Going to where The Avatar was filmed! | Zhangjiajie, Hunan Province, China

I know how pretty my home country is, but I can’t deny the beauty of this place the second I saw it. How could a place like this exist?

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I didn’t plan this nor did I take notes while on this trip. I tagged along my father who joined a group tour. So I’ll tell only to the extent of what I know.

Day 0, departure (June 6)

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I have to put this out there: our flights got delayed and cancelled 3 different times. The first time was the departure from Manila to Shanghai. We fell asleep as soon as we set our butts on the seat. We were awaken by passengers alighting the plane. My brother was so mindfucked when we got back to the departure waiting area and realized that we were still in Ph. I realized it when I woke up because I didn’t feel the plane move, and that only 1 and a half hour has passed. Travel time is supposed to be 2-3 hours.

Day 1 (June 6)

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First day at Shanghai was boring. We were brought to a hotel for lunch, which didn’t serve any water. And were then brought to a Jade shop, only to be networked and sold some ridiculously expensive jewelry. But here in China, buying is always a game of haggling.

Day 2 (June 7)

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We were supposed to fly to Zhangjiajie the night of the first day, but alas! The flight got cancelled. We stayed an extra day in Shanghai and went to The Bund and a fashion gift market. All these expenses are killing me.

Day 3 (June 8)

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We finally arrived at our real destination at our third day. We went and toured around Tianzi Mountain. I actually thought that this mountain range was the one called Zhangjiajie. It’s one hella big of a place, full of fog, clouds and upright mountains. Fell in love with it at first sight. This is the first moment where I felt the frustration of not being “one with nature” – something I will be feeling all throughout this nature trip. I just can’t accept that there’s this glass or this wall or this fence or this given pathway that’s separating me from the dirt and the trees. I want to fucking hug a tree, g’damn it!

Day 4 (June 9)

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Anyway, the next day is Tianzi Mountain tour part 2. We went to this what Candy called, the 10 Mile Gallery, which is really just a 10 mile train ride to an area in the middle of the place.

It was pretty quick, and our next destination isn’t until 4:00pm. So our tour guide, Candy, had the idea of bringing us to a tea shop to drink tea. I thought it’ll be chill, y’know, in a restaurant or whatnot, sipping the healthy but bland beverage. I didn’t know it’ll be another networking-selling scheme! If after a tour of the “gallery” and you’re brought into a conference room with products displayed in front, you know you’re going to be sold stuff that you don’t need – at a very special price! I just get out of the room and get back into the bus as soon as the “price negotiation stage”  has started.

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We then fucking finally arrive to one of the places I’ve been looking forward to this whole trip – the glass bridge! This place though, showed how undisciplined and rude SOME locals are. They throw their shit everywhere (how does their place remain so clean and beautiful with these kind of people?), they smoke fucking everywhere (even with the No Smoking sign just beside them!) and they love cutting lines! Sigh. Anyway, the bridge was a such a sight. It had my knees buckle a bit in the first few minutes, but I eventually fell head over heels with the height. It was a teeny tiny bit underwhelming though, because I thought the WHOLE bridge was glass. It was one quite easy of a walk, contrary to its reputation online.

Day 5 (June 10)

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This is probably my most favorite spot in all the places we went to. Yes, we got rained on, but it doesn’t take away the magic this place has. This is where I fangirled the most. And it’s the place that reaaaally made me want to fucking jump to my death because of the space and the height and the beauty. I really wanted to fly,  y’know? And it made me accept death for that one chance of flying through its beauty. Dying this way would be such a beautiful thing. (But then there’s this thing called glidesuits,  and also skydiving? So I really don’t have to die hehe)

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Oh, it’s called Tianmen Mountain, or Heaven Doors/Gates in English.

After this tiring feat, Candy brought us to a foot spa place. By now I should’ve known that it won’t be a relaxing place like how it should be. We were brought into a room with single couches and products on cupboards in front. Their products were good, truth be told. But we don’t really need it.

Day 6 (June 11)

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In the original plan, by the wee hours of June 11, we should be flying back to Manila. The night of June 10, is the third time our flight got delayed AND cancelled! And the next flight that got booked for us was not until the night of June 11.

Actually, half of the group got to fly back to Shanghai and were supposed to catch a connecting flight to Manila.  Only half were left back in Zhangjiajie (we’re part of this group). But then the first group’s flight to Manila was cancelled too and they got stuck in Shanghai.

Our June 11, was spent touring at Baofeng Lake and Yellow Dragon Cave. While their June 11 was spent shuffling from hotels to the airport, back and forth (because after getting cancelled, they were supposed to fly at 7:00am? But were also cancelled? Then 11:00pm? Then 3:30am, which is exactly the same flight we have back to Manila! Talk about bad luck 😦

The Baofeng Lake looked a little like the floating restaurant in Bohol. The Yellow Dragon Cave, though, was MASSIVE. It was improved tenfold so it looked a little artificial and gallery-ish, but it was gigantic. We learned more about stalactites and stalagmites. And it was so fucking cold inside, 10 or 16 degrees, not sure.

Day 7, home arrival (June 12)

We flew to Shanghai the night of June 11 (we almost didn’t fly again like wtf), and caught up with the other half of the group in Pudong Airport in Shanghai. It’s funny that we got separated but still took the same flight and arrived at the same time back in Manila.

Good company, great place, mediocre food, bad water supply (huhu). I enjoyed this trip. I’d visit Tianmen Mountain for a second time, soon! One where I’ll glide please.

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