Getting to Wulingyuan (Home to the Avatar Mountains)

Leaving Chengdu proved to be equally as challenging as getting anywhere else with minor delays here and there. We made our way to the domestic terminal and after quickly scarfing down a quick lunch before the flight, we discovered we had an unknown delay and were told it’d be at least 3-4 hours.

3-4 hours ended up being just under 90 minutes which was a welcome surprise before we boarded our domestic 1 hour Air China flight to Zhangjiajie. We quickly collected our belongings and got in the DiDi (Chinese Uber) for the one hour trip up to the village where the hotel and national park were located.

We checked in and started trying to make plans for our visit to the national park and glass bottom bridge and realized that in a very foreign spot with very limited time we’d likely need to pay a little premium to be taken around and shown the hot spots. We made arrangements for a 2-day private tour through the hotel and would meet our guide at 8 the following morning.

After the trip logistics were planned, we took a walk through the town to explore the area as it was still light outside. We were shocked at how developed the area was with hotels and restaurants. Apparently about 40 years ago this place was put on the map by a Chinese artist painting about the mountain range and then it really blew up in 2009 after Avatar became one of the worlds top grossing movies.

The town was full of options to eat and drink and we walked around to look for our dining options over the next few days. We were surprised at the number of places that had any English on the menu and realized we’d have a chance to eat off property if so desired. During our walk we stumbled upon either a dance class or a flash mob or maybe the Chinese wobble and stopped to watch the park dancing (and maybe grab a video). We ended up at what we suspect is the equivalent to PF Chang’s of the area (concierge recommendation) and had another local meal with limited English assistance. We didn’t love what we ate but knew it was because we just didn’t order the right things.

We made our way back to the room and closed down early as we had big plans for tomorrow’s national park adventure.

Hopefully the formatting is OK, another mobile upload here…

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