Jiuzhaigou Travel Guide,Sichuan
Stretching over the northern part of Sichuan as a jagged alpine valley, Jiuzhaigou offers a spectacular landscape with the composition of turquoise waters, bouncing streams, flying waterfalls and lush forest surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Nicknamed as "Jiuzhai Paradise'. The remoteness doesn't prevent it from becoming a hot tourist destination.
Recruited in the UNESCO World Heritage List, Jiuzhaigou is home to over 140 bird species and numerous endangered animals, including the giant panda and the Sichuan takin. >> Jiuzhaigou Travel Map
When to go?
Best time is in autumn between mid October and early November, when the park is rich in color.
How long? ---2 days
Getting In & Out
Chengdu Xinanmen and Cha Dianzi Stations have daily buses to Jiuzhaigou departing at around 8:00am [Y100~Y120]. The journey is about 460km and takes 10~12 hours with a few short stops on the way.
For Leaving, Jiutong Bus station has buses to Chengdu via Songpan at around 7:30am daily. Backpackers usually head for Songpan to catch connection traffic. [Y29 / 2 hrs]
If you want to visit Huanglong National Park(not recommended), buy a direct ticket to Huanglong, in case of shortage, travel to Chuanzhusi [a county between Jiuzhaigou and Songpan] , then get transferred to Huanglong.
1. Bus schedule changes slightly from time to time. Highly recommend book your tickets in advance in case of shortage.
2. Try to avoid sleeper buses from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, as most passengers are local instead of travelers. As a result, the bus condition is horrible.
Take a 40minutes flight from Chengdu to Jiuhuang Airport, which is 1.5 hrs away from Jiuzhaigou. Shuttles wait there for arrivals and leave when full. It takes much less time but is a very expensive way, full price for flight is Y980, best discount is 30% off, plus fuel, tax and shuttle, total is around Y1000.
No need to book in advance. Just get off the bus in Zhangzha Zhen, 5 minutes ahead of the destination, Jiutong Bus Station.
Legions of colorful Tibetan hostels along the riverside, Y25/bed or Y50/Rm,shared bath room and Chinese toilet. Standard hotel is Y60~Y100/Rm with attached bathroom.
1. Don't follow any one who tries to guide you to a hotel, some of them are middleman who earn commissions.
2. Some Tibetan villagers inside the Park run hostels sneakily, it's not recommended to stay there, as it limits your choice of fun, unless you want to capture the 6:00am scene of the gully.
3. Avoid the hotels around the park, as they are usually more expensive. It costs only Y4~6 and 5 minutes for a taxi ride from the town to the gate of Jiuzhaigou Park.
A number of restaurants along the road and the river. Pick the more crowded one. If you are a group of people, ask for a discount before ordering, maybe you can get 20%~25% off. But this is not applicable for all restaurants.
1. Let the shuttle ferry you to different scenic spots of the Y-shaped gully to enjoy the colorful and crystal clear lake.
Tips to avoid crowd
Tourists guided by travel agencies are usually packed in the areas of Long lake and Five-color Pool in Zechawa Gully, Panda Lake, Five Flower Lake and Pearl Shoal fall in Rize Gully. The best way to avoid the crowd is to visit those spots either before 9:00am or after 3:30pm. Or else you will be submerged by the crowd.
2. Trekking along the plank path aside the mountain(not aside the road) to experience the tranquility in Shuzheng Gully, which is usually ignored by Chinese tourists as the view from the main road is better.
Apr. 1 to Nov.15: high season, Y220/head for entry, Y90/head for sightseeing bus (optional)
Nov.16 to Mar. 31: low season, Y180/head for entry, Y80/head for sightseeing bus (optional)
A ticket can but not necessary to be valid for two days. The ticket clerk will ask whether you want 1 day or 2 days validity. Same price, the only difference is, they will take your photo and print it on the ticket for a 2-day route. Recommend you budget for 2 days
Jiuzhaigou is a picturesque place without doubt, but we will NOT recommend it as one of China's top destinations for independent backpackers.
First, the entrance ticket Y310 is too expensive. Secondly, the place is so crowded with Chinese tourists in holidays, they are very undisciplined and usually huddle and chat everywhere. The noise murders the natural beauty.
A slight update: from May 16,2007 on, "free sightseeing bus for the 2nd entry" policy is ineffective for individual tourists. Visitors who buy a 2-day entry ticket should pay for the sightseeing bus twice. The new policy will come into effect for group tourists guided by travel agencies from Jul.26, 2007 on.