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Friday, October 4, 2013

China Trip - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Rixe Valley

1. Arrow Bamboo Lake

Rize Valley (日则沟, pinyin: Rìzé Gōu) is 18km long. It is located on the south-western branch of Jiuzhai gully. Tourists will usually take the eco-buses to the highest point near the Primeval Forest (原始森林 Yuánshǐ Sēnlín) and go downhill.  Some attractions are

a) Swan Lake (天鹅海, Tiān'é Hǎi), a 2.25 km long lake famous for its visiting swans and ducks
b) Grass Lake (草海, Cǎo Hǎi) which is a shallow lake with unique vegetation.

2. Arrow Bamboo Lake

Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海, Jiànzhú Hǎi) has a surface area of 170,000 m². This shallow lake is only about 6 m deep. It is located at an elevation of 2,618 m. It was the site where some of the most spectacular scenes of the 2002 Zhang Yimou movie "Hero" were shot.

3. Panda Lake

Panda Lake (熊猫海, Xióngmāo Hǎi) with its beautiful display of blue and green colours. Giant Pandas used to come here for a drink but there has been no more such sightings for many years. The lake empties into the multi-streams, multi-level Panda Waterfalls, a 3-step-drop of about 78m.

4. Five Flower Lake (Multicoloured Lake)

Five Flower Lake is also known as Multicolour Lake

5. Five Flower Lake

Five Flower Lake (五花海, Wǔhuā Hǎi) with out of this world underwater views.

6. Five Flower Lake

 Five Flower Lake is a shallow multi-colored lake.

7. Five Flower Lake

The waters are so clear and bright that even the ancient fallen trunks sitting on the bottom of the lake are visible to the naked eye. Only one type of fish can survive and that is the Songpan Naked Carp.

8. Wildflower

9. Pearl Shoal Waterfalls

Pearl Shoal Waterfalls (珍珠滩, Zhēnzhū Tān) is a 310m wide water fall that drops 28m along gentle slopes like a broad curtain of water. A scene of the television adaptation of Journey to the West was filmed here. 

Pearl Shoal Waterfalls is the most spectacular waterfall in Jiuzhaigou.

We spent the whole day at the nature park which finally came to an end when it was nearing closing time.

Reference: Wikipedia.

After a tiring day of walking, it was time to relax at night. We went for a Tibetan cultural show with live performances like acrobatics, dances and singing. 

This is my last post about Jiuzhaigou. My next stop is at Huanglong.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

China Trip - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Zechawa Valley


This is Long Lake (长海, Cháng Hǎi) at elevation 3,150 metres. It is located at the highest point of Zechawa Valley (则查洼沟, Zécháwā Gōu). It is the highest, largest (about 7.5 km long) and deepest lake (103m) in Jiuzhaigou nature reserve.

Zechawa gully which spans 18 km in length is the south eastern branch of Jiuzhaigou.

Visitors will usually take the bus from the park entrance or Nourilang Visitor Centre in Shuzheng Valley and go all the way up to Long Lake where they can get down and take a walk to other areas of attraction such as Colour Pond, Upper Season Lake and Lower Season Lake.


Long Lake is formed from melted snow from nearby mountains. In summer, the peaks are still covered with snow. The lake is frozen in winter and it becomes an ideal skating ground. There is a grand old tree at the side of the lake which is said to the the guardian of the lake.

 “Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D7N - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Zechawa Valley”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on 21 Sep 2013.


Long Lake is the perfect place to take a photo for remembrance. I think this is the most scenic spot point of Jiuzhaigou nature reserve. There is a large viewing platform build at about 100m above the lake and there is also a walking trail beside the lake.

The picture above shows a group of tourist clad in traditional Tibetan attire having their photos taken by photographers who charge a fee for the service. There are quite a number of vendors there, so you need to bargain for the best price.


Colourful Pond, also known as Five Colour Pool (五彩池, Wǔcǎi Chí)

This lake which is located at 2,995 metres above sea level is about 6.6 metres deep and spread over an area of 5,645 square metres. 


The water is so clear you can even see every detail of the bottom of the lake.

