The Avatar Mountains have always been one of my top destinations. While staying at one of the nicest resorts in Zhangjiajie (this is it) we had three days to explore the beautiful park. I feel like as soon as UNESCO is involved you know you’re in for something special.
Exploring the Avatar mountains in Zhangjiajie has been on my bucket list (we need a new word for that) for such a long time. When I first saw photos of the mountains I thought “Wow, that looks like the mountains from the Avatar movie.” It was only months later I realized that James Cameron actually based the Hallelujah mountains off of them.
Where to stay
We stayed at this beautiful inn that was so surreal to wake up to everyday. It’s a secluded little mountain inn that has a pool, fresh cooked food, beautiful room designs that make you feel so tranquil and refreshed. Check out more about this once in a lifetime stay here
March 1 to November 30: CAD $49
December 1 to end of next February: CAD $27
Opening Hours: 07:00-18:00
To start exploring the mountains you need to take a bus to one of the gondolas and make your way up. There are multiple entrances so pick which one you want. You park pass is valid for 4 days so don’t stress too much if you end up on the wrong side of the mountain. You’ll notice the signage sucks for English people making it very hard to find out where to go.
The gondola prices isn’t included in the entrance tickets. There is a way for you to walk up and down the mountain, but for a faster, less time consuming option you can take the gondola up or down. Each entrance is different for gondola prices but it averages $25 round trip.
Going in the off season is definitely the cheaper option, especially when spending three days exploring.
We started at Tianzi Mountain and worked our way to the Avatar Mountains. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than dangling above a crevice in a metal box held together by the smallest of welds haha. In the peak season they squish 8 people into the gondola but lucky for me it wasn’t that busy so Aaron and I got a gondola to ourselves.
The gondola was maybe 15-20 minutes to get up and the view really was something else. It feels like you’re on another planet when you are going up the mountains, especially when it’s all misty.
I loved being there. It’s definitely worth making a side trip to go see the mountains. Just be prepared because the park is MASSIVE, and sites aren’t close together like you’d think they’d be. Tianzi Mountain is about an hour and a half away from Tianmen Mountain (which is accessible right near the main train station) and the Glass Bridge is another hour an a half away. it’s basically a big triangle if that makes any sense?
Side note: If you are short on time skip the glass bridge. It’s so out of the way and honestly isn’t AS impressive as it seems. I didn’t go on but Aaron did and he said you can skip it. It’s just one of those quirky tourist things you can do but isn’t a MUST do. Also it’s nothing like the mountains you see here. It’s just a gorge 🙂
On the second day of exploring the Avatar mountains in Zhangjiajie we took to the Yellow Stone Mountains. You can reach these mountains easily by the Yangjiajie entrance where you catch the bus. You never know when the bus is coming so just hang around the entrance where you will see people getting off the bus.
For this area of the mountains stay on the bus after the first stop where the driver will take you up a windy road to the Yellow Stone Village Entrance. Once you reach the entrance you’ll have to walk quite a way through the forest to get to the next cable car and beyond that is the Golden Whip Stream.
You can also walk up the pavilion to get a good view of the mountains. If you can luck out and go when it’s all foggy then I say go to the Yellow Stone Mountains because it is much less crowded than the other side. You can take great photos and appreciate it more when you aren’t getting bumped or cut off by people.
The view from the bottom of the mountains is equally as beautiful as seeing them from above. We couldn’t have picked a better day to go. It was foggy and had scattered rain.
There were hardly any people on this side of the mountain. I think everyone goes to see the Hallelujah mountain when they are in Zhangjiajie and don’t make the trip over to the other side. We had so much quiet time walking the trails. If you’ve ever been to China you’ll know attractions can get quite crowded and overwhelming. We got so lucky on our trip because even at The Great Wall of China we had mostly to ourselves.
I really wish I could see what this place was like a few hundred years ago. I honestly would have thought it was some magical place. The heavy fog, the lush forest, the looming mountain pillars which are so unreal to look at, let alone walk through.
I liked this area more than I like the Tianzi Mountains. It was quieter and you could walk a lot more without relying on crazy bus drivers.
Do you have plans for exploring the Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie? Share your plans in the comments! For more posts like this follow Fernweh on Bloglovin or just subscribe in the sidebar <3