Feb 20

Tianmen Mountain: an expression of China’s unique landforms



Every province and corner of China holds majestic landscapes and wondrous ancient landforms. One of the more picturesque is Tianmen Mountain. It sits in the area around Zhangjiajie city. The site’s massive mountain with an arch and enormous staircase leading up to the sky is otherworldly and set around Chinese folklore of heavenly passage.


Getting to more remote places in China is usually not as big a problem as people might think it is. English might not be as widely spoken, but there are always taxis and buses that come from regional major cities and railway centers. To arrive to Tianmen mountain one must get to Zhangjiajie city first.  One can fly into the regional airport which serves over 50 destinations in mainland China. There are several train routes which are often affordable and quick coming from places like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and nearby Changsha.



In the case of how to arrive to Tianmen mountain once in Zhangjiajie there are bus and taxi options readily available from all over. The route one can take in taxi is from Zhangjiajie to the Wulingyuan village entrance of the park. It should cost around 100 RMB. Get an updated quote on the price ahead of time from a hotel concierge, since taxi’s may try to charge extra fees. Buses in China are plentiful and function well. So taking a bus from Zhangjiajie central bus station to the Zhangjiajie Cun village entrance to the park is a perfect way to get around. The minibus ride lasts around an hour and costs 12 Yuan. It drops you off in the village and from there it is a 15 minute walk to the park entrance or one can take a local bus or taxi.


The park itself has several types of entrance tickets. A three day pass and seven day pass are the two kinds offered. Rates are 254 Yuan and 298 Yuan respectively. There are discounts for students and seniors so be sure to bring appropriate I.D. Admission prices covers free transit on the internal park bus system, insurance and overall access.  Once inside the park there are multiple paths to hike, glorious views of sandstone rock formations that are heavily forested that seem to float on air, especially when surrounded by fog.


The approach to Tianmen mountain is as epic as the monumental peak itself. Many tourists opt to jump in the cable car for 290 Yuan. This is the world’s longest cable car ride which culminates at views and scenic points near the top of the mountain. Travelers with a more pilgrim like approach can walk up the 3,000 some steps to the mountains dominant views. A glass walkway at the top is scarier than it might look from the ground. It is thick and secure, but it is all that separates the tourists walking on it from an almost 4,000 foot plunge. Be aware that the park is closed for maintenance during parts of February annually.


The mountain is the most iconic attraction, but by no means the only one, hiking and buses around will reveal other places like the golden whip stream, first bridge of the world, Tongtian avenue, monasteries, gardens, academies, caves and natural rock formations without parallel around the world.




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