destination that you will find in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area is Huangshi Village. Here, you can visit the Huangshi Fort, which lies 1080m above sea level and was built to protect the village.
From the Pillar in the South Sky to a trek on the Fir Trees Forest Route, the Huangshi Village gives you a fantastic experience and helps you explore the beauty of the forest. Spread over an area of 16.5 hectares, the Huangshi Village gives you a series of majestic sights that you simply can't miss in Zhangjiajie, such as the Treasure Box of Heavenly Books and the Golden Tortoise Watching the Sea.
#3 Golden Whip Stream
The Golden Whip Stream runs for almost 7.5 kilometers. It's named after the Golden Whip Rock, which extends for nearly 380 meters in the sky. The Golden Whip Stream can be found in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It starts from Laomo Gully to the Confluence of the Four Rivers, and then connects with the Suoxi Stream, after which it finally connects with the Li River. If you decide to follow the path taken by the stream, you are going to see majestic trees, steep peaks, and some of the majestic waterfalls ever. The stream is quite popular because of the crystal clear waters, and the hundreds of trees and flowers lining its banks.
#4 Tianzi Mountains
Another fantastic location that you can't miss out on in Zhangjiajie is the Tianzi Mountains. Named after a farmer who led a revolt and began to call himself "Tianzi," these mountains resemble pillars in the sky and extend more than a kilometer up from the ground. The mountains cover almost 17,000 acres. They are mostly shrouded in mist, which adds to the air of mystery that surrounds these mountains. You are probably going to meet quite a few tourists here because many find this place incredibly exciting.
#5 Yuanjiajie Scenic Area
Yuanjiajie is a part of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It's situated in the northern section of the park and shares a boundary with the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve. While you are going to come across many scenic sights here, you should know that the area is a lot more. Mr. James Cameron chose it as the sight for shooting his iconic flick Avatar.
You are going to find many natural wonders here, such as HouHuayuan, Tianxia Diyi Qiao, and Qiankun Zhu. The landscapes here are simply breathtaking, and you are probably going to run out of space on your camera.
#6 The Ten Miles Gallery
One of the gorgeous places that you can visit in Zhangjiajie is the Ten Miles Gallery. Situated in the northwestern region of the Suoxigu Natural Reserve, right at the base of the Tianzi Mountain, it extends for almost 5.8 kilometers. More importantly, there's a stream running through the gallery, and peaks rise above from both sides. You are going to see beautiful mountains here, and the scenery is just breathtaking. You can take a walk along with the gallery and hear a hundred birds as they sing and chirp while you walk underneath.
#7 Yellow Dragon Cave
Huanglongdong, or the Yellow Dragon Cave as it is known globally, is a karst cave that can be found on the eastern side of the Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve. With a total area of almost 100,000 square meters and a length of more than 7.6 kilometers, the cave system is a fantastic place to visit.
It is so big that it almost has its own ecosystem, with underground rivers, waterfalls, thirteen halls, four pools, and more than 96 ways to enter the inside sections. The Dragon Palace is the number of attractions within the caves and is the largest hall.
#8 Baofeng Lake
One of the highlights of your trip to Zhangjiajie is probably going to be the Baofeng Lake. The Baofeng Lake is around 20 km southeast of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and is surrounded by lush green mountains.
It's regarded as one of the most relaxing destinations in Zhangjiajie. You can just go on a leisurely boat ride, and take a few pictures without a care in the World.
#9 Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon & Glass Bridge
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon is famous for one thing: the fantastic Glass Bridge. Heralded by many as one of the most amazing feats of engineering, the Glass Bridge extends almost 430 meters.
It's the longest and the tallest glass bridge in the World and hangs over the Canyon. You can see the entire Canyon from atop the bridge, including the fantastic waterfalls, the gorgeous trees, and the beautiful lakes as well.
#10 The Xihai Stone Forest
The Xihai Stone Forest is another excellent destination that should be on your list.
Situated in Wulingyuan, you are going to see stunning karst formations all around. There are more than 3,100 karst formations in the forest. These formations can be found draped in a layer of green as the entire forest is covered with green trees and beautiful flowers.
#11 Tianmen Mountain
Tianmen Mountain, also known as Yunmeng Mountain and Songliang Mountain in ancient times, is the highest mountain in the Yongding District of Zhangjiajie. It is about 8 kilometers north of the city.
Form a rare wonder of the World -Tianmen Cave, which faces north and south, the gate is 131.5 meters high, 57 meters wide, and 60 meters deep. It stands on top of the sky and looks like a gateway to the sky. And from the Tianmen Cave, the mountain has got its name Tianmen Mountain.