Legend says that this is the pond where Goddess Semo washed her hair and God Dage came daily to bring her water. (Source: Wikipedia)


On bright, sunny days, the lake presents a wonderful play of colours from green to aquamarine, cyan, turquoise, blue and purple with a tinge of red, orange and yellow.



Further down the gully are the Seasonal Lakes (季节海, Jìjié Hǎi) which is a series of 3 lakes (Lower, Middle and Upper) that change from empty to full according to the seasons of the year.


Monday, September 16, 2013

China Trip - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Shuzheng Valley


Jiuzhaigou Tourist Centre near the entrance to the national park.

It is an extremely long queue to get to the entrance.
Inside the only mode of transportation are the eco-buses
which provide shuttle services along a fixed route. 

Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic & Historic Interest Area is also known as Jiuzhaigou National Park or Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve. The 3 main valleys most visited by tourists are Rice Valley (日则沟 - Rìzé Gōu), Zechawa Valley (则查洼沟 - Zécháwā Gōu) and Shuzheng Valley (树正沟, Shùzhèng Gōu) situated along 3 main gullies that form a "Y" shape.

There is another valley, Zaru Valley (扎如沟, Zārú Gōu) situated southeast of Shuzheng gully which is less frequened by ordinary tourists. The places of attraction here are the Zharu Buddhist monastery and the Red, Black, and Daling lakes. Zharu Valley is visited by a controled number of eco-tourists who wish to go on hiking and camping trips accompanied by the park's qualified guides. Zaru Valley has 40% of China's total plant species.


The Rize and Zechawa gullies flow from the south and meet at the intersection where they form the Shuzheng Valley. Jiuzhaigou is named after nine Tibetan villages that once populated the area. To keep the park in pristine condition, most of the inhabitants had been moved out of the park. What remains now are only about 1,000 people from 112 families.

The first place we visited was Shuzheng Village aka Shuzhengzhai, a Tibetan stockaded village located just opposite the Shuzheng Lakes. Visitors can shop for souvenirs, handicraft, food and beverage items here.


In front of the village there are some dagobas (stupas) with prayer wheels and prayer flags inscribed with religious texts, incantations and images. Standing here and looking down, you can also get to enjoy a scenic panorama view of Shuzheng Lakes.


For more pictures and to read more about Shuzheng Village, please visit blog post at My Nice Garden post "Summer in Juizhaigou, China - Shuzheng Village: A Tibetan Stockaded Village" link here.

“Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D 7N - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Shuzheng Valley”, a copyrighted post, was written for Klang, Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on 16th September 2013.


Shuzheng Valley is probably the most photographed site in Jiuzhagou nature park.


Wooden boardwalks and pavilions allow visitors to can get very close to Mother Nature and hear, feel and enjoy the splendid scenes before their eyes.

Shuzheng Tibetan Water Mill


Shuzheng Waterfall is is the first waterfall you will will see in Jiuzhaigou nature park. It is 62 meters wide and 15 meters tall. It is the smallest of the 4 main waterfalls of Jiuzhaigou. There are about 19 lakes of different sizes and shapes at different levels.


Shuzheng Waterfalls


Tiger Lake is located at 2,298m above sea level and spans a length of about 300m. The lake is peaceful and tranquil. There are 3 stories as to how it got its name:

1. The burst of water falling on nearby Shuzheng Waterfalls is likened to the roar of a tiger
2. In late autumn, the reflections of the forest on the lake resembles the dappled fur coat of a crouching tiger.
4. Mountain tigers are fond of this lake and used to come to the lake for a drink of water.


Nuorilang Waterfalls

This waterfall is 32 meters wide and 25 meters high. It is the widest waterfall in Jiuzhaigou.

"Nuorilang" is a Tibetan word meaning 'grand and magnificent', which aptly describes this breathtakingly beautiful waterfall.

The best time to view this waterfall is in the early morning when the sun's rays form beautiful rainbows in the sky. Towards the south of Nuorilang Waterfall, the valley splits into two i.e. the Zechawa Valley and Rize Valley.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

China Trip - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou Scenic Area (九寨沟)

We stayed 2 nights at the Soluxe Hotel aka Jiuzhai Sunshine Hotel. 

