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“A photographer's dream come true...Jiuzhaigou paradise.”

Jiuzhaigou Natural Reserve
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3-Day Private Tour of Jiuzhaigou From Chengdu With Flight
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Owner description: Jiuzhaigou Valley, eulogized as a world of magical fairytale, has for years enchanted tourists with its mountains and luxuriant forests, colorful lakes, gushing waterfalls and abundant wildlife. To its south is the Huanglong (Yellow Dragon Scenic Area). Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in Nanping County, 450 kilometers (about 280 miles) to the north of Chengdu City, Sichuan, covers a total area of 720 square kilometers and the valley is 50 kilometers in length. In 1992, UNESCO entered this scenic area onto the world natural heritage list.Jiuzhaigou, literally the Nine Village Valley, is hence known for the nine Tibetan villages within its boundary, Inhabited by Tibetans, the nine villages and alpine lakes, are like reflecting mirrors or crystal jade blocks inlaid in snow mountains and forests.
Reviewed 28 November 2011

For those of us interested in photographing beautiful, scenery, this is the place to visit. Jiuzhaigou is a World Heritage Site, and the lakes are amazing, the mountains spectacular. The altitude is about 2,500m above sea level, so it is not really difficult to breathe up here. We need to walk at a steady pace, and slow down if we feel out of breath. There are public coaches we can take that ply up and down the mountain roads, and they stop at the different scenic areas for the visitors to walk along the pathways and enjoy the sights close-up.
It is advisable to take a flight up to Jiuzhaigou rather than the coach. The flight is only 40 minutes or so, whilst the bus ride up the mountain is said to be 'scary' and you have to endure 8 hours of this.
Whatever your mode of transport, a visit to Jiuzhaigou, especially in Autumn, is a photographer's dream come true.

2  Thank Travel-i-tales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 23 November 2011

We deliberately chose to visit during the most beautiful time of the year in October for the autumn leaves. It was also the most expensive time to visit but we were not disappointed by the beauty of the foliage and lakes. A picture speaks a thousand words - the azure blue lakes are so clear you can see right down to the bottom. This mixed with the red, yellow & orange leaves on the trees makes the photo picture perfect. We were there for 2.5 days and caught the last 2 days of autumn sunshine. On day 3, clouds were hovering low in the mountains so it was quite grey but somehow, this had a special effect in making the autumn colours more vivid.

Entrance fees are RMB 220 per adult and RMB 170 for child/senior citizen. A bus day pass is RMB 90 per person. Shaped in a letter Y, most people cover the reserve in 2 full days but you have to start early to cover a lot of ground. The other advantage of starting early is it is less crowded. Somehow we never managed to make it to the park before 10 a.m. (it was tough with young children and the cold weather was ideal for sleeping in) so we had to deal with the crowds but only at bus stops and scenic photo stops. The paths are all laid out in the form of wooden board walks and they are constantly kept clear of fallen leaves by the numerous sweepers.

Take bus from entrance (bottom of Y) to the middle section (middle of 'Y') where food centres and bus interchange are. Apart from a 'snack' shop where you can purchase drinks and cup noodles, the only other places where food is sold is a Chinese restaurant near this snack place (at the middle of the 'Y') and the entrance of the park (bottom of the 'Y'). We had packed lunches arranged through the hotel to save us time and gave us a lot of flexibility.

Note that not all buses at bus stops pick up AND let passengers alight. Some do drop offs only, pick ups only or both. You will have to equire. Apart from the driver, there is a woman dressed in Chinese costume on the bus who will describe the nature reserve and explain the bus drop up/pick up system but in Mandarin. Some do understand simple English. Yes, as you will read from other reviewers, there is no queue system in boarding the bus. It's every man for himself. When the bus arrives, the locals will rush to the door and squeeze their way in. This really isn't necessary as the buses come very frequently but if you don't do what the Romans do when in Rome, you will find yourself left behind.

Day 1: From interchange, take bus to top of the right of 'Y' - Primeval Forest. If you have the energy you can walk all the way to Swan Lake. We didn't bother as the scenery was just ok and I couldn't remember if the bus at Swan Lake will take us down to Arrow Bamboo Lake, our next drop off point. Anyway, the next section from Arrow Bamboo Lake all the way down to around Mirror Lake is a must do and is probably the most beautiful. My personal favourite is the Multi-coloured Lake/Five coloured Lake/Peacock Lake. It is also the most crowded and hard to get a photo at the scenic spots. You have to wait your turn. We spent a long time in this section taking many photos. This route took us 5 hours at a leisurely pace.

