Zhangjiajie in northwest Hunan province is known for awe-inspiring scenery. As the saying goes, "See water at Jiuzhaigou, see mountains at Zhangjiajie."

Spanning 264 square kilometers, Wulingyuan Scenic Area has 3,000 peaks and 800 streams. Visitors are overwhelmed by the quartz sandstone pillars and karst features, feeling transported to a celestial realm. Zhangjiajie is fittingly called “the original Chinese mountain-and-water painting” and “a miniature wonderland.”

The Avatar movie even filmed here in 2010. Zhangjiajie has Yongding, Wulingyuan, Cili and Sangzhi counties.

Dayong Ancient Town resembles downtown Zhangjiajie, ideal for lodging, dining and shopping. Its eight buildings reflect minority Tujia and Miao architectural styles.

Jinbian Stream is considered “one of the world’s most beautiful canyons.” The classic Journey to the West TV show filmed here.

Huangshi Village, or “Yellow Lion Village,” is the essence of the national forest park. As the saying goes, “You haven’t truly visited Zhangjiajie until you’ve been to Huangshi Village.” Perched on cliffs surrounded by trees, it has scenic overlooks on precipices.

Ten-Mile Natural Gallery is a 5.8 km long narrow valley with a stream, abundant nature and 200 unique rock formations resembling animals and humans.

Tianmen Mountain is Yongding’s highest peak, named after the Tianmen natural cave – the “heavenly gate.” The ever-changing mist imbues Tianmen with mystery, deemed the world’s finest aerial garden.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Tickets:

245RMB + 3RMB insurance (valid 4 days, includes eco-bus)
298RMB week pass (unlimited entries for a week)

Discounted Tickets:

165RMB + 3RMB insurance for students under 24 with ID

Tickets use fingerprint access. Main entrances are Wulingyuan and Forest Park. Insurance is optional. Other transportation like cable cars require separate payment.

Tips: Tickets purchased before 6:30PM are valid that day. After 6:30PM, validity starts the next day. Exceeding the time limit requires paying the price difference. Arrive early to maximize value!

Consumption level

Outside of major holidays and peak seasons, two people can comfortably tour Zhangjiajie for 3 days on about 400RMB, excluding transportation and admission costs.

Opt for basic hotels located near top attractions like Tianmen Mountain and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, with rates around 100RMB per night. Use public buses and walking to get around the city and parks for just 2-5RMB per ride. Sample affordable local cuisine like tau fu fa bean curd jelly and biang biang noodles from small restaurants. Focus spending on just a couple highlights each day.

By choosing budget lodging, getting around via public transit and foot, and eating local specialties, travelers can experience Zhangjiajie’s stunning natural scenery of forests, mountains, and rock formations without overspending. Advance planning and budget-focused choices allow an immersive experience in this UNESCO World Heritage Site for about 133RMB per person per day.

Bai Torch Festival

Torch Festival of the Bai People in Zhangjiajie, China

The Torch Festival is a distinctive summer solstice tradition of the Bai ethnic minority in Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province. On the evening of the 25th day of the 6th lunar month, villages come alive with torchlight. 

The festival is associated with dispelling pests and protecting crops. Every family lights a torch, then villagers gather to create a communal bonfire. People take running leaps over the flames, invoking the Fire God's blessings to drive away harm and disaster.

The vivid glow of dancing torches represents hopes for a fruitful harvest season. The communal fire jumping ritual binds families and neighbors together. It reaffirms the Bai people's agrarian roots and identity through this joyous, spiritual celebration. 

Marked by auspicious symbolism and vibrant participation, the Torch Festival welcomes the peak of summer in classic Bai fashion. The time-honored tradition persists as an expression of cultural heritage in Zhangjiajie.

Location: Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province, China
Time: Evening of 25th day of 6th lunar month

Tujia June 6th

Tujia's Drying the Dragon Robe Festival on June 6th in Zhangjiajie, China

The Tujia ethnic group calls the 6th day of the 6th lunar month "Drying the Dragon Robe Festival." On this day, women bring out all their clothes and linens to sun dry, making homes look packed for moving. Some even pry up roof tiles trying to air everything out. The Tujia believe sunlight on this date protects items from mildew and decay all year round. 

