Monday, November 16, 2009

Tian Men Shan (天门山) @ Hunan (湖南), China

One of the optional tours available at RMB 500, this trip to Heaven's Door (or Sky's Gate) Mountain was the most memorable for our Hunan's expedition!

The highlight of this tour was to climb up the 999 heavenly steps (collectively known as heaven's stairs) to this big hole in the mountain, termed mystically as the doorway to heaven (hence the mountain's name).

In order to reach the start of this almost 1,000 steps at an elevation of 1,300 metres, difficulties abound.

First, it's important that you take the cableway! Spanning a long distance of over 7 kilometers, you will be thankful for both its convenience and the spectacular scenary surrounding you!

Second, stop at the mid-station and take an eco-friendly bus up the winding road to your FINAL DESTINATION! With 99 turns, this ride was boring and did not offer much.

C'mon, it's just a bus ride that goes up and up..

Luckily, the magnificent heaven's stairs leading to the "door" made it all so worth it! Words and pictures cannot describe how beautiful it is; you have to be there to experience it.

Now the third difficulty (yes, it ain't over). When you reach the base of the stairs, please take your time to climb up. It may not seem like it's strenuous, but it is!! 

We (dad, mom and son) had such a hard time scaling the stairs, we literally crawled for the last hundred!! My cousin gave up halfway through the climb! It was thoughtful of the constructor to build platforms every few hundred steps for us to rest and breathe in the fresh, unpolluted air.

If you need motivation, you can pay RMB20 for a lady from the minorities to sing a tribal mountain song for you. Her voice was really good!

Like mountain climbing, you experience an exhilarating achievement when you reached the top!! However, our family just wanna, wanna rest. It was such a tiring ordeal!! And while we looked down at those pitiful souls slowly making their way up, we started to ponder the options of going down to the base.

Two were available, one of which was to slowly walk down the stairs, one step at a time. Being acrophobic, i had to walk down sideways.... one step at a time. The other way, much faster, was to roll down.

Guess which one i choose?
Anyway, you remember the road with 99 turns? It might be boring if you are on the road but from the cable car, it does look stunning!

A helpful tip if you are not travelling on a package tour, the ticket to Tian Men Shan only costs 258 RMB for a two-days pass. And this mountain is not only limited to the "doorway". It has multiple scenic spots that will marvel you.

I found out only after my trip.



  1. Anonymous9:17 AM

    do u know what other scenic spots?? pls enlighten us..

  2. Hi!

    Scenic spots within Tian Men Shan or the province of Hunan?

    Unfortunately, i spent only four hours at tianmenshan and the time is barely enough to explore further.


  3. Anonymous9:24 AM

    scenic spots within tianmen shan..btw, u managed to spend 4 hrs??? wow!!!!!

  4. managed? 4 hours are too short!

    if you could afford the time, you should stay longer and explore the other scenic spots of tianmenshan.

    from what i remember; they have this temple, which can be seen from the elevated ling xiao platform.

    With clouds surrounding the temple, it looked as if it belongs rightfully to heaven.

    there's another interesting area i noticed on the map called ghost valley or something. the limited time meant that i did not even have a chance to see how it looks like.

    seriously, do consider staying longer to explore the area in a more relaxed manner. :P

  5. Anonymous4:54 PM

    thanks for the tip..


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