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.
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.
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.
Zhangjiajie’s high travel season is from May to October. The rest of the year travel costs are lower.
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.
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.
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.
Type of Attraction
Hours from Zhangjiajie
Time for a visit
One day to three days
next to the city, close to the bus and train stations
vertical cliffs, cliff-hanging walkway
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.
Tell our travel advisor which sights you want to visit, and how many days you want to stay. They will suggest an itinerary to fit your schedule.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
See our China Travel Packing List for more detail. Below are the essentials and things specifically recommended for Zhangjiajie.
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