A Travellerspoint blog

Sichuan Day 3 : Jiuzhaiguo Part 1 Rize Valley


sunny 15 °C

Let's start this article on Jiuzhaiguo by looking at the location of Sichuan in China. It's in the western part of Central China.


Jiuzhaiguo is located in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan, which is in the northern part of Sichuan.


The below map gives the location of Jiuzhaiguo in relation to Chengdu.


Jiuzhai Valley literally means “Nine Village Valley” and is named after the nine Tibetan villages scattered throughout the park. The superb landscapes of Jiuzhai Valley are particularly interesting for their narrow conic karst land forms and spectacular waterfalls and lakes.

Jiuzhai Valley is part of the Min Shan mountain range on the edge of the Tibetan Himalayan Pletau and stretches over 720 sq km (72,000 hectares). The elevation of the national park ranges from almost 2,000m (6,500 feet) at the entrance to over 4,500m (14,760 feet) on the mountain peaks.

Legend of Jiuzhai Valley :
The enchanting legend of Jiuzhai Valley accounts for the crystal clear lakes pattered amongst the lush mountain forests of the park. A tale of devoted love begins with a young boy named Dage. Heart and hopes heavy with unfailing love, Dage bestows a unique token of admiration to the goddess Woluo Semo. A gift only worthy of her beauty, Dage lays at her feet a mirror made of wind. Unforeseen circumstances, however, bring evil in the lovers' path. The goddess breaks the mirror and 114 sparkling gem-like lakes of Jiuzhai Valley are formed on earth from its shattered pieces. “The Fairyland of Earth” was created.

The orientation of Jiuzhai Valley can be understood from the below maps, which are from top - South to North.

Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape.. Look at it as a Y. The north east part of the Y is the Rize valley. The North west part of the Y is the Ze Cha Wa Valley. The bottom part of the Y is the Shu Zheng Valley. The mountainous watersheds of these gullies are lined with 55 km (34 mi) of roads for shuttle buses, as well as wooden boardwalks and small pavilions. The boardwalks are typically located on the opposite side of the lakes from the road, shielding them from disturbance by passing buses.


The nine Tibetan Villages of Jiuzhai Valley are He Ye, Jian Pan, Ya Na, Pan Ya, Guo Du, Ze Cha Wa, Hei Jiao, Shu Zheng and Re Xi.The main villages that are readily accessible are He Ye, Shu Zheng and Ze Cha Wa along the main routes selling various handi-crafts, souvenirs and snacks.

In the Jiuzhai Valley Area
It's best to first take the shuttle bus to the end of Rize gully, then make your way back downhill by foot on the boardwalks.

We started at 7 am in the morning at the entrance to the park. The cost per head was RMB 310, including the bus shuttle services inside the park.

Along the Rize Valley : The 18 km (11 mi) long Rize Valley is the south-western branch of Jiuzhaigou. It contains the largest variety of sites. Going downhill from its highest point, one passes the following sites:

The Primeval Forest (原始森林 Yuánshǐ Sēnlín) is a preserved ancient woodland. It is fronted by spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and cliffs, including the 500 m high blade-shaped Sword Rock (剑岩 Jiàn Yán).
Swan and Grass lake.
Arrow Bamboo Lake (箭竹海, Jiànzhú Hǎi), covering an area of 170,000 m², is a shallow lake with a depth of 6 m. It lies at an elevation of 2,618 m, and was a main feature site for the 2002 Chinese film Hero.
Panda Lake (熊猫海, Xióngmāo Hǎi) features curious color patterns of blue and green. The lake empties into the multi-stream, multi-level Panda Waterfalls, dropping 78 m in three steps.
Five Flower Lake (五花海, Wǔhuā Hǎi) is a shallow multi-colored lake whose bottom is criss-crossed by ancient fallen tree trunks.
Pearl Shoal (珍珠滩, Zhēnzhū Tān) is a wide, gently sloping area of active calcareous deposition covered in a thin sheet of flowing water. It empties into the famous Pearl Waterfalls, where the shoal drops 28 m in a 310 m wide broad curtain of water.
Mirror Lake (镜海, Jìng Hǎi) is another quiet lake casting beautiful reflections of the surroundings when the water is calm.

Primeval Forest : About 2930 m above sea level, the vegetation consists mainly of fir trees and spruces and the underbrush includes honeysuckle, rhododendron.


Furthermore, the ground cover moss is upto tens of centimetres high. There is quality air with the content of negative oxygen ions. The ambient temperature is 2 degrees lower.


The ground is sofy and mossy, and you feel you are walking on a thick carpet, as you sink 3-4 inches every step you take.

There are some trees which are fallen. It was quite cold, as this is the coldest part of the park, and i had to rub my hands to keep them from getting numb.

