Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area
Located in the north of Sichuan Province, Jiuzhaigou County (previously known as Nanping County until being renamed in 1998) is part of the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. Since the opening of the Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area in 1984, visitors have flocked to the region year by year, and the prosperous tourist industry now accounts for a large proportion of local revenue.
Lying on the highest tableland in the world between the Sichuan Basin and the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Jiuzhaigou Valley covers altitudes ranging from 2,000 meters (656,168 feet) to about 4,300 meters (14,107,612 feet). With its large number of lake groups, waterfalls and rich variety of endangered plants and fauna, Jiuzhaigou 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 AAAA Class Scenic Spot in China and a Green Globe 21.
With some of the most beautiful and inspiring scenery on earth and some of the reserves scenic spots considered holy by the local Tibetan and Qiang people, it is no wonder a number of mysterious legends surround the wonderful landscape of Jiuzhaigou. Many people are drawn to the area for these reasons, and with the park open all year round the authorities have ensured that the fragile environment is sufficiently protected with a range of comprehensive tourist facilities.
The place is dotted with more than 100 gorgeous lakes, which differ from others by having a high concentration of calcium carbonate, so that the lakebeds and embankments are all covered with crystals. The water is so clear that the bottom is visible despite depths of several dozen meters. Waterfalls are the essence of the scenery in Jiuzhaigou. They are created between lakes on different levels with water flowing down the cliffs covered with trees. The water actually oozes through the tree trunks into the falls. The trees in the primitive forest are thick with leaves that block the sunlight. As the height and temperature there vary, there is a distinctive distribution of plants, with the broadleaf forest, at the foot of the mountain, and a coniferous forest at the top. In autumn, the mountaintops are covered with white snow while the hill slopes and the valley are a blaze of color.
In previous years it had been difficult for visitors to get to Jiuzhaigou 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. Today most visitors transfer at Chengdu onto long-distance buses or flights going to Jiuzhaigou. The route on the ring way passes through a number of attractions and is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, providing many a distraction for anyone making the journey. The route offers opportunities to enjoy the great Dujiangyan Irrigation Project, the beautiful Mt.Siguniangshan (Four Maiden's Mountain) Scenic Area and another of the world's most naturally stunning locations - the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area.
Historically, Jiuzhaigou has been home to small population of Tibetan and Qing people, and provides a good opportunity to get to know more about the locals' unique life and culture. The highlight of any trip to these areas are special performances laid on by the Tibetan and Qiang people which are also a popular form of nightlife in Jiuzhaigou. Moreover, 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 on your trip.
Jiuzhaigou 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.
Fees: Peak Season (Apr.1st-Nov. 15th) Admission Fee CNY 220
Sightseeing Bus CNY 90
Low Season (Nov.16th-Mar. 31st) Admission Fee CNY 80
Sightseeing Bus CNY 80
Opening Hours: Peak Season: 07:00-19:00; Low Season: 08:00-18:00