Another holiday I hear you say... yes! A long weekend for a Chinese National holiday and a group of us went North to explore the Zhangjiajie National Park, dubbed as the inspiration for the scenery in the film Avatar. It was only a couple of hour flight and then about an hours journey to our hotel.
The Hotel: No 5 The Valley
The hotel was in a beautiful spot on the outskirts of the Park. We explored this area of tranquility at the start of our first day and then went on a trip along the river at the bottom of the national park to ease us into our stay after a very late arrival!! Whilst the hotel was an hour from the airport (mainly due to the state of the road for the last 40mins!!) it was on the doorstep to the entrance to the Park. Amber, one of the hotel workers was amazing at organising taxis and cars within our price we paid for our accommodation which was really handy! The hotel also did food in the evening for us. I would highly recommend it, especially with the views and quirkiness of the rooms spread out along the hillside.
Saturday: Relaxing and Afternoon Walk
Chinese Feast and Karaoke in the evening!
Sunday: The Avatar Mountains!
I really don't think my camera or photography skills can really show you how incredible this place is. After the cable car up and a couple of buses later, we enjoyed the very scenic, and fairly busy, walk around the park. It is certainly a natural wonder and absolutely beautiful.
BBQ and Fireworks
Everyone at the hotel attended the BBQ for the Chinese Lantern festival and it was quite the affair! A mixture of foreigners and Chinese people all sat down long tables enjoying all the food on offer which was really delicious. After this there was a chinese dance around the bonfire... which got a little scary as we danced around in big circles and got closer and closer to the fire. But the scariest bit was yet to come... they did a massive firework display, setting them off next to the bonfire which was about 20m from us all!!! I don't think i have been so scared but also have never seen fireworks that close and it was amazing!! (Until all the debris starts falling on you)! Then we finished off the night with another round of karaoke and even Matt and I did a little duet!!
This mountain is known as the KeyHole mountain and is close to the airport. So on Monday we packed up and made our way to this mountain. It is really convenient as they have a place to leave your bags whilst you go up and visit this area. The weather was pretty grim but we went for it anyway...However, it was really not great visibility and we didn't see the full beauty of this place. Google Tiananmen Mountain and you will see! It was pretty scary going up the 99 bends on the side of the mountain, in torrential rain and fog, we all felt lucky to be alive by the end! We chose to take the escalators up to the top to walk around rather than the 999 steps!! But there were about 10 escalators which was extreme and a group of Westerners going up became quite the tourist attraction for the Chinese people coming down!!