Jiuzhaigou: Beauty in Blue

JiuzhaigouIf there were a magical place on earth, it would have to be Jiuzhaigou. The scenery is breathtaking with its lakes, spectacular waterfalls, lush forests, towering mountains and unique wildlife. The hues and shapes are always changing, coming together to make this landscape a masterpiece of nature.

Jiuzhaigou consists of 3 main valleys in the shape of a “Y”. All 108 lakes here are linked to each other through waterfalls, lakes and rivers. All scenic points are accessible by roads, wooden boardwalks and small pavilions. The boardwalks are built to preserve and maintain the natural look of the landscape for the many visitors, tourists and buses that throng the Jiuzhai National Park throughout the year.

Multi-Coloured Lakes and Mirror-Like Ponds

The Jiuzhai Valley is best-known feature is its dozens of stunning blue, green and turquoise-coloured lakes. The water is so clear that the bottom is often visible even in very deep water. The lakes vary in colour and aspect according to their depths, residues and surroundings. The mirror-like reflections from the lakes make it quite difficult to distinguish the line between land and water! After looking at these unique waterscapes, I felt that it was well worth the long journey and lack of sleep from the previous day.

JZGlakes

JZGPonds

 

Cuscading Waterfalls

JZGwaterfalls

Plant Life

JZGFlowers

Getting Around

No private vehicles – not even bicycles, are allowed inside the park. Buying a bus pass gives you access to an efficient hop-on hop-off bus transport system inside the park. A second option to view the natural scenery is to walk on the wooden boardwalks that run through the lakes and forests. Do note, however, that the distance from one scenic spot to another can vary between 90m and 4000m (4km)! In the interest of time, it’s best to combine walking with taking the bus if you are spending only one day at the park. If you are in a group, it might make sense to charter a bus. In this way, you are guaranteed that all must-see spots are covered.

JZGGettingAround

There is a cafeteria serving buffet lunch at the intersection of the Y. Although hot and cold drinking water was available, no drinking cups were provided. I suspect it is common practice to bring your own drinking bottles and re-fill from the dispenser. As I didn’t carry a water bottle with me, I had to use a rice bowl as a cup!

One final point. The visitor maps are all in Chinese. Most of the service staff and bus drivers do not speak English. If you are like me – can’t read Chinese, it is best to download an English map of Jiuzhaigou and bring it along with you. Trust me. It will save you a lot of time, frustration and disappointment.

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17 thoughts on “Jiuzhaigou: Beauty in Blue

    1. Jiuzhaigou is stunning during all 4 seasons but the best time to go is in springtime. The journey to Jiuzhaigou is long, winding and difficult, perhaps a bit similar to the routes of Transfagarasan and Transalpina. However, there are lots of interesting landscapes to see along the way, which makes journey by bus coach worthwhile. However, I wish I could have spent three full days in Jiuzhaigou. So much to see, not enough time!

      1. The road to something beautiful is never easy, but it’s definitely worth it. πŸ™‚ Maybe you can go back there one day, and spend more time. I can see what you mean by not having enough time to see everything. It looks absolutely amazing!

    1. This is definitely a place you should go to. Not many people have heard of it but you’ve got to be there to experience it first hand. The photos just don’t do it justice. Don’t forget to download an English area map. πŸ™‚

    1. Surprisingly, not many people have heard of this place. I guess it may be because China is still not as tourist-friendly as it should be. As Jiuzhaigou is located in the Sichuan mountains, many of the local folk still speak their own dialect or Mandarin. If you go to Jiuzhaigou, it might be good for you to engage an English speaking guide so you can cover more places in the vast National Park without worrying about communication. Those who have been to Jiuzhaigou have professed that Zhangjajie (the gorgeous setting for the movie Avatar) pales in comparison. I met two Singaporeans while in Europe and told them of my intention to visit Jiuzhaigou and Zhangjajie. One of them told me to go to Zhangjajie first. I asked why. She replied that if I found Zhangjajie to be beautiful, then I would not be disappointed if I visited Jiuzhaigou thereafter. However, if I made the trip the other way around, I would feel a bit of a letdown!

      1. You can go Google images for both these places and let me know your opinion. For your info, I’ve not made it to Zhangjajie but hope to make a trip there next year. Cannot listen too much to what others say. Must see it for myself! πŸ™‚

    1. Glad you enjoyed this post, Allane! If you plan to go there one day, try to make it in Autumn. The landscape is supposed to be at its best with the rich red, orange and yellow flora contrasting against the turquoise water. πŸ™‚

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