This place is like a fairytale.
Someone once said that travelling, first of all, is the best way to explore yourself. People who believe that travelling more than a “must see/visit places” know that it opens up a unique and unknown world of thought and discoveries.
There are a lot of wonderful and beautiful places on the Earth, and one of them is Jiuzhaigou National Park. This unique attraction is considered to be the pearl of China. The park is famous for its crystal clear multi-colored lakes, virgin forests, waterfalls and mountain scenery. It is located far from the beaten tourist routes, in the north of Sichuan province, in the Mingshan Mountains. The closest provincial capital is 400 km away from it. This national park is not only a pride of China, but also a world heritage of UNESCO. Jiuzhaigou on Chinese means “the valley of nine villages.” Indeed, in past times there were 9 Tibetan settlements in the valley, 7 of which exist today.
Unlike many other parks, the shooting scenes in Jiuzhaigou are very diverse. There are snowy mountains surrounded by the coniferous forests, and all the shades of green, yellow and red in the deciduous forests of the foothills, and a variety of waterfalls with beautiful views, and, of course, the famous Jiuzhaigou Lakes. Most of them have an unrealistically deep blue color.
This place is like a separate world inside the world and represents its unique flora and fauna. A tourist can see here rare species of various plants, there are about 140 species of birds and in the park in a natural environment lives large panda and golden snub-nosed monkey – rare and protected animals of China. But they live far away from the noisy tourist’s trails.
Mostly, Jiuzhaigou is famous by the crystal clear lakes and there are 108 of them in total! According to the legend, a young man brought the magic mirror as a present to his beloved girl. When the mirror fell out of her hands, it flew into 108 pieces which became these amazing lakes. It may sound like a fairytale, but once you get there, you will admit that magic was involved in this beauty.
By the way, the place attracts not only nature lovers, but also those who are interested in the culture of Chinese nationalities. The local citizens still adhere to the customs and traditions of their ancestors: they breed yaks, weave cloth, manufacture, sell handicrafts. Here you can see the Tibetan and Qiang traditional architecture, try local cuisine, buy products from silver, wood and wool.
Despite fabulous gorgeousness and crazy popularity with Chinese tourists, this place is considered to be one of the most inaccessible Chinese sights. Getting there is quite problematic, but still feasible.
How to get to the park?
One of the options is by airplane. The closes airport to Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport is 89 km from the national park and it serves flights from Beijing, Xi’an, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Chengdu and several other cities. But it is better to go by bus from Chengdu. It is the starting point of the trip for all tourists.
The road to the national park goes along the mountain serpentine and takes from 6 to 10 hours. You can purchase a ticket at the bus station in a day or the hotel can book one for you.
If you are not afraid of independent travelling, the best option is to fly to Chengdu, admire the city and see nearby attractions, then take a bus to the Jiuzhaigou Valley and Huanglong. You can fly back by plane from Jiuzhaigou Airport.
When is it better to visit the park?
The best time to visit the park is in spring or summer, although in high season there will be a lot of tourists and the entrance price is about 40$. In winter it is so cold that the lakes and waterfalls are covered with ice, but it is still outstanding. The best recommendation is to try to avoid visiting the park on weekends and during any Chinese holidays.