Main attractions on Tianmen Mountain are Tianmen Mountain Cableway, which is the longest cableway in the World; Tianmen Cave; Tianmen Mountain Temple and Glass Skywalk.
#12 Tujia Folk Customs Park
The Tujia Folk Customs Park, also known as the Tujia Ethnic Folk Garden, is situated in the central area of the Zhangjiajie city. It is a tourist destination that gives you a unique insight into the lifestyle and the culture of the Tujia ethnic people, who were the first ones to settle in this region.
There are so many attractions in Tujia Folk Customs park, and some of them are the Gate Tower, Chenghuang Temple, Tujia House, Toast City Wall, Hundred Gardens, and many others worth visiting.
#13 Laowuchang (The Old House Area) Sky Field Garden
If you want to see the best sunrises than definitely, you should visit Laowuchang, which is also known as The Old House Area.
The Old House Area is, for sure, one of the best spots to see the incredible sunrises in Zhangjiajie.
Peaks surround the area, the villages overlap the terraces, and the rural scenery is full of calmness.
The tour line has attractions such as fairy locks, gatherings of magic soldiers, sky countryside, and waterfalls. The waterfall is located in the southwest of the old house area. It is composed of two waterfalls that are on the top of two mountains and make the area to be one of the most beautiful scenery.
The highlight of this area is "Sky Field Garden" or also known as "Paddies in the Sky". It is a small area of paddy fields, apparently hanging on a land surrounded by Zhangjiajie's typical peaks.
#14 Tianmen Mountain Glass Walkway
From October 2011, tourists can enjoy the newly built glass walkway on Tianmen National Forest Park. And from then this is a popular tourist attraction that you must visit on your Zhangjiajie tour.
The Tianmen Mountain glass walkway is 60 meters long and 1.6 meters wide, suspended from the western line of the Tianmen Peak.
If you go on a clear and sunny day, you will see the reflection of the blue sky that fills the entire walkway. However, on a cloudy day, you will have the feeling that you are walking on clouds, because the sidewalk on a cloudy day is looming in the fog, and all surrounding is just amazing.
#15 Tianmen Fox Fairy Show
Tianmen Fox Fairy is a magical musical with fantastic scenery. The full name of Tianmen Fox Fairy is "Tianmen Fox Fairy, New Bangs Cut". The story of the musical is about the love between human and fox fairy, and it is shown at nearly 10.000 sqm theater stage, and 500 actors are performing on the same stage.
The play is directed by Mei Shuaiyuan, the founder of China Real Performance, and the world-renowned Chinese musician Tan Dun serves as the music director. The stage is set up in the Canyon under Tianmen Mountain.
#16 Zhangjiajie Charming Xiangxi Show
The charm of Zhangjiajie Xiangxi International Cultural Square is the oldest performing arts theater in the Wulingyuan Scenic Spot of Zhangjiajie. After 18 years of development, it has gradually become a well-known tourism and cultural performance entity in the country, with strong and distinctive ethnic characteristics in western Hunan.
The scenic spot is located on the picturesque scroll road in Wulingyuan District. It was built in 2008 and opened to Chinese and foreign tourists in April 2010. It covers an area of 31.22 acres, and it has 2,800 seats.
These are some of the most popular shows at Charming Xiangxi Show:
- Xiangxi Miao dance, which is the unique dance art in China's Miao area.
- Border Town is a show where the love relationship between Cui Cui and Tianbao and Yan Xuan. The scene beautifully reflects the feelings of the children in Xiangxi.
- Climbing is the unique marriage custom of the Chashan Yao people in Jinxiu, Guangxi. The Yao people have always had the tradition of marrying women and men and freedom of love.
#17 Furong Old Town
Furong Town is an ancient town with a history of more than 2,000 years. The original name is Wangcun Village, but it's also known as the "Millennium Ancient Town Hanging on the Waterfall" because of its magnificent waterfall. It is located in Yongshun County within the territory of Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture. It is known as the "Four Famous Towns in Western Hunan" together with Longshan Liye Town, Suoxipu Town, and Huayuan Chaying Town.
Furong Town is located in Wuling Mountain, 51 kilometers south of Yongshun County. It is not only an ancient millennium town with a long history but also a tourist resort integrating natural scenery and simple ethnic customs. It is also the gateway to the Mengdong River Scenic Area and the best place to visit ancient times.
