Jiuzhaigou Travel Guide
Jiuzhaigou was listed in the UNESCO in 1992. Being praised as a land of fairy tale, this famous site has been attracting tourists with its exquisite mountains, opulent forests, multicolored lakes, cascading waterfalls and a great variety of wildlife for years. It is known for the nine Tibetan villages within its boundary. The alpine lakes are just like incredibly huge silent mirrors reflecting the multiple colors of the ground and the sky, making it a huge crystal jade embedded in the snow mountains and virgin forests.
Jiuzhaigou has 108 lakes. Some lakes have a high concentration of calcium carbonate, and their water is very clear so that the bottom is often visible even at high depths.
The lakes vary in color and aspect according to their depths, residues, and surroundings. In different seasons, you can see the curious color patterns of blue, light green, dark green, turquoise, emerald, light yellow, russet, and crimson.
Jiuzhaigou is home to 17 multi-level waterfalls. All these beautiful natural wonders are always connected with the beautiful lakes. The forests of Jiuzhaigou contain at least 2,000 species of plants.In fall, the leaves turn into reds, yellows, oranges, browns and all the forests create a colorful fairyland!
Official Name: Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area (九寨沟风景名胜区)
Location:Zhangzha Town, Jiuzhaigou County, Sichuan Province, China
Elevation:1,990 - 4,764 meters
When to Go
The best time to visit is September through to November, when you’re most likely to have clear skies and (particularly in October) blazing autumn colours to contrast with the turquoise lakes. Summer is the busiest, and also rainiest, time. Spring can be cold but still pleasant, and winter, if you’re prepared for frigid temperatures, brings dramatically frosted trees and frozen-in-place waterfalls, but also limited access to trails and an increased reliance on the park shuttle bus.
Getting There & Away
There's no public transport between Sōngpān and the nearby Jiǔhuáng Airport. A taxi should be around ¥100 (¥150 at night).
Buses leaving Songpan's bus station (汽车站; Qìchēzhàn GOOGLE MAP ) include:
Chengdu: ¥110, 8½ hours, four daily (6am, 6.30am, 7am, 12.30pm)
Dujianyuan: ¥107, 6½ hours, one daily (7.20am)
Huanglong National Park: ¥28, two hours, three daily (6am, 7am, 2pm)
Jiuzhaigou: ¥40 to ¥46, 2½ hours, two daily (9am, 1pm)
Zoige: ¥50, three hours, one daily (6.20am)
Train Booking Office (h9am-5.30pm) While Sōngpān is not connected to China's rail network, this small booking office in the heart of the old town can procure tickets for onward travel from ¥5 per booking.
In previous years it had been difficult for visitors to get there due to its isolated location, however this is no longer a concern due to the construction of the Jiuzhaigou Ring Way which links the reserve with Chengdu and the Jiuhuang Airport, and has made gaining access to the park a great deal easier. Jiuhuang Airport operates direct flights to/from Chengdu and Chongqing at present. About the transportation inside the county, there were sightseeing buses in the Jiuzhaigou Valley. However, the buses are suspended because the scenic area is closed now due to the earthquake. There is no train service now. However, Jiuzhaigou Railway Station, which is under construction, will open in 2019 along with the operation of the Jiuzhaigou - Chengdu Train.
Historically, the region has been home to small population of Tibetan and Qiang people, and provides a good opportunity to get to know more about the locals' unique life and culture. The highlight of any visit to these areas are special performances laid on by the Tibetan and Qiang people which are also a popular form of the local nightlife.
Special Local Products
Trying some of the typical local foods and picking up a number of the reasonably-priced, locally-produced goods of the Tibetan and Qiang groups are something of a must during your visit. This area has been blessed with some of the most captivating landscapes on earth and words simply do not do it justice, and so you are encouraged to visit at the earliest opportunity.
Lying on the highest tableland in the world between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Jiuzhaigou covers altitudes ranging from 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) to about 4,300 meters (14,107 feet). With a large number of lake groups, waterfalls and a rich variety of endangered plants and fauna, it was awarded the status of UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1997 and was also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992. The reserve has received a string of other titles including that of a National Geological Park, a AAAAA Class Scenic Spot in China and a Green Globe 21.