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How to Plan a Tour of Zhangjiajie

Hallelujah MountainHallelujah Mountain in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

You are dreaming of a relaxing adventure in Zhangjiajie, but it can be a frustrating orienteering challenge, or a big-group rush between huge-crowd holdups. The difference is the way you travel. Your success is 50% decided at the planning stage.

All you need are some insightful suggestions, like how to avoid crowds, from this article.

Highlights You Mustn’t Miss

You travel for the most classic experience, and to see the highlights. See below our recommendations: 

1. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: It is the epitome of Zhangjiajie. If asked to recommend one attraction, we would recommend this one. The “floating mountains and peaks” that inspired Avatar are concentrated in this park. Missing this is like missing the pyramids in Egypt!

2. Tianmen Mountain This mountain features spectacular valley views, cliff path skywalks, and a record-breaking cableway with 70-degree inclines above deep valleys. There is actually a “stairway to heaven” with 999 steps.

3. Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon: Get away from the bustle and hustle — this deep valley offers a quiet hiking experience in dense forests, along stunning waterfalls, and limpid streams. One of its highlights is the world's longest and highest glass bridge.

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
5
Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Canyon 40 minutes 3 hours Mountains, streams, cliffs
hiking, walking on the glass bridge, phtography
5
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 for Your Best Zhangjiajie Experiences

Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie Tianzi Mountain, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

For Zhangjiajie, there is a best time for the weather, but it may not be the best time for your travel experience. Zhangjiajie can be visited all year around.

The best time for weather is from September to late October when the weather is comfortable with sunny days. But it is also the most crowded season. Let experienced local travel experts like us help you arrange your tour, otherwise even if you travel in the best season you may still have the worst experience: trapped in huge crowds and queuing for hours!

Travel from April to June: it is the rainy season in Zhangjiajie. The mountains may cover in mists. It is quiet, relaxing, and refreshing in this season.

Traveling during Chinese holidays: The Chinese holidays mean attractions everywhere are crowded. Book well in advance if you plan to visit during these Chinese holidays:

Heaven's door mountainThe door to the Heaven, Tianmen Mountain
  • 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

When we recommend how many days to stay, we mean the number of days needed to ensure you have a classic experience of Zhangjiajie. Traveling Zhangjiajie is should not be a rush to catch the last bus— it’s about enjoyment, escape and discovery.

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. See our 4-day Essence of Zhangjiajie tour

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
Peaks in ZhangjiajiePeaks in Zhangjiajie

Our Zhangjiajie tours range from 4 days to 14 days and are totally customizable. You can travel Zhangjiajie for a 4-day discover tour to appreciate the must-visit highlights. 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

There are flights and trains (not bullet trains) to Zhangjiajie from China’s major cities. Zhangjiajie is easy to access from China’s gateway cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

By Airplane

There are daily flights from Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou to Zhangjiajie. There are no direct flights from Hong Kong to Zhangjiajie. Limited flights are available from Chengdu, Guilin, and Chongqing. See Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport: Useful 2019 Travel Info.

By Train

There are no bullet trains to Zhangjiajie. 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). Trains from Changsha to Zhangjiajie take about 5 hours.

How to get to Zhangjiajie

Easy to Extend Your Tour

yangshuo, GuilinExtend you trip from Zhangjiajie to Guilin

Zhangjiajie's onward transportation to several major destinations is very convenient, so it is often included in the itineraries of first-time or second-time visitors to China. Based on our experience, customers who visit Zhangjiajie often also visit Chengdu, Huangshan, Guilin, and/or Hangzhou, or take a Yangtze cruise.

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

Don’t expect too much of hotels in Zhangjiajie. Hotels of the same star rating may not have the same comfort level as hotels in big Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai.

Most hotels in Zhangjiajie are concentrated in two areas: downtown Zhangjiajie and the area close to the national park — Wulingyuan town.. 

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.

The Best Travel Style: Privately-Guided, in a Group, or On Your Own?

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

The best travel style is to travel with a private tour to make sure you have the best experiences:

Traveling on your own is NOT recommended. You are likely to waste time getting lost in the mountains and ending up in the wrong places. There are no English signs and very little English is spoken in Zhangjiajie. 

Going with a tour group, you won't get lost or waste time with directions, but there’ll be no relaxing and no escape at all. Want to stay longer in the park or escape the crowds? Sorry, you’ll need to stay with your group. 

Traveling with a private tour you can explore at your own pace, with a totally flexible itinerary.  You can stay longer for great photos in front of “the Hallelujah Mountains” or to go quickly to avoid the Chinese tour groups. The choice is yours.

“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

Tour Zhangjiajie with China HighlightsTour Zhangjiajie with China Highlights

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 Tour 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.