The autumn effect of the multi coloured leaves create a magical effect.

From here, we took the park bus to the next point - Arrow bamboo Lake.

Arrow bamboo Lake :

Took the boardwalk which takes you to to the other edge of the lake opposite the road.

Views of a lake along the boardwalk. The banks of Arrow Bamboo Lake (Jian Zhu Hai) is one of the many places where arrow bamboo, the favoured food of the giant panda, used to grow in abundance before it flowered and died.

Nice views, though the best were yet to come.

Walking along the board walk. The sun was starting to come put and it was getting a bit warmer.

View of Arrow Bamboo Lake.

Shots of Arrow Bamboo Lake.

Video of Arrow Bamboo Lake. 3408

A further walk down got us to Arrow Bamboo Waterfalls.

It was getting crowded though the shots do not reflect the same.

Shots of Arrow Bamboo Waterfalls. Collapsed rocks form the dikes that separate the water into a number of small streams after falling the 7m of the Arrow Bamboo Falls (Jian Zhu Pu Bu). It is an arc-shaped waterfall with a large span and small drop.

Me in front of Arrow Bamboo Waterfalls

A final shot of the waterfalls.

Video of Arrow Bamboo Waterfalls : 3409

The next walk was a short one to Panda lake.

Panda Lake
It gets it name as there used to be Pandas around the lake.

One marvelous spectacle of Panda Lake is the groups of carp like fishes which gather and play around.


You can witness the water getting bluer here.

Panda Lake is one of 2 lakes in Jiuzhai which freeze in winter.

Loved the fish which gather at certain points along the lake.

Video : 3410

Nearing the end of the boardwalk of Panda lake. It was almost 11:30 am in the morning and lunch time for many.

Video 3411

The map of where we were..

Panoramic view of Panda Lake.

Next was the walk down along the Panda Lake Waterfalls.

Formed slowly over about 53,000 years, it is the highest and oldest of Jiuzhai Valley’s waterfalls. The Panda Lake is cut into several sections by protruding giant rocks.

Onto the next scenic spot : Five Flower lake

The Five Flower Lake (Wu Hua Hai) is regarded as one of the wonders of Jiuzhai Valley due to its breathtaking colours which are a result of its lake-bottom travertine and colourful algae. The colours are formed by unevenly distributed submerged plants. Five Flower Lake’s autumn reflections are a spectacular display of nature. The intense colour combinations of the trees reflected on the waters surface are one reason why Jiuzhai Valley is often referred to as a photographer’s heaven and a painter’s nightmare!

It's best to observe the below photos, as they tell the whole story of Five Flower lake and its mesmerizing colors and reflections.











In the Golden week rush, this crew had the time to change into wedding costumes to pose in.


Next Scenic Spot : Pearl Shoal and Mirror lake

Water rushing from the Pearl Shoals (Zhen Zhu Tan) drops from top of the falls and forms a crescent waterfall. This is the most photographed waterfall in Jiuzhai Valley and along with many places in the park it is a very popular place for Chinese couples to have their wedding photos taken.

Mirror Lake. The walk from Pearl shoal to Mirror Lake and then to Nourilang is a long one. Mirror Lake is no great shakes. It's a better decision to take a bus from Pearl Shoal to Nourilang, will save you about 45 minutes.

That ends part 1, which was along the Rize Valley from Primeval Forest to Mirror Lake.

Posted by culturevulture 07:47 Archived in China Tagged sichuan chengdu jiuzhaiguo Comments (0)

Sichuan Day 2 : Chengdu to Jiuzhaiguo

Transition from rain to shine....

sunny 16 °C

I booked the bus ticket to Jiuzhaiguo the day before. The bus was the first bus which left Xinnanmen Bus station at 7:30 am. it ended up being a wild rush catching the bus even though i was staying in a hotel bang next to Xinnanmen. Xinnanmen has buses to all parts of Sichuan and is worthwhile staying close to. It is also near the Chengdu airport.

A few hours before, i had the famous Chengdu hotpot. Chengdu Hot Pot is actually chuanchuan, which is a pot of hot spicy oil filled with skewers of vegetables and meat. Chuan chuan is hot pot where everything is served (and cooked) on bamboo sticks.

You go into a room which has trays of skewers (chuan) - both vegetables and meat. You pick your fill of skewers and go to your hot pot table, which is then readied by the staff. You then put the chuans in the yin yang hotpot.

I had gone to Yulin Chuan Chuan, which supposedly has lost its reputation as the best chuanchuan in the city. I felt that the Chuan Chuan had made a comeback in Chengdu. And Chuan Chuan is a good hotpot for 2 people, and is a favorite among Chengdu women. You pay according to how many sticks are empty at the end of the meal.


