2-Day Zhangjiajie Itinerary: China’s Wulingyuan Park & Tianmen Mountain​

2-Day Zhangjiajie Itinerary:
Wulingyuan Park & Tianmen Mountain

By DAN FORTEZA

Do you want to explore the famous Avatar mountains? Well, I do and…I did! The box-office movie ‘Avatar’ released in 2010 has made Zhangjiajie a world-famous travel destination for tourists seeking ‘Hallelujah Mountain’ traces. All the tourists came to Zhangjiajie are overwhelmed by the peculiar amazing forest landform and magnificent landscape of Wulingyuan and the rest of the Zhangjiajie region. You’ll feel as if you’re in some kind of fairyland mountains even with just a 2-day Zhangjiajie itinerary in hand. 

Avatar Floating Mountains Zhangjiejie Itinerary
Floating Mountains from Avatar Movie | james-camerons-avatar.wikia.com

Hi there! First of all, I am Daniel – a solo backpacker from the Philippines. If you don’t know my story yet, feel free to read this article where I talked about how I quit my job in order to travel. This article was also featured on TripZilla Philippines.

Avatar Floating Mountains (in Yuanjiajie) | Dantravels.org

WHERE IS ZHANGJIAJIE?

Zhangjiajie, located in the northwest of Hunan Province, China, possesses an amazing scenery treat for the world. It is roughly a 2-hour flight from Shanghai or almost 2-½ hours if coming from Beijing.

For international travelers, the most common flight routes will make a stopover in major cities of China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, etc. Hence, I suggest you arrange a trip to those interesting entry cities first and spend a few days there, then you can either book a flight or train ticket to Zhangjiajie. 

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap flight rates compared to other booking sites.

Language: Chinese
Currency: Chinese Yuan (RMB)
Airport: DYG
Time Zone: GMT +8

HOW I GOT THERE:

Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport (DYG) is the only airport that serves the Zhangjiajie region. If you’re like me who loves to experience long train rides, you can also reach Zhangjiajie by train. Coming from Shanghai’s railway station, I took a train bound to Zhangjiajie railway station. The transit took me almost a day! I think I arrived at around 2:00 in the afternoon. The day-one in my Zhangjiajie itinerary starts the next morning.

  • Shanghai South to Zhangjiajie ticket price – 35.00 USD
  • Ticket Class – Hard seat
  • Booking website: www.travelchinaguide.com
My Train to Zhangjiajie | Dantravels.org
My Train to Zhangjiajie | Dantravels.org

WHERE DID I STAY?

From the railway station of Zhangjiajie, I used ‘Google Maps’ to navigate my way to my pre-booked hostel. I walked 1.2 km to reach my hostel in Zhangjiajie which took me about 20 minutes (I love to walk and wander woohoo!)

  • Tujia Impression Inn: 2-night stay (click here to book)
    • Hostel room type: Standard Room, 1 Bed
    • Hostel rate: 78 RMB (~11.00 USD) per night

The hostel is located at Zhangjiajie City downtown.

NOTE: There are three areas where you can stay in Zhangjiajie: Zhangjiajie City downtown, Wulingyuan (just outside the park), or inside the park. If you’re going to spend more than a day exploring Wulingyuan Scenic Area, it’s best to stay in Wulingyuan.

You can book a room at any Zhangjiajie hotel or hostel through Agoda or Booking.com. I usually book my room accommodations through booking.com. Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

If Zhangjiajie hostel isn’t to your liking, try AirBnb. Airbnbs are immersed in neighborhoods, condos, and townhomes. There is a feeling you get when you stay in an Airbnb that makes you feel like you belong in that city or town. Since it is someone’s home, there is a certain amount of pride you feel while staying there. I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

If you’re new to AirBnB, then you can get up to 42 USD free travel credit by signing up via this link.

MY 2-DAY ZHANGJIAJIE ITINERARY

As you might know, I prefer traveling solo so I can personalize my itinerary and trip. But if you prefer package tours (and simply not rushing) which I think one of the best ways to explore Zhangjiajie, I recommended using Viator. Click here to find the best Viator deals in Zhangjiajie!

DAY 1: WULINGYUAN-ZHANGJIAJIE NATIONAL FOREST PARK

The Wulingyuan Mountains, more formally known as Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, is a 397-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site designated in 1992 and UNESCO Global Geopark listed in 2004. The park includes the four scenic zones of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianzi Mountain, Yuanjiajie scenic area, and Suoxiyu Nature Reserve. The entire Wulingyuan area is part of Zhangjiajie. You can download here the map of the park I used as a reference.

