Home China Guide Zhangjiajie How to Plan a Tour of Zhangjiajie

How to Plan a Tour of Zhangjiajie

The rock pillar landscapes of Zhangjiajie are renowned all over the world. The picturesque natural scenery and rich ethnic culture in Zhangjiajie is charming and well worth a trip. Generally speaking, three or four days are enough to see the main things in Zhangjiajie.

Choosing the Best Time to Go

Zhangjiajie Best Time to go

September and October - best time to visit: It is possible to visit Zhangjiajie all year round, but, if impossible, we recommend you to go in September and October as the weather is comfortable, the scenery is cool, and it is quite.

Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

April to June - comfortable but rainy : If you don't mind the rains and humidity, April to June is also a good time to visit. The roads will be slippery and the mountains will be covered by extensive fog (cloud), which gives them an enchanting atmosphere.

May to October - High Travel Season: Zhangjiajie’s high travel season is from May to October. The rest of the year travel costs are lower.

December to February - frozen in the mountains: We don't recommend our customers to travel from December to February; it may snow or become frozen. It is very cold in the mountains, with slippery roads. The park is closed for one week in February for routine maintenance.

Avoid China’s summer holiday season (July and August), and China’s holidays (Labor Day: May 1–3, National Day: October 1–7) as it is extremely crowded everywhere. Sometimes, you may need to wait for two hours for the cable car.

Read more about Zhangjiajie weather.

Choosing What Sights to See

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in Wulingyuan Scenic Area is the epitome of Zhangjiajie, and has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, best shows the essence of Zhangjiajie's landscape.

Attraction

Type of Attraction

Hours  from Zhangjiajie

Time for a visit

(Entry) cost

Scenery*Activities

Recommended

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

National Park

40 minutes

One day to three days

 248 yuan

Precipitous Pillars
Hiking, phtography

Yes

Tianmen Mountain

Mountain

next to the city, close to the bus and train stations

One day

 258 yuan

vertical cliffs, hiking, cable car riding, photography

Yes

Yellow Dragon Cave

Cave

1 hour

2 hours

80 yuan

Natural cave

No

Baofeng Lake

Lake

1 hour

2 hours

74 yuan

Boat ride

No

How Many Days to Stay?

Glass sky walk, Tianmen MountainThe Glass Sky Walk, Tianmen Mountain

The best two attractions in Zhangjiajie are the National Forest Park, and Tianmen Mountain, which many skip, but we and other travelers who have been there recommend taking another day for.

We suggest our customers allow at least four days for Zhangjiajie: two days for the National Park, a day for Tianmen Mountain, and a day for settling in and travel.

A three day trip is possible, but your itinerary will be hectic, as the park is large, and you need at least a very busy day to cover the highlights. A two-day tour of the national park will allow you to travel at a more relaxed pace.

To visit nearby Fenghuang Ancient Town, allow two more days. 

Our Zhangjiajie tours range from 4 days to 15 days. You can travel Zhangjiajie for a 4 days discover tour to appreciate the scenery of forest park and Tianmen Mountain. Or you can enjoy a 15-day China’s golden triangle tour including Zhangjiajie, Beijing, Xi'an, and Shanghai.

If you have your own travel idea, just contact us and our travel advisor will tailor-make a Zhangjiajie tour for you.

Popular Zhangjiajie Tour Choices

Length

Attractions

Itinerary

Summary

Price

3-day

- Zhangjiajie
National Forest Park

Day 1: arrival
Day 2: national park
Day 3: national park; departure

Very Brief — the Highlights

From $479

4-day

- Zhangjiajie
National Forest Park
- Tianmen Mountain

Day 1: arrival
Day 2: national park
Day 3: national park
Day 4: mountain adventure; depart

The Classic Way

From $599

5-day

- Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- Fenghuang Ancient Town

Day 1: arrival
Day 2: national park
Day 3: national park
Day 4: ancient town
Day 5: ancient town; departure

Amazing Scenery AND Ancient Culture

From $699

Recommendations on How to Get There

zhangjiajie transportation map

Direct train journeys from major tourist cities are at least 10 hours and not recommended. The nearest major transit city to Zhangjiajie with bullet trains is Changsha, but it is far away (5 hours by train), and full of hassle to transit.

Zhangjiajie Flights

We suggest going via a city with direct flights to Zhangjiajie, and international flights, such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. 

Guilin and Hong Kong have no direct flights or trains to Zhangjiajie. We recommend traveling to an intermediate destination with direct flights.

zhangjiajie flight map

Choosing a Tour Style: Privately-Guided, in a Group, or On Your Own

China Highlights guide Travel with China Highlights, and you will be taken cared by a private guide

A private guide and car is recommended for Zhangjiajie. The park is quite large, confusing and crowded at most of the times. Our guide is helpful to get you where you want to go and negotiate the crowds.

Going with a tour group you won't get lost and waste time, but you will never escape the crowds and have any flexibility.

On your own it is hard to find the right way even with a map. The buses and roads have no signage. It's a case of showing maps and asking enough people to get an average response, then showing the driver the map while you fight for a seat. Some drivers are helpful; others are stressed and just wave you away.