Morning start
It was raining and overcast in Chengdu when i boarded the bus in the morning. The bus was packed with tourists starting early for the golden week holiday.

After about 3 hours, the clouds cleared and these mountains were visible on both sides of the road, with the awesome looking patches of green.

The bus passes through the town of Moutuo.

and through the hamlets of Shawancun, Huercun...

We stopped at this place, near a river.

Most of us on the bus were clicking away at the scenery..

This was near the Songpan area.

The famous 9 bends at the approach to Jiuzhaiguo.

After we arrived at the bus station, it was a 30 min drive to Zhou Ma's homestay. The two storeyed house visible in Zhou Ma's homestay.

Me in front of Zhou Ma's

This is Zhou Ma's brother's son - Luo San Gya Cho.....would always associate an image of Transformers with him, as he loved playing with the toys.

Zhou Ma's homestay, which was home for 3 nights.

There are 4 lounge chairs at front....a traditional tibetan style house.

The living room where we also had our daily meals....Look out for the painting of Potala Palace on the right hand side wall. (something i would see a lot more off in the days to come)

Posted by culturevulture 11:06 Archived in China Tagged bus sichuan chengdu jiuzhaiguo Comments (0)

Sichuan Day 1 : Visit to the Chengdu Panda breeding center


rain 15 °C

Dont miss this place when you are in Chengdu...it takes just 4 hours to do, including transport time. (entrance fee RMB 58)

Getting there -
Bus # 60 from Xinnanmen Bus Station, next to Travel Inn, and get off at Longqing Road Shulong Road. The bus doesn't stop in front of the conservatory. once you get off the stop, back track a bit to the cross roads, take a right, and walk about 3/4th of a kilometer to the entrance. The cross roads doesnt have a sign board .. so it's tough

The conservatory has 5 key areas -- Giant Panda enclosure, Adult giant pandas, sub adult giant pandas, Sunshine nursery, Kindergarten section and the Red Panda enclosure. and at the end - finish off with the Swan lake.


The first section i went to was the adult giant panda area. It was raining and i guess they were taking shelter away from the viewing areas.

Caught this giant panda for a few minutes before he hurried away to the shelter.

The Sub adult giant panda sanctuary was awesome. it was raining, but there were 5 adolescent pandas having a whale of a time.


there were 2 of them on a tree and 3 on the horizontal area...

later this one guy just slumped there and stayed put for ever....

This one got up to move around...

This one went right to the edge of the branch, and was playing right there

They were all individually busy here

These 2 went into a slow motion tumble by hanging on the wood and letting down slowly...

This one got down to eat some bamboo chips ..

Our guy still was slumped there in the rain after 20 minutes...

Eating bamboo

Me in front of the enclosure

Looking for more bamboo

Onto the Sunshine nursery.

to my surprise , there were 6 tiny ones lazing / sleeping on a blanket.
they are really small when born....there 's a popular story/documentary of Wu Yi ( a panda who was just 51 grams when born, and then grew to be a handsome adult panda)...don't miss it if you get your hands on this.

Onto the Kindergarten area

the highlight was this one, who went high on a slender branch and did not come down despite the rain...

The Red Panda enclosure

they are much smaller...like possums or very large squirrels...
they need much higher trees and camouflage well in the shrubbery.

the path around the conservatory is lined with bamboo..

The last spot is the Swan lake, a nice place to have a drink...

the black swans were quite stunning...

Posted by culturevulture 09:55 Archived in China Tagged children animals china panda sichuan chengdu Comments (0)

Three days in Wuyuan, Jiangxi - Part 9 (Sixi & Yanchun)

Picturesque twin villages

sunny 18 °C

Sixi and Yanchun are typical ancient villages of Hui merchants in South China with profound confucian culture as well as business concepts, and 136 ancient merchants dwellings are preserved from the Qing Dynasty, such as Zhenyuan Tang, Chengde Tang, Mingxun reading room and Yuqing Tang. All of these ancient building are gems of Chinese architecture including Tongji Bridge and Rulaifo Pole of Ming Dynasty, Silver storage room, and Jingxu Hall of Qing Dynasty. .... Also an excellent wooden carving working - Baishou Drawing, with a hundred characters of various shapes.
The village is very popular in film and television circles.

the entrance to the Sixi/Yangcun Village.

A large abacus structure at the service center.

A stream just after entering

A path leading to the village

Congting Hall : Built during the reign of the Qing Emperor Kangxi (1662), and owned by a lumber merchant, the house was decorated with precise and beautiful wood carving of lively characters.

An old building...love the blackened walls

By the doorway of a building

Building at the end of the path from Congting Hall

A crossroads in Yangcun. This was where I took the short path out of Yangcun and the Van to Sixi.

Me at a small alley

Red Fish (Hong Yu), at the front of a restaurant.

