Breakfast in a hotel that hosts tours can be a mad house. All the tours want to leave at the same time so all those on the individual tours come in for breakfast at the same time. It all leads to a pretty crude awakening. What a way to start our visit of Zhangjiajie.

The city of Zhang Jia Jie, at least as seen from the hotel is a pretty dreary and miserable place. That base impression was only enhanced with the rain that started as we left. Given the weather Amy, the tour guide, decided to rearrange the schedule. First stop was to be the Huanglong caves with the hope that the rain will have subsided by the time we finish.

As far as caves go these were quite remarkable. But I’m not a spelunker so I may not have fully appreciated their magnificence. To enhance the natural beauty coloured lights are used extensively. Exiting the caves we entered a down pour that lasted all the way along our walk back to the van, our 15 minute drive to the restaurant, through lunch, and then into our afternoon agenda.

Amy seem reluctant to continue, which was a tour to the Tianzi Mountains, however we insisted and off we went. First stop was the hotel so we could check in and change into our rain gear (Thanks Michael:).

The mountains are located in Zhang Jia Jie National Forrest Reserve. Entry into the Reserve is quite expensive (245CNY) for a two-day non-transferable pass. When using your pass for the first time you have to register your finger print. In this way they ensure the pass is used only by the person to which it was issued.

Getting to the top of the mountain seemed to entail a rather complex combination of modes of transport, including bus, elevator and walking.

Much of the accent was through rain and fog but as we got closer to the top it started to clear and then magic happened. We found ourselves above the clouds with only the high peaks poking through what looked like islands in a sea of clouds. This was what we had hoped for. Seeing the mountains in the clouds like this is a rare and thrilling event. Amy said that in the three years she had been giving tours in the area this was only the second time she has seen this cloud effect.

It was like looking at a Chinese painting and as the clouds continued to drift the scene was constantly changing and evolving. Witnessing this scene was well worth the rain.

Our second day took us back into the park to visit Ten Mile Gallery and Golden Whip Stream, followed by a cable car ride to the top of the mountain to see the Yellow Stone Village. We finished our planned itinerary early by 3:50. So we went shopping, or more precisely Linda and Olga went shopping. Yesid and I tagged along. This was followed by dinner, some more shopping and then a ride to the airport for our 10:30 flight that in the end was delayed one hour.

This leg of the trip ended with a late-night flight to Guangzhou, a stop over on our way to Guilin. There are no direct flights. Guangzhou is located very close to Hong Kong, our final destination.

Walking through Zhangjiajie
The hotel next door, where we didn’t stay
Walking through Yellow Dragon Cave
Walk along the Golden Whip Stream
On Golden Whip Stream
Walk through the 10 Mile Gallery
10 Mile Gallery, which is really only a bit more than 7KM
Walk along the Golden Whip Stream, Monkeys on the path
Residents of Golden Whip Stream

The following pictures are all from the Tianzi Mountains. There are a lot but it was possibly the most spectacular scenery of the whole adventure:

Departing Zhangjiajie for Guilin (through Guanzhou)
Flight to Guangzhou

Click Slideshow for all the posted photos from Zhangjiajie


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