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Zhangjiajie Park: Head In The Clouds Or The Sky At Your Feet

Bai people’s timeless rural idyll in the dreamy landscapes that inspired the Avatar movie

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park: the name may be unfamiliar, but its fields of stone pillars peering through the mist are one of China’s iconic natural wonders. They have gained worldwide fame through local painter Li Junsheng’s sandstone depictions of its ever-changing beauties. In recent times, Pandora, the Avatar movie’s watery underworld, has also taken inspiration from the park, situated in the Wulingyuan Scenic Area of Hunan province.
RTD heads for Zhangjiajie to meet its native inhabitants and find out the secret of living in sync with nature. In the nature park, Li Junshen searches for the coloured quartz he will grind into paint for his next creation. Meanwhile the Bai people, a small ethnic group with deep roots in the area still enjoy its rural traditions, such as bare-hand carp fishing to prepare the perfect dish for the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival.