This never happened before. I stepped out of the minibus in Jiuzhaigou National Reserve and I was completely overwhelmed. What I saw was an absolutely breathtaking landscape of green, blue and turquoise colours. Within a minute, Jiuzhaigou had captured me with its surreal fairytale-like appearance and I knew this was the most beautiful place in China.

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The most beautiful place in China – Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou is a beautiful forest surrounded by majestic mountains. Within the forest you will find Jiuzhaigou’s turquoise lakes with dreamy names like ‘Swan Lake’, ‘Five-color pond’ and ‘Mirror Lake’. Surprisingly,  Jiuzhaigou is still relatively undiscovered by the Western crowds. I wandered around in the park for hours (got lost a few times) and behind every corner there was more beauty. Since, it is difficult to explain Jiuzhaigou’s magic in words we will let the pictures speak for itself. For me, it was definitely the most beautiful place I visited in China.

Waterfall Jiuzhaigou China
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Jiuzhaigou Valley
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Mirror Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Water colour Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Jiuzhaigou green lakes
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Bird Jiuzhaigou China Bunch of Backpackers
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.


Waterfall Jiuzhaigou National Park
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Waterfall beautiful Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.


Coloured water Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Water Jiuzhaigou
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.
Jiuzhaigou colours
Jiuzhaigou. ©Bunch of Backpackers.

Did you know?

  • The park is home to giant panda’s (spotting one is extremely rare though)
  • The clear water  is due to a high calcium carbonate concentration
  • Jiuzhaigou translates into ‘Valley of Nine Villages’ because of the nine Tibetan / Qiang villages in the park
  • According to a local legend the goddess Wunosemo breaks her magic mirror forming the 114 lakes gem-like lakes of Jiuzhaigou.
  • The famous Chinese movie ‘Hero’ was partly recorded here.

How to get to Jiuzhaigou? 

  • You can easily take a local bus from Chengdu which will get you to Jiuzhaigou in about 8 to 11 hours (depending on the condition of the roads). I also did this (1d/2n trip), but there had been many landslides in the area and it took us more than 12 hours to get to the park. To my knowledge there are no overnight buses. However, during the busride you can enjoy spectacular scenery and you will pass by many small Chinese villages.
  • You can also fly to Jiuzhaigou Huanglong Airport from Chengdu.

Information for your visit to Jiuzhaigou

  • Use your student ID if you have one (you will get a 50% discount)
  • There are several budget accommodations near the park entrance. I stayed at the Jiuzhaigou Grass Root hostel which was probably not the best, but definitely one of the most cheapest option (about 30 RMB for a dorm). You won’t spend much time in your room anyway. From the hostel it was a 20-minute walk to Jiuzhaigou.
  • There are many street stalls and little restaurants in the village where you have a great meal for a small price! Highly recommended.
  • Bring some food for inside the park. The restaurant options within the park are relatively expensive.
  • Also check out the official site of Jiuzhaigou!

“No mountain is worth seeing after Mt. Huangshan and no other water will be of interest after Jiuzhaigou.”

Would you love to visit this ‘Most beautiful place in China’? 

Recommended further reading
Rock-climbing the karst hills near Yangshuo, China
Photo essay of the Transmongolian Express


  1. Wow I never would have guessed this is in China. I definitely had a more urban picture in my head, but now you make me want to visit this place. Gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing.

  2. These photos are stunning! You have really captured it’s beauty. I can see why you say it’s the most beautiful place in China…

    • There are many beautiful natural wonders in China Marie-France. Besides Jiuzhaigou, you also have Yangshuo and the Floating Mountains for example :)!

  3. Incredible. You know, I only spent a month in China and only about 10 days of that actually travelling – the rest of the time I was on a Chinese course – but the more I see of China via travel blogs etc the more I think ‘oh my gosh, there’s so much more to see.’ I originally didn’t think I wanted to go back, now I’m changing my mind.

  4. Goodness gracious!! Holy moly you’re not kidding, that place is spectacular! Your photography really does a great job of capturing the amazing charm of the place. Thank you :)

  5. Really pretty pictures these! Is China as friendly a place as some of the other countries in the world? So little is known about China and its social cultures thanks to all the media censorship – it only adds to the intrigue of the place…

  6. I’ve transited through Chinese airports several times but have never entered the country. Guess I should consider visiting it now. So beautiful!

    • You totally should Andy! It’s gorgeous. I’ve only visited a bit of west and south, but there are so many other beautiful places :)

  7. Wow your photos are stunning! I’ve never heard of this place but I would love to see it for myself. ESPECIALLY if there are pandas… even the possibility of pandas. I’ve been mildly obsessed with pandas since I was a little girl (I had quite the collection of stuffed black and white bears) and that would be a childhood dream come true! :)

    • Chengdu is not that far from Jiuzhaigou and you will definitely be able to see panda’s there :)! P.s. I’m sure that youtube video of ‘the sneezing panda’ must be your favorite video of all times ;)!

  8. Um, are you sure this is in China? haha – if you had showed me any of those pictures and had me guess where it was, I think China would have been my last guess. That water!! Gorgeous, I need to get there one day!


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