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Jiuzhaigou Valley

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Overview
Jiuzhaigou is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan Province in the southwestern region of China. A long valley running north to south, Jiuzhaigou was inscribed by UNESCO as a 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.

The 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).

History & Background
Jiuzhaigou takes its name from the nine Tibetan villages along its length.

The remote region was inhabited by various Tibetan and Qiang peoples for centuries. Until 1975 this inaccessible area was little known. Extensive logging took place until 1979, when the Chinese government banned such activity and made the area a national park in 1982. An Administration Bureau was established and the site officially opened to tourism in 1984; layout of facilities and regulations were completed in 1987.

The site was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. The tourism area is classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration.

Since opening, tourist activity has increased every year: from 5,000 in 1984 to 170,000 in 1991, 160,000 in 1995, to 200,000 in 1997, including about 3,000 foreigners. Visitors numbered 1,190,000 in 2002. As of 2004, the site averages 7,000 visits per day, with a quota of 12,000 being reportedly enforced during high season. The Town of Zhangzha at the exit of the valley and the nearby Songpan County feature an ever-increasing number of hotels, including several luxury five-stars, such as Sheraton.

Developments related to mass tourism in the region have caused concerns about the impact on the environment around the park.

Weather & Climate
Jiuzhaigou is about 3000 meters above sea level, belonging to the humid climate of the plateau. The temperature of Jiuzhaigou in spring is lower and the change is bigger,the average temperature is between 9 and 18 ℃, the weather will be gloomy and cold. In the summer, the temperature of Jiuzhaigou rapidly and stably. The average temperature is 19-22 ℃, and it is cool at night. Jiuzhaigou's autumn is same as the spring in Chengdu, the average temperature is 20℃. It is recommended to wear shirts, long skirts and thin sweaters, windbreakers, casual clothes, jackets, suits, etc. Jiuhaigou's winter is relatively warm, but the warm clothing in winter is still necessary.

Population
Seven of the nine Tibetan villages are still populated today. The main agglomerations that are readily accessible to tourists are Heye, Shuzheng and Zechawa along the main paths that cater to tourists, selling various handicrafts, souvenirs and snacks. There is also Rexi in the smaller Zaru Valley and behind Heye village are Jianpan, Panya and Yana villages. Guodu and Hejiao villages are no longer populated.

Penbu, Panxing and Yongzhu villages lie along the road that passes through the town of Jiuzhaigou/Zhangza outside the valley.

In 2003, the permanent population of the valley was about 1,000 comprising 112 families, and due to the protected nature of the park, agriculture is no longer permitted so the locals now rely on tourism and local government subsidies to make a living.

Transportation
Due to the unique geographical location of Jiuzhaigou, you can get to Jiuzhaigou by flight, by car or by long-distance bus (there is no railway station in Jiuzhaigou).

By Flight
Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport is a plateau airport, 88 km away from Jiuzhaigou scenic spot and 43 km away from Huanglong. It was completed and opened to navigation on September 26, 2003. The flights from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou are different every day. Please check before you leave. The normal flight time is one hour.

By Bus

Chengdu-Jiuzhaigou Bus
Tourists can choose to take the bus to Jiuzhaigou at Chengdu Chadianzi bus station or Xinnanmen bus station. The departure time is 08:00 a.m. (at present, the number of buses from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou will be adjusted according to the number of tourists, and it will be different every day. When you go to Jiuzhaigou, you can buy a good ticket one day in advance). The ticket price is 141 yuan usually, and the whole journey takes about 10 hours.

Chadianzi bus station
Address: Yangxi overpass, North Third Ring Road

Nanmen bus station
Address: intersection of Linjiang middle road and Xinnan Road, Wuhou District

Public Transportation

1. Sightseeing Bus
Sightseeing buses provided in Jiuzhai Valley brings lots of convenience for visitors. These buses start from the entrance gate of the valley and stop at main attraction sites inside the valley. A round trip inside the valley usually takes about 130 minutes.