The festival originates from a legend about a Tujia leader named Qian Duanmeng. While being executed, nine golden dragons flew from his body, darkening the sky. The frightened Emperor hastily ordered Qian be dried stiff, sat for 7 days as emperor, and his blood-stained robe washed, dried and enshrined in a temple.

The grand festival is celebrated lavishly in Luoshui Town in Yongding District. Locals perform exhilarating Maoke dances and other festivities on this day immersed in tradition.

Marked by rich symbolic origins and rituals, Tujia's Drying the Dragon Robe Festival expresses cultural pride and identity on June 6th in Zhangjiajie.

Location: Yongding District, Zhangjiajie City, Hunan Province
Time: 6th day of the 6th lunar month

Exploring the Most Beautiful Corner of Crossing Mountains and Mountains

Venture beyond Zhangjiajie’s famous sights to Old Village, an unspoiled scenic spot within the national forest park. Locals deem the sprawling Air Orchard and Gathering of Warriors vistas to be Zhangjiajie’s most quintessential natural beauty. Be prepared for poor road conditions made worse by rain, but the spectacular scenery makes it all worthwhile. Especially around sunset, golden light illuminates sandstone pillars, emerald peaks, and mist-shrouded valleys in painterly perfection. Traverse rugged trails through thick forests and over rolling hills to reach these hidden lookouts. Gaze out across untouched landscapes devoid of crowds or modern development. For stunning panoramas and spiritual rejuvenation, take the challenging trek to uncover Zhangjiajie’s best-kept secret vistas, far from the madding crowds. This rewarding expedition will prove the most beautiful corners are reserved for intrepid explorers.

Hanging Glass Path PK Your Heartbeat

Conquer your fear of heights on Tianmen Mountain's dizzying glass skywalk. This transparent cliffside path offers a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime experience. Aside from concrete supports spaced one meter apart, the entire walkway consists of ultra-clear strengthened glass. With unobstructed views straight down the sheer precipice, the naked exposure challenges your courage and bids you to release a primal scream! Let your heartbeat race as you gingerly step out over the void, leaving the cliff edge receding behind you. Resist vertigo's paralyzing grip to complete the terrifying yet liberating transparent trail. Is it a dream or a nightmare? Either way, walking the glass skywalk pits your wits against staggering vertical drops in a pulse-pounding test of mettle. Will you confront the abyss or succumb to acrophobia's paralyzing clutches?

Taste Liu Xiaoqing's "sold" rice tofu

Travel back in time at Furong Ancient Town, the filming location for classics like “The Town of Hibiscus.” Set amid Qin and Han dynasty ruins, this 2,000-year-old village transports visitors to a bygone era with preserved cobblestone lanes and traditional homes. Sample the local specialty doufuhua, soft bean curd pudding, that protagonist Liu Xiaoqing famously peddled in the hit movie. Nicknamed “tofu Xi Shi” after an ancient beauty, doufuhua vendors represent Furong Town's heritage. Savor the velvety texture and sweet soy milk base of this protein-rich snack once sold by the “prettiest tofu seller” herself. From the worn stone streets to the little shops, echoes of the past live on in Furong Town. Don't miss this tasty way to re-enact scenes from the classic film and appreciate a culture spanning millennia.

