When you think about hiking you maybe think about the mountains in Switzerland, Austria or Canada, but not about China right? Well, think again. I spend the last few days in Zhangjiajie, a city in the middle of the country. For China, it’s a small city – only 1.5 Million people living here, but the city is surrounded by 2 National Parks. The first one is called the Tianmen Fairy Mountain – unfortunately, I couldn’t visit this Mountains because I got a little bit sick and needed a day of rest.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
To get to the park from the city center – where my Hostel was located – I needed to take a mini-bus for one hour. There are two entrances the West and the East entrance. On the first day, I went to the East entrance and hiked up all the way instead of taking the cable car. 99 % of Chinese tourist just take the cable car, and therefore we were – I met other people from Europe on the way up – the only ones on the hike. Some points you could only reach by hiking up and these were the best view points without any other tourist. One of the things I learned so far on my trip, is that it is always worth to take the extra mile and make some effort most of the people don’t do – The best moments so far were because I didn’t move with the flow and took the extra mile.
On the top we found a McDonalds – yes, a McDonalds on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. Chinese people are crazy about American fast-food chains like McDonalds and KFC. Unfortunately, I lost my water and food on the bus and due to no other option, we finally also had lunch at this McDonalds. After that, we started to hike down again the same way. One of the best things on the way was the part where the monkeys lived. Suddenly they appeared and came very close to us to see if we wouldn’t have something to eat. We could watch them climb the trees and they followed us for some meters. Just don’t try to touch them because they will get aggressive.
The second day we went to the West entrance of the park. This time we took the elevator to got up the Mountain and the stairs to go down again because we were all a little bit tired from the day before. On the first part of the way we could see monkeys again, there were so much of them. We even saw a fight between two of them for food. And some baby monkeys – so sweet. The film Avatar was filmed in this part of the park, so they got the name Avatar Mountains. These rock formations are several hundred meters high and were formed by tectonic movements over a million years. Nothing, for someone afraid of heights. On the top is a way to walk around with some impressive viewing spots.
If I did it again I would spend a little bit more time in Zhangjiajie, one more day to visit the rest of the National Park and one day to climb up the Tianmen Mountain. In Vietnam, I’ll change my travel style a little bit and travel more spontaneously, book the hostels only one day in advance and maybe move with some people for longer instead of planning everything in advance.
Next destination – Shanghai.
• Total countries I visited until now: 25
• Planes: 2
• Busses: 10
• Trains: 7
• Km running: 301
• Drinks: 15