Zhangjiajie is located in the heart of China's Hunan province. It comprises of the district of Yongding. Within it is located Wulingyuan Scenic Area which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 as well as an AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration. The Hollywood film director found inspiration for his movie Avatar in Zhangjiajie.
The place is just something amazing...truly spectacular...just out of this world.
1. You can take flights to the tiny Zhangjiajie Airport from Shenzhen, Chengdu, Chongqing and a few other cities- best to book in advance because flights are limited (e.g. from Shenzhen it is one or two flights a week), and they only operate a tiny A320 aircraft here (with around 185 seats) so seats are limited and it can be expensive.
2. Hotels are relatively cheap, but during national day holidays may be expensive. There are hostels inside the national park; however, you may need to book in advance. Cost per night can be anything around 200 RMB (USD $40 per night).
3. The cost of entrance to the park at the time of writing was 245 RMB (approx. USD $50) for a 4 day pass (you can come and go back inside the park everyday).
4. Be prepared to walk a lot. There are free shuttle buses, but only between certain point and they can get very crowded - the rest of the time you will be hiking for hours. Also bear in mind the hot, sticky and humid weather. I had my backpack on me, so I hiked everywhere with 12KG on my back! It can be a good exercise but to climb up and then down constantly is not for you if you have not walked or are not in a position to walk for long period. It can and does get very tiring. Public toilets are available, but just bear in mind that they are not clean/maintained well, and usually you have to take your own tissue, soap (wet tissue) and water because toilets are not equipped like they are in the West.
5. If you can then take your own bottled water (and plenty of it!) before you enter the park. Outside the park you can get a water bottle for 2 RMB, but inside the park you can get it for 10 RMB.
The Bailong Elevator (Chinese: 百龙) is a glass elevator built onto the side of a huge cliff in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, China that is 1,070 feet (330 m) high. On 16 July 2015 the elevator was officially recognised by Guinness World Records as the world’s tallest outdoor lift.: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
When I used to live in Shenzhen between 2003 and 2007, the city's Skekou area was just expat enclave for foreigners who are working in the oil rigs offshore in the South China Sea, and it wasn't developed as such. All you had in those days were the bars and pubs and the occasional Subway (the only Subway Sandwiches outlet in the whole of Shenzhen was in Shekou before 2005). Shenzhen had no metro system back then. The only five-star hotel was the Nanhai hotel (which has been bought by the Hilton now). The Minghua ship has always been there; however while before it used to house a few local restaurant, nowadays, the ship is home to a five-star hotel and trendy restaurants. The area has become a trendy lifestyle handout place, with high-end restaurants, including the exclusive Elements Fresh and a few other Western style restaurants.
There is also a metro station. It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to live in Shenzhen during its heyday of growth and see the spectacular rise of infrastructure. Truly amazing.
Taking-off at night from Shenzhen on a clear day provides an opportunity to take some beautiful photos of the city. Departures towards the northern Chinese pass over Boa'an, Nanshan, before making a sharp 180 degrees turn left over Shenzhen Bay and back towards Longgang District - heading towards Dongguan and Guangzhou.
There is no denying that one of my all-time favourite cities has some of the best views around, too. I enjoyed every moment of living in Shenzhen, and I hope I can come back one day to live here again.
Guangzhou's old airport, Baiyun Airport, closed down in 2003. I was lucky enough to fly into it back during my first few years in China. Guangzhou was a truly different place in those years- it was the real China! Sadly, there is no trace of the old airport left, except for the control tower building (seen above), which has also been revamped to house a high-end Japanese restaurant! The airport grounds have been replaced with a high-end shopping mall and a huge car park. There is no memorial to the old airport and no reminder for future generations to tell them that the old airport was here (sad): Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
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