Up to this point, our time in China had been almost entirely in cities, and even the London girl was feeling a little claustrophobic. There were a multitude of options for us take for some fresh air – China really is enormous, and you can get really remote and rural if you try hard enough. We went for Zhangjiajie – a national park famed for it similarity to the Avatar mountains of Pandora, and it didn’t disappoint. We stayed in Wulingyuan a town to the east of the park, and about an hours bus from Zhangjiajie city. It was the first town in China we had been to that didn’t feel oppressive, and was a really pleasant place to stay. The hostel (a hostels international one) was good, and improved by the really helpful, English speaking staff, which can be a rarity in China! We were even able to continue our ongoing Table Foosball championship at a bar/coffee shop in town, although a foot massage is not recommended!
The national park itself was like nothing we have ever seen before. Huge towers of Karst rock rise out of the ground – I’m afraid the photos just can’t do it justice. Do be prepared to climb steps though – over 3200 of them – and watch out for the monkeys, which are bold enough to steal food out of your hands. Arm yourself with sticks and they stay away – a lesson learnt from Tom’s previous experience in Nicaragua!



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