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Zhangjiajie: The Landscapes of Avatar Brought to Life

| Words by Ellena Johnstone |

It's time to explore...

With its thousands of jagged pillars looming eerily out of clouds, Zhangjiajie National Forest Park looks like the setting of a science fiction movie.

Few realize it actually is.

In 2009 James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar broke box office records, and the news that it was based on a real location in Hunan Province came to light. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting China’s kingdom in the clouds:

So it’s a real place?

The mist-shrouded mountains of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park were the inspiration for James Cameron’s fictional world Pandora. With its quartzite columns soaring to heights of over 200m, appearing to float eerily as they break the cloudbank, it’s not hard to see why.

Where is it?

Zhangjiajie is in the north of China’s Hunan province. While remote, there are daily flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with quality hotel accommodation nearby.

What is there to see?

There is so much to see and do in Zhangjiajie; start by taking the ‘White Dragon’ elevator, the tallest of its kind in the world, for the best views. Then explore Tianzi Mountain and its unique rock formations, before ascending by cable car.

Nearby, there’s the pristine Baofeng Lake to discover, and the world’s longest cable car ride which will allow you to reach the summit of the revered Tianmen Mountain. Here, you can brave its glass-bottomed Skywalk which was completed in 2011. Not for the feint hearted!

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Tianmen Mountain SkywalkCould you brave the glass-bottomed skywalk? At 4,700 meters high, it's not for the feint hearted, but offers panoramic views of Tianmen Mountain.

What itinerary do you recommend?

Our Asia Specialists have carefully crafted a private three-day tour – Zhangjiajie & Tianmen Mountain Skywalk – which includes all of the above experiences, plus accommodation and the expertise of our English-speaking local guides. Enquire today to find out more.

What is the best time of year to visit?

Zhangjiajie can be visited all year round, but the best time to explore is between April and October when the weather is optimum for sightseeing.

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Inspired to explore this landscape for yourself? Talk to one of our China experts today, or browse our China Private Travel Brochure for our full range of tours.