Zhangjiaje National Avatar Forest Park
Okay, to be honest the real name of the park is "Zhangjiajie National Forest Park". But to be honest, it could as well be my version!

It's a little time ago since you last heard from me. That is because I just decided to take things slowly. After leaving Zhangjiajie city where I spend the days with Vincent and his friends, I took the bus to the National Park. The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is most likely the biggest reason why Zhangjiajie has become such a international city.

It's said, that the park inspired James Cameron who wrote the movie "Avatar" The most beautyful scenes at the end of the movie, with the epic flying mountains, just come after the park.
I took the bus from Zhangjiajie which cost me 10 RMB (1,2 €) and took about one hour to get to the south gate of the park.
The park entry, just like the other Zhangjiajie tourist attractions cost around 258 RMB to get into (30 €). I got myself a 7day-student-pass for only 190 RMB.

Getting inside the park, I really did not expect it to be so huge. The day I arrived we had really bad fog, and humidity of about 90%. Nice weather to walk six kilometers with my 22 Kg (44lb), just to get to my hostel. Took me around 3 hours, including taking pictures, orientating and resting of course! That day, I really could imagine how Cameron got the idea for those floating mountains. Giant stone pillars peaking out of the fog, almost looked like they were floating. I tripped a few times staring up to the peaks while walking! ;)

Initially I had the plan to camp in the park. But as many people told me it's impossible, forbidden and as well the weather did not really let me do it, I decided to get into a hostel, wait for better weather and checking camping possibilities out myself.
Unfortunately the next day was even worse then the day I arrived. Rainy, foggy, moist. I didn't put one foot out of the hostel, and spend the day researching places to study and skyping with Liza! The good thing about traveling that long.. You don't feel like you're wasting a day.

So, day three I started to check out the park. Arriving here the visibility was less then 50meters at some points. I arrived by night and could not see beyond the trees at the edge of the road. So when starting my hike two days later, the surroundings just stunned me for a while. 350meter high stone pillars covered in beautiful flashy green fir trees. Clear sky, about 28° C outside I started to hike. Oh by the way, I met a french guy who I hiked with that day. I told him my plans and he agreed to follow :)

After good four hours of solid stair climbing we arrived on the top of those pillars across the valley. The one good thing about chinese Tourists (which crowd the place like ...) is that they're lazy. They won't do route without elevators, cable cars or busses. So taking that stair-only-route we managed to get away from the crowd and only meeting four people in total that day. THAT WAS IT! The perfect place to camp! Nobody would ever bother to come up there. Even if it was forbidden, and someone would have spotted us, it would take them at least 4 hours going up there. And well, who would do that in the middle of the night?

So I knew, that was the spot I am carrying my tent up tomorrow. I knew, the only problem doing that would be my stamina. After walking down about 8.000 stairs and climing about 5000, I had serious concerns about my muscles being sore the next day. Surrending was not an option, so here I am sitting now, after doing that same tour with a backpack the next day!

I found a american guy in the hostel who I invited to join me on that tour. We spend the night together in my two person tent and he also agreed to take the backpack for a couple of minutes, walking up those stairs! ;)

So here I am, sitting in the hostel at 3 am, just returned from the camping night. All sore, all exhausted, I am going to do nothing for the rest of the day!

Next destinations tomorrow: Fenghuan (Phoenix city)

Enjoy the pictures!
Entry by Niklas from Sweden
On 28.10.2011 at 12:36
Nice views, just amazing.
I get tingling feeling in my gut just looking at the photo whith you at that edge.
Obsessed thoughts "jump, jump, jump!" ;)
Entry by Rachel from California,USA
On 26.10.2011 at 06:02
wow!!! these pictures are amazing!! makes me want to go to China!!
Entry by Mateusz from Poland
On 17.10.2011 at 15:02
This time im gona say SCORE lukas you really visited beautiful place !!
Reply by Luke
On 17.10.2011 at 16:51
! Dziekuje ! Jak bedziesz to wejdz na Skypa, musimy rozmawiac! Luke
Entry by Liza from Russia
On 16.10.2011 at 23:11
First thing i want to tell you,I'm impressed and very proud of you)))Coped with all the difficulties, finally reach the top of the mountain, spend night practically alone, in the middle of nowhere on the border between the sky and the earth, border between wild nature and civilization, it's great)And i can't even guess how was it))

P.S. Photo of you with toothbrush is slowly becoming your traditional. One funny moment from the movie "Amelie" came to my head, main character sending photo of garden dwarf statue against background of world's most famous monuments of architecture to her father. And i imagined you, sending photos of yourself, brushing teeth, against background of most beautiful places or monuments(just imagine Louvre, Coliseum, Big Ban, Eiffel tower) to your parents.

P.P.S. It's so nice of you that you mentioned me in your post, i forgot to tell it to you, previous time :****
Reply by Luke
On 17.10.2011 at 16:53
I am really considering making this a tradition :D Like "Where the hell is matt?". I'll be brushing teeth on the whole world, being a good example for children! hahahhaa
Entry by Imke from Germany
On 16.10.2011 at 17:58
Wow - good exercise! And again you took your toothbrush with you ;-D
Have a good time in Fengshuan,

Entry by Tido from Germany
On 16.10.2011 at 16:40
Hi Lukas,
Wow! I did directly know what you mean with the almost floating mountains! The pictures are just amazing :D And the little monkey is really cute! :P
I wish I could see that live too!
See you,
PS: Have a great time in Fengshuan ;)