2. Taxi
Taxis in Jiuzhaigou County is CNY4-6 for the first 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) due to the different car types. Only a few drivers would use the taximeter.

3. On foot
If tourists would like to get closer to the charming scenery in the Jiuzhaigou Valley, then walking provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

Tourism
The Zharu Valley (扎如沟) runs southeast from the main Shuzheng gully and is rarely visited by tourists. The valley begins at the Zharu Buddhist monastery and ends at the Red, Black, and Daling lakes.

Zharu Valley is the home of tourism in Jiuzhaigou. The valley has recently been opened to a small number of tourists wishing to go hiking and camping off the beaten track. Visitors can choose from day walks and multiple day hikes, depending on their time availability. Knowledgeable guides accompany tourists through the valley, sharing their knowledge about the unique biodiversity and local culture of the national park. The Zharu Valley has 40% of all the plant species that exist in China and it is the best place to spot wildlife inside the national park.

The main hike follows the pilgrimage of the local Benbo Buddhists circumnavigating the sacred 4,528 m Zha Yi Zha Ga Mountain.

What to pack before visit Jiuzhaigou Valley
Rain shelter: raincoat, rain mirror, umbrella.
Sunscreen: sunscreen, sun umbrella.
Clothing: coat, sweater, sweater. Flat shoes.
Drugs: hemostatic drugs, oxygen bags, iodine, medical cotton swabs.

Jiuzhaigou Travel Routes
1)Shuzhenggou Valley→Bonsai Beach→Reed Lake→Spark Lake→Wolong Lake→Shuzheng waterfall→Rhinoceros Lake→Tiger Lake→NuoRiLang waterfall
2)Zharugou Valley→Zharu Temple→Zechawagou Valley→Lower season Lake→Multicolored pool→
ChanghaiRizegou Valley→Jinghai Lake→Pearl Beach→Pearl Shoal Waterfall→Wuhua Lake→Panda Lake→
Arrow Bamboo Lake→Jianzhuhai waterfall→Swan Lake→Virgin forest

Jiuzhaigou Travel FAQs
1. Could you let me know when is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou? My family of 4 plan to travel to Jiuzhaigou in July next year.
Jiuzhaigou can be visited all year around, but the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou is late spring and autumn. At this time, the water resource is very adequate, you can also enjoy the dense forests, flowing waterfalls and beautiful lakes in sunny days. Different season in Jiuzhiagou with different scenery. If you plan your Jiuzhaigou tour in summer, it's a rainy season but you can feel the cool weather there. Generally, Jiuzhaigou is ideal place for the summer resort.

2. Is there any direct flight from Shanghai to Jiuzhaigou? I will visit there after Shanghai tour.
There is no direct flight from Shanghai to Jiuzhaigou, you need to transit in Xi'an, Chengdu or Chongqing. We highly recommend you visit Jiuzhaigou from Shanghai via Chengdu. It is convenient from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou by flight, bus or car rental. It takes around 3 hours from Shanghai to Chengdu by flight and another 1 hours' flight to Jiuzhaigou.

3. I am planning a trip to visit Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou, how many days should planned for Chengdu Jiuzhaigou tour?
We suggest you plan at least 6 days for a Chengdu and Jiuzhaigou tour. You spend 3 days to visit the highlights of Chengdu such as Panda Base, Jinli Street, Renmin Park, Leshan Giant Buddha and others. Then, travel to Jiuzhaigou for 3 days from Chengdu by flight, you  can enjoy the fairyland beauty of Jiuzhaigou - turquoise & emerald crystal lakes, layered waterfalls, authentic Tibetan villages and soaring peaks.

4. How can i travel from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou by bus? How much is the bus ticket?
You can take direct bus to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu Caidianzi bus station and Xinnanmen bus station. It takes around 9 hours by bus from Chengdu city. The ticket can be purchased at Xinnanmen Bus Station and Chadianzi Bus Station. You’d better buy the ticket one day in advance. The ticket fee is CNY157 per ticket.

