Sunday, 6 May 2018

Zhangjiajie Pt 2: Yuanjiajie Scenic Area (Avatar)

The beautiful Yuanjiajie Scenic Area in Zhangjiajie rose to fame after the filming of Avatar, an American blockbuster movie that became one of the highest grossing film ever made worldwide. The designer of Avatar drew inspiration from the karst limestone formation in China for the designs of the floating mountains most of which are from the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. This attraction is such a big hit that visitors wishing to get glimpses of the natural wonder will have to go through very long queues. 

Located in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, this scenic area is famous for its over 3000 vertical pillars and 243 peaks. The pillars which are formed by erosion rose a few hundred feet above the ground, the most imposing being Southern Sky Column also known as Avatar Hallelujah Mountain which stands at 3544 feet.

To enjoy the vista of these towering sandstone pillars it is best to view it from a higher altitude. There is an elevator called Bailong Elevator that serves this purpose but the fee to use it is pretty high even though the ride lasts just 2 minutes.

Bailong Elevator is a 1070 feet high elevator which is built onto the side of a tall cliff. It is one of the highest and heaviest elevators in the world and has a very big capacity.

The scenic area covers a huge arena and there is a lot of walking involved. There is a planned circuit which enables visitors to get the best panoramas of these pillars from various platforms.

The view is magnificent and is actually quite out of the world.

The pillars when viewed in close proximity are humongous!

Another highlight of the scenic area is a bridge which is naturally formed by erosion over the years.  Known as The First Bridge Under Heaven, this 40 meters long structure links two parts of a mountain and is covered with thick foliage.

I walked around for close to 3 hours and after a while, the scenery started to look the same.

So coming across a pond like this was a welcome change.

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