Zhangjiajie: The Floating Mountains of China

The 'floating mountains' of Zhangjiajie
Adestination several thousand years in the making; China is like nowhere you’ve ever been. The ancient wonders and modern marvels, the rich and intriguing culture so unlike our own… it’s a must visit. But, after ticking off the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Terracotta warriors, what else is there? Quite a lot, actually.

Beyond the bright lights and ancient sites, China’s wild heart is waiting to be discovered. The lakes, the mountains, the snaking rivers and streams… it’s a land of surprising natural beauty and diversity.

One of the most awe-inspiring natural sights is the vast Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – an 8,810-hectare wilderness area hidden within the country’s central Henan Province.

The view to The Heaven's Gate, Zhangjiajie

A map of Zhangjiajie

Filled with soaring sandstone pillars clad in emerald forest, this magical location inspired the floating Hallelujah Mountains featured in 2009 film ‘Avatar’. There are 243 peaks and 3,000 pinnacles and spires within the park – and it’s pretty near impossible to take a bad photo.

Here are a few of the highlights worth seeking out:

Yuanjiajie and the great glass elevator

Yuanjiajie is the most famous section – and getting there is half the fun! For the best view, you need to climb aboard the Bailong ‘Hundred Dragon’ Elevator. Built into the side of a 326-metre high cliff, it’s said to be the highest and fastest outdoor elevator. The thrilling elevator ride takes about two minutes from base to top, and the view is simply out of this world.

The view from inside the Bailong elevator

‘Number One Bridge Under Heaven’

The name may be a little lost in translation, but there’s no denying this natural wonder does indeed look like a gift from the divine. The natural rock bridge spans around 25 metres between two mountain peaks, with a vertical height of 357 metres. It’s seriously impressive!

The No. 1 Bridge Under Heaven

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge

If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to look away now. One of the world’s longest and tallest glass bottom bridges, this spectacular walkway is comprised of over 120 panels of three-layered two-inch thick slabs of tempered glass and offers spectacular views of the Wulingyuan area.

Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge

Beyond these sights, there’s still so much more to discover. All you need is a spirit of adventure.



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