To many international tourists, closely watching adorable giant pandas is the very reason for Chengdu tour in the southwest of China. However, if you miss the chance to visit Jiuzhaigou, a star attraction located around 480km to the north of Chengdu,it would be a great loss as if you tour Australia yet fail to stop by in Great Barrier Reef.
Here are the top 4 reasons why you should visit Jiuzhaiogu National Park in China.
Trek along Multi-color Lakes in Picturesque Valleys
For years, Jiuzhaigou Valley has enchanted global tourists with its colorful lakes, gushing waterfalls, and luxuriant forests, varied wildlife, etc. As you travel in Jiuzhaigou National Park, the biggest feature one easily perceives is its colorful lakes and ponds embedded in a string of tranquil valleys. As the popular Chinese proverb goes that “a trip from Jiuzhaigou, no more lakes is worth a visit”.
Gushing Pearl Shoals Wasterfall is one of the most iconic attractions in Jiuzhaigou Valley.
Jiuzhaigou National Park consists of three valleys, i.e. Shuzheng Valley, Rize Valley and Zechawa Valley. The entire Jiuzhai Valley covers an area of 720km². Around the perimeter of over 50 miles, 114 lakes are scattered along the terraced terrain. Colorful lakes, crystal-clear springs, andgushing waterfalls, lovely creek and peaceful shore are woven harmoniously together. As you walk on the boardwalk trails, the spectacular reflection of sapphire lake, intriguing song of unknown birds, and exotic Tibetan villages and fluttering Tibetan prayer flags bring you into a mesmerizing dreamland.
Tourists are photographing picturesque Nuorilang Falls.
The highlights of Jiuzhaigou National Park mainly center around Suzheng Valley and Rize Valley. And the entire Jiuzhaigou Valley resembles a “Y” shape. So, if you have a tight schedule yet still want to cover all the highlighted attractions in just one day, what you need to do is firstly buy both entrance ticket and eco-van ticket.
Then, you take the eco-van to the service center and take another eco-van to the top of the Rize Valley or pristine forest, which is the eastern part of the valley. Then trek down to the service center again, which takes about two hours. After that, you can take another eco-van to reach the long lake and make it down to tourist center. And this takes around 4 hours. And finally either trek back to the entrance or by eco-van.
Rize Valley: Arrow Bamboo Lake, Grass Lake, Swan Lake, Panda Lake, Panda Fall, Five Flower Lake, Pearl Shoral and Mirror Lake
Zechawa Valley: Long Lake, Five Color Pond, Seasonal Lakes
Shuzheng Valley: Nuorilang Falls, Rhino Lake, Sleeping Dragon Lake, Shuzheng Village, Reed Lake
Jiuzhaigou Entrance Fee(Apri to Nov,15): 220CNY ($31.96)
Open Time: 8:00
Jiuzhaigou Entrance Fee( Nov,16 to March): 80CNY ($11.62)
Eco-van: 80CNY ($11.62)
Open Time: 8:30
Enjoy Distinct Natural Beauty in Four Seasons
What makes Jiuzhaigou so captivating to world-widevisitors is that whenever you travel to Jiuzhaigou, its heavenly look never stays the same. Arguably, the best time to travel to Jiuzhaigou National Park is in Autumn (Sept. Oct.)It’s the time when Jiuzhaigou unfolds it most stunning beauty to the eyes of the world. You will get stunned by the colorful forests,artistically interwoven with the turquoise lakes and enchanting surroundings. The entire Jiuzhaigou Valley looks like a colorful palette cast onto dreamy valleys and gorges.
Shortly after autumn comes the second best time to visit Jiuzhaigou National Park. From Nov, to Feb (the winter of Jiuzhaigou), Jiuzhaigou enters its off season. Not only can you enjoy the much cheaper ticket price, but literally explore in anicy world of superb serenity. As you trek in the Jiuzhaigou Valley, you are surrounded by snow-capped forests below the lofty valleys, while the translucent lakes vividly paint the fairyland with its unique color. All of a sudden, all your worries and upset will be left behind.
If you are keen to explore the biodiversity of Jiuzhaigou Valley, do come in spring (March, April and May). You will be greeted by a variety of unknown flowers, dotted along the boardwalk trails, and wildlife that came sporadically into your sight. On the other hand, the summer (June, July and August) is the best time to enjoy the luxuriant pristine forests and gushing waterfalls. The pleasant scenery and cool temperature in Jiuzhaigou in summer provide a perfect getaway from the scorching life in metropolitan cities.
Try to enter the Jiuzhaigou Valley early before large tour groups arrive. And generally avoid the Chinese national holiday since it could be far crowded than you imagine.
Experience Unique Tibetan and Qiang Culture
Apart from the breathtaking scenery, the exotic local customs are also worth for exploration. Mostly, locals are either Tibetans or Qiang People. They are the pious followers of Tibetan Buddhism. It offers a great chance to visit their villages and chat with the locals with the help of a guide. The hospitable villagers will greet you with Chang, barley wine and Tibetan butter tea.
Pass the river mill in Shuzheng Village
As the night falls, you can enjoy the traditional Tibetan dishes such as yak meat and Tibetan momo, and pastries, boiled potatoes, Tibetan yogurts, etc. Do join the hospitable Tibetans for a traditional Tibetan Circle dance around the campfire at night. The moonlight valley will be filled with visitors’ laughters and lovely dance.
If travelling from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, you may either take bus or flight from Chengdu.
Xinnanmen Bus Station: (departure at 7:40; 8:00; 8:30)
Ticket Price(two way): 268CNY ($37)
Sichuan airline: (departure at 15:25-16:15)
Ticket Price(one way): 740CNY (($107)
*For the exact price, please refer to the bus and flight on your departure day.
A Paradise for Landscape Photographers
If you happen to be a passionate landscape photographer, the heavenly scenery of Jiuzhaigou National Park in China will never let you down. The turquoise lake, colorful forests and gushing waterfalls and Tibetan villages are perfect subjects for photography.
Enchanting Long Lake in Zechawa Valley
To capture the best moments of Jiuzhaigou and save your energy, here are 6 recommended travel routes for photographers:
Pearl Shoal—Mirror Lake—Nuorilang Falls (3km):
The best time to photograph Mirror Lake would be in the morning. You may either stand on the viewing platform or shoot on the boardwalk trail to the opposite of the Mirror Lake. Then you can capture the brilliant reflection of colorful forests shown in the Mirror Lake.
Tiger Mouth—Five Flower Lake—Pearl Shoal (2km):
The time for photography would be at noon when the sunlight is cast on the surface of Five Flower Lake and subsequently brings out the stunning color of turquoise lake. Do find the view platform of Tibet mouth, where you can have the best frame.
Pristine Forest Zone— Grass Lake—Swan Lake (3km):
The best time for Photography is in the afternoon. If there is snow fall, you can come in the morning to document the snowy mountain vista. With strong sunlight, you won’t feel so cold in the afternoon in the forest.
Arrow Bamboo Lake—Panda Lake—Five Flower Lake (4km):
As you travel in the boardwalk trails, do pay attention to the narrow steps. Either the morning or afternoon would be good for photography.
Shuzheng Lakes (5km):
Amid dozens of lakes in Shuzheng Valley, Rhino lake is particular photogenic. Both morning and afternoon would be nice to shoot lakes in Shuzheng region.
Long Lake—Five Color Lake (1km):
The best time is at noon. You can overlook the Long Lake from the viewing platform above. Try to use pine trees as the foreground and take a panorama of Long Lake would be a great choice.