5. My parents want to make a Chengdu side trip to Jiuzhaigou? Do you offer Jiuzhaigou private tour for them?
Yes, we offer lots of Chengdu side trips to Jiuzhaigou. We can arrange the Jiuzhaigou priavet tour only for your parents, feel free to let us know their special requirements, such as hotels, meals, duration of the tour and others. Flexible to choose travel to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu by flight or private vehilce with our professional and patient tour guide. We make a customized Jiuzhaigou tour based on their needs.

6. What are the typical food should we eat during our stay in Jiuzhaigou?
When you travel to Jiuzhaigou, you will have chance to taste the three main kinds of cuisine there. One is the Tibet cuisine consisting of smoked and roast meat as well as highland barley alcohol, tibet butter tea, acidophilus milk. Another one is the sour and hot dish of Qiang minority. The last one is Sichuan Cuisine of Han people. 

7. I heard about there are some Tibetan villages in Jiuzhaigou, are there any taboos we have to pay attention to in Jiuzhaigou? 
Yes, there are some tibetan people live around Jiuzhaigou scenic area. There is a saying "Do as the locals do",  you are advised to pay attention to when you visit a Tibet family, such as don't step over any religious tool and brazier, do not touch the Tibetan people's head, you should consult and follow their customs if you are invited to have a drink with the local Tibetan.

8. Could you advise me what are the popular things to do in Jiuzhaigou? As i'm a first time traveler in Sichuan.
Jiuzhaigou is one of the popular tourist destinations in Sichuan and an UNESCO heritage site. When you plan to travel to Jiuzhaigou for the first time, you should explore the Jiuzhaigou valley to visit the waterfalls, lakes, forests; Spend a day tour visit Huanglong National Park boasts a series of calcite pools, which offers a different kind of beautiful water view; What's more, you should make a visit to the local Tibetan Villages and Temples, while most people come to Jiuzhaigou for the lakes, the temples and local villages are full of culture and history. 

9. Is it difficult to hike in Jiuzhaigou? We are a couple over 70 years old from the United States.
Generally, it is fine to hike in Jiuzhaigou but it could cause some problems for the less mobile! The large majority of Jiuzhaigou has a man-made walkway, making it accessible for almost everybody. Many of the areas have no handrail, so beware that it can get very pushy at times! Also needing consideration is the fact that Jiuzhaigou is at high altitude. To combat altitude sickness, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and if you feel as if you’re too high, go down! You can hire a local tour guide, he/she will choose the best hiking route for you.

10. I will take flight from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou on my own, could you please let me know how to get to Jiuzhaigou Valley from Huanglong airport?
Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport is located Songpan Town, about 90KM far away from Jiuzhaigou scenic area. There are several options you can choose how to travel to Jiuzhaigou from airport, such as airport shuttle bus, taxi and car rental. The airport shuttle bus takes about 1.5 hours and costs 45 yuan for a single trip, and 80 yuan for a round trip, but it is out of service after 17:00; Taxi is a good choice if you do want to take airport shuttle bus or the bus after working hours, it takes around 1.5 hours and costs 150 yuan; Car rental is highly recommeded for you if you confused about the public transportation, it's an expensive way but you can enjoy a hassle free service.

Mosted Asked Questions about Jiuzhaigou Valley

When is the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou?

Actually, Jiuzhaigou scenic area can be visited all year around since it has different scenery on each season. But the best time to visit Jiuzhaigou is September and October because this time bring fall colors. They are considered the beautiful seasons in the park, but there may be crowds along the roads/trails and the hotels are hard to book and very expensive. April to August is also good for visit for fewer crowds and cheaper price for traveling.

Is it possible to travel to Jiuzhaigou during Dec.? We are planing a trip to Sichuan Province during winter.

Yes, it is possible to visit Jiuzhaigou scenic area during the winter time, the winter is booming season; Jiuzhaigou Valley turns into a white world. Rivers, necked trees, mountains covered with white snow. If you`d like to avoid crowds, winter is a quietest time to visit the valley. Winter is quite cold in Jiuzhaigou, the temperature is around 0 °C. If you plan to visit during winter, you should prepare warm thick clothes, winter hat, gloves, scarf, non-slip sneakers and more.

