Zhangjiajie National Park is one of the most visited and famous places in China, so we could not miss this place. We reserved 3 days for hiking that proved to be optimal for us to explore all places. We would like to provide basic informations and quick breakdown of the itinerary of what we did. Don’t forget to check our video at the end of the article!
How to get from Zhangjiajie to Zhangjiajie National Park by bus
There are two main gates which lead to the National Park. One of them is Zhangjiajie National Forest Park (South gate) and second is in the city Wulingyuan (West gate).
Bus from Zhangjiajie to the South Gate
Zhangjiajie national forest park (South Gate) is the most famous for Five Fingers mountains. First you have to take a bus from the bus station in Zhangjiajie (next to train station and McDonald´s). One one-way ticket costs 12 RMB and you have to pay for it directly in the minibus (you will find bus on the left side of the station). The road to the South gate took about 40 minutes. One of the photos below you can see how the bus looks like and which signs you should try to find.
Bus from Zhangjiajie to Wulingyuan (West gate)
Bus to Wulingyuan leaves from the same bus station. One-way ticket costs 13 RMB and you have to buy it at the ticket office. The bus runs every 15 minutes so we got into and left immediately. On the photo below you can see how the bus looks like. Last bus from Wulinngyuan to Zhangiajie leaves at 9 pm.
Zhangjiajie National Park Admission fee
One ticket to Zhangjiajie National park costs 225 RMB / person and it is valid for 4 days. In the price of the ticket are also included shuttle buses which go around the park. They will take also your fingerprints at the entrance gate to insure that you would not sell the ticket to anyone.
Quick breakdown of our itinerary
DAY 1 – Yangjianjie Scenic area
If you want to visit Yangjianjie Scenic area that is best known for Five Fingers mountains, you have to go by bus to the South Gate (Zhangjiajie National Forest Park). Then you can take cable car or climb an infinitive number of stairs to its top which took us about 2 hours (we are starting to be properly trained).
Along the way we met a lot of cute little monkeys (from babies to alpha males), who normally live in the park. At the top we enjoyed many views of the massive sandstone rocks that really reminded us Avatar movie! This part is not so much visited by tourists, but there are still several tours with Chinese tourists, as you can go there also by cable car. However, the views far away from the cable car station were empty and became an oasis of peace for us.
DAY 2 – Yuanjiajie Scenic area
The next day we took a bus to the city Wulingyuan. Wulingyuan is a typical tourist destination. There are several hotels, souvenir shops or you can buy there a tour through the park, etc. This area is best known for its Avatar Halleluah mountain.
We wanted to go through a glass elevator called Bailong elevator to shorten the journey, but we changed our minds after asking for another RMB 65 per person at the gate (we also read that it is not worthy because elevator is too fast and overcrowded). So we decided to walk and we climb an endless number of stairs agian to the top. We haven’t met many tourists on the way but the hike was worthy with fabulous views on the surrounding mountains and forest landscape. This part of the park is definitely the best. We recommend you to wait until 3 – 5 pm, when the mountains have the most beautiful coloring and the number of tourists falls at the same time.
DAY 3 – Tianzi mountain area
The last part to explore is the Tianzi mountain area. Tianzi Mountain is 1262 meters high and it is the highest complex of mountains in the area, offering a stunning view from the other mountain peaks. To get there, we arrived in the city Wulingyuan again, climbed an endless number of steps and then took the shuttle bus to the desired station. The map of the park is relatively poorly drawn, so we recommend to study some map on the Internet before you visit park. We for example got one at the hotel.
On the third day we have so many pictures of different mountains and valleys that it is time to leave the national park: D It is a magical area and every part of it is unique! If you want to visit this park low cost, you will have to walk a lot. But the walk is definitely worthy and you will meet and see things you wouldn’t even see from the cable car.
Tips for visit Zhangjiajie National Park
1. Don’t feed monkeys or do not show food in front of them
Second day we had bad incident with monkeys. As we mentioned before, there are monkeys in the park who love to eat and they are used to being fed by tourists. One the way down from the mountain, we wanted to have a snack and eat our pears but what happened! The monkeys appeared at the least appropriate time and jumped on Anet, who was holding a pear bag in her hand. Anet decided not to fight with the monkey, and when she felt that the monkey was grabbing the bag, she rather let the bag go. That disappointed Tom because he was very excited about the pear and hungry. So watch out for monkeys and take a good look around before pulling out the food!
2. Food and drink inside the park
There are several restaurants and snack bars in the park. But they are more expensive so we always brought our own food. But if you forget to bring something you’re not going to die of hunger.
3. How to get on top of the mountain
Low cost option is to walk on top of the mountain and enjoy many viewpoint on the way up. Second and more expensive option is to take cable car. But they can be also really overcrowded during the high season or weekend.