    • Ticket Price: 245.00 RMB (valid for 4 days)
      • This includes bus rides inside the park. Insurance also included.
      • This does NOT include Trolley ticket to 10-mile gallery (38 RMB); Cable Car to Tianzi mountain peak (72 RMB); Bailong elevator one way (72 RMB).
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): Whole day BUT take note…
      • NOTE: Wulingyuan park is huge! There’s so much to see in its four zones. It would be difficult to be fully explored in just a day.
    • How to get there:
      • Wulingyuan is a district of Zhangjiajie, just a bus ride away from the city center. To get there from the city proper, simply go to the Zhangjiajie Central Bus Terminal, and take the mini-bus going to Wulingyuan. Travel time is 40 minutes to an hour.
      • Mini-bus fare (one way) is 20.00 RMB.

Main Entrance to Wulingyuan Park

CABLECAR TO TIANZI PEAK

Yubi Peak (in Tianzi Mountain)

The Ten-Mile Natural Gallery

Avatar Hallelujah Mountain (In Yuanjiajie)

BAILONG ELEVATOR

Bailong Elevator, the tallest outdoor elevator in the world.

DAY 2: TIANMEN MOUNTAIN

Tianmen mountain is the second most-recommended tourist area in Zhangjiajie after the forest park.

Just as stunning as the Wulingyan-Zhangjiajie Park, Tianmen Mountain itinerary highlights: Tianmen Mountain Cableway (the longest in the world), 99 bends (China’s mindblowing roads with 99 turns), the Hanging Bridge, the Glass Sky Walk, and Tianmen Cave (a giant hole romantically called Gateway to Heaven) with the ‘999 steps to heaven’.

    • Ticket Price: 261.00 RMB
      • This includes the cableway ride and bus ride. Valid for one day only.
      • This does NOT include ticket to Glass Walkway (5 RMB).
    • Duration (getting there + visiting): Whole day!
    • How to get there:
      • In Zhangjiajie City downtown, just simply find the ticket office of the Tianmen mountain. That’s the one where the cableway line starts. I got there just by walking from my hostel. Once you have your ticket, you can reach the mountain by either bus or cablecar. However, you can only use the bus and the cablecar once: e.g. if you opt to go up by cable car, you’ll have to go down by bus.

VIDEO: Cablecar

Glass Walkway

TIANMEN TEMPLE

The Hanging Bridge

VIDEO: Tunnel EscalatorS

Tianmen Cave & the ‘999 steps to heaven’

What do you think of this 2-DAY ZHANGJIAJIE itinerary?

I know I was rushing in this do-it-yourself 2-DAY ZHANGJIAJIE ITINERARY, but I hope that you still find this informative and useful!

If you have more days to spend in Zhangjiajie, you can include these cool tours from Viator. Check out Viator Zhangjiajie.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section below.

BOOKING ESSENTIALS

  • Hotel / Hostel
    • Booking.com. I usually book my hostel accommodation at booking.com. Thus, I recommend you guys trying it as well for your Zhangjiajie Itinerary.  Room accommodation ranges from cheap hostels to luxury hotels. Book hostels through booking.com as they have free cancellation or pay-at-the-hotel option.

Use my link to book your hostel and you’ll get 10% of your booking back after your stay. Click this link to get that discount.

    • Airbnb. Try Airbnb in finding comfy and cozy rooms for your Zhangjiajie itinerary! I have used Airbnb on some of my other trips and I loved it!

Have you tried Airbnb? Sign up with my link and you will get up to 42 USD (2,200 Php) off your first stay. Click this link to get that discount.

  • Flights
    • KAYAK. All of my flight bookings are all from KAYAK. Kayak is one of the world’s leading travel search engines and searches hundreds of travel sites.

I suggest you check Kayak (click HERE) as they usually offer cheap fare rates compared to other booking sites.

  •  Zhangjiajie Package tours
    • Viator. Viator is the world’s leading resource for researching, finding and booking the best travel experiences worldwide.

Click here to find the best Viator deals in Zhangjiajie!

  • Travel Insurance
    • World Nomads. If you don’t have travel insurance when times get tough, basically you are screwed. Traveling always comes with inherent risks attached. Whether you are trekking in the Tianmen mountains or wandering the streets of Zhangjiajie, unforeseen events can suddenly upend your world. Generally speaking, travel insurance covers you for the following: Medical Costs – hospital visits, emergencies, evacuations; Property Loss – luggage and their contents; Travel Issues – accommodation and transportation expenses. Thus, I highly recommend you guys getting a travel insurance. I bought one from the World Nomads (available in 130+ countries) where most travelers get their travel insurances.

Go to this link to get to your World Nomads travel insurance.

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