Today, we feature a guest post from fellow travel blogger Agness Walewinder. She takes us to Zhangjiajie, known to most as the world of Pandora from the movie Avatar. Pandora is a real place that you can visit now, and Agness will convince you why you should put it on the top of your China bucket list. Take it away Agness!
The Hidden Gem of Nature
I would probably not surprise anyone if I told you that China is one of the most diverse and stunning countries in the world in terms of scenery and landscape. Without a doubt, the ‘Land of Dragons’ has been favored by Mother Nature and Zhangjiajie, a city located in northern part of Hunan Province, proves it. Have you ever heard of the movie Avatar? If so, you should know what I am talking about as it was filmed there! Zhangjiajie and its Hallelujah Floating Mountains are hidden gems of Chinese nature, well-known to locals and Chinese, but still undiscovered by foreigners.
Zhangjiajie is located very far from any other famous spots which makes it a very rare destination for most western travelers. It is a pity that not many travelers go there when visiting China as it should be a top travel destination on their bucket list. Why? Firstly, you will be blown away by the incredible view of the mountains.
Secondly, you can experience the authentic local cuisine (spicy hot pot), traditions, and culture of Hunan province. Thirdly, you will be taken to a different world which will knock you out by its power of nature.
Zhangjiajie National Park
In 1992, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park was listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site for the sake of its beauty and specialty. You must be wondering why the mountains are called “floating”. When it gets foggy, they really look like they were floating in the air and moving from the left to the right. This is something incredible and you can feel like if you were in Pandora. The sandstone pillars are up to 1000 meters high so you can just imagine how massive they must look, not only in the picture, but also in real life. As you can see, it’s not only about the views, which will take your breath away, but it’s also about their heights.
Zhangjiajie National Park is massive, so you can do some hiking there and stay overnight in one of the local hostels. The entrance ticket to the park costs only $40 and you can spend up to 3 days there admiring the scenery, going cycling, going climbing or having a picnic. The tickets are not checked at the exit so you can even stay longer if you’d like – nobody cares!
Zhangjiajie National Park is equipped with one of the longest cable cars in the world so you can get up to 800 meters above the ground to see the whole landscape. Moreover, you will be able to face your own fears and walk through the glass bridge and extremely narrow vertical cliff so get ready for some scary moments if you are afraid of the heights. If you wish, you can travel by free eco-bus which runs daily through the park – it’s a mad ride, best compared to the roller-coaster!
As you can see, not only Beijing, Guilin or Shanghai are worth exploring. Zhangjiajie has one of the most beautiful mountains in the world and James Cameron filmed Avatar there with reason and we know it now.
Agness is a Polish vagabond who, after graduation, left her comfort zone and set off for a journey of her lifetime to China in 2011. She has been constantly travelling the world since then (slowly, but surely as she says), living like a local for less than $25 a day. She became a photography passionate and adventure blogger (found here) sharing her life enthusiasm and travel experience with everyone around. You can follow her Facebook or Twitter.