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Changsha is the closest big city to Zhangjiajie and the capital of Hunan Province. Visiting the two cities is a great way to explore Hunan.
We recommend traveling by train as it is the cheapest option and taking the train in China is an experience in itself and is a great way to enjoy the Chinese countryside views as well as make friends!
If you prefer taking the bus, we also have listed the options for those below. Flying is an expensive hassle for the short distance.
The train from Changsha to Zhangjiajie takes approximately 5-6 hours, and takes you from Changsha Railway Station to Zhangjiajie Railway Station. There are multiple trains a day, throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.
You can use the China Highlights train ticket service to instantly check ticket prices per seat category and times depending on the day you want to go, or to find out the latest availability. Tickets for these journeys by train range from approximately 8 USD to 37 USD.
The cheapest buses to Zhangjiajie from Changsha leave from both Changsha East Bus Station and Changsha West Bus Station.
You can get a bus from Changsha East Bus Station at 7am, 7.50am, 9.20am, 10.50am, 11.50am, 12.50pm, 3.30pm, and 4.30pm daily, and take 5 hours. Buses from Changsha West Bus Station leave at 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, 5.30pm, and 7pm daily and take 4 hours to get you to Zhangjiajie.
Tickets for these will set you back 119 RMB.
Buses also depart from Changsha Lituo at 10.50am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.10pm, 3.20pm, 4.40pm, and 6.10pm daily. Tickets for these cost 135 RMB and the journey takes 5 hours.
From Changsha Changzhutan you can also get the bus at 120 RMB for the 4.5 hour ride, at 7.30am, 8.30am, 10am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.40pm, 2.50pm, 4pm, 5.30pm, and 7pm daily.
Here are the Chinese names you'll need to get to the bus stations mentioned:
There are also flights between Zhangjiajie and Changsha. Flights will take just over an hour, and there are numerous flights a day (more than one an hour between 7am and 7pm). Flights are serviced by China Express, China Southern Airlines, Shandong Airlines, and Joy Air.
Because you'll have to get to the airport with lots of time to spare and wait, we don't recommend taking this short flight: it will take just as long as the train or bus! A one-way ticket starts around 50 USD but this price can double or triple in the lead up to peak holiday times.
The best time to go to Zhangjiajie is when there are no public holidays in China, as it gets really busy, and when Zhangjiajie's weather is best.
Chinese public holidays and school summer holidays (July and August) will lead to more expensive accommodation and flights (and sold out flights)
We recommend you get to the airport at least 2½ hours before departure, and 3 during peak times. There can be really long check-in and security lines during holidays and weekends.
We recommend getting to the train station at least 1 hour being departure, 1½ hours during peak times or to be safe, 2 hours if you still need to collect your ticket.
Zhangjiajie is really a once-in-a-lifetime destination. We've got plenty of Zhangjiajie tours depending on how much time you have and how active you want to be. We can take you around for four full days to explore everything these gorgeous mountains have to offer, or take you on a one-day tour of the glass bridge and Baofeng lake.
Alternatively, take a week-long Hunan tour including both Changsha and Zhangjiajie.
If you tour China with us, we can provide private transport from your hotel in Changsha to your hotel in Zhangjiajie, which is by far the quickest and most convenient option!
And of course, tours can be tailored to your needs. Please contact us here if you've got any special requests or requirements, or need help navigating your journey from Chengdu to Zhangjiajie.