How to Plan a Beijing and Zhangjiajie Tour

How to Plan a Beijing and Zhangjiajie Tour

By Kelly PangUpdated Oct. 11, 2021
Zhangjiajie National Forest ParkZhangjiajie National Forest Park

If your time in China is limited and you want to see both cultural heritages and natural scenery, a tour covering Beijing and Zhangjiajie can be a great option.

Here, we've detailed all the information you need to know to plan a Beijing and Zhangjiajie tour.

How to Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie

Beijing is about 1,500kilometers from Zhangjiajie, a city in SouthCentral China. The most convenient way to travel from Beijing to Zhangjiajie is by airplane.

By airplane (recommended): There are daily direct flights from Beijing to Zhangjiajie, taking about 3 hours. As flights are generally in the evening, you can enjoy a full day in Beijing and the following day in Zhangjiajie.

By train: No direct bullet trains travel between Beijing and Zhangjiajie, just normal overnight trains, which take 23–26 hours. A way to save several hours on the train, albeit more hassle, is to take a connecting train in Changsha, a bigger city close to Zhangjiajie. 

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How Many Days to Spend in Beijing and Zhangjiajie

The Great Wall of ChinaThe Great Wall of China

We recommend you spend 3 to 4 days in Beijing to visit the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, and the hutongs. See our sample itinerary for reference.

If this is not your first time in Beijing, we have some exclusive experiences allowing you to have an in-depth understanding of the city.

In Zhangjiajie, you can stay for 2–4 days to visit the highlights there, such as Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Tianmen Mountain, and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. See one of our Zhangjiajie sample itineraries for inspiration.

Tianmen Mountain in ZhangjiajieTianmen Mountain in Zhangjiajie

A Sample Itinerary of a Beijing and Zhangjiajie Tour

Day 1: Beijing arrival
Day 2: The Forbidden City and a hutongs tour
Day 3: The Great Wall at Mutianyu and the Temple of Heaven
Day 4: The Summer Palace and a flight from Beijing to Zhangjiajie
Day 5: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Yuanjiajie and Tianzi Mountain
Day 6: Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge and Baofeng Lake
Day 7: Tianmen Mountain and Zhangjiajie departure

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Where to Stay in Beijing and Zhangjiajie

In Beijing, for first-timers, we recommend staying in the central area of Beijing. Qianmen Street and Wangfujing Street can be great options as they are close to the main attractions, such as the Forbidden City, and offer a lot of shopping malls and convenient transportation. Read about the 11 Best Beijing Neighborhoods to Stay In.

Compared to Beijing, Zhangjiajie offers very limited neighborhoods to stay in. Most hotels in Zhangjiajie are concentrated in two areas: the downtown area and Wulingyuan (a small town adjacent to the national park).

Considering the convenience to see the most attractions and the number of hotel options, we recommend you spend most of your nights in Wulingyuan and stay in downtown Zhangjiajie no more than one night.

See detailed information about Where to Stay in Zhangjiajie: the Best Places to Stay.

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The Best Time to Visit Beijing and Zhangjiajie

The Great Wall in autumnThe Great Wall in autumn

In terms of season, September to November is the best time to visit Beijing and Zhangjiajie.

In Beijing, most attractions are cultural sites and sightseeing is barely affected by the weather. The Great Wall is beautiful in autumn when you see the red leaves and it is good for hiking. See details about the best time to visit Beijing.

In Zhangjiajie, the natural attractions are stunning all year round.

The best time to visit depends on what you are looking for. Read detailed information about the best times to visit Zhangjiajie.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in autumnZhangjiajie National Forest Park in autumn

Both cities are very crowded during the summer vacation (July and August), the National Day holiday (October 1st–7th) and the Labor Day holiday (May 1st–3rd). Try to book as early as possible if you happen to visit during these periods.

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What to Eat in Beijing and Zhangjiajie

Beijing is an international city and you don't need to worry about what to eat. You can find all kinds of Chinese and international dishes.

The local dishes you should try while in Beijing include Beijing roast duck (Peking duck), Jingjiang rousi, and a donkey burger. See the Top 10 Beijing Foods You Must Try.

Zhangjiajie cuisine is spicy. The most popular dishes are sanxiaguo (a type of hot pot)and steamed ham. If you can’t eat spicy food, Western food choices are available at your hotel. See more about Zhangjiajie food and recommended restaurants.

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Should You Book a Private Tour or Travel Independently?

Take a private tour to visit beijing and zhangjiajieOur guide can help you beat the crowds and enjoy the tour at your pace.

Beijing, as the capital of China, offers a lot of convenience for foreigners, such as English signs on public transportation and maps in English in scenic spots. It shouldn’t pose a problem to travel there on your own.

However, the problem is that the attractions are scattered around and it is time-consuming to travel from here to there, especially if you go to the Great Wall, which is not accessible by public transportation.

Another problem is that the attractions in Beijing are rich in history and culture. Without a professional guide, you cannot gain anything from the experience other than some snapshots.

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In Zhangjiajie, the biggest issues are the language barrier and huge crowds. If you don't have a local guide, you will waste time getting lost and being hampered by Chinese tourist groups.

Therefore, the best way to visit Beijing and Zhangjiajie is to take a private tour to make sure you have the best experiences. Our experienced guides know how to make the most of your time and will create a flexible tour based on your interests and requirements.

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Enjoy a Beijing and Zhangjiajie Tour with Us

We aim to provide you with the best travel experience possible.

Contact us and we will be with you every step of the way on your Beijing to Zhangjiajie trip, helping you get over any difficulties you encounter and eliminating potential problems at the planning stage.

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