Sunday, August 27, 2017

Travel Guide: Tianmen Mountain

Tianmen Mountain was one of the places I decided to visit during my trip to Zhangjiajie. I had an extra day before heading to the 'Avatar Mountains'. Since we arrived a little late in the morning already, my travel companion and I decided to go to the station with transportation that will take us to the mountain.


Up in the Clouds

We wanted to take one of the options that included the cable car going up or down the mountain, but unfortunately neither was no longer available. Mt. Tianmen is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, hence the sold out tickets. We were stuck with taking the bus going up and down the mountain.




The bus ride zig-zagged through the mountain's serpentine road (it wasn't called 99 bends for nothing); the views going up were nothing short of spectacular. You'd feel every turn here, because the road fits two vehicles just right and the turns are sharp. You'd see the cliff and how high the drop is from top to bottom, especially if you're sitting by the window.

We couldn't take the stairs up to heaven's gate because it was under construction, so after taking photos we went to the escalator going up the mountain (you read that right an escalator in the mountain).

This is how the Chinese go up mountains
Going up several flights of escalators was a unique experience, especially for someone that climbs mountains using a dirt trail.



After almost half an hour riding up an escalator, we finally made it to the top. It was developed with wooden and paved platforms, with some shops selling food and souvenirs. There were large groups of Chinese going around as well. This wasn't exactly my idea of experiencing nature, but I'll take it.


The best part of the walk was the walkways on the cliff, which provided visitors with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. It was also a unique experience since I was walking along the cliff!


The views of the mountains, the town below and the lakes were something.




One of the sections of the park was a temple complex; there were some trees with pink cherry blossom-like flowers (I wasn't sure what they were though). I was fortunate to see them blooming.

The beautiful cliff side walk.


There were short sections of the mountain that had glass walkways. I tried some of them and it felt like walking on clouds because I could see the hundreds of feet drop from where I was standing. You don't have to worry about falling because the material is fortified glass, but I wouldn't jump up and down on them though.



There were unique rock formations that jut out of the surface; these were covered in foliage and blended well with the rest of the landscape.

What to Wear and Bring

Bring a jacket as it can get cold at the top, I went during spring (around April) so it was cool and pleasant. You can bring snacks and drinks for your trip, there were shops but they charged more for the same items you could buy from shops before going up the mountain.

How to get to Tianmen Mountain

The mountain is one of the attractions in Zhangjiajie; there is a cable car and bus station that takes visitors to the park. It was within walking distance from Geographer Hostel, the place where we stayed a few nights. You can't miss the station, just follow the cable cars going down, you'll easily spot them.

The entrance ticket including transportation (regardless of whether you took the cable car and bus combinations, or just the bus) costs CNY 261 per person. The ticket for walking on the glass bridge sections were around CNY 5 to 10.



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