The Tianzi Mountains In China: Setting For The Movie ‘Avatar’

We travel to a setting that seems fantasy, but is very real. A place that has inspired one of the highest grossing films in history.
The Tianzi Mountains in China: setting for the movie 'Avatar'

You’ve surely seen Avatar (who hasn’t?), One of the highest-grossing sci-fi movies in history. What you may not know is that Pandora is not as far away as it is shown in it. In fact, one of its settings is in China and can be visited. Read on to find out more about the Tianzi Mountains, the landscape that James Cameron was inspired by.

How to get to the Tianzi Mountains

Zhangjiajie National Park in China
Zhangjiajie National Park – JekLi

The Tianzi Mountains are located in the north of the Wulingyuan area. It is a region of panoramic and historical interest that is part of the Chinese province of Hunan. The Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is one of several reserves that make up Wulingyuan and is within the Zhangjiajie Territory.

Therefore, it can be reached from the city of Zhangjiajie, one of the largest tourist destinations in China. Zhangjiajie is very well connected and you can go by plane, train, car or bus.

Tour buses run from Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station to Tianzi Mountain periodically. They can be taken there and the journey takes about 80-90 minutes.

Of course, keep in mind that the resort is open from 7:00 to 18:00. The best months to visit the Tianzi Mountains are April, May, September, and October.

Enjoy the views in the best way: ride the cable car

Awesome cable cars: Zhanjiajie
Zhangjiajie Cable Car – NIRUN NUNMEESRI

You cannot miss the most impressive view of the peaks. The cable car travels a route of more than 2 kilometers in length with a fall of almost 1000 meters.

At a minimum, the trip lasts about six minutes during which you can admire the incredible beauty of the Tianzi Mountains. The landscape includes the entire valley, the crystal clear rivers and the mountain itself.

The Legend of the Tianzi Mountains

Tianzi Mountain in China
Tianzi mountain – thanat sasipatanapa

The name comes from a man named Xiang Dakun. He was the leader of the Tu ethnic group during the last years of the Song dynasty (1127-1279).

This man, Xiang Dakun, started a revolution and proclaimed himself as ‘Tianzi’, which means Son of Heaven. At the site, visitors will be able to observe many sites related to the history of Xiang Dakun.

Inspiration for Avatar’s Hallelujah Mountain , the home of the Na’vi

Tianzi Mountain
Tianzi Mountain – Gil.K

These impressive sandstone mountains that formed more than 300 million years ago were a source of inspiration for director James Cameron. And it is not surprising: the place is full of magic. The lush vegetation, together with the rocky formations and the constant mist, give the reserve a beautiful and terrifying environment at the same time.

And it is one of those formations, Tianzi Mountain, that has passed to the big screen as Hallelujah Mountain, the home of the Na’vi. The high and fascinating mountain that appears in the film is none other than the Tianzi Mountain of southeast China.

Take advantage and take a tour of Zhangjiajie

Tianmen Mountain in China
Tianmen Mountain – PunyaFamily

In Zhangjiajie you will find countless attractions and places that you cannot miss. The Tianzi Mountains is one of them, but there are many more. Here is a list of them:

  • The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon has the highest glass suspension bridge in the world. We do not recommend it for those with vertigo, but it can be an unforgettable experience.
  • Zhangjiajie National Park
  • Tianmen mountain
  • Baofeng Lake
  • The Yellow Dragon Cave

In addition, we recommend that you take the opportunity to taste the typical food. Chinese gastronomy is very varied, as you already know. And the gastronomy of Hunan Province mixes the salty flavors of northern China’s gastronomy with the sweet flavors of the south. In addition, they make use of their own spices, especially chili.

Highlights include beer duck, Changsha-style tofu, and Dong’an chicken. Of course, there are many more exquisite dishes and we encourage you to try them all, if you have the opportunity.

The Tianzi Mountains and the region around Zhangjiajie are a dream place where you can enjoy Chinese culture and admire the power of nature. There is no doubt that reality is much more impressive than a fantastic movie, no matter how good it is.

Unknown treasures of China

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