Best Travel Time

Spring and autumn are the best travel times in Zhangjiajie. In the spring of Zhangjiajie, there are colorful sunset flowers, tracing the Golden Whip Creek, visiting the Ten Mile Gallery, exploring the Huanglong Cave, and experiencing the surprise of Wuling people entering the Peach Blossom Garden; In autumn, the sky in Zhangjiajie is high and the clouds are light, and the forests are stained. This is the season when delicious fruits such as kiwi and tangerines are ripe. Relatively speaking, the summer is hot and rainy, and the winter climate is cold, with slightly lower comfort compared to spring and autumn. Spring recommendations: Jinbian Creek, Shili Gallery, Huanglong Cave, and Baofeng Lake. The Golden Whip Creek runs through the mountains, valleys, and clouds. The stream is clear and full of ups and downs, with small fish swimming in it. The flowers and plants along the stream are delicious, birds sing and warblers sing, and people walk along the clear stream, which is better than traveling in a painting. Within the Suoxiyu Scenic Area, there are water jade carvings and Huanglong Cave, which is as beautiful as a fairyland, as well as Baofeng Lake, which is as flat as a precious mirror in the sky. These are all good places for sightseeing and sightseeing. Autumn recommendations: Tianzi Mountain, Yuanjiajie, Xihai, and Fengqi Mountain. The Tianzi Mountain is the most spectacular after the rain and when it clears, with surging clouds forming various continuous and vast landscapes, which are truly beautiful. The white clouds in the West Sea are considered a stunning sight, especially when viewed from the rooftop. There are also thousands of stone peaks in this area. Entering the West Sea feels like being in the midst of a sea of stone forests. There is a poem that says, "The wonder of the West Sea is like clouds, either heard with sound or smelled with the desire to be drunk, huddled like catkins, fluffy like the sea, and curling like smoke. Tips: 1. On rainy days, the mountain road is slippery, and rain and fog can also cause blurred vision. It is best not to take risks climbing in the rain. 2. During the Golden Week and summer vacation, there is a peak season for tourism, and various service prices have increased, resulting in inconvenience in transportation, food and accommodation.

Dressing Guidelines

Zhangjiajie Clothing Tips

Zhangjiajie has large temperature differences between day and night, but relatively consistent temperatures across seasons. The core scenic areas are about 5-10°C cooler than the city, with summer city temperatures around 39°C and scenic area temperatures around 30°C. Bring sunscreen for summer days, but also pack a light blanket for cool mountain nights if staying atop peaks.

For fall and winter visits, pack layers like cardigans, blazers, or light wool sweaters. Elderly and less mobile visitors should wear jackets or coats plus wool sweaters. Wear good slip-resistant shoes since Zhangjiajie is very rainy. Bring an umbrella or rain pants/jacket as well.

Dress in layers you can add or remove for comfort in Zhangjiajie's varying mountain temperatures. Proper shoes and wet weather gear will allow enjoying the sights rain or shine. With the right clothing, visitors can comfortably experience all Zhangjiajie’s natural beauty.

Customs taboos

Local Customs of Zhangjiajie

With over 69% of the population from ethnic minorities like the Tujia, Bai, and Miao peoples, Zhangjiajie is rich in folk culture. The wedding customs are especially fascinating. The Tujia have humorously named wedding rituals, while the Bai strictly follow traditional parental arrangements. Other wedding rituals involve matchmaking, fortune telling, processions, dowries, wedding feasts, and more.

Dances like the iconic torch festival dance, Bai drum dances, and major Tujia dances like Waving Hands and Maogusi are lively displays of local flair. Folk songs from the region's valleys are melodious and uplifting. Martial arts are also popular, especially among the Tujia, known for their rugged build and valor.

When exploring Zhangjiajie, mindful observation of and participation in these immersive ethnic traditions allows a glimpse into the minority cultures that give the region its character. Proper etiquette around weddings and rituals shows respect. Openness to and appreciation of the folk customs will lead to a deeper experience.

Self driving

Driving to Zhangjiajie from Changsha is the most direct route. Take the Changchang Expressway and Changzhang Expressway, about 320km total (toll fees around 200RMB). It takes just 2.5-3.5 hours.

Travelers from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and nearby provinces can take major highways like Jingzhu Expressway to Changsha first, then transfer to the Changzhang Expressway to Zhangjiajie.

Once in Zhangjiajie, park your car at a safe parking lot in the city or outside the park entrance, as private vehicles are not allowed inside the scenic area. Take the eco-friendly park shuttles to get around the vast landscape. The park entrances and exits are different places, so you cannot simply drive straight through.

