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Spires, Zhang Jia Jie, China

If you do not have the time to get to Jiuzhaigou, Guilin, Huangshan and Sanqingshan but would still like to enjoy the scenery characteristic of each of those places, Zhangjiajie might be the place for you. Located in the Northwest corner of Hunan Province, the GeoParks around Zhangjiajie offer granite karst peaks and limestone caves (Guilin), mountain hikes through tall granite spires (Huangshan), valley walks along clear streams (Jiuzhaigou) and spectacular cantilevered walk ways around 1000 foot sheer cliff walls (Sanqingshan). Although each venue is smaller than its corresponding competitor, Zhangjiajie is an adequate Readers Digest version of China's most visited mountain regions. 

With its assortment of sites to visit, Zhangjiajie is a bit of a challenge to do on your own. Failing to make sense out of the bus system that links the various spots might leave you stranded quite a way from your preferred ending destination at the end of the day or at best waste a tremendous amount of time going to the wrong places and even missing the best spots. However, in picking a tour to join, you also need to read the fine print and be sure they are taking you to the best spots, some of which, like Tianmen, are not on many tours.

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