This Weekend We Virtually Visited Wulingyuan
Updated: May 21, 2020
Across the world, people are holed up in their houses in response to the COVID19 pandemic. Our virtual travel series has been partially fulfilling our wanderlust in these times - a weekend pastime that’s suddenly taken on a whole new meaning.
As we dream of the day we’ll be able to get out of our houses and visit expansive natural landscapes that seem to be celebrating the lack of human interference currently - we found a place called Wulingyuan in China that has made it into our travel bucket list!
Continuing our virtual travel blog series - curated through digital research of online platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TripAdvisor, and inspired by the New York Times’ ‘36 Hours’ travel column, this week we take you to Wulingyuan National Park in the People’s Republic of China.
36 Hours in Wulingyuan
9:00 AM: Avatar Mountains
Touted by many as one of the most beautiful places in China, the Wulingyuan National Forest Park (entry ticket 248 CNY - valid for 3-4 days) is located in Zhangjiajie City in the Hunan Province of China. With a unique landscape, it has over 3,000 quartzite rock towers and is a sight to behold!
The park itself is pretty big and has several scenic areas (we recommend visiting as many as you can). The Avatar Mountains, in particular, are stunning, as is evident from the VLOG above.
11.30 AM: Embark on the Most Stunning Hiking Trail
Explore the stunning Golden Whip Brook - a stream that meanders for 7.5 km. Enjoy the crystal clear water, exotic plants, and beautiful fishes - maybe even write a poem or two!
Don’t miss visiting the Zicao Pool (known for purple grass growing around it) and the Jumping Fish Pool amongst the other scenic parts of this enchanting trail.
2:00 PM: Eat like a local
Enjoy some local Chinese food at Tang Shi Fu Tu Jia Shi Fu. While the non-vegetarian dishes come highly recommended (try the gyoza, spicy beef and dumplings), they also have great vegetarian options.
3:00 PM: Ride the World’s Tallest Elevator
The Bailong Elevator located in the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is also supposed to be the world’s tallest outdoor lift and takes you along the stone pillars that inspired the floating mountains featured in the movie ‘Avatar’. Enjoy the breathtaking views from above as you experience a ride of a lifetime!
5:00 PM: Walk on a Glass Bridge
The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, also known as the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon skywalk, is the world’s longest and highest glass bridge, hanging over Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon. If you dare, take a walk through the clouds and enjoy a bird's eye view of the canyon!
For the more adventurous souls out there, you can try jumping off the glass bridge!
The Grand Canyon has stunning waterfalls, dense forests, and misty clouds - quite the paradise for a nature lover.
8:00 PM: Family-Style Braised Pork
End the day with some scrumptious family-style braised pork at one of the local restaurants! (Ask the locals for recommendations to identify an authentic joint).
9.00 AM: Tianmen Mountain
Start the day with a visit to the Glass Plank at Tianmen Mountain.
The glass bridge rests between mountain cliffs, and with fewer tourists, it can be an equally thrilling experience as the glass bridge at the Grand Canyon!
12.00 PM: Sky-walking
Next, go sky-walking in Tianmen Mountain. Yes, the adrenaline rush doesn’t fade in Wulingyuan! Take a ride on the cable car to catch breathtaking views of the scenery below, especially the loops around the mountains.
3.00 PM: Yellow Dragon Cave
The Yellow Dragon Cave (also known as Huanglongdong in Chinese) is a karst cave in the east of Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve. It has four floors containing underground rivers and waterfalls, a reservoir and thirteen halls! Don’t miss visiting this cave, as it’s sure to be unlike any other you have been to.
5.30 PM: Boat Ride
Finally, enjoy a leisurely boat ride at Baofeng Lake. A 20-minute ride will give you a glimpse of the beautiful mountains while calming your nerves from the crazy experiences thus far!
7.00 PM: Last Supper
End the trip with a scrumptious dinner at one of the highly recommended restaurants in Zhangjiajie - Le Kou Fu Restaurant. Try the taro spareribs, fish head with pepper sauce, sauce meat, and chicken hot pot with fungus mushroom!
When we first saw images of the Wulingyuan National Park on the internet, we never imagined that it would be a place for adrenaline seekers as much as for nature lovers looking for calm and solitude. This place seems to have something for everyone! We can’t wait to visit it for real; what about you? :)
How to get there
Lotus Airport (Hehua Airport) in Zhangjiajie City, about 23 miles from the park entrance, is served by daily flights to and from several major Chinese cities.
Where to stay
Zhangjiajie city center or Wulingyuan village has plenty of accommodation options on offer. Wulingyuantuniu Youth Hostel is a great budget option and is less than a 20-minute drive from Baofenghu Scenic Area and Huanglongdong Scenic Area. For a more luxurious stay, try the No.5 Valley Inn which boasts of some stunning views and is very close to the west gate of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. The Homeward Mountain Hotel is another option- it is pet-friendly as well, and located in the Yangjiajie Scenic Area.
When to go April to October is the best time to visit Wulingyuan as the weather is pleasant.
Foreign visitors are required to have a valid Chinese visa to visit Wulingyuan.
Yuán (元; ¥; CNY) is the official currency. It is also known as the Renminbi (RMB).
Wulingyuan's official language is Chinese. Mandarin and Cantonese are the popular dialects here. English is not easily understood by locals and linking up with a local travel agency is advisable.
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