Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Zhangjiajie Mountains (Avatar mountains)

When we found out we would be moving to China we realized we would have great opportunities to do some traveling thanks to location and frequent flier miles. We decided that we wanted to visit some surrounding areas close to China, but we also wanted to explore China itself to see what it has to offer. 
Besides the Beijing and Xian, we went investigating other China destinations that we could see in a weekend. We came up with Zhangjiajie mountains (In the Hunan Province); which inspired the movie Avatar. My Husband is pretty much an amazing travel planner and decided to do the research needed to make this a success. I am not even joking, this guy should be a personal travel agent. The kid listens to podcasts, reads blogs, scours trip advisor, and is a frequent caller to United airlines. We have been to some amazing destinations and I really have my wonderful Husband to thank for his travel preparation. Okay, enough gushiness... 

We got on a flight and flew in and met our tour guide who took us to our hotel. He was amazed at how small our baby was, and he could not believe we were bringing her into nature. She was about 2 months old at this point. Looking back, we were pretty adventurous for our first vacation with our baby. No wonder we drew so much attention! 

The next day we woke up and climbed up Tianmen Mountain with the help of a gondola ride, also. It was so steep and partially cloudy. It was cool to see the top of the peaks, and the clouds actually added to the scene. It was a pretty crazy view. We walked around, and the tour guide took us to multiple locations where he had "secret" look out views that tourists don't see. He was such a fun guide and spoke good English. He loved interacting with Samantha. He was our translator for the trip and had to tell everyone how old she was and that she was a girl. I think the fellow Chinese tourists were more impressed with this little white baby than they were with the mountains. 











There is a part on the mountain where the two points meet making a natural bridge and there are a million locks that people put on the gate. There is a small store where you can buy one and have it engraved. Obviously we had to take part in this tradition. Our names are forever left somewhere in China. 



We also spotted wild monkeys. These were not friendly and cute monkies. They would steal your food and go after you. It was so interesting to see the fellow Chinese people feed them and want to shake their hands. I hope they got their Rabie shots. 


The views were just amazing. It is crazy to think that we had no idea this place even existed. Especially in China! 



The next day we got up early to head to Zhangjiajie National Park. We took a gondola ride up to the top and it is actually the longest gondola ride in China. 30 minutes! It was fun to see the city below and the countryside. When we got there we got to walk around the mountains on a pathway that seemed to never end. At one point there was a glass bottom section where you could look down. It was pretty scary. Peyton is a bit scared of heights so he was really brave! :) The Chinese people push a lot so I think I was overly defensive when walking on this part. DO NOT PUSH ME. 




The weather wasn't perfect but walking through the trees and seeing all the greenery was picturesque. Living in this Shanghai concrete jungle I end up missing a lot of nature, so I am glad we were able to get a little dose of it. 











There was a section of the mountain where you could buy a strand of red fabric and write a wish on it and tie it to the tree. It was cool to see all the ribbons that were littered through the trees. We read a couple and there were lots of different languages. I loved it! 






 Samantha was such a good little traveler. She hardly complained and she slept almost every time we put her in the wrap. Gosh, she loves that thing.



That night we went to a show they had at the base of the mountain and then in the morning we headed back to Shanghai. It was such a fast trip, but well worth it. It is our new favorite destination to recommend to people while living here. Zhangjiajie Mountains. Put it on your list!