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. Pretty cool to have something that pretty on our planet! 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.
You can see the fear in my face! So uncomfortable I think I ate a Snickers bar at some point to distract myself. 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. I’m a massive baby and couldn’t imagine 8 people moving around in this little box dangling over the jagged mountain landscape haha 😛
The gondola was maybe 15-20 minutes to get up and the view really was something else. It was pretty unreal being able to be between the mountains. It’s especially pretty when it’s all misty because it feels like you are going to another planet!
Once you’re up head to the buses (yes buses) and they’ll take you to the sites. We started at Tianzi Mountain and worked our way to the Avatar Mountains. The buses are psycho! They don’t slow down on sharp corners and you’ll hear this little automated woman saying “brace yourselves for the turn” and also “please don’t stick your head or limbs out the window.” I witnessed three people fly out of their seats so sit tight!
You could see why James Cameron based Avatar off of these mountains. They are the prettiest things I’ve ever seen in my life. The Avatar mountain was named the Hallelujah mountain after the movie came out. The park is pretty easy to navigate but can be quite congested with people so take a slow pace. If you’re scared of heights like me it is do able! Just stick to the inside of the wooden railing otherwise at most points it’s a seer drop.
There’s also places to grab snacks so don’t worry too much about packing food. Naturally the veggie options were limited so I ended up eating potatoes and a donut. The potatoes were good, the donut was pretty stale but that didn’t stop me! There’s also stinky tofu so you’ll be able to smell that at some points 😛
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?
A side note would be 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 a gorge 🙂
Stay tuned for day two! Did you know you can walk down through the Avatar mountains?! To see more of that later subscribe or follow Fernweh on Bloglovin!