Fenghuang travel china zhangjiajie

6-Day Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang Itinerary

Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang are two of the most beautiful places to visit in the Hunan Province of China! From the famous Avatar mountains in Zhangjiajie National Forest to the beautiful old houses built alongside the river in Fenghuang, these two sites offer incredible views and two unique travel experiences in China.

Because of their close locations, you can easily visit both cities in one trip. I created this 6 day itinerary to help you make the most of your time and see the best parts.

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Day 1: Travel to Zhangjiajie

Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll most likely need a day to travel to Zhangjiajie. There’s no high speed train to Zhangjiajie, so you’ll either need to fly, take a slow train, or grab a bus from a nearby Hunan city. Once you’re in Zhangjiajie, take a bus, mini van, or taxi to the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.

Here’s how I traveled from Guangzhou to Zhangjiajie:

  • High speed train from Guangzhou to Changsha South Railway (2.5 hours)
  • Metro to Changsha Normal Railway
  • Slow train from Changsha Normal Railway to Zhangjiajie (6 hours)
  • Bus from Zhangjiajie city center to Wulingyuan Area
  • Check into hostel

For more information about getting to the park and planning your route inside, check out My Guide for visiting Zhangjiajie.

hunan province

Day 2: Wulingyuan Scenic Area

I spent one full day in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. This area is where the famous Hallelujah Mountain is located (the inspiration for the movie Avatar), so it’s very popular to visit and a must-see if you come to Zhangjiajie.

  • Take the shuttle bus from the Park Entrance to the Tianzi Mountain Cableway
  • Cable car to the top up Tianzi Mountain
  • Hike down to the 10 Mile Gallery and other trails
  • Bus over to Yangjiajie Area – hike up to
    Bus from Yangjiajie to Yuanjianie to see the Hallelujah Mountain
  • Bailing Elevator down
  • Bus to park entrance

This was a lot to cram into one day,  but I had limited time and wanted to see the main attractions and spend more leisure time hiking the next day.


Day 3: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park Area

The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park is a separate park, but it is still connected to Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It’s recommended to come to this area if you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy a quieter hike in nature! The best way to get there is by walking along the Golden Whip Area.

  • Shuttle bus to Jinbian (Golden Whip Stream)
  • Stroll along the Golden Whip (1-2 hours)
  • Bus to Huangshi Village Cableway
  • Take the cable car up the mountain (alternatively you can also hike up the mountain)
  • Walk the loop around the National Forest
  • Hike down the Huangshi Mountain (1+ hour)
  • Walk back along the Golden Whip Stream
  • Bus back to the Park Entrance

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Day 4: Tianmen Mountain + Travel to Fenghuang

Tianmen Mountain is a gorgeous mountain in the middle of Zhangjiajie City. You need to take a bus back to the city center to get here. You can buy your tickets for the mountain on the day of your visit, but it’s recommend to buy your ticket ahead of time if you have a time preference for going up the mountain. Your ticket will have a time slot on it, and you can’t go on the cablecar or take the bus up the mountain before the time on your ticket.

  • Early morning bus to the Zhangjiajie City Center
  • Walk to the Tianmen Mountain Cable Car Entrance
  • Cable Car up the top of Tianmen Mountain
  • Walk the East Loop around the top
  • Visit the Heaven’s Gate
  • Bus down the mountain back to the city center
  • Depending on how much time you spend on top of Tianmen Mountain, you should have time to catch a bus from Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang in the evening (3.5 hour bus ride to Fenghuang)

Take a look at more incredible views I saw at the top of Tianmen Mountain

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Day 5: Fenghuang Ancient Phoenix Town 

Fenghuang is a little ancient town in Western Hunan province. It’s a beautiful place to see a more traditional way of Chinese life, and also one of the most photographic sites I’ve ever seen in China!

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One day is plenty of time to explore Fenghuang – stroll around the river area, try some local snacks, and get your feet nibbled on by little fish. Make sure you stay out to enjoy the night life as the evening is when Fenghuang really comes alive! Bars and restaurants along the river will light up, and you’ll hear live music all around.

See my complete guide to Fenghuang here!

bridge favorite

Day 6: Travel Day

After a day in Fenghuang, it was time for the return trip home. Fenghuang doesn’t have an airport or train station, so you’ll need to take a bus to Huaihua or Changsha, and then a high speed train or plane from there.

If you’re planning a visit to the Hunan Province in China, Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang are two sites you can’t miss. Whether you’re looking for stunning scenery, a break from city-life, or more traditional Chinese culture, you’ll find all that and more here.

Here’s a short video of my trip to Fenghuang and Zhangjiajie:

Have you been to Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang? How was your experience traveling in the Hunan Province?

Read more about the Hunan Province:

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  1. I did sort of the same itinerary, leaving Changsha to visit Zhangjiajie and then off to Fenghuang. It was worth all of it, especially for the beautiful settings and the hospitality that people showed me (I guess you also can assess that being “fair colored” always helps a bit, sadly).
    But I have to admit I was a disappointed by human influence in the park and all the busses, crowds and tourist attractions. I saw it as a twisted way of managing and exploiting a stunning natural park, not so natural anymore. I wrote my impressions here https://italianwildfoodie.wordpress.com/2019/02/07/china-zhangjiajie-park-a-sad-note-on-beautiful-wilderness/ , I’d be glad to read your opinion about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about Zhangjiajie. I felt the same way – it’s a beautiful place, but a bit sad that it’s not as natural and untouched now. I love hiking but it’s a totally different experience in China – like you said, it’s not quiet and peaceful! I still enjoyed my trip but definitely had to adjust my expectations of Zhangjiajie.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fog and Drizzle all day. didn’t see a thing, waste of £35. I wouldn’t recommend going in April or anywhere China spring time.. I’m told October is when to find some clear air.


  3. Thanks for this great guide! I’ve heard about the “glass bridge” in Zhangjiajie. Do you have any thoughts or experience with that? Is it worth a try, do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I know about the bridge! Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to go there so I chose Tianmen Mountain instead because it was closer to the city than the bridge it. But I’ve heard it’s fun to go to if you have time!


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