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How to Plan a Tour of Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie National Foresst ParkZhangjiajie National Foresst Park

The rock pillar landscapes of Zhangjiajie are renowned all over the world, especially since the movie Avatar. The awesome natural scenery makes it well worth a trip.

If you are planning a tour of Zhangjiajie, read on to get the best from your time, and some tips on the itinerary.

Choosing What Sights to See

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is the epitome of Zhangjiajie. It shows the essence of Zhangjiajie's landscape.

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon boasts breathtaking cliffs, stunning waterfalls, limpid streams, and dense forests. One of its highlights is the world's longest and highest glass bridge.

Tianmen Mountain is full of spectacular views and thrilling attractions, such as the longest cableway and a 1,400-meter (4,700-foot) -high glass skywalk.

Attraction Type of Attraction Hours from Zhangjiajie Time for a visit Scenery*Activities Rating
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park National Park 40 minutes One day to three days Precipitous Pillars
hiking, phtography
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Canyon 40 minutes 3 hours Mountains, streams, cliffs
hiking, walking on the glass bridge, phtography
Tianmen Mountain Mountain next to the city, close to the bus and train stations One day vertical cliffs; hiking, cable car riding, photography 5
Yellow Dragon Cave Cave 1 hour 2 hours Natural cave 3
Baofeng Lake Lake 1 hour 2 hours Boat ride 4

Choosing the Best Time to Go

Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

The best time to visit Zhangjiajie is September to Early November 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.

We recommend that you book well in advance if you plan to visit during these Chinese holidays:

  • China's summer holiday season (July and August)
  • Labor Day (May 1–3)
  • National Day (October 1–7)
  • Spring Festival (late January or early to mid February)

Have an experienced guide with you to lead you away from the crowds, so you can enjoy some peaceful scenery.

How Many Days to Stay? — At Least 4 Days

We recommend our customers allow at least 4 days for Zhangjiajie: a day for the national park, a day for the Grand Canyon with the glass bridge, a day for Tianmen Mountain, and a day for settling in and traveling.

To visit nearby Fenghuang Ancient Town (about 4 hours' drive from Zhangjiajie), you need to allow one or two more days.

Recommended Zhangjiajie Itineraries

Length Attractions Itinerary Summary
1-day - Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon AM: Glass Bridge
PM: Baofeng Lake
Very Brief — the Highlights
3-day - Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Day 1: arrival
Day 2: national park
Day 3: national park; departure
Very Brief — the Highlights
4-day - Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
- Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon
- Tianmen Mountain
Day 1: arrival
Day 2: national park
Day 3: grand canyon
Day 4: mountain adventure; depart
The Classic Way
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

Our Zhangjiajie tours range from 4 days to 14 days. You can travel Zhangjiajie for a 4 days discover tour to appreciate the scenery of forest park, grand canyon and Tianmen Mountain. Or you can enjoy a 14-day China history and scenery discovery tour including Zhangjiajie, Beijing, Xi'an, Guilin and Shanghai.

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

How to Get to Zhangjiajie

By Airplane

Zhangjiajie is easily accessible by airplane from the main cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi’an, and Guangzhou. 

By Train

Direct train journeys from major tourist cities take at least 10 hours and are not recommended. The nearest major transit city to Zhangjiajie with bullet trains is Changsha (the capital city of Hunan Province). The journey is about 6 hours.

How to get to Zhangjiajie

Easy to Extend Your Tour

Zhangjiajie's transportation is very convenient. So it is often included in the itineraries of first- or second-time visitors to China.

Based on our experience, our customers who visit Zhangjiajie often extend their tours to Chengdu, Huangshan, Guilin, a Yangtze cruise, and Hangzhou.

Here are some itineraries, for inspiration:

Find the Best Place to Stay

Most hotels in Zhangjiajie are concentrated in two areas: downtown Zhangjiajie and at Wulingyuan

Where to stay in Zhangjiajie

Hotels in Wulingyuan — Convenient for Visiting the Park

Wulingyuan is just outside the national park. It is convenient for visiting Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, and there are numerous accommodation options ranging from hostels to 5-star hotels.

Recommended Hotels

  • Zhangjiajie Pullman Hotel
  • Santo Domingo International Hotel Zhangjiajie
Pullman Hotel, the best hotel in WulingyuanPullman Hotel, the best hotel in Wulingyuan

Hotels in Zhangjiajie City — Convenient for Catching Flights or Trains

Hotels in the city of Zhangjiajie are good for tourists who arrive in Zhangjiajie on the first night, or who have finished their trip and are going to catch a flight or train the following morning, or who only want to visit the sights around the city of Zhangjiajie, such as Tianmen Mountain.

We will arrange a hotel in the city of Zhangjiajie on the first day as most flights land at night, sometimes very late.

Recommended Hotels

  • Zhangjiajie Sunshine Hotel
  • Best Western Grand Hotel Zhangjiajie

Read more on the Best places to stay in Zhangjiajie.

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

China Highlights guide China Highlights' guide Foster Wu and his customer

A private guide and car is recommended for Zhangjiajie. The national park is quite large, confusing, and crowded most of the time. Your guide will help you get 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. 

“During the day, it was so nice to be able to give them the worries we usually have when we travel on our own. Just being able to get into your waiting car outside of a location or having them show you areas out of reach of the tour buses. Some of the walks that David took us to in Zhangjiajie (the Avatar Mountains) were gorgeous and not another person in sight.”

— Victor and Mary Ann Cognato, China Highlights customers

Touring Zhangjiajie with China Highlights

Touring Zhangjiajie with usTouring Zhangjiajie 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 Zhangjiajie trip, helping you get over any difficulties you encounter and, moreover, eliminating potential problems at the planning stage.

Our most popular Zhangjiajie Tours for your reference:

Our tours can be customized. Just tell us your interests and requirements and we will tailor-make a Zhangjiajie tour for you.