10 Things to Know Before You Visit Zhangjiajie
Zhangjiajie is famous for its unique natural wonders: strange-shaped pillars, hidden valleys, seas of cloud and limestone caves. Zhangjiajie is also known for its ethnic folklore including Tujia Minority and Miao Minority. After one week travel in Zhangjiajie in March, 2016, I’ve compiled some of the tips for you.
1. The Best Visiting Time
From September to early November are the best months to visit Zhangjiajie, the clear and refreshing autumn weather make it the best time to enjoy the fantastic scenery. December to February is winter time, it is frozen and may snow in the mountains and the roads become slippery, the tourist spots may be closed for some time. Avoid traveling to Zhangjiajie from March to May, this is the rainy season, the top of the mountains are always covered in mist and you can see nothing on the top of the mountain.
2. Where to Visit
The must-see tourist attractions in Zhangjiajie include the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and Tianmen Mountain. The ticket of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is RMB248, it includes entrance fee and buses inside, the ticket is valid for 2 days and allows you to visit Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Yuanjiajie (Avatar Mountain is there), Tianzi Mountain, Yangjiajie, Gold Whip Stream, Yellow Stone Village. The entrace ticket of Tianmen Mountain is RMB258, which includes entrance ticket, round way cable car, and inside tourist bus.
3. How Long to Stay
There are two many tourist spots in Zhangjiajie. It takes 5-6 days to cover all famous tourist spots. I recommend you spend 3 days visiting in Zhangjiajie to visit the highlights: two days to visit Zhangjiajie National Park and one day for Tianmen Mountain.
4. Where to Stay
For the first night you can visit Tianmen Moutain and stay in city of Zhangjiajie, starting from the second night I suggest you stay in Wulingyuan tourist area, just outside the Zhangjiajie National Park. There are different level hotels available from 5-star to 2 star in Wulingyuan. If you care more about the scenery than the comfort, I suggest you stay in Yuanjiajie inside the park, there are clean hostels available there. Yuanjiajie is located in the heart of Zhangjiajie scenic spot, it is very convenient to reach different attractions and all free tourist shuttle buses have stops here. In peak season you need to book hotels in advance in case that hotels are fully booked.
5. What to Wear
It is rainy in mountains. The stone steps are slippery after the rain, so wearing a pair of anti-slippery and water-proof shoes. The mountain temperature is usually about 10 degrees centigrade lower than the Zhangjiajie city, so take some warm clothes with you.
6. What to Eat
Local Zhangjiajie people like spicy and strong-flavored food. The most famous local food is called “San Xia Guo”, which is a Tujia Minority dish. The dish is a mix of three kinds of materials. The broth, walnut seed and smoked meat are the most typical materials. Almost all local dishes are cooked with hot pepper, if you do not like spicy food, tell the restaurant when you order the food.
7. What to Buy
As for local specialties, Zhangjiajie has “Three Treasures and One Wonder”. The “Three Treasures” refers to Kudzu vine root powder, fern powder and rock agaric. The “One Wonder” is Eucommia Tea. Tujia Stickup Picture is also a well-know local souvenir that you should get.
8. Night Shows to See
There are two most famous shows in Zhangjiajie: Tianmen Fox Fairy Show and Charming Western Hunan Show. Tianmen Fox Fairy Show is displayed in Zhangjiajie city, it is a large-scale real-scene musical drama and the ticket price is CNY 238. Charming Western Hunan Show is staged at Wulingyuan, it is a song and dance bonfire performance and the normal seat ticket is CNY 228.