Parking fees are about 50RMB/car overnight at the park entrance or 30RMB/car in the city. City parking is more affordable and offers easy transit access to the park.

Driving routes and times from other cities:

From Changsha: Changchang Expressway to Changde to Cili County (continue straight after the bridge) to Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Suoxi Valley) - about 7 hours total.

From Wuhan: Hanyi Expressway to Jingzhou to Gong'an to Li County to Shimen County to Cili County (continue straight after the bridge) to Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Suoxi Valley) - about 10 hours total.

From Beijing: Jingzhu Expressway to Changsha, then Changchang and Changzhang Expressways to Zhangjiajie.

From Shanghai: Nanjing - Hefei - Qianshan - Huanggang - Wuhan - Changsha - Zhangjiajie; or Shanghai - Hangzhou - Jinhua - Quzhou - Nanchang - Zhuzhou - Changsha - Zhangjiajie.

Medical treatment

Here are some key tips for respecting local culture and staying safe in Weihai, China, for an English travel website:Respecting Local Customs in WeihaiWhen visiting Weihai, please keep these etiquette and safety tips in mind:- Avoid mentioning pork when visiting Hui communities or halal restaurants. Use "zhuang" instead of "fat" which is taboo.  - Do not touch or step on ethnic or religious symbols. - Weihai is clean and beautiful so please don't litter or spit. - Refrain from tapping bowls with chopsticks or swatting pets in restaurants or homes. - Conserve water as Weihai is prone to shortages. - Hotels along Weihai's scenic shoreline are pricier but offer sea views and soundscapes at night. Splurge if you can.- Watch for Weihai's winding,Typing…

Emergency call

Here is some information on medical facilities in Zhangjiajie, China for an English travel website:Medical Care in ZhangjiajieZhangjiajie has numerous hospitals to meet healthcare needs, with some of the larger facilities being Zhangjiajie People's Hospital, Zhangjiajie Second People's Hospital, Zhangjiajie Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, and Zhangjiajie Red Cross Hospital. For those visiting the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, nearby options are Lanma Hospital and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Community Health Service Center.If staying near the central bus station or train station, convenient hospitals include Yongding District Rural Cooperative Medical Designated Hospital and Guanliping Hospital.With a good selection of hospitals and clinics, travelers in Zhangjiajie can readily access medical care if health issues occur. The proximity of quality healthcare ensures peace of mind while enjoying the iconic sandstone pillars, mountainous landscapes, and lush forests that make Zhangjiajie a top destination.

Safety considerations

When at crowded places like train stations, bus terminals, and metro stations, keep a close eye on your belongings to prevent theft. Areas with high tourist traffic like Tiananmen Square also attract scammers, so tourists should be wary of unlicensed guides demanding money upfront. Avoid handing over any cash to solicitations on the street. Use registered taxi companies like the red Beijing taxis whenever possible. Keep valuables secured and hidden, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and be alert in public transportation hubs and tourist sites. When needing assistance, go to authorized help points like the Beijing Tourist Information booths rather than individuals roaming the streets. Beijing is a generally safe city if simple precautions are taken. Report any incidents or suspicious activities immediately to the nearest police officer. They can also provide directions and other help. Enjoy sightseeing, but remain aware of the surroundings.

Equipment

When at crowded places like train stations, bus terminals, and metro stations, keep a close eye on your belongings to prevent theft. Areas with high tourist traffic like Tiananmen Square also attract scammers, so tourists should be wary of unlicensed guides demanding money upfront. Avoid handing over any cash to solicitations on the street. Use registered taxi companies like the red Beijing taxis whenever possible. Keep valuables secured and hidden, avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and be alert in public transportation hubs and tourist sites. When needing assistance, go to authorized help points like the Beijing Tourist Information booths rather than individuals roaming the streets. Beijing is a generally safe city if simple precautions are taken. Report any incidents or suspicious activities immediately to the nearest police officer. They can also provide directions and other help. Enjoy sightseeing, but remain aware of the surroundings.

Zhangjiajie Surrounding Cities