When Is the Best Time
Regarding the weather and the crowds April, September, October, and early November are the best months to visit the "Heaven's Gate". Be prepared for showers, but if you are lucky you can get sunshine as well.
Avoiding the Crowds
Expect a busy holy mountain throughout the year except for winter (mid-November/December - February). The main season is from May until October with most visitors and rates at its peak. Heaviest crowds in July/August. A sweet spot month with mild climate but without heavy crowds is early-November until mid-November. Otherwise, March/April are considered months without massive crowds.
Where and Tips
Visiting the Holy Mountain - Tianmen Shan you will need a full day. Your first thing to do is to obtain tickets for the cable car. They are sold out very often, so you need to be at the cable car station around 7 in the morning. There are three different packages; we'd chosen package A; Cablecar up, bus down.
It was very crowded when we left — lots of Chinese tour groups. The cable car is quite spectacular, going straight forward for a few kilometers and then climbing straight up towards the summit. You can walk around the whole holy mountain it will be around 7 kilometers. The path is not difficult; there is not much difference in altitude. The biggest attractions are the cliff paths, which are attached to the steep stone. Dramatic views, it is not something for people with altitude problems.
Then on three points, you can buy an additional ticket for a glass bottom path! The extra costs are very low. We tried two of these flaws paths. You will have to wear silly red overshoes. We thought this was very spectacular. It was not scary at all in our opinion. Because when you walk on it, you don't realize how the glass path is fixed on the mountain. And that the steepness of the mountain is enormous. While walking on the cliff path, you will come across a part of a wood that is very sacred. The trees are fully covered with red pieces of silk containing wishes and prayers. There is also a hanging bridge; it jumps a bit while crossing it. There are some small temples and one bigger temple.
Take food with you and enough to drink; there are not many options to buy food or drinks. At the end when you are done, you go down with endless elevators, inside the holy mountain. Maybe 8 or 10 pairs of elevators, just incredible. Then when you come back to the open air, you will have to cross endless stairs down. From the hole in the mountain to the bus stop, it must be 999 steps, at least. The busses take you down a road that has 100 curves. It is written in stones on every curve, and it counts down from 100 to 0. On the end of this road, you will have to change buses, and the last bus will bring you back to the ground station of the cable car where you started.
It was just an amazing trip; we would not have thought of it before we left. Maybe it is more spectacular then the Glass Bridge, we think it is. The price of the ticket for the mountain (cable car and bus) is quite high and is not included in the price of the Zhangjiajie National Park. But it is totally worth the extra money (around 27 Euros per person)
Visiting Zhangjiajie as well? Check out our Zhangjiajie National Forest Park with detailed information when to go.