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Travel Guide: Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou is one of the most popular national parks in China, many local tourists from different parts of the country travel to Sichuan to see this wonderful work of nature. It takes a while to get to this park, but the effort and time it takes is worth it.

Travel Guide

Jiuzhaigou is accessible, but will take time to reach, if you're not flying in. However, the effort it takes to go is worth it.

If you want to see the best spots in the park in one day (it's possible), you'd have to start as soon as the park opens. There is already a line at the ticket counter even before they open the doors. Typical of many Chinese tourist attractions and even in bus stops or train stations, chaos ensues once the doors open for availability. You'd have to jostle your way into position so that no one cuts the line. Have the necessary cards ready to get a discount on the ticket.

The advice that I got from the hostel I stayed in was valuable. I didn't pay for the bus going to the tourist center, so I decided to walk. It was a very scenic and easy one, since I was mostly walking on wooden platforms and flat surfaces. There were very few people so I got to enjoy the views with no hordes of tourists taking pictures from all sides. If you decide to walk to the tourist center, you don't have to pay for the bus going to different parts of the park (you save CNY 90!).

Jiuzhaigou is famous for clear, blue lakes and waterfalls. What I saw was simply beautiful, it really is one of the most stunning parks in China.

I was fortunate enough to go on a clear day, since it was raining the day before. The weather was picture perfect, especially for those who want to take photos.

The lakes were so clear and calm, they reflected the surrounding landscape like a mirror. There were many parts just like the picture above. AND very few people! The Chinese prefer taking buses to different viewing platforms than walking.

Long Lake
Long Lake was the last spot I went to but it was one of the most spectacular, it will remind one of some of the landscapes in Western Europe or even New Zealand.

The multi-color lake may have been small, but it was beautiful; one of the many highlights of Jiuzhaigou.

Jiuzhaigou has so many clear and multi-colored lakes with mirror-like waters. This park is a photographer's dream.

How to Get to Jiuzhaigou

By Air

There are direct flights from Chinese cities such as Xi'An, Chongqing and Chengdu. You will arrive at Jiuhuang Airport. You'll have to either take a taxi or the airport shuttle to Huanglong then to Jiuzhaigou. The shuttle costs around CNY 22 one way and CNY 40 round way.

*November 16 to March 31 is low season, meaning the possibility of flight cancellations is high

By Land

Alternatively, there are buses that travel from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou regularly. The bus I took was the one from Xinnanmen Bus Station which was walking distance from Chengdu Flip Flop Hostel. The far is around CNY 141. The trip takes around 10 hours one way, it takes longer just to leave the city because of traffic.

A ticket to enter the park costs CNY 220, with a separate one for the bus that takes you to different parts of the park which is CNY 90 (you only pay once at the counter), and just get on and off to different spots or back to the entrance. For low season, a ticket costs CNY 80, while the bus costs CNY 80. There are also discounts for students and senior citizens, just show a valid ID.

Best Time to Visit

You can visit the park year round but once low season arrives it gets colder and most parts of the park are covered in snow or even inaccessible. The best time to visit is in autumn where the colors are nothing short of spectacular. I ended up visiting during spring (April 2017).

What to Wear

Depending on the season you visit, you'd need to bring layers of clothes. However, even in the warmer summer and spring months, in can be very cold in the early morning and evening. Wear light clothing and a jacket.

Budget Guide

Here's how much I spent during my stay in Jiuzhaigou:

*Everything's in Chinese Yuan

141 - Bus to Jiuzhaigou from Chengdu
191 - Food and drinks
120 - Car sharing for Huanglong trip
135 - Friendship Hostel 3 nights
200 - Huanglong entrance fee
80 - Cable car up in Huanglong
220 - Jiuzhaigou entrance fee
140 - Bus to Chengdu                                  
1227 - Total

*You can check out my separate post for Huanglong here.
*I stayed at Friendship Hostel, the manager of the hostel was really cool, he gave us tips on how to explore the park and how to save money while inside.

Other Places in China You Might Want to Visit

Kanas Lake

Zhangjiajie (Avatar Mountains)

Rainbow Mountains

Guilin and Yangshuo

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