Day 2: At interchange middle of 'Y', change bus to go up the top of the left of 'Y'- Long Lake and walk to Colourful Pond, about 1.3 km away. Then bus down to the interchange (middle of 'Y') to visit Nuroilang Falls. From here you can either take a bus or walk to Rinocerous Lake, about 2.3 km away (we bus-sed it) and continue from Rinocerous Lake to the Reed Lake. The last bus stop is at Reed Lake before heading to the entrance.

The above will allow you to see the best and most of the nature reseve.

We had an extra half day to re-visit Multi Colour Lake and Mirror Lake, hoping to catch Mirror Lake at its most still for the mirror effect (as per the sword fighting scene in the movie 'Hero') but it was too windy. We also visited the Tibetan villages but to be honest, they were disappointing. Once the valley of 9 villages, now only 3 are open to the public. There are other Tibetan villages tucked behind but not open to the public. We visited 2 of the 3 and they were mainly shops and little eateries. Only ShuZheng Tibetan Village is worth visiting, if at all. At an interesting shop, the man in the family was making combs from yak bone. His wife sold Tibetan style jewellery. They also sold ornamental yak horns and chopsticks made from yak bone. Yak meat, dried and vacuumed packed, is commonly seen for sale in the shops.

The toilets are very clean. There is a plastic sheet covering the seats which can be 'rolled' down towards the middle of the toilet electronically if you need new plastic covering. Soaps are not always available. I brought my own liquid soap/soap bar and toilet paper which came in very handy.

We didn't have time for the other valleys so I can't comment on them. All in all, it was a very tiring but rewarding trip. We got fit from the long walks and the scenery was absolutely stunning. I have visited the Canadian Rockies and South Island New Zealand, both famous for their spectacular natural scenery and JiuZhaiGou is definitely at par with its own beauty.

8  Thank AvidHolidayMum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2011

They say a picture says a thousand words, that cannot be truer than Jiuzhaigou. The stunning beauty of the valley makes it impossible to take a bad picture here... so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, and move on to other matters.

The Jiuzhaigou valley is shaped like a "Y", the main tourist attractions are found along the right fork of the "Y" in the Rize valley and the leg of the "Y" which is called ShuZheng valley.

My friends and I landed at JiuHuang airport around mid-day and were told by our taxi drivers that it's too late to go to the park, we were told the same thing when we checked in at our hotel. Later, we were informed this was not true, and that the park sold entry tickets even after 2pm. In hindsight, we should have gone to the park to explore the Zechawa valley (left hand fork on the map) - this is less touristed as it has fewer sights. We had to give this a miss as we'd spent the whole of the next day exploring Rize and Shuzheng.

It is too easy to spend more than a day in the park. Getting from one attraction to another is very easy - a timber boardwalk connects most sights in the park, and makes for a gentle meandering stroll through the park. A hop-on hop-off shuttle bus provides relief for tired limbs. An early start is a good idea, particularly for photo enthusiasts as there is plenty of action for shooting, so budget for plenty of time to take in each sight leisurely.

Foodwise, there is little to offer. The eating stops seem to sell mainly instant coffee, tea, drinks, instant noodles and packaged snacks. We were warned beforehand so had picked up a few food items from the hotel breakfast buffets and grocery shops in town.

All in all, the park is simply unbelievably beautiful, filled with many jaw-dropping sights, a place that I'd go back to again if I have the chance ... I would have liked to wander through the Tibetan villages of the ShuZheng valley.

4  Thank Ondeh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2011

if you are planning to visit China, you should try to plan this scenic spot in you travel itinerary. Truly spectacular and we were fortunate as it snowed the day before we arrived. The mountains were covered with snow. So we had 4 seasons in one, winter on top of the mountain, autumn below that with all the color leaves, spring in the lower area and summer when the sun is out. Was totally taken in by the scenery. The place is well kept and maintained despite the amount of people going there everyday.

1  Thank laosiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 November 2011

There was a fair amoutn of walking in some case to see some of the senic areas ( maybe 1 km) but worth it. Lots of stairs in some cases.

2  Thank W1AIX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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