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, visitors 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. Travellers 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 visitors edge along it they can see the ground 4,690 feet (1,430m) below. The 197 foot long (60m) transparent pavement is a uniquely thrilling sightseeing experience; those brave enough to walk it 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).
Address: Yongding District, Zhangjiajie
Telephone: (0)74 4836 9999
Transport: Buses 4, 5, 6, and 10 all travel between the cable car station and Zhangjiajie city centre.
Opening times: Open daily 8am-6pm. The park is closed if weather conditions are too cold.
Admission: CNY258 (includes round-trip cable car ticket and entrance into Tianmen Park)