After lunch, we returned to the Wulingyuan Scenic Area (武陵源风景区) for more natural attractions at Ten-Mile Art Gallery (十里画廊). At first we were wondering how come there is an art gallery in this national park, and it was only till we were at the queue to ride on the tram into the gallery that we realised Ten-Mile Art Gallery is actually a 5.8km scenic road located in the Donggou Gorge (东沟大峡谷), Suoxi Valley Natural Reserve (索溪峪自然保护区). It got its name because along this road, the natural attractions make one feel like you are viewing an exhibition in the gorge.
When we entered the national park this time, we were each given an admission ticket of credit card size and told to keep it properly as the admission ticket was valid for 2 days (RMB 248, about S$50.30), and we need to use it tomorrow too. As we queued to enter the park, everyone had to scan and register his/her thumbprint so that when we present the card the next day at the gate, the staff would be able to verify that we are the correct cardholders. Apparently this high-tech electronic ticketing system was introduced in December 2001, to prevent visitors from sharing or forging tickets. Read that it is the first of its kind in the world. Wow, impressive!
Not sure why it is coined “Ten-Mile” when the actual length of this road is only about 3.6 miles? Given the short distance, the tram ride was only about 10 minutes one-way. Visitors can choose to stroll along the road instead of taking the tram, and we saw several visitors strolling back to the entrance when we were on the open-air tram. There was commentary on-board advising passengers the peaks to look out for and what they resemble, for e.g. an elderly man collecting medicine, parents holding the son in their arms, three sisters etc.
To me, the highlight of this Ten-Mile Art Gallery is the Three Sisters Peak (三姐妹峰), which somewhat reminded me of the Three Sisters at Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia. It was also the most photographed sight there because just to take a photo of the signage together with the Three Sisters, I had to wait for such a long time for other visitors to clear for it was almost always crowded! The other peaks did not impress me as much as I had hoped to, perhaps I had high expectations, or maybe it was pretty similar to the scenery at Baofeng Lake Scenic Area, so I become “immuned” to the beauty haha. The “Monkey Garden” also did not impress me because I think our reservoirs and nature reserve in Singapore have many more wild monkeys than the gallery has. 😛
Nonetheless, Ten-Mile Art Gallery is still a scenic place to visit now that I look back at the photos. At least the tram ride allowed us to take a breather, relax and enjoy the breeze for a while and not have to use a lot of “leg power” like in other parts of Zhangjiajie. 😉