1. When is the best time to visit Zhangjiajie?
The average temperature in Zhangjiajie is 16.8℃ (62.24℉). There is drizzle, mist and rain for 200 or more days per year. The best time to visit is from April and May, September and October, when the weather is quite comfortable and the scenery is simply amazing.
Zhangjiajie is normally overcrowded during Chinese national holidays, such as Chinese New Year in January/February, Labor Day from May 1-3, school summer holidays in July and August, and Chinese National Day holidays from October 1st to 7th.
There is no problem, however, for people on private tours, for local guides know how to avoid the crowds and make the most of a visit.
Prepare a good raincoat or umbrella, as well as galoshes (slip-on/slip-off rubberized shoe coverings) for the late spring to early autumn period, when rain showers are usually a daily occurrence.
How do you get to Zhangjiajie?
By Plane: Hehua International airport is the only airport in Zhangjiajie. It connects with 11 cities in Korea, Bangkok, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and 18 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Wuhan, Chengdu, and Kunming.
There are no bullet trains to Zhangjiajie. Fast trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha, Nanning are K-trains, slower than Z-Trains and T-Trains. K-trains stop at more stations and run to some less famous counties in China.
Trains with numbers-only are not recommended, as they are the slowest and most poorly-equipped.
Guilin to Zhangjiajie –
Plan A (recommended): Take a high-speed train from Guilin to Changsha (3 hours 20 minutes), then take a flight from Changsha to Zhangjiajie (1 hour 10 minutes, 4 flights per day).
Plan B: take a bullet train from Guilin South Railway Station to Liuzhou Railway Station (1hour 10min), and Change a K-train from Liujiang Station (another railway station in Liuzhou city) to Zhangjiajie (3 trains per day), stay overnight in the train, and arrive in Zhangjiajie the next morning (11 hours).
Shanghai to Zhangjiajie-
4 direct flights to Zhangjiajie from Shanghai Pudong Airport every day, taking 2 1/2 hours.
Fenghuang to Zhangjiajie-
Fenghuang North Bus Station to Zhangjiajie – buses depart everyday at 6:00, 8:30, 14:30, and 17:00.
Ticket Price: CNY40 per person
Duration: 4 hours
Advantages: convenient, do not need to stopover
Disadvantages: takes a long time on the bus, and drives through precipitous mountain roads, with sharp turns at certain parts.
3. What is the best way to see Zhangjiajie and how long to stay?
Actually a 3- to 4-day stay is suitable for visiting Zhangjiajie and seeing the most important parts.
Day1: Wulingyuan Scenic Area
- Yuan Jia Jie area, now also known as the Hallelujah Mountains from the movie Avatar.
- Bai Long Sky Elevator, the world’s highest elevator, going vertically up the mountain. It often attracts long queues of waiting tourists.
- Tianzi Mountains, where you can take a round-trip or one-way cable car for viewing the stunning scenery on the mountain.
- Golden Whips Brook: a great walk, during which you can observe the gigantic mountains from below.
Day 2: Grand Canyon and Glass Bridge.
This is both the tallest and longest glass bridge in the world. Prove your bravery by standing on the bridge.
Baofeng Lake: take a boat ride round the lake. It’s in a basin created by the mountainous terrain. Skip this if you are short on time or disinterested.
Day 3: Tianmen Mountain
Hop on to the world’s longest cable car and travel from downtown Zhangjiajie to the top peak of Tianmen Mountain. The ride is 7,455 meters long, to a maximum height of 1,275 meters. Return by bus on the thrilling 99 bends road.
How to avoid tourist crowds in Zhangjiajie?
After release of the movie Avatar in China over the past few years, Zhangjiajie has become a popular tourist destination, with many highlights such as Yuanjiajie, the Hallelujah Mountains, the Bailong elevator, Tianmen Mountain and Tianzi Mountain.
Such highlights are inevitably crowded, with queues 2-3 hours long at the entrance to some. It is well worth the money to hire an English-speaking guide who knows all the great places to go and who helps to make the most of the time you have there.