How to Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie

August 17th, 2017
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Dear Travelers

We’d like to have the following travel guide to be always updated for the benefit of new visitors coming to Zhangjiajie from Beijing and other places. Anybody having used the piece finds necessary updates, or having any questions, please leave a message or feedback. Thanks!
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About 1,500 km southeast of Beijing, Zhangjiajie is a rising star with its picturesque and unique sandstone formations, empowered by the American film – Avatar, has attracted a consistent flow of tourists over the last few years.

If you’re already in Beijing,  you may wonder how to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie?  By train or Flight? We are here ready to present you the multiple choices which you may use to match your specific travel request.

Before getting to know how to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie, we’d like to remind you the fact that basically Zhangjiajie has two meanings – 1.  Zhangjaijie City proper 2. Zhangjiajie Scenic Area.

Zhangjiajie Scenic Area
Just 30 km north of Zhangjiajie City, Zhangjiajie Scenic Area mainly refers to Wulingyuan Scenic Area (Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, Yuanjiajie Nature Reserve, Yangjiajie Nature Reserve including Zhangjiajie National Forest Park,Golden Whip Stream and Haungshi Fort and Suoxi Valley Natural Resource Reserve.

Now the newly added artificial thriller – Zhangjiajie Glass Bottom Bridge is situated 50km east of the core of Zhangjiajie Scenic Area. It spans 430 meters over a 300-meter-deep valley between two cliffs of Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon.

Zhangjiajie City ( Tianmen Mountain )
Named after the world-famous Zhangjiajie Scenic Area, Zhangjiajie City proper also boasts its own drawcard – Tianmen Mountain. Its Cableway (just close to Zhangjiajie Railwaty Station) is claimed as one of the “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world”, with a total length of 7,455 meters and ascent of 1,279 meters. A 100-meter-long Glass Skywalk clings around a cliff on Tianmen Mountain, attracting lots of tourists who are looking for adventures.

So  talking about how to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie,  we actually have to answer two questions – How to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie City proper and then how to get from Zhangjiajie City proper to Zhangjiajie Scenic Area ( Wulinyuan and Zhangjiajie Glass Bottom Bridge). They are roughly 30 km  apart.

Now let’s first about the first question – How to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie City proper?

How to get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie City proper
( Tianmen Mountain)

1.  Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie directly by Train
There are 2 or 3 daily overnight trains leaving from Beijing Railway Station and arriving at Zhangjiajie Railway Station ( downtown), 23 – 26 hours ( Soft sleeper 600 yuan; hard sleeper 400 yuan).

If time allows, plus you are able to grab a ticket, it is an interesting experience to travel by train.  The cable car station for Tianmen Mountain and Glass Skywalk is just a breeze from the train station.

Glass  Bridge at Tianmen Mountain

2. Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie directly by Flight
There are also 2 or 3 daily flights taking off from Beijing Capital International Airport to Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport, about 5 km west of the city core. Basically like the overnight trains from Beijing to Zhangjiajie, the direct flight tickets are hard to get especially in tourist high season. High demand makes little space for ticket discounts. Unless you are pressed for time, direct flight  is not a good choice due to the exorbitant prices.

3. Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie via Changsha by Train
The over 10 daily high-speed trains from Beijing West Railway Station to Changsha South Railway Station whisk you from Beijing to Changsha in 4 or 5 hours. Then you need to change for the local long-distance bus bringing you to your destination – Zhangjiajie since there is no railway line between the two cities. The bus takes about 5 hours ( approx. 90 yuan).

4. Get from Beijing to Zhangjiajie via Changsha by flight  
Numerous daily flights take you from Beijing to Changsha usually at a very competitive price. Changsha is the capital city of Hunan Province, a perfect jump-off springboard for travelers will come to Zhangjiajie. Actually Changsha itself is worth your exploring for 1 or 2 days.

Changsha is well known for its sights related to Mao Zedong Mao ( Dec 26, 1893 – Sept 9, 1976), a Chinese Communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China.  At Zhangjiajie Airport, you either choose to transit and fly for Zhangjiajie or connect a local long-distance bus for Zhangjiajie.

