It is not known how soon this beauty would have opened to the world if it were not for James Cameron's film Avatar. And, although the film was not filmed in China, it is believed that it was the landscapes of Zhangjiajie National Park that inspired the famous director. Today we will take a virtual trip to this amazing place.
It is not known how soon the beauty of Zhangjiajie would have been revealed to the world if it were not for James Cameron's film Avatar. Its action takes place on the fictional celestial body Pandora. And, although the shooting was not in China, it is believed that it was the landscapes of the Zhangjiajie National Park that inspired the famous director.
We invite you to take a virtual tour with an overview of 360º to this amazing place.
Go straight to virtual panoramas
And it seems that this park is the oldest of the protected areas in China (since 1982), and it is easy to get here from any large airport, but before the release of the movie "Avatar" it was not popular among tourists. Zhangjiajie Park gained worldwide popularity after the release of the film by James Cameron, and the park also received the unofficial name "Avatar Park".
The park is, of course, not quite Pandora with its flying rocks, overgrown vines and waterfalls, as well as dragons. But if you mentally turn the picture of what you see by 180 degrees, then the similarity becomes obvious.
Any tourist who arrives in Zhangjiajie Park has a choice – to walk along the lower paths among 400-meter vertical pillars, raising their heads in amazement, or to climb the mountain range using the 360-meter Bailong elevator. Then you can ride the bus a little more and look at the same pillars from above.
There are many interesting places in the park: for example, caves or authentic villages, but inside even the highest caves it is not very convenient to photograph from a drone, so in this virtual tour we will consider the rocks from a bird's eye view.
Zhangjiajie National Park is part of the Wulingyuan mountain range, recognized in 1992 as a natural heritage site by UNESCO, and the Avatar Park itself is included in the list of geoparks under the protection of this organization.
The distances there are impressive; different sections of the park are often not even interconnected. But each has some kind of zest: rocks of different heights and shapes, pagodas, pavilions, rivers, streams, arches and bridges. Paths from the hills lead down – it will take half a day to walk along this one. Zhangjiajie is so huge that in 3 days you can visit about 30 percent of its territory.
Among the most famous sights of Zhangjiajie are the Yuanjiajie Mountains, located in its northwestern part. The most picturesque views open from the observation platforms, bearing the poetic names "Five beauties go on a hike", "Bridge between heaven and earth" and "Enchanting scene".
Another popular attraction is Tianmen Mountain. A cable car leads to its top, which is called the “Road to Heaven”: in some sections it rises at an angle of 70 °, crashing directly into the clouds. The journey to a height of 1519 meters takes about 40 minutes, while due to the pressure drop, passengers often lay their ears, and the temperature in the cabin drops sharply. You can go down the mountain by bus along the serpentine, which has exactly 99 turns.
Locals believe that this hill is connected with the sky and has supernatural powers. In the 20th century, 4 times from the top of the mountain, unexpectedly and for some inexplicable reason, a waterfall 1500 meters high collapsed. Streams of water fell for 15 minutes, and then just as suddenly disappeared. There are also rumors that countless treasures are hidden in the mountain. No one has found them yet, but the undeniable "treasure" of Tianmen Mountain is the giant picturesque cave "Heaven's Gate". This is the highest cave in the world, which was formed in 263 as a result of the collapse of the rock. At the top of this mountain is the Heavenly Gate Temple, covering an area of about a hectare.
Any viewer of his famous film can see Pandora from the point of view of James Cameron, and you can look at it from a bird's eye view and make sure that earthly landscapes are in no way inferior to space ones in beauty, on AirPano panoramas.
Zhangjiajie National Park (Avatar Mountains), China