Jiuzhaigou is one of the places that is still untouched by the hustles and bustles of China. Located in the edge of the Tibetan plateau it stretches over 72,000 hectares. Lying in the pinnacle between the northern Sichuan and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, its elevation ranges between 2,000m and 4,500m. Tourists have been fleeting to Jiuzhaigou since the Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park was opened for tourism in 1984. Jiuzhaigou means a land of nine villages constituting to the fact that there a nine villages in the valley. Only seven out of them is populated by people.
Its straight-out-of-a-book fairy land like scenery is one of the main reasons why tourists visit Jiuzhaigou. The autumn colours, multi-level waterfalls, silver- lined snow-capped mountains, lakes reflecting the skies, fresh air, blue- green waters, leaves of different shades and shapes, flora and fauna rarities, and even the warm locals - all add up to the beauty and soul of Jiuzhaigou. Upon entering the park you will find this place to be a photographer’s haven and a painter’s masterpiece. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is nothing short of wonder. The legend says that goddess Semo, while being chased by a demon, accidently dropped her mirror and the glass shattered into 108 shimmering, beautiful lakes. Now, the legend cannot be the confirmed but the beauty of lakes is something that cannot be denied.
Travel from the Philippine to Jiuzhaigou
There is currently no direct flight from Manila or any other city in the Philippines to Jiuzhaigou directly. Tourists usually arrive at Chengdu and then go to Jiuzhaigou by flight or bus. There are 3 flights per week from Manila to Chengdu and the duration is about 4hrs-5hrs. There are also connecting flights via Kabila or Guangzhou.
Here are travel options to reach Jiuzhaigou once you reach Chengdu.
Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou by Flight
As of now, Chengdu has the most frequent flights to Jiuzhaigou. There are at least three flights every day to Jiuzhaigou. During peak time there are 4 or 5 every day. The prices start from CNY 860 onwards. The valley is 88km from the Jiuzhaigou airport. After arriving at the Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport, there are shuttle buses that take tourists to the valley park from CNY 45. These shuttle buses are quite frequent and almost always full. There are also taxis and car rentals that you can hire to reach the valley.
Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou by Bus
A lot of budget travellers pot the long distance, 8- hour journey bus ride from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou. Two bus stations in Chengdu offer bus services to Jiuzhaigou—the Xinnanmen Bus Station and Chandianzi Bus Station. From Xinnanmen Bus Station buses depart at 8:00 and 8:20. From Chandianzi Bus Station buses depart at 8:00 and 10:00. The ticket prices are approximately around CNY150.
Top Things to Do in Jiuzhaigou
1. Sightseeing Tour in Jiuzhaigou
The Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park, also called as the Fairly Land of Water, is mainly composed of three valleys - Rize Valley, Zechawa Valley, and Shuzeng Valley. In each of these valleys are plenty lakes to admire, waterfalls to marvel at, and forests to trek.
Shuzeng Valley: this valley is located in the entrance of Jiuzhaigou and visited the most by the tourists. This valley is most popular for its mirror like reflective lakes. There are more than 40 lakes in this valley alone. Shuzeng Valley is regarded as the essence of the whole Jiuzhaigou National Valley Park experience. These are some attractions you will pass by while in this valley, such as Nuorilang Waterfalls, Shuzeng Waterfalls, Tiger Lake and Reed Lake.
Rize Valley- Located in the south west part of Jiuzhaigou valley, it is typically visited first by the tourists. Tourists usually descend from the highest point and en route these are some of the lakes and waterfalls to come across, including Swan Lake, Panda Lake, the famous Five Flowers Sea and Mirror Lake.
Zechawa Valley: Located in the south eastern part of the valley, this valley is not as popular as Rize Valley among the tourists. While going downward from top, the notable attraction you will come across is Long Lake, the highest, largest and deepest lake in Jiuzhaigou.
2. Hiking in Jiuzhaigou Valley
The Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park is too huge to cover by foot. So the best way to get the most out of the valley is to take the bus till the top and walk down. When you are considering a full hiking in Jiuzhaigou Valley, one day is definitely not enough. You can plan for a 2 or 3 day stop at Jiuzhaigou. It is best to buy enough snacks to munch upon and water as there won’t be enough stores along the way. You will find stores only in the meeting point of two valleys, entrance and the tourist centre. To avoid back tracking your way to find food, buy enough for the day in the entrance itself. You can rest up in a place with a great view and have a quiet lunch or snack surrounded by nature at its best. Shuzeng Valley is 19.5km long, Rize Valley is 11km and Zechawa is 18km long. Tourists cannot camp inside the park; there are homestays and hostels just outside the valley. There are also star hotels and inns near the entrance of Jiuzhaigou.
3. Experience the Local Tibetan Culture
Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park is not all just nature and devoid of human touch. There are few villages that you can visit while touring the park. The Tibetan communities and locals in the valley are really friendly, but note that very little English is spoken. Some of the must try Tibetan cuisine food items are butter tea, blood sausage, qingke barley liquor, zanba, and there are many more.
Jiuzhaigou also has very entertaining and culturally rich nightlife. The ‘Mystery of Tibet’ is one of the most popular shows with 80 dancers performing the piece. It is about how an old woman felt and experienced while visiting the holy city, Lhasa, Tibet. The Tibetan sounds, music, dance form, culture, costumes can all be seen in that performance. There are also bars, cafes, and even hot springs to relax after a long day touring.
Best Time to Go
The best time to visit Jiuzhaigou is during the autumn. It’s during this time the waterfalls have adequate water gushing in all its glory. Especially in the autumn season the hues of the place are excellent. The annual temperature averages to 16o C, but it gets pretty cold at night no matter what month or season.
This was written by one of our contributing writers.
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