HAVE you heard of Zhangjiajie? Most likely not. How about the Avatar Mountains? Probably. And that’s because this mystical place is where director James Cameron drew inspiration for that eponymous blockbuster of his. Yet the Avatar Mountains are just one of the many scenic sites in Zhangjiajie City in China’s Hunan Province.
Because words do not suffice, the only way to find out how breathtaking these spots are is to see Zhangjiajie for yourself. And getting there isn’t as hard as it sounds. All it takes is a bit of planning and some time off, preferably seven days.
If you look at the map, Hunan Province is in the south-central part of China. With its subtropical climate, Hunan is a lush, fertile land of converging rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys and plains.
Zhangjiajie is some 300 kilometers from Hunan’s ancient capital Changsha, a meticulously planned city of new and hi-tech industrial production.
Changsha is an attraction in itself — the Xiang River, wide walkways and boulevards, the old and the new converging — but it is Zhangjiajie that is Hunan’s tourism gem, a favorite of domestic travellers from all over China.
Hunan Province has a population of 71.4 million and an area 210,000 sq. km. Check out some info on Changsha and Zhangjiajie:
Capital City of Changsha
Population: 7.1 million
Area: 11,819 sq. km.
Ave. annual temp.: 17°C
Population: 1.5 million
Area: 9,518 sq. km.
Ave. annual temp.: 16°C
So what’s there to see in Zhangjiajie? Well, the Avatar Mountains are just one of the attractions of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which along with the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve and Suoxi Valley, forms part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair have made Zhangjiajie accessible to Cebuanos with a no-fuss, reasonably priced seven-day, six-night travel package.
Daily flights from Cathay Pacific will take you to Hong Kong, while Dragonair, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific, will take you to Changsha City.
From Changsha, a coach with comfy legroom will then take you to Zhangjiajie along an impressive road network and tourism infrastructure.
Cathay Pacific and Dragonair offers “The Best of Avatar” Zhangjiajie package, a dream vacation for just US$880 per person.
(Read more about Zhiangjiajie in Sun.Star Cebu’s Travel section, as Weekend editor Noel S. Villaflor writes a three-part series about his recent trip to this breathtaking place.)