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Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Malaysia
Level Contributor
13 posts
11 reviews
Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

I would like to pay Zhang Jia Jie a visit, yet I hate guided tours as the pace of guided tours are usually fast.

Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie safe? Is it easy to get lost in the mountainous tourist attractions without a tour guide? Thanks.

50 replies to this topic
Beijing, China
Level Contributor
12,429 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

When people say "Zhangjiajie" they are talking collectively about a number of places in proximity to the city of ZJJ. One would be Wulingyuan National Park, which seems to be what you are specifically talking about. Yes self-exploration is safe and many people do this. However, it is advisable to internet search maps of the park and descriptions of the various scenic areas and hiking routes especially timing. Then plot out a strategy of how to cover the areas you most want to see in the time you have. The Wulingyuan entry ticket is for multiple days for good reason--seeing all of it requires time. Ideally, you'd want to come up with a route that allows you to avoid backtracking, and also to avoid the worst "choke points" where crowding and waiting can happen--like the Bailong Elevator.

In addition to Wulingyuan, the most popular different sites (in both location and entry fees) around Zhangjiajie area are Tianmen Mountain and the Glass Bridge.

Edited: 09 July 2017, 00:05
Sherbrooke, Canada
Level Contributor
46,043 posts
830 reviews
2. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Get a map and follow the crowd.

Jakarta, Indonesia
Level Contributor
4,757 posts
68 reviews
3. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Generally you can split it into 3 groups, tian men shan, the bridge and the national park itself.

Most of the time when people mention zhangjiajie they think about the national park/wulingyuan

Yes you can do it by yourself anyone of them

California
Level Contributor
2,595 posts
18 reviews
4. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

No, you don't need a guided tour, but I would do some research in advance and plan out your moves ahead of time. The areas are well marked with English signage and it would be very difficult to get lost, though a guide (not a tour) can help you get to and find the main viewing areas faster than on your own.

As said above, there are three main areas when talking about Zhangjiajie.

Tianmen Shan, which has the Heaven's Gate is reached by cable car with it's station near the Zhangjiajie train station in downtown Zhangjiajie.

The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park and some other sites are located in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, about a 50 minute taxi ride (approx. 35km) from downtown ZJJ. The most famous area within the National Park is the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area where the "Avatar" mountains are located.

To the east of the town of Wulingyuan (the town where most stay when visiting the area), about 22km, is the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, where the new Glass Bridge is located.

Most will go to Tianmen Shan either on their arrival day (early arrival) or departure day (later departure), then stay the rest of their time in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, either within the National Forest Park or in the town of Wulingyuan.

I usually recommend about 1/2 day to most of a day at Tianmen, at least 2 days for the National Forest Park and 1 day for the Grand Canyon - plus what ever else you can fit in that day, so 3.5 days minimum IMO for a Zhangjiajie visit.

Amsterdam
Level Contributor
5,781 posts
9 reviews
5. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

I spend 3 full days there and explored the national forest park by my self, just using a basic map I got from the hotel, and my phone GPS. Very easy.

San Juan del Sur...
Level Contributor
22 posts
12 reviews
6. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

You can visit the Zhangjiajie National Park and other attractions in the area quite easily by yourself. There is no need for a guide. Here is an account of our DIY experience in the Zhangjiajie National Park, hope it helps - coupletraveltheworld.com/travel-guide-zhangj…

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
103 posts
4 reviews
7. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

How did you get GPS to work on your phone? When I was in China it didn't seem to work with my China Unicom sim.

9 posts
8. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Hi John, could you please give me more details on how to get to zhangjiajie from wulong karst? I'm planning to go the end of October to wulong karst then zhangjiajie. It seems that there's no airport from wulong karst to zhangjiajie. Can I hire a private driver? Is it safe?

Thanks, any help is appreciated

Malaysia
Level Contributor
13 posts
11 reviews
9. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Thanks a lot

Malaysia
Level Contributor
13 posts
11 reviews
10. Re: Is self exploration of Zhang Jia Jie recommended?

Thanks a lot for detailed information

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