The beauty of scenery of Jiuzhaigou is almost unreal. Each time you turn your head there is a beautiful picture in front of you. I came back with thousands… It is just impossible to put even a selection into one post. I realize the blog becomes heavy, but i really want to show all the fantastic hotspots of this wonderful part of Sichuan and China.
I have nearly finished my first descent of the valley from the ancient forrest. After i had a snack in the Tibetan village, I do start to feel a bit tired. There is a bus stop just in front of the village and buses are abundant. On the way to the park entrance the bus stops near a big white Tibetan temple with golden rooftops. Ah well… why not. I get out wth some other passengers to quickly take a tour of this beautiful temple with its overwhelming decorations.
There are plenty of taxis to take me back to Zhangzha. I had not been around town yet and on my way in I had seen a large tourist center with what seemed to be an area with restaurants and some bars. I learned later that the huge statue next to it belonged to a massive theater where they have daily shows. I know these shows. You can find those shows in most town and cities that are near a tourist hotspot or natural park. I had been to such a show in Wulingyuan and Emeishan so i skipped this one. I must say that these shows are amazing and spectacular and usually evolve around themes related to the history and cultural heritage of the reason. I surely recommend it.
The area around the theater offered enough entertainment with several pubs and many restaurants in traditional (albeit not original) style with wooden facades. It’s only a small area so it doesn’t take much time to explore it. The restaurants look more than decent and attractive to any hungry tourist, but it’s very busy. I decide to go for a rest and a refreshment in one of the bars. It’s very nice but totally empty. Maybe it is a bit early, but as i said before : in my experience most Chinese are not the kind of people to say : lets go to the pub and have a few drinks. And I don’t even mean alcoholic beverages. I don’t mind. I just want to put my feet to rest for a while.
For dinner I had already made other plans. I go back on the nain road towards the hotel, and continue just a little further. There is a famous hotpot restaurant. You haven’t been to Sichuan if you haven’t had the infamously spicy hotpot. I even often make it at home ! For those who don’t know hotpot : its a kind of Chinese fondue where you boil your vegetables and sliced meat or mushrooms or even seafood in a delicious broth or soup which is placed in the middle of the table. It’s a must try!
The next day it’s back to the national park. There is still the second trail to take from Long Lake, the highest and largest lake from the park above 3000 meter. That is quite a descent knowing that the entrance of the park is below 2000. I further planned to walk down from the central point instead of taking the bus. There are still many beautiful lakes and scenic spots on that part of the trail too. No time to waste.
On the bus yesterday i had seen the most amazing waterfall : the famous Nuorilang Falls. For some odd reason i must have passed it yesterday without knowing. So it is my priority to stop there first. So i ask the bus driver to drop me there. No problem. It’s just next to the road and there is a bus stop.
The area is totally deserted and with the morning mist still caught between the multicolored autumn mountains, I get some amazing panoramas from the viewing platform above. I take ample time to walk down to the base of the waterfall and enjoy the views of this incredible waterfall from only a few meters away.
When the first tourists start to arrive, I hop onto the next bus to take me to the starting point of my second journey through the spectacular valleys of Jiuzhaigou.
Long Lake is a big lake. Much bigger than the others. It stretches for miles between the mountains. On a clear day you could see the snowy peaks of the Min mountains at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau.
From here you need to walk down a gorgeous forest trail to what probably is the most beautiful little lake of the park. It’s really more of a pond : the Colorful Pond. But it’s stunning. As you make your way through the colorful forest, the blue color of the pond strike you as soon as you perceive it in the distance past the trees.
I am in total awe. I have never seen a lake with such an intense blue color. I should say colors, as the pond exhibits every shade of blue from a light sky blue to a deep almost violetish blue.
It’s incredible. It takes a bit of patience to reach the pond itself and expect others to be in your selfie as the site is very busy. Naturally…
From here on I walk further down past the Upper Season Lake and the Lower Season Lake until I reach the tiny Tibetan village of Zechawa.
I have almost reached the central point halfway the park. Today i won’t take the bus. It’s still early so i had planned to walk down towards the park entrance. That is still quite a walk and several miles away. But it is never boring with constantly changing decors and landscapes.
I pass the waterfalls of Shuzheng and i can see the village of Shuzheng accross the lake. What a beautiful sight to behold.
More lakes await me as i continue my way down : Tiger Lake, Rhinoceros Lake, Crouching Dragon Lake, Double Dragon Lake and finally the beautiful Reed Lake i always pass with the bus going up or down.
As I finally reach the entrance of the park, I realize this part if the trip is behind me now. I feel a bit emotional as i look over my shoulder one more time to gaze over fabulous Jiuzhaigou valley. I am sad but mostly grateful for the fact that i was able to see first hand this mind blowing miracle of mother earth.
I stay in the hotel that evening. The restaurant i take my breakfast is beautiful and authentic Tibetan style. And so are the plates of delicious food ! I have the local noodle soup and off course yak, Sichuan sausage and local vegetables. The hotel has a large fridge in which they keep the local beers cold or ‘binda’. That may seem normal elsewhere, but not always in the middle of China.
I enjoy my last evening. Why go out when you can sit in such a nice setting. I am not leaving Sichuan yet. Tomorrow I am going to see the unique limestone formations of Huanglong National park or Yellow Dragon Park at high altitude. For this we need to take a pass that will take us above 4000 m. I can’t wait.
Till next post !