Foggy day at Tianmen Mountain

Nothing is better than breathing deeply in nature, away from city pollution and just integrate ourselves as part of the nature. We took the chance to fly from Shanghai to Hu Nan to pay a visit to Zhang Jia Jie.
The plane took off in Shanghai on Thursday night and landed 2 hours later, at Zhang Jia Jie International Airport, there goes the most ripped off airport ever: I’d rather believe it’s a temporary bus station with plastic kind roof as if a typhoon can easily blow it off; the luggage convey line is around 10-15m, next to the stinky toilet, preventing me from going even though my tolerance to toilets are usually very high. The airport hall is no bigger than a football pitch, the check out process, therefore, took us for no more than 20min. The funny thing about the airports of Hunan province is that they are all named after flowers, so beside Zhang Jia Jie Lotus Airport, there are also Chang Sha Yellow Flower Airport (in the province capital) and Chang De Peach Blossom Airpot, even though ZJJ airport is apparently not in the same level as the one in Changsha in terms of facilities.
My boyfriend’s colleague recommended us to this Base Youth Hostel, very close to the airport and Tianmen mountain, where we were about to go the next day. It proved to be very nice and quiet, economical and friendly. Arrived at around midnight, the cab was the only option, we managed to negotiated the price from 250 RMB to 30 RMB, “very warm” welcome from the local drivers.


airport to tianmen mountain
It was very easy from our hostel to Tianmen Mountain ticket office, cab for 5 RMB, almost 1/3 of the price of Shanghai. There are two ways for the mountain trip:
A – climb by cables and down by bus
B – up by bus and down by cables

B was definitely our wise choice, where the bus led us to a great view all the way up. The slope was quite sharp that we couldn’t stay stable for a moment, knowing that our altitude rocket-rose from 200m to 1300m within 15min, with constant 180 degree turns in direction. At some point, we could even hear other people screaming in the shuttle, and one of those guys looked out and shout out in a very girly way: “这么高啊!(so high)” and that sentence became the new byword of my bf through out the trip. When we reached the 1300m of altitude, there was a huge amount of sharp stairs to climb up, yeah we needed climbing than just walking – the slope was sharper than 45 degrees.

gate of tianmen mountain

countless stairs in tianmen mountain

Another reason the B line was a better choice was that we were climbing up to reach the huge gate but not stepping down, which was way much more scary!

map of tianmen mountain site

After 20min’s climbing, sweating work, we finally got our rewarded gate hole, which is more than 100m high itself, with the heavy mist, the gate became more mysterious. As it’s the most popular site of the mountain, we had to quickly move on and went up by 12 escalator carriages that were newly built this year.
We got up quite late, by the time we arrived at the escalators, it was already 11 am, our way up was extremely empty, on the contrary to the opposite direction. We arrived at the top of the mountain, it was a huge garden with even more fog. We could bearly see people 10 meters away, it became quite freezing with out T-shirt and shorts, we had to speed up our walk to warm ourselves, but the path was quite narrow and there were always people coming from the opposite direction, making the way difficult to move on.
It suddenly began to rain, the hard heavy drops flashed through big trees and froze on the skin, it was chill to hell, we had to stop by a canteen, which prevented us from getting a cold. We tried to get out of the canteen several times, but eventually ran back to canteen to be covered in warmth. By the time we were determined enough to throw ourselves outside, the only thing we wanted to do was to get out of this freezing mist asap, urgent mission. So all the temples, stones and statues became ignorable, we couldn’t really appreciate them properly with the heavy mist after all. We didn’t feel a hint of fear either on the glass path, all what we saw was just cloud.
Thinking back, it was still quite impressive to see visit Tianmen mountain, knowing that most of time it’s foggy up on the top plateau because of high altitude.

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