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The Top 10 Tips for Visiting Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is highly recommended for anyone who has a love for nature and mountains. However, it is not an easy place to explore. We would like to share some tips to help you plan your trip to this park.

1. Prepare for Many Steps

If you are looking for an authentic hiking experience you may be disappointed as most of the paths in this park are paved with stones and have steps.

You can see many Chinese people wearing regular clothes, jeans, and shoes. We recommend you wear good walking shoes for comfort.

2. But You Can Tour with Less Hiking

The mini train at Ten-mile GalleryThe mini train at Ten-mile Gallery

Getting to most of the attractions usually requires walking up and down many steps.

Cableways, an elevator, buses, and a mini train in the park are helpful if you want to visit the attractions at a faster pace and with less walking involved.

Tianzi Mountain Cableway is 67 yuan for a single trip while Bailong Elevator is 72 yuan, Yangjiajie Cable Car is 79 yuan, and the mini train at Ten-Li Gallery is 38 yuan.

Free local shuttle buses also ply the main routes between National Park areas and entrances.

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3. Although Transport Is Limited

The free shuttle buses won't take you everywhere in the park though - most of the time. They just travel between designated points (which don't include e.g. Laowuchang).

The buses stop running an hour before the park closes and the cable cars stop running an hour and a half before it closes.

4. Take Food with You

Zhangjiajie foodMcDonald's in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Take plenty of water, snacks, and fresh fruit as there's lots of walking to do.

If you are worried about taking too much to carry while you're walking, there's a variety of food outlets throughout the park, ranging from McDonald's and KFC to snack shacks and restaurants.

Have cash readily available if you don't have WeChat or Alipay.

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5. But Be Aware of the Monkeys

Be careful of monkeys on some of the trails as they may get aggressive and snatch food from your hands.

The monkeys in Zhangjiajie National Forest ParkThe monkeys in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

Stay away from them and hide any food you have in your backpack.

6. Pack the Right Clothing

In summer, take mosquito repellent, sunglasses, sun block, and a hat. Prepare an extra light coat for the cool early mornings and evenings.

In winter, take warm clothes. You will get warmer as you climb the mountains so layers are recommended for flexibility.

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7. And Prepare for Mountain Weather

It is foggy or rainy for over 200 days per year in Zhangjiajie. The weather in the mountains changes constantly.

Misty peaks in Zhangjiajie National Forest ParkMisty peaks in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

If it's raining heavily when you arrive at the park, you may find that the sun comes out an hour later. Then you can have the chance to see the sea of clouds around the peaks. The mountains enshrouded in mist are very enchanting.

Take thin layers and a windproof jacket to take off and put on to adjust to changes in temperature. 

It's strongly recommended to take waterproof clothes and shoes with you, especially during the months of April to July.

Read more information on the best time to visit Zhangjiajie.

8. Adjust Your Accommodation Expectations

To save time on transportation and avoid the morning crowds, we recommend you stay in a hotel near the park, not in Zhangjiajie City.

Star-rated hotels in Zhangjiajie might not be up to the standard of those in big cities.

Most hotels in Zhangjiajie opened over 10 years ago and have not undergone any renovation, so the facilities may need updating.

Breakfast at the hotels tends to be very basic, and breakfast is usually a Chinese style mixed with some Western choices, even in 5-star hotels.

Read more on accommodation in Zhangjiajie.

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9. Avoid the Crowds and Queues

The crowds in Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is crowded with Chinese tour groups, especially during public holidays, such as Labor Day (May 1–3), National Day (October 1–7), and the summer vacation period in July and August.

Here are some tips for avoiding crowds and queues:

  • Try and visit the park on weekdays.
  • Arrive early and beat the crowds. The park opens at 8am.
  • If your time and energy permits, walk up and down the mountains. The queues for the elevator and the cableways are long (often 1 or 2 hours).
  • Visit less crowded sites, such as Yellow Stone Village and Yangjiajie, which are more rural and have fewer queues. Please note that these less-visited areas mean that more hiking is involved.

10. Consider a Classic One-Day Tour

If you are traveling on your own, make sure you get a good map of the park that's in English and Chinese.

The park is huge. It's well worth spending more than one day there. But if you only have one day, here is a sample route covering the most popular attractions:

Tianzi MountainTianzi Mountain
  • In the morning, take a cable car up Tianzi Mountain and you will see large areas of spiky peaks thrusting upwards from below.
  • Have lunch at a local restaurant or the McDonald's restaurant located on the mountain.
  • In the afternoon, ride a public shuttle bus to Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. The mountains there are said to be the inspiration for Avatar's Hallelujah Mountain.
  • If you have enough time, walk to Golden Whip Stream. It is a 7.5-kilometer (4-mile) boardwalk trail, which will take you to see rocks and streams, plants and animals, while you admire the mountains from below.
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A Tour Guide Helps

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is huge and access to it is complex.

It's around 48 square kilometers (19 square miles), and the attractions are either on the peaks (which you need to find your way up) or in the valleys (which you need to find your way to).

It is difficult to navigate your way around this National Park if you don't know Chinese, so it saves time and energy to have a guide with you who can lead you around.

Your guide can not only show you around the park but also help you find good places for hiking, taking photos, and eating food.

A professional guide can make your trip smooth and comfortable. Your guide can help you avoid the crowds and find good places to take photos.

Contact us to tailor-make your China tour to see the natural beauty of Zhangjiajie.

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