Top 5 Zhangjiajie Day Tours
Zhangjiajie consists of three main scenic areas: Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge. It is worth staying here for at least 3 days.
However, if you are short on time and are wondering how to experience Zhangjiajie in an efficient way, this article will help you decide what to do.
1. Zhangjiajie Tianmen Mountain Day Tour
- Features: landscape, adventurous experience
- Highlights: the world’s longest cable car, a suspended glass walkway
- Duration: 6 to 8 hours
Location: Tianmen Mountain is situated just south of Zhangjiajie City, about 5 minutes from Zhangjiajie train station. You can visit this attraction on your arrival day if you arrive early.
What to expect: There are top five things you should not miss in the national park. Ride the world’s longest aerial tramway to the summit of Tianmen Mountain — a 4-mile (7-kilometer) journey that takes about 30 minutes, test your courage on a cliff-hanging glass skywalk, and take a tourist bus winding along the 99 Bends.
And visit a natural gate-alike cave called Heaven’s Gate and conquer the 999 steep and narrow steps known as the Stairway to Heaven.
If you have more time and energy, the Tianmen Temple is worthy of visiting if you are interested in Chinese Buddhism culture.
About lunch: You can prepare food for lunch or buy something at the stalls on the summit (expensive!)
1. A local guide is helpful, who can book tickets for you in advance and help you save plenty of time in the large area with little signage in English.
2. A clear day offers a bigger chance for beautiful scenery. September and October are good bets.
2. One Day Zhangjiajie Tour to Avatar Mountain and Tianzi Mountain
- Features: classic Zhangjiajie landscapes, hiking
- Highlights: Avatar Mountain, the cable car up to the mountain, the world’s highest outdoor elevator
- Duration: 8 hours
Location: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park or called Wulingyuan is about 30 km (18 mi) from central Zhangjiajie City. Yuanjiajie Scenic Area and Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area are two main areas of this national park.
What to expect: Take the world’s highest outdoor elevator Bailong Elevator up to Yuanjiajie, home to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. Walk along the plank path and have a close look at the outstanding natural wonders that inspired the floating mountains of the movie 'Avatar'.
Then take a shuttle bus to Tianzi Mountain, which is famous for its clouds and mists. The highlight of this part is the cable car down the mountain. It is a beautiful journey especially when the mountains are shrouded in mists. It lasts for about 20 minutes.
About lunch: You can enjoy a picnic lunch, or have a lunch in KFC or a Chinese restaurant in Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, or in McDonald’s in Tianzi Mountain Scenic Area.
1. If the queue for Bailong Elevator is very long, you can go in reverse and get to Tianzi Mountain firstly
2. If you have one more day in the national park, you can visit Jinbianxia (Golden Whip Brook), Ten-mile Gallery, and Yellow Stone Village.
3. Keep your ticket, and the ticket is valid for 4 days.
3. Day Trip to Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge
- Features: adventure, hiking
- Highlight: Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge
- Duration: 6-8 hours
Location: Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.
What to expect: Challenge the longest glass-bottomed bridge in the world, Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, and enjoy a superb panorama of the entire Grand Canyon.
Continue with an hour-long hike along the canyon. You can enrich your experience with some adventurous activities such as ziplining and soaring down a giant marble slide.
About lunch: Prepare some food for lunch or get back to Wulingyuan Town for a late lunch.
1. If you are not interested in the hiking in the canyon, you can skip it and spend the rest time of the day to visit Baofeng Lake or Yellow Dragon Cave.
2. The camera is not allowed to take on the bridge, and you can only take your mobile.
- Features: karst scenery, relaxing
- Highlight: a relaxing boat ride on the lake, a huge karst cave
- Duration: 6-8 hours
Location: Baofeng Lake and Yellow Dragon Cave are both close to Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. It takes about 20 minutes by public bus.
What to expect: These two attractions are not as crowded as the other three famous attractions in Zhangjiajie. You will indulge in the tranquil atmosphere of Baofeng Lake, a crystal pool surrounded by green karst mountains. A boat ride on the lake is recommended.
Then explore the underground "magical palace", Yellow Dragon Cave. It is known as one of the most beautiful caves in China. You will be impressed by a huge cave even with a boat ride inside, deep underground rivers, enormous stalactites, and hanging waterfalls.
About lunch: There are local restaurants near Baofeng Lake.
1. Be prepared to climb 1,300+ steps and there is no turning back as there is only one way out.
2. Don’t bother joining the guided group tour if you can’t understand Mandarin as the large group is made up of local tourists who can be annoyingly loud and slow.
3. Having a quality guide with you while visiting will add to your experience as they point out and explain the rock shapes you'll be seeing.
5. Fenghuang Ancient Town Day Tour from Zhangjiajie
- Features: ancient town, minority culture
- Highlights: the night view at Fenghuang Old Town
- Duration: 10 hours
Location: Fenghuang is about 230 km from Zhangjiajie. It takes about 3-4 hours from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang (Phoenix) Old Town by private car, and one more hour if traveling by public bus.
What to expect: On the halfway, you can stop at Furong Town (Hibiscus) which is an ancient town with more than 2000 years of history. It is famous for its scenic location, situated on cliffs above a waterfall and authentic Tujia culture. You can spend one hour to visit around and take some pictures.
Afterwards continue to drive 1.5 hours to arrive at Fenghuang (Phoenix) Ancient Town. It is well known for colorful ethnic customs, and photogenic night scenery. Spend several hours to visit the old streets, take a boat ride on the Tuojiang River and enjoy the night view.
About lunch: Restaurants are available in Furong Ancient Town.
1. Fenghuang Ancient Town is worth staying for one night. The whole place comes alive at night when it is beautifully lit.
2. If you want to travel from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang by public bus, you can take a bus from Zhangjiajie Bus Terminal in the downtown or Wulingyuan Bus Terminal to the Long-distance Station of Fenghuang County. It takes about 100 yuan.
A Longer Tour Is Highly Recommended
A longer tour of Zhangjiajie can consist of a series of day tours. Most visitors spend3-4 daysthere to cover the key attractions. A sample tour itinerary of Zhangjiajie for your reference:
Day 1: Tianmen Mountain
Day 2: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: Avatar Mountain, Tianzi Mountain
Day 3: More attractions in Zhangjiajie Forest Park
Day 4: Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, Baofeng Lake