The shuttle buses within the park are free and convenient. We hopped on one, making our way over to the Bailong elevator. It was 72RMB/355NT/CAN$13 one-way. Once on top of the mountain, one can wander for hours to enjoy the views. The park is absolutely superb! I walked around in a state of awe most of the day. (images in the album on the right)
Things of note:
There wasn't much signage around the park and the maps that were available were not terribly accurate. It was a bit difficult to navigate your way around at times.
What is known as the "Avatar Mountains" is obviously the most popular part of the park as there were thousands and thousands of people. Most were on a group tour, which meant there were guides with microphones shouting everywhere.
|Thousands and thousand of tourists|
The amount of people trying to sell you stuff or charge you to take pictures (some with your own camera) and stands selling drinks and souvenirs was overwhelming. Ladies selling cucumbers and tomatoes were every few meters sitting around the trails in the park. It made it very hard to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, to be honest. It was ridiculously noisy and there was constant pushing.
As if the noise from the yelling and microphones wasn't enough, there were elderly ladies selling whistles (1RMB) everywhere. I believe every little kid had one, which added to the already excruciating noise.
There was a HUGE McDonalds inside the park; like, three or four McDonalds put together to create a monstrous one — gross.
Rather than take the cable car down, we decided to walk. It's a 5.8km walk that consists of uneven stone steps all the way down. My left knee was throbbing by the time we got to the bottom and this unfortunately slowed me down to a hobbling pace for the remainder of the trip.
Tiny local restaurant #3 was at a tiny shop two doors down from the guesthouse. We had Kong Xin Cai, delicious Gongbao Jiding, scrumptious Mapo Doufu and, of course, a nice cold beer ... or two! Unfortunately this little restaurant was closed for the remainder of our time in Zhangjiajie otherwise we may have eaten here the whole week.
It was easy to crash early after a long, exciting day. We planned to head back to a different part of the park the following morning. The owner of the hotel said the weather called for rain. I slept with my fingers crossed hoping to awake to more blue skies!