How to get from Zhangjiajie City proper to Zhangjiajie Scenic Area ( Wulinyuan and Zhangjiajie Glass Bottom Bridge)

 

No matter you arrive at Zhangjiajie City proper by flight or train,  directly from Beijing or via Changsha, the best way to go from Zhangjiajie City to Zhangjiajie Scenic Area (Wulingyuan or Zhangjiajie Glass Bottom Bridge ) is take a local bus.

Glass Bottom Bridge

The bus station is known as Zhangjiajie Central Passenger Bus Station, just on the left side of the square in front of Zhangjiajie Railway Station. So if you arrive at Zhangjiajie by train or bus, you can easily walk to the bus station bound for Zhangjiajie Scenic Area: 20 yuan and 50 minutes.

If you are going to experience Glass Bottom Bridge, you need to hop on another bus at Zhangjiajie Scenic Area and leave for Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon: 15 yuan and 40 minutes.

There is no direct bus line connecting Zhangjiajie Airport and Zhangjiajie Scenic Area. Instead, you should take a cab or bus going from Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport to Zhangjiajie Central Passenger Station and get on a bus for Zhangjiajie Scenic Area and Glass Bottom Bridge.

Further Readings


Best Time to Visit Zhangjiajie.
Top 10 Attractions in Zhangjiajie.
Top 10 Attractions in Changsha.
Top 10 Attractions in Hunan.
Zhangjiajie Tour.

Any questions, just drop a line.

Beijing Restaurant with a View of Qianmen and Tiananmen Square

June 12th, 2017
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Capital M (前门M餐厅) is on the top list of my favorite restaurants with a view in Beijing.  The letter “M” comes from “Michelle”, or Michelle Garnaut,  an Australian restaurateur, the owner and founder of Capital M. This is Michelle’s fourth restaurant in China after the Fringe in Hong Kong, M on the Bund and Glamour Bar in Shanghai.

It is said that it took seven years for Melbourne-born restaurateur Michelle Garnaut to turn Capital M a reality. Capital M’s charm is three-fold: artistic decoration, elegant fare and wine, and stupendous view.

All the dining rooms are ornately built. The main room known as “The Silver Room” features parquet flooring, hand-painted mural,  gold-leaf pillars and elegant lighting, suitable for corporate dinner, romantic wedding and important events. It is  a cozy and opulent setting for European culinary indulgence.

Its menus change with the seasons taking advantage of the local food and imported delicacies to satisfy your taste buds. It offers dining and drinking service for brunch, lunch, afternoon tea,  dinner and drinks. A range of fine wines and classic cocktails are on offer at the bar.

Below is part of the sample menu for dinner at Capital M:

Mezze Platter ~ for sharing
dips of tzatziki, babaganoush, hummus & htipiti
cauliflower fritters, tarator, fried haloumi cheese
fresh vegetable shards, spinach & feta pies & spiced olives
all served with our own warm flat bread

Oysters & Caviar
Fine de Claire No.4
Freshly shucked Oysters from Brittany

Mandarin Beluga Caviar
(sustainably farmed from Qiandaohu) with Melba’s toast
& all the classical trimmings

Red Gazpacho & White Gazpacho
Ajo Blanco, with almonds and grapes
& the classic Gazpacho Andaluz

Moroccan Modern ~
Heirloom carrots, organic chickpeas,
sweet Medjool dates, petals and leaves,
sumac & spices, orange blossom dressing

Desserts
Hot Raspberry Soufflé
with a cool berry swirl ice-cream (20 minutes please)

Very Famous Pavlova…
proudly served in all M’ restaurants since 1989
a light, fluffy & crisp meringue base topped with
passion fruit ice-cream, lashings of fresh cream,
fresh fruits and passion fruit sauce ~

Eating outside is one of the best features attracting legions of dinners to Capital M, which provides the terrace for beautiful al fresco dining.  The terrace allows to have one of the most impressive views in the city – Overlooking Tiananmen Square, busy Qianmen Street, Forbidden City ……

How to get there?
Take subway line 2 and alight at the station of Qianmen and exit from Exit B and walk south to  a pailou (decorative archway gate) to Qianmen Street. Don’t enter the archway and instead just turn left to a sideway, then you see a sign overhead with the big letter “M” on top of a group of grey buildings. Strolling along the buildings and you can spot the sign for entrance to Capital M on the third floor.

Qianmen Paifang, a decorative archway

 

Turn left to a sideway, then you see a sign overhead with the big letter “M” on top of a group of grey buildings.

 

The big letter “M” sign hanging out from the side of the buildings easy for diners to recognize.

 

A large signboard pointing to the entrance to the Building for Capital M

 

From the elegantly decorated first floor and take the elevator to the third floor where Capital M is perched.

Walking out of the elevator,  you will enter the bar area for Capital M.

Walking out of the elevator, you will enter the bar area for Capital M.

 

The Silver Room – parquet flooring, hand-painted mural,  gold-leaf pillars and elegant lighting

 

The terrace for the amazing outside eating

 

The al fresco terrace overlooking Tiananmen Square

 

Drinking and Talking with the view of Zhengyang Tower and Tiananmen Square.

 

Iced Red Tea Drink

 

The outdoor eating terrace attracts legions of diners.

Restaurant: Capital M
Average Cost: approx. 366 yuan per person
Add: 3/F, No.2 Qianmen Pedestrian Street 东城区前门大街2号3楼
Tel: 0086 (10) 6702 2727 Fax: 0086 (10 ) 6702 3737

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.

 

Stunning Cityscape Photography from Headquarters of Beijing Television

June 11th, 2017
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A city’s tall building provides an opportunity to shoot stunning pictures of its cityscape, during sun rise, sunset and especially during nighttime when artificial lights create dream-like neon wonderland.  Cityscape photography from a tall building allows us to see the spine-tingling part of a city with which we may have already been quite familiar.

The Headquarters of Beijing Television (BTV), a 41-story building is an idea place to show off the trendy and modern buildings and offices that are lit when night falls, the magic and the ever-changing cityscape of Beijing.

Beijing Television is a Beijing government-owned television network with over 10 channels, ranging from BTV 1 through 10 and more, covering arts, news, military, education, entertaiment, finance, sports, kaku kinds and more.

The BTV Headquarters Building is located at No.98 Jianguo Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, on the eastern end of Chang’an Avenue within the busy business district in Beijing ( known as “CBD” – Central Business District). CBD is home to legions of offices and companies, both home and international, a “Manhattan” in Beijing.

With the help of a friend who works in BTV, we are quite smooth passing through the very strict security check and take a lift up to the 21th-floor terrace facing the north. The open terrace is like a large square hole torn apart from in the middle of the entire side of the building on the north.

Each of us have two cameras with a wide angle lens and telephoto lens,  and place them on two tripods. Set the mode dial to AV (aperture priority) and turn f/11 and up to 22 for sharp photos, a greater depth of field, waiting for the golden hour – one hour before and after sunset.

The following photos taken from the 21th-floor of BTV Building.

A panoramic photography of CBD during sunset.

 

A close-up view of the buildings at sunset in CBD

 

CBD at sunset

 

The lit blurred trails

 

The illuminated two Guomao Buildings

 

The lit CBD area

 

The illuminated panoramic view of the large CBD area

Tip:  Hassle-free Beijing Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for guided tours to Beijing:

Beijing by Night Illuminations Tour  from US$33 p/p

Beijing Hutong Highlight One Day Tour  from US$59 p/p

Beijing Highlight Day Tour from US$59 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Mutianyu Great Wall)
Beijing Classic City Tour from US$65 P/P
(Tiananmen + Forbidden City + Temple of Heaven + Summer Palace)
Beijing Excursion Tour from US$59 P/P
(Mutianyu Great Wall + Ming Tomb)
Beijing Hutong Highlight Tour from US$59 P/P
( Hutong + Rickshaw)

Mutianyu Great Wall Half Day Tour from US$55 p/p
Hike from Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall Day Tour from US$69 p/p

Mutianyu Great Wall Layover Tour from US$65 p/p
Beijing Highlight Layover Tour from US$75 p/p

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Beijing
How to Visit Forbidden City
How to Visit Temple of Heaven
How to Visit Summer Palace
How to Visit Ming Tombs
How to Visit the Great Wall of China
How to Visit Tiananmen Square
How to Visit Hutongs
How to Visit Olympic Sites

Top 10 Markets in Beijing
Top 10 Shopping Malls in Beijing
Beijing Shopping

Wangfujing Night Snack Street
Qianmen Commercial Street
Beijing Huguosi Street

Any questions, just drop a line.