Ever wonder what inspired Canadian director James Cameron to create such outstanding sceneries in the film Avatar (2009)? This place will give you a hint. The Northwestern part of the mountainous province of Hunan with its 12, 000 ft of thousands of sandstone-quartz pillars is simply breathtaking.
Within the north-western region of China’s Hunan province, is the prefecture-level city of Zhangjiajie which has gained popularity from China’s first national forest park, the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park which has also formed part of UNESCO’s Wulingyuan Scenic Area. This is not your average forest, this protected area has over 3000 jagged columns of rock that climb over 600 ft. and are covered with plants that contribute to its physical features. One sandstone-quartz column, the Southern Sky Column stands at around 3,500 ft high! Some caves have all the stalagmites and stalactites that make the 2-and-a-half-hour journey around the park even more interesting.
Then there’s the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge. The bridge has a glass-floor that allows tourists to see the canyon below uninterrupted. The world’s longest and highest bridge was opened in 2016 but shortly closed thereafter due to the high volume of tourists but fortunately, they have adapted to the high volume for your next visit. The mere wonder of this region when you see the 243 peaks and the Hallelujah Mountains, you will feel like you are in the movie. As you ascend into the mountains of Zhangjiajie, you rise above a blanket of clouds and see a field of floating rocks, creating the illusion that they are floating. South of the Zhangjiajie city is the stairway to heaven, 999 to be exact. Taking the world’s longest cable car to The Tianmen Mountain, also known as Heaven’s Gate or ‘Heaven’s Door Mountain’ because of its majestic height of 4,983 feet! Hikers and adventurers should seek this region for the 999 steps are at a 70-degree incline through deep valleys.
If having the world’s longest cable car, the highest and longest bridge wasn’t enough, in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie is the world’s heaviest and largest outdoor lift. The Bailong Elevator, translating as the Hundred Dragon Elevator is 1,070 ft tall on the side of a large cliff and gains access to the Yuanjiajie mountain platform. Zhangjiajie seems to be a destination that ticks all the boxes for an adventurer. Book your trip and enjoy the beauty of the elements in their highest form.