Old man

Taking the mini van to Sixi, which is a short drive away

Arriving at Sixi. First glimpse across the stream.

The Tongji Bridge at Sixi Cun.
The bridge was established in the reign of Ming Emperor Jingtai (1450-1456), by the Yu Family. It has a length of 22 m and a width of 3.8 m.

It's a famous bridge where many films & Tv dramas were shot

The semi boat typed front pier known as swallow mouth can reduce the impact of flow.

A lane in Sixi just after crossing the Tongji Bridge

A typical doorway

House built at the 45 degree crossroads

Moving along the tourist route in Sixi

A wine tasting shop

Long life flower hall
The lounge of Chengzhi Hall, built in the region of Qing Emperor Jiaqing, which is special for the wood carving on the door with 100 Chinese Characters (long life) in 100 types.

Approaching Jizhi Hall

Jizhi Hall
A house named Jizhi, which also was called as Xiaoyou Jianlong Hall, was built in the middle region of Qing Emperor Qianlong. The main hall is built in impressive style, and the wooden carving - The carp jump over the dragon. (You can see this at the top)

Chengde Hall
A house named Chengde, built in the end region of Qing Emperor Qianlong (1795), with meanings of the dooryard structure expressing the best wishes of the businessman - Bring is wealth, treasure and great luck.

Continuing along the tourist path

Silver Storeroom
A house built in the middle of the Qing Dynasty for storage of Silver collected for school running, bridge building and disaster rescue.

Continuing along the tourist path to Huayi House

Huayi House : A house named Huayi built in the regionof Qing Emperor Yongzheng. It was the place where the long lived people of the village grew plants and enjoyed their lives.

View from Huayi House

Qiye Yanxiang
It is a golden horizontal tablet over the door wall given to the wife of Yu Wenbing at her 90th birthday by the 28th year of emperor Daoguang (in 1849) with the writing of Qiye Yanxiang to commend the harmony of Yu Wenbing family with seven generations.

Jingxu Hall
A hall named Jingxu, was built in the region of Qing Emperor Yongzheng, with an area of more than mu, containing a courtyard, main hall, apse, sitting room and garden. It is a beautiful place for tea tasting and play, and poem and drawing, where some film and television plays have been shot.

Final view as we cross the stream at Sixi

Getting to Sixi :
There are regular mini vans from Qinghua to Sixi.
Getting from Sixi :
There is a regular bus to Wuyuan.

Posted by culturevulture 07:30 Archived in China Tagged villages china da wuyuan southchina jiangxi likeng qinghua Comments (0)

Three days in Wuyuan, Jiangxi - Part 8 (Qinghua)

It's all about the Rainbow Bridge

sunny 16 °C

The Rainbow Bridge defines Qinghua. It is by far the most attractive site in Qinghua. This post covers The Rainbow Bridge area.

Map of the Rainbow bridge Scenic Spot.
The Main Bridge area has the Rainbow Bridge and the Dengbu Bridge running parallel to it. At the other end of the Rainbow bridge is the Mill Wheel Grindery.

First glimpse of the Rainbow Bridge. It reminded me of the Japanese Bridge in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Notice the Ship hull like projections on the Bridge.
The Rainbow Bridge was established in AD 1129 in the Southern Song Dynasty, and is the bridge in China of longest history, largest scale of 140 m length and one of the most beautiful.

View from the other side...near the Grindery.
The design of flood control system of this bridge is very scientific. A scientific and rational select built in the widest river; the half boat pier design that decomposes the flood impact; the pier spacing according to the flood mainstream speed distribution; deck is practical and easy to maintain.

The Grindery and the Mill Wheel.

View from the Dengbu Bridge.
The bridge was finished in 10 years and named rainbow to present the people good wishes as locals would say that you would have good luck and success after crossing the bridge.

View from the Dengbu Bridge.

The customary walk back on the Dengbu Bridge.

People walking back on the Dengbu Stone Bridge.
Walk across the Rainbow Bridge. Enter the Grindery and walk back on the Dengbu Bridge.

The river flow facing side of the bridge.

Notice the half boat pier design that reduces the impact of the water.

Me in front of the Rainbow bridge

The Dengyun Bridge. Left of the bridge leads to the ancient Postal Road.

View of the Pagoda near the Pink Cloud Temple

The ancient Pink Cloud Temple (Choi Wan Temple)

The Idols inside.

Ringing the bell inside the viewing Pagoda.

526, 527, 530, 533, 534, 537, 540,
Me walking across the Dengbu Bridge. Thanks to my companion 'X Men' for taking the pictures from the Rainbow Bridge.

Me and X-Men in front of the Grindery

Posted by culturevulture 22:39 Archived in China Tagged villages china da wuyuan southchina jiangxi likeng qinghua Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 22) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 »