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Float Above the Sandstone Spires That Inspired ‘Avatar’

Hundreds of miles from the hustle of Beijing and Shanghai, 3,000 rock pillars rise to pierce the sky and create an extraordinary forest of sandstone.

Each of these incredible monoliths is a fragment of a long history, attaining its unique form through years of weathering and physical erosion.The park carries the honor of being China’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site.

image credit: china-travel

It also inspired the landscape of Pandora in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Strap in as we fly high above the floating spires of Zhangjiajie National Park.The most notable geographic features of the park are the pillar-like formations that are seen throughout the park.


Although resembling karst terrain, this area is not underlain by limestones and is not the product of chemical dissolution, which is characteristic of limestone karst. They are the result of many years of physical, rather than chemical, erosion.

Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, and two large natural bridges. In addition to the striking beauty of the landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it is home to a number of endangered plant and animal species.