So much for the forecast of sunny days throughout my visit in Zhangjiajie! I woke up to see hazy skies. Packed up my things and left the heavy stuff at the hotel and headed out for another day in the mountains.
But first: Back to the awesome breakfast place (this time I tried more kinds of steamed buns, and also got some hot soy milk, like what I’d had for breakfast in Taiwan).
On the bus, I chatted a bit with a guy from Chile & another from South Korea. They’d gotten on the wrong bus (they were trying to go to the forest park base) but after looking at options, I suggested they walk along the stream path as it’d probably be faster than taking multiple buses, at that point. And the path would be scenic (and there were lots of monkeys)! I walked with them for a little while, until we got to where I turned off to climb up the mountain, and they continued along the valley. The Chinese tourists had the good sense to keep their distance from the monkeys (and if one grabbed their bag from their hand to go digging for food, they just let the monkeys have it without any fight).
More stairs today! And I got to see how they construct the very nice railings along the trail. Custom built with wire and cement and then sculpted and painted to look like wood.
More amazing views, too. Made perhaps even more dramatic by the mist in the air. I saw very few people on the hike up, but towards the top, I met some other hikers – one guy from the UK and one from Australia. We wound up hiking for the rest of the day together. The Avatar filming/inspiration point and the natural bridge were indeed impressive. We did our best to avoid the larger tour groups and enjoyed the vistas in relative quiet, mode of the time.
We all were ready to call it a day by mid afternoon, so we took a circuitous bus to the top of the elevator, took that down, and got some coffee (or, in my case, an orchid latte because: adventure!)
Then, I went back to my hotel to collect my things, and off to catch the bus back into Zhangjiajie City. Best dinner yet at a random place near the bus & train station (note to self: when using the “can you recommend?” card withOUT the pretending to be a vegetarian card…it’s not ALL tricky to eat chicken parts and fish with tons of bones to avoid. You can also wind up getting super tasty pork belly type dishes. Yum!
I had hoped to find a good foot massage around there, but no luck. I went into one spa place on the 3rd floor of a big building, but their lobby stank horribly of cigarette smoke AND their prices were high. No thank you!
On my flight back to Shanghai, I got an exit row seat. Woohoo, legroom! My special instructions were NOT anything about reviewing a card in the seatback pocket and being willing and able to assist the crew in the event of an emergency. Instead, my instructions from the flight attendant (before takeoff and repeated again before landing) were simply, “please do not touch the red handle.” Now where’s the adventure in that?? But okay, FINE.
Since I got back to Shanghai after the Maglev & subway had stopped for the night, I had to take a taxi to my swanky hotel. I’d splurged for a king bed in an upscale chain for my last 2 nights, but when I checked in, they told me they didn’t have any king rooms available. When I was not amenable to a twin room (or a twin room for one night and then moving to a different room), they eventually…upgraded me to a suite with a view of the bund! Woohoo!
Night shots of the skyline didn’t turn out, so here’s a view from the morning: