Before arriving in China, I had never heard of Jiuzhaigou. When I thought of China the sights that came to mind were, of course, the great wall, Tiananmen square and the terracotta army. During my stay in Chengdu, I went on a weekend trip to Jiuzhaigou and it was one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited!
I truely think it is one of China’s best kept secrets. That is not to say that it isn’t busy, there are a LOT of Chinese tourists milling around the park, but not too many foreigners. For me, it would be a real shame that someone would miss out on this incredible place of natural beauty, so I’m about to spill all of the secrets…
Jiuzhaigou is a National Park located in Sichuan Province. The park lies at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and is home to both Tibetan and Qiang people.
The park is made up of colourful lakes, waterfalls, deep forests with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop. With it’s incredible natural beauty and inspiring scenery it is no wonder that it was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992.
We visited the park in early April and there was still snow on the ground, this gave the park an air of magic. Once we began walking around the secluded walkways that traverse the park, the sun was shining brightly and made for a wonderful day. We really experienced all of the seasons within the park!
Where: Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province.
How to get there: There are daily buses that leave from Chengdu, with the most popular being the early morning departure. It is a rather long journey, but the views of the passing countryside are amazing and make it less arduous. There is also an airport located within 2 hours of the park. The Juizhai Hualong Airport has daily flights from Chengdu, Xi’an and Chongqing.
Cost: Entrance to the park is 220RMB. The sightseeing bus, which will drop you at each location around the park has a cost of 90RMB.
- Go to the park early to avoid the biggest crowds, it opens at 7am and closes at 6pm. We also walked around the park rather than taking bus to each location. I would absolutely recommend this, we saw so many amazing places that you would have missed on the bus. It isn’t difficult terrain and the wooden footpaths make it easy to follow the trail.
- Make sure to check the weather and dress appropriately, although it was hot and sunny in the afternoon, it was so cold and snowing in the morning, we would have been freezing if we didn’t buy (outrageously bright) coats!
- Also, bring your own food and snacks into the park. There are a few areas where you can purchase food, but it is mostly cup noodles and hot dogs and is more expensive than outside.
Don’t miss out on this AMAZING place, really, I cannot recommend it enough. It was one of the highlights during my stay in China. I think the pictures speak for themselves, though they really can’t capture the magic of this place, you need to visit to experience that for yourself!