Zhangjiajie, China

Best known as the real life inspiration for the ‘floating peaks’ in Avatar, the mountains in Zhangjiajie are a tremendous site to behold!

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In total, there are 200 peaks surrounded by thousands of waterfalls and sandstone pillars!

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An absolutely incredible site, the mountains of Zhangjiajie are usually clouded with mist and fog which, at times, can cause them to look like they are floating!

Or, it appears as if you’re just looking at a white wall…

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The entire park takes 2 to 3 days to fully explore and parts of it can be quite gruelling.. So, pack a lunch and wear some hiking shoes…

Upon entering the grounds, you’ll likely exclaim, ” Oh, look at the sweet, innocent monkeys!” But after 2 minutes of thinking they’re cute, you’ll begin to notice that every one of them is aggressively trying to steal any type of food they can get their hands on!

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Let the games begin!

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It’s extremely amusing to watch unsuspecting tourists lose their precious bags of chips, or oranges they were carrying…

While quite adorable, the reality is that these monkeys are all business. They want no part of your selfies or your weak attempt at touching them..

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Thankfully, I was able to sneak one in as this bald master had his eyes on a far more important target… a hamburger!

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Monkeys aside, you don’t encounter a lot of other wildlife in the park.. just fantastic scenery!

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The bridge shown above was naturally formed due to weathering and erosion. Rocks on a lower level collapsed and the 2 meter-wide bridge was locked firmly into place! It is called ‘The first bridge under the sun’.

Amazing as it is, this section of the park is completely overrun with tourists as it provides some spectacular views of the mountain peaks.

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  • Expect to wait a minute or two before snapping the inevitable money shot!

The last bus back into the town of Zhangjiajie leaves at 6-7pm, taking about 45 minutes. However, you can also choose to stay right in the park, as there are a few hotels and at least one hostel.

If you do decide on the cheaper option and stay outside of the park, you can’t really go wrong with the spectacular views you’ll see on the bus-ride back into the city!

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I stayed in Zhangjiajie for 3 days, as a general admission pass into the park is good for 4 (250 Yuan, roughly $40 CDN). There aren’t many food options in the park so I’d suggest packing a lunch and eating a big breakfast at one of the markets in the city of Zhangjiajie prior to leaving.

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This type of porridge can be had for about 5 Yuan (less than $1 CDN) and just look at the selection of things you can add… carrots, beans, onions, radishes etc. Not things I usually equate with a warm bowl of porridge but hey, get your moneys worth!

Zhangjiajie can be a bit of a hassle to get to, as for some reason, there is very little information on transportation options to the city. However, don’t be discouraged! It isn’t nearly as difficult as some people will lead you to believe and it’s incredible to see!

The town itself is rather small and unexciting, but the park is tremendous and it should be on everyones China ‘bucket list’. Get there!

xie xie! (thanks)

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