Could you please advise how many days should we stay in Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu city?

As for a trip to visit Jiuzhaigou, we highly recommend 2-3 days to stay there. You spend one or two days in Jiuzhaigou Valley and one day in the Huanglong National Park. You can travel from Chengdu by flight, it takes 1 hour flight from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou.  You can stay there longer if you  are very keen photographers or very slow walkers!

What is the best way to travel from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou scenic area?

There are several way to travel from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou, long-distance bus, direct flights or private transfer. The best way to visit Jiuzhaigou is booking a package tour with Chengdu local tour company that includes the private transfer, tour guide service, entrance fee, optional hotel and meals. If you travel on your own, bus is the most common way to get to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu because it’s the cheapest option, the bus fare is no more than 200 RMB and it takes about 9 to 10 hours. The advantage of taking a bus is that you can go directly to Jiuzhaigou goukou or Jiuzhaigou Town.The quickest way to get to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu is by flight, it takes around 1 hour from Chengdu airport, but the Jiuzhaigou airport is about 88KM far away from Jiuzhaigou scneic area.

What is Jiuzhaigou Valley famous for?

Jiuzhaigou is one of the famous tourist destinations in China and it attracts lots of domestic and western tourists come to visit. Jiuzhaigou scenic area is famous for it's beautiful waterscape, colors of nature and rare species. When you travel to Jiuzhaigou, you can explore the most beautiful waterscape in China since the water is the soul of this place, you can enjoy the colorful natural landscape, the scenery is different in each season – grey in spring, green in summer, golden in autumn, white in winter. What's more, Jiuzhaigou is the home to the many bird species, 74 species of state-protected plants, 18 species of endangered animals, including the Giant Pandas, snub-nosed monkeys, etc.

Do you have any travel tips to visit Jiuzhaigou scenic area?

As Jiuzhaigou is a natural park, you should be careful when you traveling. You may encounter wildlife unexpectedly, please slow down to assure yourself enough stopping distance. Do not feed or catch any wild animals,including fish, birds, squirrels, monkeys, insects or other wildlife. Consuming human food is unhealthy and encourages aggressive behavior that may require the death of the animal. No fires or smoking are allowed in the park. No flammable or explosive objects are allowed within the park. Visitors are requested to encourage others to follow these rules also and notify park staff of any potential dangers.

How about the hotel condition near the Jiuzhaigou?

There are no hotels or commercial accommodation inside the park. There are a number of 5 star, 4 star and 3 star hotels just near the main entrance to the park or Zhangzha Town. There are also some international hotels there, such as Sheraton, InterContinental, Hilton and others. Most hotels feature Tibetan-style houses, which are equipped with modern facilities. Please kindly note that most hotels in the area are not equipped with air-conditioners, for the weather is cool.

Is there high speed train available between Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu?

There is no train station in Jiuzhaigou, so travel from between Jiuzhaigou and Chengdu by train is not available at the moment. But the railway is under planning in the next few years. You can travel by long-distance bus and flight now.

Can your arrnage a Chengdu tour to visit Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport directly?

Yes, we can arrange the tour to visit Jiuzhaigou scenic area from Chengdu with the airport pick up service. Customize the tour itinerary based on your reuqirements, provides the professional english tour guide service, comfortable vehilce transfer, entrance tickets for the sites, meals and hotels also can be inlcuded. You will have a hassle free service by booking the tour with our company.

What can we do in the evening if we plan to stay overnight in Jiuzhaigou?

If you are planning to stay overnight in Jiuzhaigou and want to explore the nightlife there, you should try to watch some local culture shows with local people to get a special travel experience. Jiuzhaigou offers many wonderful culture shows. The most famous one is Zang Mi Tibetan Music and Dance Show. The show is available at 19:30 daily at Jiuzhaigou Zangmi Grand Theatre; You can also join in some wonderful bonfire parties at some hotels or Tibetan families, which give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy with the locals.

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