Jiulong Travel Guide,Sichuan
Jiulong is a pretty uninspiring one street town of mock-Tibetan apartments on the main north south highway connecting the Tibetan highway with the Sichuan towns of Mianning and Xichang. Situated in the southeast of Ganzi Autonomous Prefuecture, 250km south of Kangding and 580km from Chengdu. The vicinity remains a virgin land in the west Sichuan Plateau.
Jiulong town consists of a downhill main street (Tuanjie Dajie) flanked by two side streets, hemmed in by a valley. The local houses look rather grim, owing to the use of the sooty coloured black limestone, with Chinese style sloping tile roofs rather than the Tibetan style flat roofs. But the people are still predominantly Tibetan. The street life is interesting with Tibetans and Yi in full dress rubbing shoulders with modern Chinese. There is an old collection of watchtowers – Dapuzi on a ridge to the north end of town where the Wuxu Hai road turns off. With a lively market and a lot of interesting eating places, Jiulong is really only a jumping off point for the surrounding area. A trip to Jiulong is worth it almost for the stunning Tibetan scenery en route.
The main attractions are the alpine lakes of Wuxu Hai and Lieta Hu, the yeti "Wild Man" temple(Yeren Miao) and the massive 3000m deep gorge of the Yalong river that forms the western border of Jiulong with the equally remote Muli county. Jiulong is also a fascinating melting pot of Tibetan, Pumi and Yi cultures as well as a few Han Chinese.
Best time to go
In June, when all the azaleas and rhododendrons are in bloom on the mountainsides, and in late October-November, when the autumnal colours reach their peak.
Interestingly, its climate is quite mild compared to Kandging, which makes visiting more pleasant at the end of the year when all the autumnal colours are out.
Usually 3 days, one day in each of the gullies. If you plan a trek through, then minimum 5 days.
Getting there & away
From Chengdu: daily buses direct to Jiulong departing at around 7:00am from Xinnamen Bus Station and Xichang Bus Station. This bus travels the following route over 12 hours to reach Jiulong: Chengdu -Jiulong (580km). The bus fare is Y180.
From Kangding: There is a daily bus direct to Jiulong departing at 7am for Y72 / 6hrs drive [238km] . It follows the Tibetan highway west towards Litang over the Zheduo Pass (4000+ metres) but then branches off south down a valley just before Xinduqiao.
There are a variety of hotels ranging from the clean and simple Traffic Hotel(Jiaotong Binguan) above the bus station for Y40/night, to the palatial Longhai Dajiudian – for Y160 a night, that dominates the town square.
- Wuxu Lake
About 25km north west of town, Wuxu Lake is an idyllic scenic spot, flanked to the south by a long range of grey peaks called the 12 Sisters, and with an expanse of paddock leading down to the unspoiled waters edge. On the opposite side of the lake (reached by a track on the eastern), the valley continues up to be lost in the snowy peaks. It's all very Shangri La. The lake is especially scenic if it is a sunny morning without wind. The reflections on the lake are just perfect.
It is also possible to walk/ride up the surrounding forested hills to various lookout points, popular with professional photographers, with great views over the lake and mountains. These tracks are hard to find unless a local shows you.
How to get there -There is no bus service. It can be reached in about 90 minutes by car or jeep, which can be hired outside the Longhai Hotel for Y100/one way or 200/return, if you want to be picked up again next day. Or, if you are fit it's possible to walk back to town in about 4-5 hours. Quite a few day visitors leave around 4pm, so you may be able to hitch a lift – but don't bank on it too much.
Log cabin accommodation is available. Y20/dorm or Y40-60/dbl . All blankets etc are supplied, but you could bring a tent if you wanted – it would be perfect for camping and trekking here. The log cabins also have a dining hall where you can get good meals such as beef, lamb etc. There is no shop so take everything else you might need.
The entrance is Y60/head.
- Lieta Hu
Located in the Tanggu Villge, 30km north of Jiulong town, it's an alpine lake featuring stunning beauty at an elevation of 4300m, adjacent to the Wahuishan Reserve. Around the lake, there are snowy peaks, virgin forests, meadows and other wildlifes. The lake is said to contain a monster.
Yeren Miao (Wild man temple)
About an hour's drive and a 40 minute walk up a bumpy farm track southeast of town, this small temple is built in a cave, half way up a cliff. Local legend has it that the local people knew of the cave and its stream many hundreds of years ago, and visited it to pray for a good harvest. Then one day some primitive statues and simple structures appeared overnight. No one knew who did it, and it was attributed to the "Wild Man" or Yeren – the Chinese term for yeti. You can now see the yeti's big footprints and hand [paw?] prints, enshrined in the small temple, reached by a short but steep walk up the cliff path. There is a fancy new temple being built at the foot of the cliff – go past it and look for the track branching off to the left, over a stone bridge.
If you want to make your own way to the temple, take the left fork from the main street just after the public toilets. You can't miss the smell!
an alpine lake at approximately 3,800m. The view is dominated by a couple of snow-capped peaks, the highest of which is the Maidi Konka Peak of around 4,600m, standing at one end. On any clear morning, one can enjoy a perfect reflection of the mountain on the lake.
The lake is surrounded by forests on one side and rocks tumbling down the hillside on the other. At one end there are pastures where herders let their livestock roam for most part of the year. At the opposite end is a small stream from melted snow from the snow-capped mountains that feed the lake.Still unknown to Chinese tourists, Changhaizi is an ideal destination reserved for backpackers and nature lovers.
The sceneries around the lake with the snow-capped mountains and reflections are quite spectacular, worth a rank. Another is given to the incredible warmth and hospitality of the people we met along the way to Changhaizi. Their sincerity and friendliness simply adds to the whole travelling experience.
The excursion from Jiulong to Changhaizi and back can be completed in a relatively strenuous three days
Day1:Travel from Jiulong to Sanyanlong
Day2: trek 8-10 hours from Sanyanlong to Changhaizi;
Day3 Back to Sanyanlong, around 7hrs. Then return to Jiulong by vehicle at night. Or,
Day4 Back to Jiulong by vehicle. An alternative is to trek further to Mengdong from Changhaizi and back to Sanyanlong.