#18 Fenghuang Ancient Town
Few places are as historically significant as the Fenghuang Ancient Town. Situated on the western margin of Hunan, the ancient town is very well preserved and will allow you to meet with people who still follow the age-old traditions, speak the languages, and live as the Qing and the Ming styles. It's placed on the side of a mountain, allowing water to flow through. Many international tourist guides regard it as the most spectacular town in all of China. The old architecture and infrastructure paint a beautiful picture.
#19 Dehang Miao Village
The Dehang Miao Village is situated a mere 24 kilometers away from Jishou City. It's located in one of the most beautiful valleys that you will ever lay your eyes upon and has become a top-rated tourist attraction for people who want to get away from the busy tourist spots and just want to lay back and relax. The Liusha Waterfall is a must-visit in Dehang Miao, and a simple walk along one of the many flagstone roads is going to rejuvenate your mind and your body.
One of the essential scenic points in the Zhangjiajie region, WuLongZhai, is a great place to visit for those who want to learn a bit about the history of the area. WuLongZhai is the place where the Xiangxi bandits had settled at one point in time, and after a TV series made the region famous, it was renamed soon after. The mountain roads are quite challenging to cross, but if you are up to the task, you are going to be treated to some of the most incredible sights in the region.
Things to do in Zhangjiajie
Here are top things to do in Zhangjiajie, according to our travelers.
Visit Avatar Hallelujah Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
The area of Zhangjiajie became most popular among foreign tourists after the movie Avatar. The Avatar Hallelujah Mountain or also known as Southern Sky Column in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area was the inspiration for the floating mountains in the first 3D movie "Avatar." It is a vertical rock with 3,544 feet, and it is covered by lush foliage on its peak and part of the body. Moreover, the lower part of the mountain is quite narrower than the upper major part, which is rare to see in the World.
You don't need to be an N.1 fan of the movie to see this amazing nature in Zhangjiajie. All you need is love for unique nature and magnificent scenery. And don't forget to prepare your camera to take some of the most amazing photos here.
Hiking in Zhangjiajie
If you want to explore all the beauty that Zhangjiajie can offer, then the best way to do that is going on foot. There are so many beautiful tracks surrounded by unique scenery and nature, which can make the idea of hiking the most amazing experience on your trip.
Depending on your condition, you can choose from many different hiking options.
For example, you can hike around the Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain if you want an easy regular hike, but if you prefer a challenging hike, then you can choose a tour that includes 6 or 7 hours hiking up and down the mountains.
Walk the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is located in the Tujia Village of Sanguan Temple in Cili County, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province, China. It is one of the essential attractions in the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Scenic Area. It was open for tourists in 2016 as the longest and highest bridge in the World.
It has a length of 430 meters (1,410 feet), a width of 6 meters (20 feet), and a height of 300 meters (984 feet).
It is definitely one of the must-see attractions in Zhangjiajie. There are three ticket options for tourists: Ticket A for the Grand Canyon only, Ticket B for the Canyon and Glass Bridge, and Ticket C for the Glass Bridge only. Because only 600 people can be on the bridge at the same time, it is crowded all the time, so we advise you to buy a ticket in advance.
Explore Yellow Dragon Cave
Yellow Dragon Cave is located in the Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area , the core scenic spot of Zhangjiajie City. Yellow Dragon Cave in Chinese is also known as Huanglongdong. It is a typical karst cave with a total area of 100,000 square meters (120,000 square yards), a total length of 7,640 meters (8355 yards) with a maximum vertical height of 140 meters (150 yards).
Yellow Dragon Cave is divided into Dry Cave and Water Cave. And it has a total of four floors, 13 kilometers long, more than a hundred meters high.
There are holes in the caves, rivers in the caves, stalagmites, pillars, stalactites, and other spectacles.
About 380 million years ago, Huanglongdong area was a vast ocean, with highly soluble limestone and dolomite layers, and caves began to breed after a long period.
The cave is with a vast dimension, but there are some major attractions that you should visit, such as Dragon Palace, Xiangshui River, Tianxian Waterfall, The Maze.
You can't miss Bailong Elevator
Yes. You can't miss the fastest and highest outdoor elevator in the World. It is inside the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, so when you are on your Zhangjiajie tour, you must visit the Bailong Elevator.
The elevator was open to the public in 2002. However, in 2015 it was recognized as the fastest and tallest outdoor elevator by Guinness World Records.
Bailong Elevator is very fast with a speed of 3 meters per second (10 feet/s), which can finish the height within 1 minute and 58 seconds. Three elevators run side by side, and one elevator can bear up to 50 persons.
One of the fantastic sights that you can see from the elevator is the Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. The best time to visit the Bailong Elevator is between April and October.