September 15, 2017: The day started early with a 6 a.m. morning call and departure at 7:30 a.m. After we got ready, we went to the same restaurant we went to last night for dinner for the continental breakfast.
Breakfast selection was limited but there was still a noodle bar station. Chinese people really like their morning noodle bowls here! XD
I filled up on rice and congee mostly.
After we got on the bus, we had a 4-hour bus ride ahead of us before we got to the first destination. We had a rest stop in between too.
Along the way up the mountain, we saw a beautiful sight of fog surrounding low-lying mountain peaks. It was so picturesque!
By 11:30 a.m., we had arrived at the restaurant next to the cable car station where we would be taking the cable car up to Tianmen Mountain (天門山). But first, lunch! I didn’t get a good photo of the dishes before we started eating them because I was lining up for the washroom; you know how when the bus stops and everyone rushes to the washroom and the ladies’ room is always a long queue.
The food overall was okay here, but I especially loved the stewed fatty pork and the soup in the middle of the table. Starting from this day onwards, we had the stewed fatty pork dish more and it was so delicious there in Changsha! 😀
After lunch, we went straight to the cable car station that was next door. We queued up and boarded the cable cars, eight people in one car. It was a very long cable car ride and it made sense because we were going up the really tall and really big Tianmen Mountain National Park!
The views going up were amazing to say the least. Looking down, you could see all of the winding roads. This was the windiest road I’ve ever seen on a mountain.
Once up there, we kept walking and the tour guide informed us about the path that we would be taking. We would be going over and through Tianmen Mountain, through the glass cliff path, paths bordering the mountain and through it, and then taking escalators down before being able to walk down the main entrance of the mountain back to the ground.
He first led us to the glass cliff path that we had seen via shared videos on social media before. We put on cloth slippers over our shoes so that we wouldn’t scratch the glass path.
It really wasn’t scary at all — not that I’m afraid of heights anyway 😛 . We tried to take as many photos as we could but the glass path was actually way shorter than expected. Before we knew it, we were already finished.
We continued following the path. Considering it was China and a hot tourist destination, there were a lot of people there. It took some time to get through the path. The views were gorgeous though; mountains everywhere you turned.
We then took the first set of escalators which led us to the wide archway.
We also passed through the 30 m (100 feet) wide archway before getting to the entrance of the Mountain. Instead of walking down the steps as the tour guide first said we would be, he then changed his mind to say that it wasn’t safe and it was a better idea for us to get to the bottom of the mountain by taking the last set of escalators. This wasn’t ideal so we quickly took a photo on the stairs of the entrance-way before we continued on to the escalators.
After getting to the front of the mountain and taking photos there (it was famous there to see the archway after all), we boarded two buses in order to get to the bottom of the mountain. It was a very shaky bus ride since we were going through all the winding roads that we previously saw.
By 4:30 p.m. that day, we were at dinner already. (We think that because we skipped the walking-down-the-stairs part at the mountain, we were early because we noticed that the other tour groups didn’t arrive at the restaurant until later.)
Dinner that night was a mushroom soup hot pot with accompanying dishes. You could put noodles into the mushroom hot pot too. The soup was good.
We checked into the Mellow Crystal Hotel at 5:30 p.m. and had an opportunity to rest up and groom before we headed for our last part of the itinerary for the day. This part was an option part of the tour which was a live show performed on the site of Tianmen Mountain. We didn’t go up all the way to the top of the mountain but went to the ground level where they had a stage set up against the mountain side. It was really cool!
The tour bus picked us up again at 7:30 p.m. and we went to the show.
Getting there, I had thought it was going to be an indoor show but it made sense after when I found out that the stage was actually next to the mountain. I was really looking forward to it and had high hopes for it but was ultimately disappointed because it didn’t turn out to be that great in quality. The production stage was huge though. There were probably 100 people in the cast who all performed and danced to the pre-recorded music and songs. It was impressive nevertheless.
The show was about an hour and a half. If it had more of a plot and better acting components, it would have been more entertaining. I appreciated that they had subtitles on a large scene to the side of the stage. It was in English, Japanese, and Korean too.
It was a great day with lots of walking. Tomorrow, we visit the infamous Avatar mountains!! 😀