28.09.2013 - 28.09.2013 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.
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.
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.