Tianmen Mountain National Park
A trip to Tianmen Mountain National Park, located in neighbouring Hunan Province, is the ideal weekend excursion from Guilin. This area boasts some of the most beautiful, and most photographed, natural landscapes in China. From Guilin it is a 265 mile (426 km) drive to Zhangjiajie city, which nestles beneath the famous mountain park. From the centre of town you can take the world's longest cableway up into the mountains, enjoying breathtaking scenery along the way.
The Tianmen Mountain National Park can easily occupy visitors for a whole day as there is so much to see and do. Tianmen Cave, a massive archway created by an ancient cliff collapse, is known as heaven's gate because it looks like a doorway into another world. You will have to climb 999 steps to reach this natural phenomenon but it is well worth the effort and is said to bring happiness and health (999 is a lucky number in Chinese culture).
Other attractions in the park include various scenic areas, some impressive temples, and the Walk of Faith. This appropriately named mountain pathway is constructed of glass, so that as you edge along it you can see the ground 4,690 feet (1,430m) below you! The 197 foot long (60m) transparent pavement is a uniquely thrilling sightseeing experience; if you are brave enough to walk it you will be rewarded by truly heart-stopping scenery. The mountains can get cold so the best time to visit Tianmen is during summer and autumn (May to October).
Opening times: Open daily 8am - 6pm. The park will only close if weather conditions are too cold.
Admission: RMB 258 (includes round-trip cable car ticket and entrance into Tianmen Park)