Find the Best Place to Stay

zhangjiajie hotel map

Travelers should consider carefully where to stay in Zhangjiajie. Most hotels in Zhangjiajie are concentrated in three areas: downtown Zhangjiajie, at Wulingyuan, or inside Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

Pullman Hotel, the best hotel in WulingyuanPullman Hotel, the best hotel in Wulingyuan

Hotels in Wulingyuan:We suggest our customers stay in Wulingyuan, just outside the national park, as it is convenient for visiting the park, and there are numerous hotels ranging from hostel to 5-star. Hotels under 5-star don’t provide Western breakfast. A 5-star hotel in Wulingyuan costs about 600 yuan (98 USD). We usually use Zhangjiajie Pullman Hotel, the best hotel in Wulingyuan.

Hostel inside the park: If you care more about the scenery than the comfort, we suggest staying inside the park. There are only simple hostels inside the park with simple facilities, like basically furnished clean rooms and hot water. A standard room is around 200–300 yuan (33–49 USD). In the Forest Park you can enjoy the scenery peacefully and quietly when the large groups have thronged past for the day.

Hotels in Zhangjiajie city is good for tourists who arrive at Zhangjiajie on the first night, or who have finished their trip and going to catch a flight or train the following morning, or who only want to visit the sights around the city of Zhangjiajie, e.g. Tianmen Mountain. We arrange hotel in the Zhangjiajie city on the first day as most flights land at night, sometimes, very late.

Zhangjiajie Hotel Areas at a Glance

Location

Hotels

Benefits

Facilities

Choice of…

Wulingyuan, by the national park

Star-rated hotels

Convenient for visiting the park

Good, comfortable

Those who care more about comfort

Inside the national park

Rural guest houses

Close to nature

Limited, simple

Nature lovers, backpackers, photographers

In Zhangjiajie City

Star-rated hotels

Convenient for flights or trains

Good, comfortable

Late arrivers, early leavers

Read more on advantages and disadvantages of three areas to stay in Zhangjiajie.

Advice on Food

China Highlights guide help customers order foodTell your guide your dietary requirements, and he/she will help you order your food

Let your travel advisor know your dietary requirements (including your tolerance for spicy food), and they will arrange your food according to your preference and requirements. If you travel on your own, write your food requirements down in Chinese and hand them to staff where you eat. See Gluten-Free Travel in China.

Food supplied in the national park is limited to the local spicy and strong flavor. Our guide will try his/her best to find the best restaurant available for our customers. If necessary our guide can arrange picnic food (take away food prepared by a hotel ).;

Bring some snacks in case you don't fancy the local food.

Packing List

See our China Travel Packing List for more detail. Below are the essentials and things specifically recommended for Zhangjiajie.

  • Travel documents (passports, visas)
  • Chinese money (at least 1,000 yuan / 164 USD) + credit card / ATM card
  • Camera
  • Suitable clothing for the season and hiking
  • Rain gear (especially in spring)
  • Sun-protection (especially in summer)
  • Anti-skid sport shoes or good walking shoes
  • Layered clothes in autumn and spring
  • Umbrella or sun hat
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Toiletries (carry your own toilet paper)
  • Any necessary medicine
  • Snacks

4-Day Zhangjiajie Tour Itinerary

Price: only USD$ 599 per person.

DAY 1. Zhangjiajie Arrival

Most flights land in Zhangjiajie (/jung-jyaa-jyeah/) in the evening. Upon arrival your local tour guide will take you by private van and driver to your hotel in the city for a good rest.

DAY 2. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Tianzi Mountain and Hallelujah Mountain

Tianzi Mountain (Heaven Son Peak) — the highest peak — offers the best chance of photographing the sea of clouds.After a simple lunch on the mountain, head to most-popular Yuanjiajie (Yuan Clan Area) to see 'Avatar Hallelujah Mountain'.

DAY 3. Pristine Precipices; Back to the City for an Ethnic Courtyard

Yangjiajie (Yang Clan Area) is like a hidden gem — its pristine beauty a touch above other areas, with a bit of adventure and fewer tourist crowds. Its amazing landforms will impress you as you climb the steps. After a simple lunch on the mountain, take a cable car down, and return to the city. Zhangjiajie Old Courtyard is well worth a visit for its old private school, artifacts, and exhibitions of the life of the Tujia (/too-jyaa/ a local minority people).

DAY 4. Tianmen Mountain; Zhangjiajie Departure

Tianmen Mountain (Heaven Gate Peak) has the world's longest cable car, the suspended glass walkway almost a mile (1,430 meters) above the ground, and the '99 Bends' mountain road. After lunch you will be driven to the airport for your flight.

Customizing Your Tour

Zhangjiajie has flights to major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. Feel free to ask us for transportation advice. You can extend it a day to see "the most beautiful town in China" — Fenghuang Ancient Town. If your time is limited, shortening by a day can also be arranged.

Read more about our 4-Day Zhangjiajie National Park and Tianmen Mountain Tour.

Inclusions:

  • Entrance fee to scenic spots listed in itinerary
  • Private transfers between the airport, attractions, and hotels
  • Public shuttle buses in the national park and specified cable cars
  • Meals mentioned in itinerary
  • Private tour guide and driver service throughout the tour
  • Hotel accommodation with breakfast

During the Tour

China Highlights aims to provide you with the best travel service possible. Contact us and will try our best to get over any difficulties you encounter during your time in Zhangjiajie.