As if the Avatar-influenced National Forest Park wasn’t spectacular enough, Zhangjiajie wasn’t finished there. To the south of the city lies Tianmen mountain, famous for it’s huge natural cave, cutting a hole through the mountain big enough to see from the suburbs. More on that later.
Talking of the suburbs, just to the south of the town centre is the cable car station. Billed as “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world” – a suspiciously precise definition – this is easily the longest cable-car ride I’ve ever been on. It takes you over the outskirts of the city, across rice paddies and fields before finally striking steeply up the mountain-side.
The top cable-car station is pretty close to the top of the mountain. If you’re in a rush, you can take a tunnel straight to the Fairy Peak. There’s plenty of time to see everything in a day without rushing though, so we decided to head round the mountain along the East Path. A lot of the path is along what they call ‘plank roads’ but they’re actually more like concrete. Just as well pretty otherwise it would be pretty hairy.
And the views? Well, see for yourself.
Not to worry, it was worth it anyway. They’ve built (almost finished) a pagoda at the top for even better views.
We headed back from the temple area along the West Path. More amazing views and precipitous walkways:
And that, apart from a tired stagger down 999 steps, was that.
It’s a close run thing with the National Forest Park (see previous post) but I have to say that Tianmen mountain is my favourite place in China so far.
On this evidence, it won’t be long until it get’s a much higher profile in the Western guide books and tour groups. I only discovered it via a forwarded email from a friend of the mother of a friend (thanks Adam).
If you happen to be planning a trip to China any time soon, make sure Zhangjiajie is on your list.
One final thing – I know this post is photo-heavy, but there’s loads I missed. Take a look at the photos link on the right for more amazing scenery – some of them make great desktop wallpapers.
Current Location: Yangshou until 18th July
Next Stop: Nanning