Sunday, 13 May 2018

Zhangjiajie Pt 3: Tianmen Mountain

Adding to the list of beautiful panorama in Zhangjiajie is the landscape of Tianmen Mountain. Literally translated to mean Heaven's Door Mountain, this must-see attraction in Zhangjiajie is located very close to the city. Just like most other attractions I visited in Zhangjiajie, the enormous crowd and waiting can be rather vexatious but on a positive note, the hassle was worthwhile.

The infrastructure constructed and created by China Tourism to facilitate a comprehensive tour of the mountain is really commendable. Firstly there is a cable car service that runs 7.5 km all the way from the city to the peak making it the world's longest cable car ride uphill. During the 30 minutes ascent, passengers get to enjoy the vista  both of the city and the mountain. Towards the end of the ride the gradient is so steep you will experience a few jerks.This little adrenaline rush is a good start to a Tianmen Mountain adventure.

Visitors can also use the mountain bus which brings its passengers half-way up the peak to where the famous Tianmen Cave is located. This 11 km winding road called 99 Bends have very sharp, nerve wrecking bends. All in there are exactly 99 sharp turns thus the name 99 Bends.

At the peak there is a little park. It's not very pretty though.

A 1.6 km long concrete boardwalk is constructed for visitors to enjoy the mountain panorama.  

With 40 peaks that exceed 1000 meters amidst lush vegetation and cool mountain air, this place is panoramic indeed!  

A stretch of boardwalk protrudes from the edges of very high cliffs. It is not scary when you are walking on it but when viewed from a distance it looks pretty precarious.

Imagination sometimes runs wild as to what would happen if the concrete boardwalk collapses.

Another highlight of the mountain tour is a walk on a glass boardwalk protruding from the cliff. Here visitors can see through the glass floor to the ground which is hundreds of feet down.  For this stretch, visitors are made to wear shoe covers.

Another very impressive infrastructure built within the mountain is a tunnel elevator. With a total length of 2943 feet, this elevator has a capacity for 72,000 visitors each day.

The elevator ends midway on the mountain where the famous Tianmen Cave can be viewed up close.

Tianmen Cave is not a real cave per se but it is a gigantic hole caused by erosion and is said to have existed since 484 AD. In 1999 pilots from 6 nations actually flew 3 airplanes through this hole. It was a feat broadcasted live and viewed by a worldwide audience!

Taking another flight of escalator, visitors can also view Tianmen Cave from lower down. There is a stairway with 999 steps that leads to the cave. The steps are also known as Stairway To Heaven and the cave as Heaven's Door. 

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