We had 2 days in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and one day on Tianmen Mountain.
The scenery is amazing and the park is huge. Golden Whip Stream and Tianzi Mountain were highlights for us.
This was a very different national park experience from what we see at home in Australia. Having food stalls along the walking trails was completely unexpected. We had been warned about the tour groups and guides with loud but poor quality PAs calling to their groups. Walk quickly at the beginning of Golden Whip Stream and you will soon be past them and be able to better appreciate the beauty of the stream and surrounding forest.
Next time I would not go in summer as the humidity was horrendous and I finished each day completely soaked in perspiration. The haze from the humidity also made for less than ideal conditions for photographing the amazing scenery.
If you are feeling fit you can avoid the crowds in the buses and elevator and take the option to walk the 8,000 steps (stairs) to the top of the mountain.
To get the most out of our time we organised a custom tour itinerary with Zhangjiajie Tour Club. Our guide Jeffrey had excellent English and great local knowledge. He made sure we got the most out of our visit by taking us to extra sites not on our itinerary when we finished early on a couple of days. We were also assigned a driver Mr Hu, who met us with a huge smile each morning and took us to park entry for the days activities and was there later in the day to move us to the next section of the park. Zhangjiajie Tour Club was very helpful in fitting in with our needs and flexible on site when we wanted to change the scheduled activities to suite the weather conditions on the day. I will very happily recommend Zhangjiajie Tour Club and Jeffrey to anyone interested in visiting the park. Find them by entering Explore Jhangjiajie into your search engine.
The park is only a little over 20 years old and is little known to western tourists but very popular with Chinese tourists. There is a good deal of construction happening to allow the park to cope with the massive number of visitors.
I am already working out when I could get back for a winter visit and see the snow on the peaks.