On the first night, we reached the hotel after 8pm and by the time we finished dinner and retire to our rooms, it was already almost 10pm. The next day, we started early and spent the whole day touring Jiuzhaigou National Park. Glad we did, because there was so much to see. In my personal opinion, the Jiuzhaigou visit was the most enjoyable and a most beautiful place that lives up to it's name, "a fairyland on earth".

You can view more pictures of Jiuzhaigou on My Nice Garden Facebook Page here.

After dinner, we had to rush off to an optional Tibetan cultural show costing RMB 100. There was no time in between to shower unless we wanted to risk catching a cold or flu that might develop into something more serious like pneumonia. By the time we returned to the hotel for a bath and good rest, it was already past 10 pm. The temperatures at night can dip very low. It certainly didn't help that the hot water taps in the bathroom were not functioning smoothly. One moment the water was extremely hot, the next, it was icy cold! Electric blankets were provided but I find the bed quite hard (like a plank surface of a divan) to sleep on and to make matters worse, the room had lingering remnants of stale cigarette smell. Anyway, it was not a big problem as I was too tired to care for long and soon I dozed into neverland ...

This is the beautiful scene that greeted me when I was on my way to breakfast. The morning air was fresh and cool. At 6:30am, the sky was already very bright. In Jiuzhaigou, the sun seemed to rise and set halfway up the sky!

The hotel is like a resort situated on a slope on spacious grounds with ample greens and surrounded by scenic blue mountains that was either snow topped or mist covered.  I was so thankful that when we checked in, our guide had arranged for our rooms to be located on the ground floor level. Otherwise it will be a problem having to lug my heavy luggage along the staircase and up a few floors as they don't have a lift. I was already panting when walking up the stairs without any luggage. The guide had earlier advised us not to run but to walk slowly and/or at a leisurely pace. We gotta conserve energy due to the reduced level of oxygen. Some people could suffer from high altitude sickness.

Breakfast was a simple affair with hard boiled eggs, steamed buns or sponge cake, rice or corn porridge with hard boiled eggs and an assortment of Sichuan salted or pickled vegetables and tofu for condiments. They also have warm milk and orange juice which was also served warm. Wood fungus (mook yee) and wan yee or "cloud ear fungus" would feature quite regularly in almost every meal and I love this!

“Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D 7N - Day 3 Jiuzhaigou (九寨沟)”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com on 8th September 2013.

There are some stalls selling local produce and souvenirs on the right side of the hotel entrance.

As our hotel is not located near to Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, our tour coach took us there. We had to get down at the parking area for buses and walk another 10 minutes or so to the entrance of the park.

On the way, we passed by a wet market...

... some stalls selling local Tibetan food - Yak meat pancakes (牦牛肉锅魁)


... shops selling souvenirs and knick-knacks.

... a modern young lady using an ancient manual silk spinning/weaving machine.

... everywhere we go, we can't escape from the 'ma la' aroma of  Sichuan peppercorns.

I visited during their summer season and the crowd was already like this!

There were multiple parallel queues which were very very long and it took ages to reach the main entrance gates of the nature park. As the entrance doors swung open, I heard a recorded voice greeting of "huan ying huang ying" meaning "Welcome! Welcome!"


The entrance ticket was a picture postcard of scenic Jiuzhaigou. 


The back of the ticket.

October and early November is the peak season for Jiuzhaigou. It is the season of autumn when Jiuzhaigou is at its most beautiful.


The month of August was summer time in Jiuzhaigou. There were not many foreign tourists but there was a huge crowd of local Chinese tourists. It was a working weekday. I'm sure the crowd will get worse on weekends and during major Chinese public holidays like the Mid Autumn Festival and their National Day this coming September 2013.

Dahlias and roses grow very well here in Jiuzhaigou. 

Annual flowers were in full bloom because it was summer time.

This area in front of the shops and washroom is very popular for photographs.


The Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve is officially known as Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area. Sometimes it is called the Jiuzhai Valley National Park. It is located on ABA prefecture in Sichuan province, southwest China. 

Jiuzhaigou means "Valley of Nine Villages". It was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. It belongs to the category V (Protected Landscape) in the IUCN system of protected area categorization.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is part of the Min Mountains on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau and stretches over 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres). It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 metres (6,600 to 14,800 ft) ... Wikipedia

Jiuzhaigou is also a member of Green Globe 21.

To protect the nature reserve from pollution and forest fires, smoking is not allowed. Littering and picking of flowers and plants are also prohibited. Thank goodness!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

China Trip - Day 2 Flight to Jiuzhaigou


We were at the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport to catch an evening (17:05) flight to Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport. The distance is about 240 km or 40 min. flying time.

Due to the fact that Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport is at an elevation of 3,448 m (11,312 ft), we were warned beforehand that some passengers may experience symptoms of altitude sickness. There were vendors selling Tibetan herbal medicine in miniature bottles packed in paper boxes.

The first aid center at the Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport also has small canisters of oxygen and Tibetan herbal medicine for sale.

Some of our tour group members bought the herbal medicine but I didn't buy any as I'm not sure if I will develop any allergies or adverse reaction to the medicine. The herbal medicine was to be consume before boarding the flight.


The plane we were going to board at Chengdu Airport.

“Chengdu Jiuzhaigou Huanglong 9D 7N - Day 2 Flight to Jiuzhaigou”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Malaysia Daily Photo blog by Autumn Belle @ http://mymalaysiadailyphoto.blogspot.com

Window view of the massive mountain ranges (cloud or snow covered) before touch down at Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport.

Seconds after I came out of the plane and walked onto the connecting passageway, I experienced severe altitude sickness. It was a very unpleasant feeling of dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. Deprived of sufficient oxygen, I thought I was going to faint. For a moment, I panicked and thought I would not be able to survive the trip to visit the 'fairyland' of Jiuzhaigou. Oh, what a feeling of dismay at just the start of our tour. Luckily, I suffered only for a few minutes.

Later I was to learn from other passengers that they felt the same too but at different level of severity. I saw a middle aged lady with a canister of oxygen in her hand and being helped to stand and walk by 2 relatives. She looked really pale.

Oh boy, I was really glad that I could walk out of this airport and into fresh air feeling okay again!

In the distance we could see horses and yaks grazing on the hills. 
This was also the scene that greeted us when the plane was landing and travelling along the runway.

Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport is also known as Jiuzhaigou Airport (九寨沟机场) or Jiuhuang Airport.

This airport serves two major places of interest; namely Huanglong, 53 kilometres (33 miles) away and Jiuzhaigou, 88 km (55 miles) away. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

At 3,448 metres (11,312 ft) above sea level, this is the third highest airport in China after Qamdo and Lhasa. It started operation on September 28, 2003

Our tourist bus.


Yay, I am now on my way to Jiuzhaigou at altitudes of 2,000-4,500m above sea leavel!

The journey from the Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong airport to Soluxe Hotel will take about an hour.
Vegetation were sparse and consisted of grass, wildflowers, small trees and bushes here and there.
I saw many cosmos plants growing wild in the coutryside.

As the bus is going downhill from Jiuzhaigou Airport at 3,448 to Jiuzhaigou Valley, I notice that the driver need to stop at a certain station after some time, let the passengers get down the bus while they sprayed the bus body with water, an action to cool the braking system, I guess?

For comparison, our Mt Kinabalu in Malaysia is about 4,095m above sea level and Genting Highlands 1,860m.


Rivers and streams with swift and clear running water and mountains of Christmas trees.
That's the shadow of our bus reflected in the picture!

The pretty Tibetan countryside.
It was still bright even though it was already 7:30 pm.


We stayed at the Soluxe Hotel aka Jiuzhai Sunshine Hotel. The hotel is located in Zhangza village, Zhangza town at the edge of Jiuzhaigou Valley. 

There was a night market just next to the hotel.

The street vendors here sell foodstuff, warm clothing, scarfs, fruits and daily provisions.


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