World’s highest lift takes you 300 mts above the ground for an ‘Avatar’ view

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Bailong Elevator Image
The Bailong Elevator is located in China's Zhangjiajie Forest Park

The world’s highest outdoor lift which is more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) up the cliff face that inspired the scenery for the blockbuster film “Avatar,” whisks brave visitors to breathtaking views.

The three double-decker elevators in Zhangjiajie Forest Park in central China moves up the cliff in just 88 seconds, a spectacular attraction as domestic tourism steadily recovers in China after strict travel measures and lockdowns were forced earlier this year by the coronavirus.

It takes visitors to the top of the sandstone rock face that inspired the fictional jungle moon of Pandora, home of the blue-hued Na’vi people, from the 2009 smash Hollywood hit movie by Director James Cameron.

“One of the main reasons we came is that the site inspired Avatar,” said a vistor, who travelled to the lift with his family. “The film really made an impression on us. And it really is beautiful here.”

“Its geological structure is very suited to using elevators as a means of transport, so we made this Bailong Elevator”, explained Liu Jie, the director of the company managing the lift, whose name means “Hundred Dragons.”

“Before, there was only a cable car with limited capacity, so tourists had to wait a long time,” Mr. Liu added.

The alternative was to brave a three-hour climb up on foot.

“It’s super-fast,” visitors said excitedly after completing the ride, which costs $19 for a return ticket. Around 8,000 tourists take the lift every day. However, numbers are still significantly down from an average of 14,000 before the pandemic.