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“The world is a book — if you don’t travel, you only read one page” by Sebastian


My name is Sebastian and as a friend of JDS, I’ll be writing one daring post about the Avatar Mountains! They are nicknamed after the most expensive movie ever, Avatar, which was shot here in 2009. You know, the 3-hour movie with the blue people and stuff.



I have never seen something comparable to these mountains, and even though I haven’t seen every corner of the globe yet, I can assure anyone that this landscape is a one-of-a-kind. Let me start with how we got to this otherworldly must-see. After a few times practicing, we could finally pronounce the location of the famous Avatar Mountains: Zhangjiajie [dzjang-dja-dje]. We just emerged from the beautiful rice fields of Guilin, and took the train to Changsha in order to transfer to another train from Changsha to Zhangjiajie. The trip itself could be considered an adventure on its own, sitting in an overloaded train with no foreigners but us, we were continuously stared at by the Chinese, as if we came from another planet.

"Instead of going to the mysterious Avatar Mountains, it felt as if we were the blue Avatars themselves."

Between my legs there was a big container belonging to the construction worker sitting in front of me, so comfort was probably the last thing on the list. But it was a fun ride, and finally we arrived in Zhangjiajie City. Zhangjiajie is divided in a City and a Mountain park area, and we opted for staying two nights in the City area. Although the city itself has little to offer, one can easily visit the Tianmen Mountains from here while enjoying the nightlife in downtown.

On our way to its top, we made some Chinese friends who sticked along for the rest of the day, explaining what the Tianmen temple meant, while sharing sweet cookies with us. To reach the top of the mountain, we had to take a ridiculously long-escalator through the mountain. Wait, you are not misreading the aforementioned, the Chinese literally built a 897 meters escalator — and that, into a mountain.



Tianmen means ‘Heaven’s Gate’ and there could not have been a better description for it. We saw the biggest hole of its kind in the world, in the mountain, with a 999-cases ‘stairway to heaven’ leading up to it.



Then we walked on the world’s highest glass walk, attached to the ridges of Tianmen Mountain. This is definitely not for the faint-hearted, as one will continuously look at a 1,400 meters deep gorge.



Unfortunately, the day I visited was extremely foggy and windy: when we finally reached the top of the mountain, we were literally above the clouds! We felt the clouds roar beneath and around us, and the wind accelerated the clouds’ pace, revealing sometimes bits of the landscape beneath us.


After this marvellous day, we went to the Avatar Mountains Park itself, staying in a beautiful bed & breakfast hotel on the Westside of the park. This side is luckily not a tourist bee-hive, in contrast to the overcrowded Eastside. The view was breathtaking and we got to experience the most epic attractions like ‘The first natural bridge of the world’ and ‘The forest of 1000 locusts’. The cool thing about the Avatar Mountains is that you can walk on them at top level, as well as between them on a ground level.


Already feeling like hyped like an Avatar? Better visit Zhangjiajie as soon as possible cause pictures don’t do justice to these mountains!

One more thing,

“The world is a book — if you don't travel, you only read one page"

Ciao Ciao,

by Sebastian Lenders



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