Zhangjiaie is located in the northwest of Hunan Province, about 400 km away from Changsha. The region of Zhangjiajie in northwestern Hunan Province is like a natural labyrinth. Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie has been included in the World Heritage List and appraised as a national 5A scenic area. The master work of nature in Wulingyuan features thousands of sheer mountain peaks in red color, clear streams and primeval forests, which are ideal havitats of rare animals and birds. In the Jiutian Cave, known as the “champion of strange caves in the world” there are colorful stalactites and stone forests in various forms. Solitary Tianmen (Heavenly Gate) Peak, flanked by two deep gullies, rises high into the sky.
The unsophisticated local life in fairy land – like Zhangjiajia attracts many tourists. The “chieftain’s castle of the Tujia ethnic people”, built of wood and stone, and an exhibition hall of local customs show to tourists a lifestyle free of worries.
With primitive and simple folk customs and rich ethnic culture, Zhangjiajie possesses all kinds of intangible cultural heritage, including 15 categories and more than 70 items. The folk songs of Sangzi County are listed first as the national-level intangible cultural heritage; Zhangjiajie Yang Opera, Gaohua Light (kind of dance), Cili Banban Dragon Light are listed first as the provincial-level intangible heritage. Zhangjiajie Hard qigong has even performed in seven countries in Europe when our national leaders visited these countries.
Zhangjiajie is composed of two municipal districts and two counties: Yongding District, Wulingyuan District, Cili County, and Sangzhi County. Wulingyuan District is featured with the world's rare landform. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in this district is China's first national forest park; Sangzhi County has famous attractions like Jiutian Hole and Bagong Hill; in Yongding District, Jade Emperor Hole Grotto, Puguang Temple and other attractions are quite famous; Wu Lei Shan is sited in Cili County.
The history of Zhangjiajie can be traced back to the Neolithic Age when it was still named “Dayong”. The first human traces in this area have been registered about 100,000 years ago. Humans lived here along both banks of the Lishui River (the mother river in Zhangjiajie), now within the boundaries of Zhanagjiajie City, very early during the Stone Age.
In 1982, central government built the first national forest park here and named it Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. In 1988, Dayong city, in which Zhangjiajie located, together with Sangzhi (the site of Tianzi Mountain) and Cili (the site of Suoxi Channel) combined into one city that subordinated to provincial government directly. As the development of tourism industry, and Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is increasingly becoming known to world, Dayong city was renamed as Zhangjiajie city in 1994, which is which is famous for the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
Zhangjiajie was entitled as world heritage by UNESCO in 1992 and also managed to become international geological park in 2003.
Nowadays, there are four districts under its governance: Yongding District, Wuling District, Cili County and Sangzhi County. Now, Zhangjiajie is a major destination for tourism, where green mountains, beautiful lakes, scenic valleys, mysterious caves, cultural heritage and special folk customs are available for all to experience.
Zhangjiajie is located in the northern mid-latitudes, belonging to the central Asian tropical mountain prototype monsoon humid climate, with plenty of sunshine and abundant rainfall. The annual average temperature is 17℃; the coldest month is January with an average temperature of 5.1℃. The hottest month is July and August, with an average temperature 28℃. The annual precipitation is about 1400 mm.
• Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Zhangjiajie is in Spring (April, May) and Autumn (September, October). During this periods, the weather would be cook with less rain, and the view is beautiful as well.
Note: During National Public Holiday and Summer Vacation, it is the tourist peak season in China, when prices of all kinds of service, transport, accommodation would be more expensive than normal time.
• Dressing Tips
Temperature difference between day and night in Zhangjiajie is quite large. The temperature difference between the downtown and mountain area in scenic spots is about 5-10℃. If you travel in Autumn and winter, Cardigan and thick coat is necessary. If you travel in summer, board short and T-shirt is enough. By the way, it usually rains in spring and autumn, so prepare umbrella and rain jacket and pants.
