Image from http://trakka.blogspot.com/2008/10/sichuan-province.html
Jiuzhaigou (Jiu Zhai Gou)
I always wanted to visit Jiu Zhai Gou after watching Hero by Zhang Yimou but the long 10-12 hour bus ride (and dangerous trip – occasional mudslides & rockslides can add hours to the trip) from Chengdu to Jiu Zhai Gou always put me off (bus fare USD16).
Thankfully now one can fly to Songpan (348km) from Chengdu (USD195 return ticket, 45min flight); and from Songpan one could either take 1hr bus ride to Huanglong or 2hr bus ride to Jiu Zhai Gou (102km, bus fare USD3.90).
Btw just check internet rate for Sheraton Jiuzhaigou Resort – quite affordable CNY500/nite (about RM264). TH u wanna go? Should be our kind of holiday (NMM, u n I) – plenty of walking ha ha 35km! NMM need you to come since you can speak mandarin ha ha…
**Traveller’s story about Chinese tourists (locals) “So what else made my blood boil, other than the rip-off entry price? It was the Chinese tourists, or more appropriately, the hordes of obnoxious tourists who ruin the beauty and majesty of the sites. If you've travelled in China, you know the behaviour I'm talking about: noisy, littering, spitting, pushy and disregard for queues. I don't like badmouthing Chinese people, because I regard myself as one, but this 'uncivilized' behaviour has got to stop; quite a few backpackers I've met on my trip so far have said that this is their last trip to China, because of the rude behaviour and high prices targeted at foreigners.” http://www.maskofchina.com/dl/2004_08_01_archive.html
One can stay at hotels in Jiu Zhai Gou or Huanglong or Songpan to visit Jiu Zhai Gou park, but if one plans to visit the park for 2 days (instead of 1 day), maybe staying at Jiu Zhai Gou will be better to save from wasting time on travelling (especially if you want to beat the long queues).
**Travellers’s tip “Jiuzhaighou National Park was a “beautiful disappointment”. It is incredibly beautiful, but I was disappointed that I was 20 yrs too late and had to share it with 1000s of other tourists per day.However, here’s the secret to avoid the hordes of tour groups!
Day 1. Be at the park entrance at 6:40 am. Be first in line to buy your ticket and endorse it with free computer ID photo for 2 days usage. Be the first through the turnstiles at 7am and the first off the bus at the most popular tourist spot Panda Lake or Panda Falls. Be the first to start walking northwards to Nuorilang Falls. You’ll start hitting a few groups of tourists, but it’s better than later in the day when you’ll be involved in a rugby scrum just to get a photo of the falls. At Nuorilang take a bus to Long Lake and Multicoloured Lake. Then bus back to Nuorilang and change to bus for Primeval Forest at the end of the park. Walk downhill from there to Panda Lake where you started in the morning, and call it a day. The crowds will be out in force by then.
Day 2 Be the first through the turnstiles again at 7am. Get off at Nuorilang Falls and walk back towards the park entrance – it was as though I had the entire park to myself. Only met 4 people coming the other way, but there must have been 10,000 about 20 minutes behind me. Bus back up to Long Lake and walk back towards Nuorilang along quiet walkways that not many frequent.
That’s quite a long day… keep your eye on park closing time and last buses 5:30pm” http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=1372932
Traveller’s tip “Halal food are common in the TOWN of jiuzhaigou but not the entry of the Scenic Spots.If you go to Huanglong near Jiuzhaigou, you may need to spend one night in Songpan, where many Muslim lives. And when Chinese travel there, "Tasting the delicious food of Minority Hui and Qiang" is one of the "Do"s. (Qiang are not Muslim.)Most halal restaurants have Arabic on their board.” http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/message.jspa?messageID=12500496
Traveller’s tip “Unfortunately the food in this area does not match the scenery.
1. There are only a few good restaurants in Jiuzhaigou and they're usually very crowded especially in peak season.
2. Fresh vegetables are rarely available as they need to transfer vegetables from other parts of the area. The high latitude the area located also affects the taste of food.”http://www.chinahighlights.com/faq/travel-tips/food-dining/I-am-visiting-Jiuzhaigou-what-sort-of-food-can-I-expect.htm
Traveller’s tip “Huanglong is specialized in the geological phenomenon of travertine pools. I did enjoy its particular scenery (indeed much better than Pamukkale, as the IUCN report says) and feel that it is certainly worth a daytrip for anybody……It is better to get acclimated by visiting JZG the day before at 3,000 meters then do HL instead of the other way around because the altitude is really uncomfortable for those not used to it.” http://www.worldheritagesite.org/sites/huanglong.html
“Huanglong is said famous for its cascading terraced pool but I found the area quite disappointing and not necessary after your have visited Jiuzhaigou. I would rather prefer an extra day in Jiuzhaigou.” http://www.chinatravel.com/china-travel-story/cathy's-trip-to-sichuan(chengdu,-jiuzhaigou-and-huanglong)-322.htm
“Coming from Jiuzhaigou it was pretty straightforward to get to the park. A daily bus departs the main bus station at 7 am each morning.
Leaving from Songpan is not so easy though, as I’ve heard from fellow travelers. There are no buses that go from Songpan to Huanglong, so it’s necessary to hire a taxi for the trip (about two hours one way.) If you’re able to share a taxi this isn’t such a bad option though. http://community.travelchinaguide.com/review2.asp?i=979