Table of Contents
- Basic facts
- How to Spend One Day at Tianmen Mountain
- One day itinerary
Tianmen Mountain is located in the Tianmen National Park in the prefecture of Zhangjiajie. The 4,982 ft mountain is known for having the longest passenger cableway in the world, as well as for the Tianmen Shen Temple built around 870 AD during the Tang Dynasty. That being said, it’s one of the best places in the area where you can enjoy thousands of years of history and immerse yourself in the unspoiled nature. If you don’t have a lot of time I’ll show you the best way to spend one day at Tianmen Mountain in China.
Getting there is quite easy because it’s a very popular tourist attraction. You can start your adventure in the city of Zhangjiajie. After paying the fee that is around $40 you have two options to reach the summit. You can take the passenger cable cars and admire the views without much effort, or you can take a bus and walk the “Stairway to Heaven”. The views while climbing the 999 stairs to the cave is every hiker’s dream. If you feel adventurous you can even try walking the 6 miles of the road of 99 bands, for it would be way too much for one day.
The best time to visit Tianmen Mountain is definitely in early fall, between September and November when the weather is quite dry and pleasant. During the rainy season, it gets quite foggy, and you won’t get the best views. When the air is clear you can see many miles away. But if you don’t mind the risk of rain, or if you are not very flexible, April to October will have pleasant enough temperatures. Wintertime makes the stairs slippery, but the snowy surroundings are breathtaking nonetheless.
How to Spend One Day at Tianmen Mountain
Visit the glass walkways
The entrance fee doesn’t include them, and each requires a separate fee. You can find more information about that here. If you are an adrenaline junkie it’s well worth it, but if you are faint of heart you might want to think twice about it. The glass walkways are bridges suspended on the cliffs from where you can see straight down.
The Coiling Dragon Path is the second most popular glass walkway in China after the longest glass bridge that is suspended over 900 ft above the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.
The Heaven’s Door
You should not miss walking through this open cave that resembles a natural gate in the mountain that is around 100 ft wide. The views are spectacular, but there are often crowds, so you won’t have it all to yourself. From there you can take a bus down when you return.
Take the escalators
The escalators require an additional fee, and you can take them from the cave to the temple. They’re an attraction by themselves, as they run inside the mountain up to 1100 ft high.
Visit the Tianmen Shen Temple
Located on top of Tianmen Mountain it will give you spectacular views of the surroundings, which are the best on clear days. You can access it by cable car, by escalator, or on foot by walking the 99 bending road.
The temple is a place of prayer for Buddhist monks and followers surrounded by lush vegetation, some rare species of plants, and wildlife. Besides the ancient architecture, statues, and spots dedicated for meditation, there’s also a wishing well and a smaller cave dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy.
Tourists even have a chance to see the Buddhist monks pray and sing.
If you choose to be part of a day tour use the chance and ask your guide to tell you about the wonderful history of the temple that has a great spiritual meaning for the locals and for the Buddhist devotees.
Watch the evening performance
The Fox Fairy Show is an unforgettable experience after a tiring day of exploring the high peak. The enormous stage features hundreds of cast members playing in a magical spectacle with incredible water shows, that is displayed on a giant screen to accommodate the guests in the back rows.
One day itinerary
So if you find yourself in the area and have only one day at your disposal to visit Tianmen Mountain here is the summarized itinerary:
- Take the cable car up the mountain
- Take one of the two paths up the mountain. They both meet in the same visitor rest area where you can purchase food and drinks.
- Visit the Tianmen Temple and the surrounding areas
- Take the escalator down to Heaven’s Gate and explore the area.
- Walk down the Stairway to Heaven
- Take a shuttle down the road of 99 bends.
- Take part in the evening performance of the base of the mountain.
This itinerary is the most efficient way to visit everything and enjoy the scenery without much effort. Of course, there is a good amount of walking especially if you want to visit every glass walkway and the suspended balconies, which are the main attraction of this summit.