Zhangjiajie City is famous for tourism. Tourist resources in the city are quite abundant, featuring with many natural and geological parks. Main attractions are most sited in Wulingyuan. As China's first national forest park, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is composed of Suoxiyu Scenic Area, Mt. Tianzi Scenic Area, Yangjiajie Nature Reserve, etc., which have been listed as a World Natural Heritage Site. Wulingyuan Sandstone Peak Forest, Karst Platform Area in Tianmen, Maoyan Jiutian Karst Canyon Cave Area and Furong Fossil Protected Area in Sangzhi, are listed into the world's first geological park. By visiting the places you will have a grand and majestic landscape of the China beauty.
• Best Places to Visit
♦Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – there are various shaped peaks in the forest park. The scenic area is covered with forests, waterfalls and streams. The Hollywood sci-fi epic "Avatar" was filmed in this place. And there are opportunities to watch the clouds sea, moonlit night, sunrise, winter snow and other spectacular scenery.
♦ Tianmen Mountain National Forest Park - near to Zhangjiajie Railway Station to the top of the mountain. Tianmen Mountain Cableway is claimed in tourist publications as the "longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world", with 98 cars and a total length of 7,455 meters. It is characterized by large, limestone mountain tablelands with sheer cliffs and with a fair share of jagged peaks
♦ Golden Whip Stream – the meandering streams, crystal-clear waterfalls, exotic plants and rare animals co-exist and constitute the extraordinarily attractive, peaceful and natural ecological environment. Golden Whip Stream, Wenxing Rock, Fish Jumping Pool, the Grave of Zhang Liang, etc. are the highlights along the stream.
♦ Huangshi Village - You can’t claim to have come to Zhangjiajie if you don’t visit Huangshi Zhai. The village is characterized by the overhanging cliffs, high staking platforms, jagged rocks and elegant apexes. And it is reputed as” the enlarged potted landscape and miniature fairyland”.
Other places like Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, Yangjiajie Scenic Area, Yellow Dragon Cave, Yuanjiajie Scenic Area, Bailong Elevator, Baofeng Lake, etc., are all highlights to see as well.
Compared with other metropolis, business in Zhangjiajie is still under developing. But you can find a lot of local-featured agricultural products or souvenirs to shop, such as Brocade of Tujia Nationality, Brocade of Tujia Nationality, Pueraria Mirifica Powder, etc. Except for some large shopping malls and supermarkets, there are two famous pedestrian streets for you to have a stroll: Tianzi Street and People’s Square Business Pedestrian Street.
There is only one airport in Zhangjiajie: Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport, which is only 6 km from the downtown. Taking flight is the most convenient way to get to Zhangjiajie from other cities. Taking flight is the most convenient way to get to Zhangjiajie from other cities. But direct flight to Zhangjiajie is quite limited so far (in 2015). Only Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Nanjing, Changzhou, Changsha, Shenyang, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Chongqing, Tianjin has direct flight to Zhangjiajie. And some of them are not available every day. It needs to be re-checked according to your actual travel date.
Official website: www.zjjhh.com/
There is only one train station in the city. But it connects many cities in the country.
Add: Guanliping, Yongding District, Zhangjiajie
How to get: take public bus or taxi
There is one bus station in Zhangjiajie, that is Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station. It is convenient to get to Zhangjiajie from different cities inside Hunan Province, as well as some other cities outside Hunan Province. If you travel from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang or Changsha, it is suggested to take express bus. It is quite convenient.
Add: Guanli Road, Yongding District, Zhangjaijie. Near to Zhangjiajie Rail Station and Tianmen Mountain.
Zhangjiajie is home to three major ethnic groups: the Tujia, Bai and Miao people, which together make up approximately 70% of the local population. These people still retain much of their traditional culture, including language, festivals, clothing, and architectural stylese. The long history of many minorities and their folk customs such as marriage customs, singing and dancing together, blended with modern culture, all contribute to the unique charm of Zhangjiajie.
Torch Festival of Bai Nationality
Date: Chinese lunar calendar on July 25th
The torch festival is held by Bai people in zhangjiajie area. It is related to kill pests, to protect crops. At night in the day, all Bai villagers will light the torches. After put all torches, people will leap back and forth over the fire, to pray for vulcan eliminate pathogenic and avoid disaster.