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.
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.
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