Deep in central China’s Hunan province, lush with ancient trees and unique sandstone peaks, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a magical landscape that evokes a sense of mystery and legend. This pristine and breath-taking landscape was designated a national park in 1982, and it covers more than 13,000 square kilometres of forested mountains, meandering rivers and stunning views. There are more than 500 species of wildlife and vegetation here, including rare monkeys, gingko trees and thousands of colourful birds. More than 2,000 narrow limestone mountain peaks give this region is exceptional and almost fairy-tale flavour. Ancient footpaths wind through mountains which are named after the people or animals they are said to resemble. The legend says one mountain called the Golden Whip Peak was created by a magic whip, which was flung by a powerful emperor when he became enraged. The stunning landscapes of Zhangjiajie are a popular tourist attraction across Asia, and were the inspiration for the scenery in James Cameron’s hit movie Avatar.
Day 1: When you arrive in Zhangjiajie, whether by train or by airplane, you will be met by your local guide and driven to your hotel. Rest and refresh for the rest of the day, before you begin your exploration of this magical region.
Day 2: You will begin your day in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park with a visit to the park, where you will ride a cable car up to theHuangshi Fort. The Fort is named after a hermit, and it offers the best views of this entire region. Sitting high in the mountains, it has several platforms where you can view fancifully-named views and mountain pinnacles. Look out over the Golden Tortoise Watching the Sea, and the South Pillar of Heaven. When the forests mists lift, you can see nearly a thousand mountain peaks from this fort. Then, you will visit the Golden Whip Brook, which is said to be the most beautiful canyon in the world. Here, your guide will entertain you with the legend of the Golden Whip, and many other stories inspired by this fascinating place.
Day 3: Your visit to pretty Zhangjiajie continues first with a visit to Tianzi Mountain. This towering peak was named after a local farmer who led a revolution during the Ming Dynasty, calling himself Tianzi, which means “the Son of Heaven”. It is the highest point in this region. Next, you will visit the Bailong Sightseeing Elevator, which is the fastest and tallest sightseeing elevator in the entire world. It can carry 3,000 people every hour to the peak, which sits nearly 350 metres high in the mountains. Your trip to the top will take only a few minutes, and once there, you will experience the simply magnificent view of the entiremountain range and forest, right at your feet.
Day 4 You will depart Zhangjiajie in the morning, taking the train to Yichang, where you will meet your river cruise and begin your remarkable Yangtze cruise up the historic river.